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.
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
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
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.”