Oat milk is legit! And it’s super easy and inexpensive to make! If you haven’t yet tried it, you need to. Whether it’s in your coffee, your cereal, or in your baking, you owe it to yourself to see what all of the fuss is about.
I first heard about oat milk being a thing a few years ago on The Splendid Table podcast. The folks from America’s Test Kitchen were just starting to give weekly advice on the program, and I was surprised that they were devoting an entire segment to plant-based milks. They reviewed or discussed the major types like soy and almond, but in a sudden plot twist, they concluded that their favorite plant milk overall was oat milk.
Oat milk has a few different properties that set it apart from other plant-based milks. It has a higher sugar content (It’s all starch!)than other milks, which gives it a slight sweetness, and which makes it ideal for baking. Cow’s milk is high in sugar, and most plant milks are not, which is why recipes made with almond or soy milks tend to come out a bit blonde. That’s not the case with oat milk, however. When used in baking, it helps your baked goods achieve a perfect golden brown finish.
The texture is a bit different than other milks; it has a slight viscosity that can either be a benefit or a turnoff depending on how the milk is used. It’s great for some applications and very strange in others. If you are planning on cooking with it, as you would another plant-based milk, you might want to be a bit cautious. It’s great for baking, but bad for things like gravies. The starch content of oat milk naturally helps to thicken whatever you use it in, but the texture, in my opinion, is not very pleasant. It can be a bit slimy and gooey it if simmers and reduces too much.
Oat milk also works great in cold applications like in cereals, but I think that it truly shines when it’s used in your favorite coffee beverages. Whether used as the milk in an iced or hot latte, or just as the creamer in your morning cup, the texture and slight sweetness of oat milk really work in your favor.
But where can you find it? Although you can find a few different brands of oat milk on the plant milk aisle of your favorite natural foods store, the name on everyone’s lips is Oatly, and that’s not as easy to find.
Oatly is quite elusive and has created a sort of McRib-like (Bad simile for a vegan blog?) following. Everyone is chasing it, but few can find it. Where will it show up next? There have been sightings at various coffee shops across the country, and it seems like the only place to really buy it these days if from a barista who is willing to part with some of their stash.
As with most things in life, making your own is a lot less expensive. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of oat milk. Buying it in the store, or online, can you could pay anywhere from three to four bucks, all the way up to eight or nine bucks for a liter of Oatly.
And how much does it cost to make your own?
You need one cup of dry oats to make a liter of oat milk. There are about 3 ounces of dry oats in a cup. If you buy in bulk, you could pay as little as 89 cents per pound for your oats (not necessarily organic). There are 16 ounces in a pound… divided by 3…
If you make it yourself, you can get about 5 liters of oat milk for 89 cents.
Ready for that recipe yet?
I’ve read a ton of recipes, and tried a few. Here’s what works for me:
This is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to have oat milk at home.
- 1 cup of rolled oats, soaked in filtered water for about 30 minutes
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 or 2 pitted dates (optional for sweetness)
Soak your oat for 30 minutes (Need the milk now?! Skip the soaking. The milk won’t be as creamy, but it’ll work)
Strain and rinse the oats. Add the oats into a blender with 4 cups of filtered water. Blend for between 30 seconds and 1 minute*. (Err on the side of blending too little. Over-blending will cause the milk to get "slimy" and viscous. You may need to make it once or twice to get it calibrated for your particular equipment.)
Strain through a flour sack towel, a nut milk bag, or the fines strainer you can find.
Chill until ready to serve.
*If you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, or even a NutriBullet, you should only blend your oats for about 30 to 45 seconds.