Going dairy-free or looking for some variety to add to your dairy-free lifestyle? If so, you’re in luck. The number of dairy-free milk options out there is growing as the demand for dairy-free products continues to rise. In fact, the sale of dairy-free milk is expected to continue to grow as more people are choosing plant-based milk versus milk from a cow.
But, if you’re new to this whole dairy-free milk craze, you may be overwhelmed with the number of options you have, and making that initial switch can be a challenge. I mean, let’s face it, not all plant-based milk has the same creamy consistency dairy-based milk does. But, don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have your creamy coffee creamer in the morning or milk with your morning bowl of oats. The great news is that there are quite a few dairy-free milk options out there that are just as creamy as cow’s milk and get this, they also come with some added health benefits. And, don’t worry, you will still get plenty of calcium and protein from these dairy-free options just without the added stomach distress that often comes with drinking milk. It’s a win, win.
So, let’s jump in and look at the five best milk alternatives you need to try ASAP. These will have you ditching dairy milk in no time.
The 5 Best Milk Alternatives You Need to Try ASAP
Looking for a creamy dairy-free milk alternative? Coconut may be your go-to, and with many different varieties available, coconut milk is one of the most popular dairy-free milk options out there. You can find canned coconut milk that still has the fatty coconut cream to use in things like smoothies, or coconut milk from a carton that can be used in place of milk in things like baked goods.
Pros: Canned coconut milk is super creamy, full of healthy fat, and makes the perfect dairy-free latte, or creamy and nutrient-dense smoothie. The coconut milk you find in a carton is not nearly as creamy, as it doesn’t contain that fatty coconut cream layer like the canned version does. The coconut milk in a carton works well if you need a milk replacement that has a thinner consistency.
Cons: Not a big fan of coconut? You may want to skip out on the coconut milk craze as it does have a pretty strong coconut flavor.
Taste: Tropical & Coconutty.
Works best with: Coffee, smoothies, thickening vegan sauce or soup recipes, added to desserts. Canned coconut milk can also be made into a delicious vegan whipped cream.
One of the more popular and most readily available dairy-free milk choices. If you are looking for a more affordable dairy-free milk choice that has the most versatility on this list, then almond milk is the way to go.
Pros: Almond milk is versatile, has a mild taste, and can be used in just about anything you would use dairy milk in. Plus, many companies are now coming out with almond milk coffee creamers, and almond milk yogurt, so those who need to be dairy-free can enjoy these foods as well.
Cons: Almond milk would not be suitable for those with an almond allergy or sensitivity, and it’s not the creamiest dairy-free milk option, so it may take some getting used to if you are used to a creamier consistency.
Taste: Mild & sweet.
Works best with: Coffee, smoothies, baked goods, chia pudding, poured over a bowl of oats.
Oat milk is all the rage right now, and chances are, you will find oat milk lattes at just about every coffee shop you go to. However, this dairy-free milk isn’t only great with your morning cup of joe, it’s also an excellent dairy-free milk option for anyone who is looking for a creamy and mild flavored dairy-free option to add to their favorite dessert recipe, or to make into a healthy vegan chocolate milk to enjoy after your favorite FitOn workout.
Pros: Oat milk is creamy, soy-free, a great source of b-vitamins, fiber, and even contains a decent amount of protein. What’s not to love? If you like your milk creamy, but not overpowering, then you may want to jump on the oat milk bandwagon. This dairy-free milk does not disappoint.
Cons: This milk is not a good option for anyone who is following a grain-free diet, or those who are on a low-carb or ketogenic diet as it is higher in carbs than other dairy-free options on this list.
Taste: Mild & sweet.
Works best with: Coffee, tea, smoothies, desserts.
Hemp milk is a go-to choice for the vegan health nut, and that’s because this milk packs in a healthy dose of fat, protein, carbs, and essential fatty acids. You really can’t go wrong with hemp milk when it comes to its nutritional value.
Pros: Excellent source of essential vitamins, and minerals, and it is also generally very well tolerated among those with food allergies and sensitivities. Hemp milk is one of the more hypoallergenic dairy-free milk options out there and it tastes delicious in smoothies or poured over a warm bowl of oatmeal.
Cons: One thing to consider is that hemp milk is not as creamy as coconut or cashew milk, so it may not work for recipes that require a creamier milk option. Hemp milk also has a pretty strong nutty taste, so if you’re not big into the taste of hemp seeds, you may be a little put off by the flavor at first. However, there are plenty of ways to introduce this milk into your diet to help you get used to the flavor! If you want to give hemp milk a try, start by blending it into your smoothies.
Taste: Nutty & earthy.
Works best with: Smoothies, desserts.
Cashew milk is becoming more popular since it’s super creamy and packs in a hefty dose of plant-based protein.
Pros: Cashew milk is fairly versatile. You can use it in your morning cup of coffee or tea, blended into your smoothies, or added to many of your favorite recipes that need some added creaminess.
Cons: Cashew milk comes with a bit of a higher price point than some of the other options which may be a reason someone would not enjoy cashew milk regularly.
Taste: Mild & sweet.
Works best with: Coffee, smoothies, desserts, vegan sauces or curry’s.
The Bottom Line
Dairy-free milk isn’t going anywhere anytime soon as more and more people are looking for dairy-free options to add to their healthy lifestyle. With so many variations out there, you are bound to find one that is going to work for your healthy lifestyle. Make it fun by testing each one of these out to see which one you like best! You may be surprised to find a few favorites that supercharge your already healthy eating diet.