October 22, 2012

Vegan Milk Substitutes


There are many alternatives to animal milk that can be found at your local supermarket. If you are vegan, lactose-intolerant or just wanting to find a healthier milk alternative there are many options available. Have a look below at the different types of vegan milk substitutes and their amazing benefits and qualities. 

Soy milk is one of the most widely used milk substitute in vegan recipes as an alternative to cows milk and a traditional staple in Asia. It is made from dried soybeans that have been ground and processed with water. Soy milk is a great alternative to animal milk as it contains almost the exact same amount of protein compared to cows milk with about 8 grams per cup. Almost half of the soybean is made up of protein! The leftover proteins from the soy milk process are often used for other production food items such as tofu.
On a nutritional level, soy milk products are enriched with calcium, naturally high in fiber, a source of plant-based omega-3, low in saturated fats and contain no cholesterol or lactose. The photo-antioxidants assist with blood vessel strength and the fatty acids in soy milk assist with inhibiting the transport of cholesterol in the body. It also has lower sugar content of only 7 grams per cup in comparison to cows milk with 12 grams per cup. The phytoestrogen sources in soy milk can reduce testosterone levels in men which may ultimately reduce the risks of prostate cancer, increase oestrogen levels in women assisting with menopausal symptoms and also prevent osteoporosis. 

Cooking with soy milk is easy and can be easily substituted for cows milk and other animal-based milks. It can be used for cereals, smoothies, teas, coffees, custards, icecreams. yoghurts and anything else that you heart desires! See our 2 Minute Choc Mug Muffin as an example of using soy milk in cakes and muffins.

You can now easily purchase soy milk from your local supermarket and can come in many different varieties to choose from. Varieties include lite, to full-cream, sweetened, vanilla flavoured, chocolate flavoured and will also vary in creaminess and thickness. You will definitely find a brand and taste that you enjoy. If you are just changing to soy milk I would buy a few different brands and types of soy milk until you find one that is suitable for you and that you like. I absolutely love "Soy Milky" and can drink it from the carton, whereas there are other brands that I cannot bear the taste of. So it really is a personal choice.

Oat milk is becoming more and more popular over time. With a sweet and milky consistency, oat milk is made by pre-soaking rolled oats and straining the delicious liquid. 

There are many benefits of drinking oat milk as a substitute to animal milks. It is said that one cup of commercial oat milk contains 35% of your daily calcium needs. Oat milk is also very low in fat with only 2.5g per cup and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. If you are looking at watching your waistband then oat milk is your choice as it is naturally high in fiber and iron and low in fats and sugars. Oat milk also contains phytochemicals which have been proven to protect against specific type of cancers and heart problems. Also, the qualities in oat milk have been said to clear skin problems and acne. That may be why there are a lot of oat facial masks and oatmeal based skin products on the market. 

On a nutritional level, Oat milk contains 10% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A and also 10% of your iron daily intake. That is twice the iron content and calcium content of regular cows milk. Also, check the cartons of your oat milk as many brands differ with their nutritional content. For example, some are enriched with folate, vitamins, iron and calcium. There are also brands of oat milk that are gluten-free. 

Oat milk can be easily purchased from your local supermarket or even from your health stores. Each brand will offer different varieties to choose from. From lite, to full-cream, sweetened, vanilla flavoured, chocolate flavoured and will vary in creaminess and thickness. You will definitely find a brand and taste that you enjoy.

Rice milk is becoming more popular and is now commonly seen in your local supermarket. It is normally made from brown rice grains is a thin milk substitute and usually unsweetened but you can find different brands that provide flavoured varieties such as vanilla. However, rice milk is naturally sweetened by the enzymes during the milk production process. 

On a nutritional basis, rice milk is similar to the other milk substitutes due to not containing any cholesterol or saturated fats. Rice milk only contains about 2 grams of protein per cup, is low in calcium and can contain up to four times the amount of carbohydrates as seen in soy milk which increases blood sugar levels. Those with diabetes may need to assess this and compare it to the other milk alternatives. On a positive note, rice milk is a great natural source of B vitamins and is naturally high in antioxidants. Most brands are also enriched with extra nutrients and calcium.


Coconut milk is extremely creamy and delicious and is a great alternative to cows milk. Originally used in tropical and Asian cuisines, it is now commonly used in many different types of dishes, especially vegan recipes. Coconut milk is made by grating the inside of the coconut and extracting the creamy liquid. This type of milk has a high oil content of 17% and can be seen as a grey colour when separated from the creaminess in a can. With a thick consistency and amazing creaminess, coconut milk is used in lots of creamy dishes, curries, desserts and as an alternative to thin cream. 

Coconut milk has a high saturated fat content so it is recommended to not consume too much. On a nutritional level, it has a high iron content and a high manganese content which can assist with maintaining your blood sugar levels. Also, the copper assists with strengthening your blood vessels, the high phosphorous content helps with maintaining strong bones, high dietary fiber assists with feeling full and the selenium can help with arthritis symptoms.

There are two types of coconut milk available for purchase... full-cream and lite coconut milk. The thicker version is better for desserts and vegan dishes needing a high creaminess whereas the lite coconut milk is great for Asian soups. The canned version of coconut milk is the most popular and easiest to find in supermarkets. See our banana bread recipe which uses 1 cup of coconut milk as an alternative milk product. It adds creaminess and a form of oil. Coconut cream can also be purchased which is a thicker alternative to the coconut milk and is great for desserts and as a vegan cream.


Another great vegan milk alternative is almond milk. Almond milk is made from grinding down soaked almonds and soaking them in water... the water is then strained from the almond pulp. Originally, almond milk was most prominent in the Islamic world and was kept as a staple in medieval kitchens as cows milk was more quick to spoil. 

There are many benefits of almond milk including containing no lactose, saturates fats or cholesterol.  It is rich in antioxidants which helps to build a strong immune system. Almonds themselves are naturally rich in zinc, iron and magnesium and can also assist with digestive issues.  Also, the high vitamin E assists with improving your skin. 

On a nutritional level, one serving of almond milk contains 30% of our daily calcium needs and 25% of our vitamin D needs. Therefore, assisting with bone strength . On the other hand, the amount of protein contained in almond milk isn't as high as the other milk substitutes. If you are looking for a high protein milk, soy milk would be a better choice.

Almond milk is a great replacement for cows milk in baking or with cereal, coffee, tea etc... It is also getting more popular and so can easily be purchased from your local supermarket or health food shops. Check out the many different varieties that can be purchased including lite or full-cream to vanilla-flavoured. You will find one that you enjoy :)


Cashew milk is another great substitute. The cashew tree originated in South America and the cashews are picked from the end of the cashew apple. Once picked, the milk is derived from blended cashew nuts and water which is strained to produce the cashew milk. It is becoming more popular but may not yet be able to be purchased in supermarkets. Your best bet would be your local health food shop or making it yourself. It is said that cashew milk has a natural vanilla flavour and a nice, creamy consistency.

Like most of the other milk substitutes, cashew milk is cholesterol free! There are also other benefits of consuming cashew milk including its naturally high vitamin B content. These vitamins assist with red blood cell production and assist with our metabolic activity. On the other hand, the high percentage of copper and magnesium assist with bone and tissue development. Cashews have a low overall fat content in comparison to other nuts and contain mostly good fats. Therefore, cashew nuts assist with lowering cholesterol levels and the reduces your risks of heart problems.

15 comments :

  1. Don't forget hemp milk!

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    1. Thanks! I haven't yet tried hemp milk but I will soon and then I will add it :)

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  2. I love Oat Milk the best. I buy the Vitasoy brand. Great website Madison!

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    1. Thank you so much! I like oat milk too! :)

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  3. where can i find oatmilk? Like what places do you know that sell it i mean?

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    1. Hi Shannon. Do you live in Australia? If so, Coles and Woolworths sell it :) I enjoy the Vitasoy brand of Oat Milk the best... in original flavour. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you so much for your help!

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  5. Oat milk low fat amazin! Vegan but piled on weight cause of soya milk in tea coffee.does oat milk curdle in coffee etc,lovely site you both seem so happy,good luck fir future

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    1. Hello! It depends on the oat milk. I use oat milk in tea and coffee and it doesn't normally curdle. It would depend on the brand of oat milk and the acidity of your coffee :)

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  6. Can any of these be used to make a Alfredo sauce?

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    1. Hi there! Yes, you could use any of them. I personally use soy for creamy sauces :)

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  7. My favorite is almond milk; however, I've been on a huge soy milk kick lately!

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    1. I love soy milk... it is definitely my favourite!

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  8. Hi! great blog... I use different milk substitutes for different things. However after trying lots and reading lots of labels it was interesting to see how many are full of sugar/sweeteners. I only use one brand now which is unsweetened and non-GMO etc. Some of my local supermarkets are now no longer stocking it!! Very disappointing because if you take the time to read the labels then the 'big brands' do not compare with their ingredients list...even the percentage of soy beans in the milk is vastly different.

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