There is no shortage of plant-based milk on the market these days, but recently oat milk, in particular, has been increasing in popularity, in part because it’s one of the more sustainable plant-based milks out there, according to research conducted by The University of Oxford.
We love it for its versatility—whether you like it in smoothies, coffee, baking, or just to drink straight up, this fast-growing beverage is tasty and uber-useful. With so many new options on shelves that transform it from a simple beverage to a high-protein glass, chocolatey treat, or thicker latte, we’re breaking down the choices to keep you informed. Here are our picks for the best oat milks your can buy.
Oatly Original Oat Milk
Oatly’s original oat milk is the winner of the batch due to its consistency, color, and texture. This Swedish company, which started out in the 90s, is eco-conscious and remains independent. Keeping with its namesake, Oatly does, in fact, just sell oat-based products.
The mission behind Oatly is to bring wholesome beverages to people who just didn’t like cow’s milk or were unwilling to use it for personal reasons. Thirty years later, its products are flying off the shelves, as the oat milk craze catches on (it's also expanded its offerings beyond just milks—you can now find Oatly ice creams, yogurts, and more). Also noteworthy: Its milk is certified gluten-free and does not curdle when added to coffee—a major bonus.
Price at time of publish: $5
Size: 64 ounces | Ingredients: Oatmilk (water, oats), contains 2% or less of: rapeseed oil, dipotassium phosphate, calcium carbonate, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, dicalcium phosphate, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin D2, vitamin B12
Dream Oat Beverage Oat Original
Dream’s oat beverage wins the best budget category due to its very reasonable price point. Alternative milks are notoriously pricey compared to cow’s milk, but Dream Oat's price tag is not too far off (and you can probably score an even better deal buying in bulk, as Dream’s beverage is shelf-stable). And for that low price, you’re still getting all the goodness that comes with this drink. lt sells an unsweetened version as well for those who like a milder flavor.
Price at time of publish: $3
Size: 32 ounces | Ingredients: Oat base (water, oats), safflower oil, calcium carbonate, sea salt, natural flavor, vitamin D12, vitamin A, palmitate, vitamin B12, tricalcium phosphate
Best for Coffee
Pacific Foods Barista Series Oat Milk
Half and half has been a popular addition to coffee for a while, but if you want to switch to oat milk in your morning joe, quite a few brands have what is usually described as "barista" options. These are usually thicker than original oat milk in order to mimic more of the half-and-half consistency. Our favorite of these is from Pacific Foods. The Barista Series Oat Milk is vegan but still creamy enough to make a cup of coffee or latte smooth and thick.
Like other barista oat milk options, this one foams up nicely, creating soft and light foam that rivals regular milk. Many milk frothers have hot and cold modes, and this oat milk works with either temperature for a hot oat milk cappuccino or a cold-foam topping on iced coffee. the cherry on top of this oat milk is that, unlike some other thicker options, this one has a handful of ingredients in addition to water and oats.
Price at time of publish: $6
Size: 32 ounces | Ingredients: Water, oats, organic canola oil, contains 1% or less of: dipotassium phosphate, sea salt, sodium citrate, tricalcium phosphate
Thrive market Organic Oat Beverage
Made of just oats and water, Thrive Market’s organic oat beverage has no hidden ingredients. It is unsweetened, but it does have a natural pleasant sweetness to it. It can be used in coffee, smoothies, overnight oats, and baked goods. It’s shelf-stable and does not have a weird aftertaste, though it’s on the more watery side, which may be less ideal for adding to coffee, but great for using in the cheese sauce for boxed mac and cheese or to thin out a different kind of sauce.
Price at time of publish: $4
Size: 34 ounces | Ingredients: Water, organic oats
Planet Oat Oat Milk Vanilla
For those seeking a vanilla-infused oat milk, Planet Oat has you covered. Perfect for cereal, coffee, tea, or smoothies, this milk is as versatile as it is satisfying. It’s also surprisingly low in calories (90 calories per 1 cup) and sugar (4 grams per 1 cup), so it’s not overly saccharine, but rather subtly sweet. It also offers plenty of vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin A, and it's available in original, extra creamy, and dark chocolate.
Price at time of publish: $5
Size: 32 | Ingredients: Oatmilk (filtered water, oats), calcium carbonate, dipotassium phosphate (stabilizer), sea salt, and gellan gum
Califia Farms Protein Oat Milk
Califia Farms Protein Oat Milk is an unsweetened milk that contains all nine essential amino acids, thanks to pea, oat, and sunflower protein. There are 8 grams of protein in one 8-ounce glass, which is the same as an equivalent size of regular 2 percent milk. In addition, this milk is rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin E, all while tasting delicious and boasting a thick, creamy texture, but without any dairy. You can use it as you would any other oat milk—in baking, cereal, smoothies, coffee, or just plain in a glass.
Price at time of publish: $7
Size: 48 ounces | Ingredients: Oatmilk (water, oats), pea protein, sunflower oil, sunflower butter, calcium carbonate, flaxseed oil, dipotassium phosphate, natural flavors, sea salt, tricalcium phosphate, gellan gum, vitamin D2 mushroom powder
Elmhurst Chocolate Milked Oats
Who doesn’t love a glass of chocolate milk every once in a while? This childhood favorite has gone vegan-friendly, and now there are plenty of oat-based chocolate milks on the market to satisfy adults and children alike. Our favorite is Elmhurst's Chocolate Milked Oats chocolate oat milk, which is great on its own but would also work well in baking, smoothies, or in a cup of coffee.
Cocoa powder and cane sugar provide the sweet chocolaty flavor we know and love, and also make up a third of the six total ingredients. The others are water, oats, natural flavors, and salt, so you know exactly what you're getting with a glass of this. It is missing some of the protein usually found in chocolate milk, but still has 3 grams per 8-ounce serving, which is better than nothing.
Price at time of publish: $5
Size: 32 ounces | Ingredients: Filtered water, whole grain oats, cane sugar, cocoa (dutch processed), natural flavors, salt
If you’re a purist who would like an all-around winner in terms of taste, texture/consistency, and nutrition while supporting an eco-conscious brand, you can’t go wrong with Oatly! Oat Drink Original. For a more budget-friendly option, we recommend Dream Oat Oat Milk Original. It’s priced pretty closely to cow’s milk, making it a more affordable option if your household goes through a lot of milk.
What to Look for in Oat Milk
Read the label to see just what is in the carton of oat milk you're looking at buying. You will find that some have additives or are sweetened with sugar in order to make the milk thicker and creamier. Some cartons will have certifications on them, for instance, stating they're gluten free. Others might have ingredients like nuts added to them. If there are any food allergies or sensitivities in your household, or you want the purest oat milk possible, keeping an eye on the list of ingredients is important.
Oat milk has a taste of its own that's similar to cow's milk but with a touch of sweet oat taste. Various ones will be sweeter than others, depending on their ingredients. Even unsweetened oat milks have a sweet, "oaty" taste to them.
Oat milk can vary in thickness depending on the manufacturers and the type—regular, low fat, etc. Thicker oat milk seems to be better for use in coffee, smoothies, and baking. There are even barista editions of oat milk that provide a creamy texture and actually foam up for the coffee lover in the household.
Can you use oat milk in place of regular milk?
Oat milk is a good alternative to regular milk and can be substituted in even amounts when baking and cooking.
Does oat milk need to be refrigerated?
Several varieties of oat milk are shelf stable and can be kept in the pantry or cupboard until it has been opened. Make sure you know if the oat milk you've bought is shelf stable or needs to be stored in the refrigerator, though. Once opened, all types of oat milk should be refrigerated.
How long does oat milk keep after opening?
Once that carton has been opened, oat milk should be kept in the refrigerator and used within four to seven days. As always, check the expiration date before purchasing.
How We Selected
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best oat milks on the market, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, consistency, and price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a registered dietitian and foodie, always curious about the next food or ingredient craze and hungry to learn and try more. Having worked in cookbook publishing, CPG label data, nutrition writing, and meal kits, she has a diverse background and varied interests that give her a unique perspective, which fosters clear, well-researched, and trustworthy reviews.
Amanda McDonald is an editor at The Spruce Eats and has over seven years of experience researching, writing, and editing about all things food — from what new products are at the grocery store to chef-approved hacks that keep tricky leftovers fresh for days. She updated this article to include the most up-to-date information.
Poore J, Nemecek T. Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science. 2018;360(6392):987-992.
Food and Drug Administration. Gluten-free labeling of foods.
United States Department of Agriculture. Labeling organic products.