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19 Different Types of Plant-Based Milk (Alternatives to Dairy)

A collage of plant-based milk.

Quicklist: Plant-Based Milk

1. Almond Milk
2. Avocado Milk
3. Banana Milk
4. Barley Milk
5. Cashew Milk
6. Coconut Milk
7. Flax Milk
8. Hazelnut Milk
9. Hemp Milk
10. Macadamia Nut Milk
11. Oat Milk
12. Pea Milk
13. Peanut Milk
14. Pistachio Milk
15. Quinoa Milk
16. Rice Milk
17. Soy Milk
18. Sunflower Milk
19. Walnut Milk

Attempting to choose a milk option that does not have all the unwanted features of traditional dairy is now easier. When you visit the vegan milk aisle today, you will many different types of vegan / plant-based milk.

These types of milk do not carry lactose, which can be uncomfortable for someone with an intolerance to dairy ingredients of any kind. Below are some of the leading choices for vegan / plant-based milk options. 

Related: Types of Milk What is Homogenized Milk

 

Milk nutrition comparison

“The process for making plant-based milks is capable of liquifying nutrients from a wide array of plant sources, so the number of varieties and blends of plant-based milks is virtually limitless.” —Plant Based Foods Association

 

1. Almond Milk

A glass of almond milk with almond on small wooden bowl.

A careful blend of almonds and water, it a great replacement for those who are looking to maintain a low-fat and low-carb diet. Almond milk, along with soy, as one of the first plant-based milks marketed commercially.

Almond milk has a nutty flavor that is not as creamy as traditional milk, but it is thinner and is used as a significant substitute, especially for 2% milk. Almond milk comes in different flavors and can be sweetened or unsweetened.  

Among plant-based milks, almond milk requires much more water during production than other options. 

2. Avocado Milk

A glass of avocado milk with avocado fruit on table

Made from a blend of oats, water, and frozen avocado, this milk option gives you access to vitamins and healthy fat to give you the energy you are looking for. It is ideal for those on strict diets who are counting their carb intake. 

Developed by Auckland chef Sachie Nomura while she was attempting to make some mayonaisse, the Avocadomilk brand has been commercially marketing her recipe from southern California since 2019.

Avocadomilk, available in the original style, as well as a cacao flavor, is sold in more than 100 stores in the U.S. and 200 worldwide.

3. Banana Milk

A glass of banana milk and banana fruits on wooden cutting board.

Fruity and thick, banana milk has been gaining ground as an alternative to traditional diary for the last few years. Banana milk tends to blend and bake well in smoothies.

Dallas, Texas-based Mooala says their organic Original Bananamilk has the aroma of banana bread “so you can have your bananas and drink them,too”

4. Barley Milk

A glass and jars of Barley milk with barley on table.

Molson Coors Beverage Company began marketing Golden Wing Barley Milk in May, 2022. Their product is made from a combination of water, barley, sunflower oil, shiitake mushroom extract, and pink Himalayan salt.

The barley comes from the brewing process Molson Coors uses in making their beer. Sprouts and Whole Foods in southern California were the first stores to carry the new product. And yes, you can get Golden Wing in a six-pack.

When you consume barley milk, you are getting weight loss benefits due to the heavy fiber numbers and possible benefits to help you reduce the chances of cancer and heart disease.

5. Cashew Milk

A jar of cashew milk with scattered cashew on table.

Like almonds, cashew milk is a blend of water and crushed cashews. It does have a creamier texture than almond milk, but the flavor is also nuttier. It is a preferred alternative for smoothies, coffee creamer and in light desserts.

 6. Coconut Milk

A jars of coconut milk and coconut on table.

Coconut milk has become a sweet addition to many savory dishes and is also great as a sweetener substitute, offering a natural option with a full, creamy texture.  

7. Flax Milk

A glass of Flax milk with a bowl of flax on bowl.

Not all non-dairy milk options have the same consistency, which is true with flax milk. A thicker milk option, flax seed milk is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free.

Available from brands such as Malibu Mylk, Manitoba Milling and Good Karma, flax milk is an excellent option for breakfast smoothies, oatmeal, or added to your favorite bowl of cereal. 

8. Hazelnut Milk

A glass of hazelnut milk and hazelnuts on table.

In the U.S., the state of Oregon produces 99% of the nation’s hazelnuts with the Italian company Ferrero using up a significant amount of the harvest annually in their Nutella spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

While almond milk can mimic dairy in many dishes, that is not the case with hazelnut which has a strong, distinctive flavor. Hazelnut milk more than doubles the protein value of almond milk and is also a good source of B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E.

9. Hemp Milk

A jar of Hemp milk and a bowl of hemp.

Nut-free and soy-free hemp milk is made blending water with the Cannabis sativa seeds of the hemp plant. A good source of vitamins A, D, B12, phosphorus and zinc, hemp milk is also a preferred low-carb alternative to other options.

10. Macadamia Nut Milk

Macadamia Nut milk with Macadamia Nut on table.

Another strong-flavored alternative is macadamia nut milk. Because of its texture and ability to mimic the creaminess of whole milk, macadamia nut milk is a popular non-dairy option.

Many coffee companies have started including it as a milk option for lattes and other specialty drinks because of its bold flavor. 

11. Oat Milk

A glass of oat and oat milk.

What first began as a popular option in Europe, through the Swedish company Oatly, has in the last decade gained a significant following worldwide. Oat milk has a high amount of fats and carbs with natural sugar in the milk.

12. Pea Milk

A glass Pea milk and pea on bowl.

Popular in Eastern Europe, pea milk has started migrating west over the last few years. 

Pea milk has earth tones and a creamy texture. Those who consume pea milk regularly find it close to actual dairy milk. You can also get your Vitamin D with pea milk, just like regular milk.

13. Peanut Milk

A glass and jar of Peanut milk with scattered Peanuts on table.

You can make your own peanut milk by blending peanuts and water, with the consistency depending on how much water you add to the mixture. 

If you want sweetened peanut milk, all you need to add is a little sugar or a natural sweetener. Other additives like cinnamon and salt are also great options to change the taste so you can use it as a drink in a dish or add it to your favorite smoothie blend.   

Elmhurst discontinued its line of peanut milk in 2019 but there is potential for other companies to research and launch product in the future.

14. Pistachio Milk

A glass and jar of Pistachio milk with Pistachio on bowl.

First-generation Iranian-American, Roxana Saidi began making pistachio milk at home as an alternative to almond milk, which is depleting her native California of unsustainable amounts of water. She launched her own company Táche in 2020 to market pistachio milk which uses 75% less water to produce in comparison with almonds.

Pistachio milk maintains a thick, buttery texture but doesn’t have all the carbs, calories, or bad saturated fats that butter and cream have. While it does have the texture similar to traditional milk, it lacks some of the nutrients, such as Vitamin D and calcium.

15. Quinoa Milk

A jars of Quinoa milk table.

Gluten-free quinoa milk is high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all nine essential amino acids.

Swebol’s Quiny is made with pure white royal Quinoa from the Andean highlands in Bolivia. Suzie’s Quinoa Milk is availabe from Amazon and major retailers, such as Costco and Whole Foods.

16. Rice Milk

A jar of rice milk and rice grains.

One of the more natural-tasting alternative milk options on the market is rice milk. There is a hint of sweetness from the blended rice, but because of its thickness it is used more as a baking or cooking substitution than in cereal or as a coffee creamer. 

17. Soy Milk

A glass of soy milk and soy on ladle and bowl.

For decades, soy milk has been a substitute for those who have health issues with lactose and digestion. It doesn’t contain as much fat or sugar as traditional milk and is rich in protein.

Read labels as some brands contain high amounts of added sugar. Pacific Foods, Edensoy, West Soy, Silk, Simple Truth and Whole Foods 365 all sell unsweetened soy milk products.

Soy is considered a priority food allergen and is not suitable for everyone.

18. Sunflower Milk

A glass and jars of Sunflower milk with sunflower on table.

Sunflower seed milk has a mild nutty flavor and is rich in folic acid, Vitamin E, magnesium and selenium. The Lattini brand comes in unsweetened original and chocolate flavors with 0 grams of sugar and 50 calories per serving.

Sunflower milk has only recently gained traction as an option. If you can’t find it in a store, it only takes a few minutes (after soaking the seeds overnight) to make your own sunflower milk.

19. Walnut Milk

A glass of walnut milk with walnuts on table.

Another nutty flavor option, walnut milk was created as an experiment by companies looking for new dairy-free milk options. It has a creamy texture that blends well with homemade ice creams and milkshakes.

Walnut milk’s flavor is bold and it’s full of healthy fats.  Mariani and Elmhurst are among the top brands marketing walnut milk.

Top Brands

Blue Diamond Almond Milk

Almond Breeze Dairy Free Almondmilk, Unsweetened Original, 32 Ounce (Pack of 12)

Almond milk is one of the most popular non-dairy milk alternatives out there, and Blue Diamond Growers is the leading manufacturer of almonds and almond milk in the US — that’s probably why the brand offers some of the most reasonable prices for dairy alternatives.

Many other plant-based milks tend to be tasteless, but Blue Diamond has a distinct, light almond flavor that makes it stand out. Plus, the brand offers flavored options like vanilla and honey, and doesn’t add preservatives or food coloring to its product.

Some reviewers say that Blue Diamond is thin and watery compared to real milk, however.

Silk Almond Milk and Soy Milk

Silk Shelf-Stable Almond Milk, Unsweetened Vanilla, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified, 1 Quart (Pack of 6)

Another superstar of the dairy-free milk industry, Silk’s products can be found in the dairy section of nearly any major grocery store, and they’re well-known for their almond and soy milk products.

Their almond milk stacks up well nutritionally: it’s high in Vitamin E, Vitamin D, has more calcium than dairy milk, and Silk offers an unsweetened version and a “Less Sugar” version of the product with just three grams of sugar.

Silk soy milk matches the creaminess and texture of dairy milk better than other milk alternatives, and it’s got nutritional advantages over dairy milk.

Oatly Oat Milk

Oatly Oat Milk.

Out of all the oat milks on the market, Oatly has outpaced the rest of the bunch when it comes to replicating good old-fashioned milk according to Wirecutter’s taste test. The tester claims that, while it had definite oaty overtones, Oatly was nearly the same as milk in terms of texture, consistency, and taste.

Nutritionally, oat milk doesn’t have the most gleaming record compared to other milk substitutes, and it’s less nutritious than dairy milk itself, having about half the protein content. Oat milk manufacturers fortify oat milk with vitamins to boost its nutritional profile, however.

Califa Farms Oat Milk

Califia Farms Oat Milk, Barista Blend, 32 Fl. Oz (Pack of 6) - Packaging May Vary

There are a few pros and cons of Califa Farms’s oat milk when you compare it to the other oat milk giant on this list, Oatly. Its lower sugar content, lower calorie count, lower carbohydrate content, and lower price tag are all pluses for Califa farms when compared to the non-diet version of Oatly.

The minuses for Califa are its relatively lower vitamin content and its taste and texture, which aren’t as close to dairy milk as Oatly.

That’s not to knock the taste of Califa farms—some people, like this reviewer, enjoy Califa Farms’s mild, oaty taste, creamy texture, and like that it froths up nicely for lattes.

Táche Pistachio Milk

Táche Pistachio Milk.

Pistachio milk might sound far-fetched, but it rivals oat milk in its similar taste and texture to dairy milk, and it’s got a host of nutritional benefits — it’s high in antioxidants, potassium, and heart-healthy fats. And if you want a milk alternative that will froth up just like dairy milk, Táche is the way to go.

Pistachio milk also contains fiber, unlike dairy milk, and it contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than other plant-based milk alternatives. On the other hand, pistachio milk is lower than dairy milk in protein, and it’s one of the most pricey non-dairy milk options.