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In the early days of non-dairy milk, you pretty much had one option: soy. Now, as more people ditch dairy, entire shelves and refrigerated cases are dedicated to all kinds of plant-based milk. It’s certainly nice to have options, but with so many to choose from, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.
While any plant-based milk will accomplish your main goal of ridding dairy, many have lengthy lists featuring artificial ingredients and hardly any actual almonds, coconuts, or oats. You're going to want one that has the latter but still tastes delicious, so we went through all the non-dairy milks out there and came up with options that fit the bill.
Here are the best non-dairy milks.
Best Overall: MALK Unsweetened Sprouted Almond Malk
The almond milk competition is fierce, but MALK comes out on top for several reasons. The ingredients list consists only of filtered water, organic sprouted almonds, and sea salt—no additives or artificial ingredients—which is impressive.
MALK also uses cold-pressing techniques, ensuring that none of the nutrients or enzymes are killed during processing. If that wasn’t enough, each cup of this almond milk contains 5 grams of protein—and, of course, it’s smooth, creamy, and delicious.
Best Coconut: Califia Farms Go Coconuts Coconutmilk
Coconut milk rivals almond milk in popularity, but some milks have a strong coconut flavor that makes them a little off-putting. If you’re just using the milk in a smoothie, you generally can’t taste the coconut, but if you want something for your cereal or to cook in a savory dish, you might not want it to taste so tropical. That’s where the Califia Farms Go Coconuts Coconutmilk comes in. It's actually a mixture of coconut milk and coconut water. It has a texture that’s similar to skim milk and a light, refreshing flavor to complement whatever you’re adding it to, rather than completely taking it over.
Best Oat: OATLY! Oat Drink Organic
Oat milk is another wildly popular alternative, but as the name points out, OATLY! isn’t just another company trying to hop on the bandwagon. Its entire inventory includes strictly oat-based products, so it knows how to do oat milk right. OATLY! makes its oat milk with certified gluten-free oats sourced from farms all around the U.S., and also contains vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.
Plus, oat milk is also great for making lattes at home since it foams better than some other non-dairy milks.
Best Soy: Westsoy Organic Unsweetened Soymilk Plain
Soy has seemingly fallen out of favor to other types of non-dairy milk, but as one of the original plant-based milk options, it still deserves a spot on this list.
Westsoy only uses organic, non-GMO, whole soybeans and filtered water to make its thick, creamy, and protein-rich soy milk (each cup contains 8 grams of protein). Westsoy's soy milk also contains vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and calcium.
Best Cashew: Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Cashews
Cashews are one of the richest, most decadent nuts out there, which means (not-so-surprisingly) that they also make one of the richest, most decadent nut milks out there—and Elmhurst knows how to do it right. Elmhurst uses a zero-waste process (this means all parts of the cashew are used), so you can feel good about a minimal carbon footprint—as well as thick, creamy milk. Plus, the company's cartons are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
With only two ingredients—filtered water and cashews—you really can’t beat this plant-based milk.
Best Banana: Mooala Organic Bananamilk
Banana milk may not be as mainstream as the other options on this list, but once you try it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Made with organic banana puree, organic sunflower seeds, water, and cinnamon, Mooala Organic Bananamilk has the perfect amount of natural sweetness, thickness, and cinnamon flavor. Add it to your smoothie or cereal for a hint of banana taste without the extra effort of slicing bananas.
Mooala also offers chocolate and strawberry banana milk, which will quickly bring you back to your childhood Nesquik days sans the artificial ingredients.
Best Hemp: Pacific Foods Hemp Original Unsweetened Plant-Based Milk
Pacific Foods Hemp Plant-Based Beverage is an excellent milk alternative for serving the family and beyond, because unlike nut-based milk, it’s very allergen-friendly (unless, of course, you’re allergic to hemp seeds). Each cup of hemp milk also contains 3 grams of protein and has the added benefit of extra omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—something that hemp seeds are known for. Unlike almond milk, which is pretty neutral in flavor, this hemp milk does have a slightly nutty taste, but if you like hemp seeds, you’ll love this milk.
Best Blend: Silk Unsweet Protein Milk
One of the biggest qualms about plain almond milk is that it doesn't have as much protein as cow's milk. Silk set out to solve this problem with its Unsweet Protein Milk, which features a combination of almond milk, cashew milk, and pea protein. This non-dairy milk not only contains 10 grams of protein per cup, but it also has calcium, potassium, and vitamin D, as well as a rich and creamy taste and texture that’s satisfying enough to replace your coffee creamer.
MALK Unsweetened Sprouted Almond Malk (view at Amazon) takes the top spot not only because it's delicious, but also because it has a short ingredients list with no artificial ingreidnets. If almond isn't your personal preference, you can’t beat the creaminess of OATLY! Organic Oat Drink (view at Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying Non-Dairy Milk
Is there a flavor you enjoy more than another? Are you a fan of a nutty or coconut taste? Non-dairy milk comes in several types, including soy, almond, coconut, oat, rice, and even banana. Some types work better for adding to coffee or using in certain recipes than others, so keep that in mind when selecting a non-dairy milk. It all comes down to preference, simply choose what you like and what works the best for you.
Are there any ingredients you're not familiar with or can't pronounce? Is it organic? Is there anything you or your family are allergic to? If you're on a diet or have special needs, one might work better than the other for you. Read the list of ingredients on the label to review just what is in that plant-based milk to ensure that it fits your needs.
It has to taste good, or you won't enjoy drinking it. Several kinds of non-dairy milk have a similar taste to dairy milk and also have the same consistency. Choose the type of non-dairy milk that's pleasing to your palate, not overly sweet, and is as thick or as thin as you like.
How do you store non-dairy milk?
If the non-dairy milk you purchased was refrigerated in the store, then put it in the refrigerator. You will find some kinds of non-dairy milk in the store that are not refrigerated—these also should be refrigerated once you've opened them. Check the best by or expiration date on the bottle/carton, so you know how long you can keep the product.
What non-dairy milk works best in coffee?
Several non-dairy milks work well as an addition to that cup of coffee. Some produce a better foam, such as oat milk which is good for frothing in lattes and cappuccinos, while others, like almond milk, can curdle in coffee.
Can you bake with non-dairy milk?
Most non-dairy milks work well in baking, as long as you enjoy the taste of the milk. Almond milk, for instance, will bring that "almondy" taste to the baking product. Simply use a 1:1 ratio when substituting for cow's milk in your baking recipes.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive nutrition knowledge and food and beverage-testing experience. She’s developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the best-tasting options and ingredients across all food and drink categories.