If you had told me five years ago that 2020 would be the year that I’d milk almonds, I would have responded with:
“Yeah, sure. And at the same time, the whole world will completely lose its marbles and predatory murder hornets will try to cross the Canadian border.”
It’s not that I have anything against dairy-free alternatives. I’m actually a sucker for the earthy boost they give to my favorite crunchy counterparts like spiced granola and the nutty assist they lend to my beautifully bitter Italian roast coffee.
But why milk my own almonds when I can simply grab a carton at the grocery store?
Here’s why: Other than the soaking process (literally just filling a bowl with water, which my cat could do if she had thumbs), the entire method of making your own nut beverage takes a total of ten minutes.
Ten! Did you hear me? You can’t even get in and out of the store that fast.
There aren’t many homemade items you can prepare in ten minutes. Marinara? Nah, dude, that sucker has to simmer for a bit. Pizza dough? Negative, Ghost Rider, that goodness needs time to rise.
But let’s be real. You know you would undoubtedly make the two gems mentioned above from scratch any chance you get before picking up the pre-packaged versions, because the flavor difference is undeniable.
So, if you’re willing to make other easy recipes by hand, why can’t you make your own creamy, dreamy nut milk? In just ten minutes – if you remembered to soak your almonds overnight first – you can.
It’s no secret that seemingly everyone has been slowly shying away from cow’s milk. Whether it’s a dietary restriction, lactose intolerance, or simply an attempt to cut back on dairy, the resultant explosion in the selection of vegan varieties on the shelves and at our favorite coffee shops is beyond question.
The creamy beverage produced from tree nuts like almonds, cashews, or hazelnuts offers nothing but wholesome benefits – like a lower caloric content, a high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, and the ability to be gentle on the tummy thanks to its lack of lactose, to name a few.
But enough shop talk. Let’s get down to the taste test.
One glug of this glorious homemade almond milk and I was sold. When it comes to dairy-based cheese, I’m a self-proclaimed cheddar head and I’m not sorry. But in the land of milk, I’m well aware of the benefits of the substitutes and I reach for them on the reg.
Not only are they easier on my stomach – and who couldn’t use more good gut health? – they add a rich, complex flavor to many of my go-to foods and beverages.
And flavor is my middle name. (Actually, it’s Elizabeth. But you get it.)
I’ve spent many an afternoon perusing packaged nut milks only to leave the store empty handed. Since I only occasionally slip the vegan varieties into my coffee, cereal, and smoothies, I don’t want to shell out several dollars for something that will spend several weeks sitting half-empty in my fridge.
Sure, a bag of raw almonds is pricey, but the amount of almond milk I can make fresh and whenever I want it out of that single package has become a game-changer.
When pumpkin spice season hits, I’ll spruce it up with nutmeg, cinnamon, and maple syrup. And when I’m feeling a little basic, a dash of vanilla extract and honey will do. The possibilities are endless.
I got milk. Do you?Print
Homemade Almond Milk
- Total Time: 12 hours, 10 minutes
- Yield: Approximately 1 quart (4 cups) almond milk 1x
If dairy-free alternatives are up your alley, skip the store-bought stuff and give this delicious homemade almond milk a try.
- 1 cup raw unsalted almonds
- 3–4 cups water, plus more for soaking
- Place the almonds in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl with a thin dish towel and soak overnight for 12 hours, or for up to 2 days.
- Drain the almonds, and then place them in a high-powered blender or food processor with 3 cups of water. The less water you use, the thicker the milk will be.
- Blend or pulse until the nuts are completely broken down. Add more water as necessary to achieve your desired thickness.
- Line a strainer with cheesecloth, a tea towel, or a nut milk bag and set it over a large bowl. Carefully pour the almond milk into the strainer, using a spoon to push the nuts down so the milk flows through. When the flow slows down, gather the cloth and squeeze until you get as much liquid as possible out of the pulverized nuts.
- Transfer the almond milk to a jar or airtight bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Shake well before serving.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dairy-Free
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: Drinks
Keywords: almond milk
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Soak
Place the almonds in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl with a thin dish towel and soak overnight. Plan to soak for a minimum of 12 hours, or up to 2 days max.
In a pinch, you can soak the almonds in very hot water for 2 hours instead.
Step 2 – Blend
Drain the almonds and then place them in a high-powered blender or food processor with 3 cups of water.
For a finished product that has the consistency of 2% milk, only use about 2 cups of water. The less water you use, the thicker the final consistency will be.
Add more water as necessary to achieve your desired thickness. Using the full 3 cups of water will give you a consistency similar to skim.
If you’re using any add-ins like vanilla extract or a sweetener, now is the time to add these. To sweeten the drink, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup. For a vanilla almond flavor, add 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Blend or pulse until the nuts are completely broken down. The more broken down they are, the more flavor you get out of your almonds.
Step 3 – Strain the Mixture
Line a strainer with a cheesecloth, a tea towel, or a nut milk bag and set it over a large mixing bowl. Carefully pour the mixture into the strainer, and use a spoon to push the nuts down so the liquid flows through.
Gather the cloth once the liquid begins to slow down and squeeze until you get as much liquid as possible out of the nuts.
You can use the leftover almonds in place of any recipe that calls for almond meal. You’ll wind up with about 3 cups.
Step 4 – Chill and Serve
Transfer the strained liquid to a jar or airtight bottle. It may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Shake well before serving, as homemade nut milk tends to separate.
You’ve Got Milk
Once again, I repeat, homemade almond milk will only last for several days in the fridge, so don’t go nuts (hehe).
Making it regularly in small batches allows you to not only have a fresh, dairy-free drink on hand when you need it, but almond meal as well.
And as for the useful meal that’s a byproduct of making this recipe, the drier it is, the better it works as a direct substitute for store-bought almond meal, so don’t be shy. Lightly toast that almond pulp, pulverize it into dust, then put it to good use in oatmeal, gluten-free crackers, and mouthwatering muffins.
Don’t put your milking pants away just yet. Keep experimenting with these other versatile varieties:
I go gaga for vibrant golden milk lattes, so I sprinkle a touch of turmeric and cinnamon into my almond milk when I’m feeling frisky.
How will you tweak this tasty beverage? Share your favorite flavorings in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on May 3, 2013. Last updated on June 17, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”
35 thoughts on “Homemade Almond Milk Couldn’t Be Easier”
I had the “homemade nut milk” epiphany about a year ago, when I realized how long and complicated the ingredient list on my store-bought milk was (I like the taste of almond milk over cows milk in oatmeal, and had been buying the boxed kind for years). I have now made almond milk, cashew milk, brazil nut milk, pistachio milk (probably my favorite!), and as of yesterday, hemp milk. It is truly incredible to see nuts and seeds transform into milk with such a simple process!
I love these kinds of DIY kitchen projects! Making yogurt from your own coconut or nut milk is pretty tasty, too, if that’s ever of interest to you.
I recently made almond milk for the first time, too! You’re right, it’s very easy and completely amazing. I did make mine with vanilla, cinnamon and a few dates and I didn’t strain mine. It makes excellent french toast!
No idea the nut milks sold by stores were so processed I don’t think I’ve ever really checked the label!
Very interesting “How to”!
I’ve never tasted almond milk. Cow milk makes my stomach just a little bit upset, so I eat yogurts instead. Where I live I’ve never seen almond milk for sale, just soy milk, or coconut milk… So I’m wondering what it tastes like! I’ll probably try this recipe soon, because I’m very curious about it 😉
Have a nice weekend!
This looks easier than I would have imagined, and sounds refreshing and delicious. I have an old-school Waring blender but I think I will give it a try anyway!
Any tips on how to use the ground almonds that remain? I have baked with blanched, ground almond flour…wondering if these could be used in the same way. If 1 c. almonds yields 3 c. almond meal, I am guessing that they absorb a lot of water and may be too mushy to bake with. Did you have any problems toasting the meal?
Thank you for this creative and easy idea, and, as always, for your beautiful way with words.
Stephanie, I used the almond meal in cookies, and they turned out a little different but still good. Toasting was no big deal and definitely helped dry out the mixture. Good luck!
I’m new to all of this, but could the almond meal be used to make a butter or spread?
It would be tough to make the almond butter without the whole almond, as it needs the oils from the almond and sometimes you have to add more oil. You could use it to make a spread but the texture might be a bit weird as the meal is coarse. It seems to be best when dried and used in baked goods, but we would love to hear back if you experiment and have some success!
This is a lot easier than I imagined it to be! I guess I never really took the time to read through the process before your post. 🙂
Hey Shanna, I recently starting making almond milk from scratch, we buy it all the time since we no longer drink cow milk. It’s so easy to make and it’s so much fun, that is when I have spare time…which is rare, lol. Thanks for sharing, and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who thinks it fun to do and so good for you!
That’s awesome, Nikki! I love it!
Love this post – I love homemade almond milk and think it actually tastes better than storebought (and I definitely prefer the simpler ingredient list as well). Sometimes I do a twist on horchata by substituting some of the almonds with rice and adding cinnamon – amazing over ice or indeed in iced coffee.
As for the almond meal, I have found it’s perfect to substitute 1/2 of the flour amount (by weight) for most quick bread recipes like banana bread. I definitely try to squeeze out all of the liquid I can from the almond meal before using it for baking. I love your idea of toasting the almond meal to dry it out a bit though, I guess that way you could even store it in a container for later (I typically popped mine into the freezer if I wasn’t using the almond meal straightaway).
Sophia! I love your suggestions here, especially the idea for horchata–must try! Thank you so much!
Great topic! I love homemade almond milk, but hate the boxed kind, which is oddly thick, in my opinion. I also add a pinch of sea salt to my almond milk, because I think it brings out the almond flavor. Yum! Oh– and I also peel my almonds. Sounds labor intensive, but it goes pretty fast (involves squeezing the almond out of the skin after soaking, before blending). I’m not sure why I started doing this….something about the skins inhibiting digestion maybe? I’ll have to do some research 🙂 But at any rate, I love the beautiful incredibly white color the almond milk is when made without skins!
Sarah! You’re amazing! So basically you’d be making a blanched almond meal and a blanched almond milk? Very cool and very ambitious!
I love that you gave this a try. I’m sometimes shocked at how much junk can be packed in the storebought almond milk varieties that I’ve seen, and I always feel like I can taste the strangeness of those things. I’ve never had homemade almond milk, but I’m sure it tastes infinitely better. This will definitely be on my list for when we get back home and almonds aren’t shipped halfway around the world to reach us.
I felt the same way when I made ricotta for the first time – that sense of wonder and amazement that I could make these things! It makes me feel so much more connected to my food and I feel like I just understand it so much better. Love this post.
Kathryn! Ricotta is on my list!!
I’ve bought store almond milk for a long time and have recently switched to purchasing non-homogenized milk from grass fed cows – still not ideal, but getting closer. I recently had a conversation (again with my sister :)) about why we make things like organic yogurt in our home when I can buy a good organic yogurt in the store. And it came down to knowing more about my food and where it came from and the processing time and all that goes in it. Do you know what I mean? It has gotten me thinking – yet again.
Thanks for a good post. I look forward to trying this.
P.S. I started my sourdough starter last night. The wait begins!
You can dry (oven or dehydrator) out the almond meal and grind it up very fine for homemade almond flour… This saves lots of money since almond flour is quite pricey! I’ve been told you can sub almond flour for half the flour in any recipe for a healthier (and gluten free) option but I’ve yet to try it in that regard.
I made my first batch of milk yesterday – I don’t like all the unnecessary ingredients in store bought almond milk but am lactose intolerant… And almond is my favorite. I do really like this batch but am eager to sweeten it up a bit… I can’t help it, I love sweet vanilla almond milk!!!
Another note… If you’re a fan of milkshakes and Starbucks style blended drinks, almond milk can help you make homemade ones FAR cheaper and more delicious. For example I love the chocolate chip blended drink they sell and used to get the soy milk version… my husband loved the vanilla drink they had similar to a milkshake… But have you ever seen how much ice they use in those??? It’s just a watered down joke at that point and the ice melts so darn slow that you spend more time stirring and waiting than drinking! So I decided to figure out how to make my own and I’ve got it down so easily!
Make 1/2-1 cup almond milk into ice cubes… Once frozen add them to your blender and add an almost equal amount of almond milk – 1 cup milk’s worth of ice, just under 1 cup milk, etc. I add a couple tsp. of vanilla, and blend together. You can add more milk if you like it thinner. That’s it for my husband’s drink. Chocolate syrup makes it chocolate, chocolate chips blended in makes it like the choc chip Starbucks drink I love. My husband always asks me for these, and as one who is ok with regular milk, he’s not been easy to convince to switch so that says something!!!
Sorry for the long comment!
Thanks so much for these tips, Julie! I have to tell you, I made almond milk again last week, but, this time, I not only dried the residual almond meal in the oven but I also blended it in a food processor as you suggest. Huge difference. I am always going to do it that way from now on! Good advice!
While it is my first time making almond milk? I really appreciate the recipe. It is amazing how good it tastes.
Birds adore the left over pulp. I let mine dry over night and then put it outside. It’s gone in 60 seconds hehe!
Ha! Good to know, Laura! I’ve been drying and blending mine to make these cookies lately, and now I feel like giving it up to the birds would be a real sacrifice, haha!
I’ve been making my own coconut milk for awhile now (just unsweetened shredded coconut soaked in hot water, filtered water, a pinch of stevia, and vanilla) – it’s amazing in my morning smoothie. I’ve made almond milk twice this week (every store bought variety I’ve seen, including Whole Foods 365 brand, has synthetic vitamins A and D2 in them – NOT something you want in your body, along with other undesirable ingredients), which is a really good reason to make your own.
For the first version, after soaking overnight, I took the time (a bit tedious) to remove the skins to make a smoother milk, and it turned out really good. The second time, I didn’t remove the skins, and don’t like it as much – even after thorough double straining, the skins make it a bit gritty. The skins do come off really easily once soaked, but it adds an extra 10 minutes of work to the process.
How inspiring, Cali! Thanks for this info!
Awesome recipe, Shanna! I made almond milk for the first time yesterday and it is delicious 🙂
I too love almond milk, and like the little twist you can do with it! Though is there any other reason to strain the milk afterwards? Can you just leave it all in there (i mainly use mine in smoothies so texture is not that important – and I always thought the skins hold a lot of goodness too! Many thanks
Hi Anna, You absolutely may use the complete mixture in smoothies. Because this post is about making almond milk, we’re explaining how to separate the milk and pulp, but both are edible, and you’re welcome to use them how you like. Hope you enjoy!
Hi there. I’m super keen to try this almond milk and find all the comments and extra I found really helpful. I think I will also blend my dried pulp to make almond flour (just got a nutribullet :)). Do you have any idea how long the flour will last for?
Hi Rikki, I can’t say from experience as we used ours pretty quickly. But! I would recommend storing it in the fridge or freezer and it should last a while! -s
I made my first batch of almond milk this morning. Woohoo I’m having it in my coffee (which I always drank double cream and sugar) with xylitol and it is actually really good.
I am going to make this almond milk recipe for part of whole 30
Can’t wait to make my almond milk. I just ordered and received two one liter reusable glass milk bottles without caps and one pour spout for this purpose 😁. I guess if someone wanted chocolate milk they could add chocolate syrup and stir for that