How to Make Plant-Based "Milks" | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

How to Make Plant-Based "Milks"

How to Make Plant-Based "Milks"

You can make a variety of plant-based “milks” by blending raw nuts, seeds, and grains with water. Almonds, cashews, macadamias, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, coconuts, soybeans, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, sacha inchi seeds, flaxseeds, quinoa, millet, rice, and oats can all be liquefied into delicious milks. Homemade milks are fresh, free of additives and preservatives, and you can completely control the integrity of the product: the quality of the ingredients, the sugar levels, and the texture.

“Milking” raw nuts, seeds, and grains is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it:

SOAK nuts, seeds, or grains by placing in a bowl with filtered water and a pinch of sea salt. Different foods require different soak times. Get my recommendations for soaking times here. Soaking removes enzyme inhibitors, improves digestibility and nutrient bioavailability, and helps everything blend more easily. Rinse thoroughly and drain.

BLEND with filtered water. A high-speed machine like a Vitamix is preferable to really pulverize the mixture. A 1:3 ration of nuts/seeds/grains to water generally yields good results. I start with 2 cups of water and gradually add more water until I get the taste and consistency I like. Blend for about 1 minute. This can warm the mixture. Chill in the fridge, or blend with ice to consume immediately.

SWEETEN the milk to taste with pitted dates, stevia, maple syrup, agave, honey, coconut sugar, etc. You can also add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to boost flavors, and 1 tablespoon of NON-GM soy or sunflower lecithin and coconut butter to emulsify ingredients. You can also jazz up your milks with raw cacao, fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, or anything else that tickles your fancy.

STRAIN Some foods like cashews, macadamias, and pecans yield smooth milks. However, with most other foods, like almonds, you will get some texture. You can enjoy this fibrous milk, or strain it for a smoother, more commercial-style blend. Place a nut milk bag over a large container, pour the milk in, and gently squeeze the bag until all liquid has passed through. You can repurpose the pulp as a body scrub by mixing with some coconut oil, or dehydrate it for use in cookies, crusts, and crackers.

ENJOY Most milks will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for two or three days. Freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays for use later. Homemade milks can separate when stored. Just shake or blend again before drinking.

Basic Plant-Based "Milk"

Makes 3-4 cups  milk

1 cup nuts, grains, or seeds
3 cups filtered water
3 Tbs. sweetener (such as maple syrup, raw agave, raw honey, coconut sugar), or 3-4 pitted dates, or stevia to taste
1 Tbs. coconut butter (optional, for texture)
1 Tbs. Non-GM soy or sunflower lecithin (optional, to emulsify and add creaminess)
1 tsp. natural vanilla extract
Pinch of Celtic sea salt (optional, to bring out flavors)

1. Soak nuts, grains, or seeds for desired time. (Get my recommendations for soaking times here.)

2. Drain nuts, grains, or seeds. Rinse, and then place in blender with 3 cups filtered water. Add remaining ingredients, and blend on high until fully liquefied, about 1 minute.

4. If consuming immediately, add a few ice cubes to cool milk.

5. Strain with a nut milk bag, if desired. Milk will keep for two days stored in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.


Tess Masters is an Australian actor, presenter, voice-over artist, cook, and writer living in Los Angeles.
 Her alter-ego, “The Blender Girl” writes the quirky vegetarian recipe blog Healthy Blender Recipes, where she shares super quick and easy gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes. Join Tess on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, You Tube, and Google +.

Comments on this Blog

This is awesome!

Don't forget cashew cream...yum!

Noble mission sweetheart darling Angel Adore U

Made up by someone who can obviously afford the time and expense. f.f.s. have you seen the price of the ingredients? People in the real world don`t have the budget for such fanciful luxuries, get a grip!

Sweet ¦] <3 & thank you, I can't wit to try some.

Nutritiously nice milk alternative....

I always wanted to know how to make my own nut milks, so I really appreciate this post. I never heard of a "nut milk bag." What is it and where would I buy one?

wow you're beautiful, full of health. thanks for sharing.

@Lydia Helms - Thankyou. Enjoy making these milks. @Debbie Sunshine - Pleasure. You can find specific recipes and quantities on my site. A nut milk bag or a "filtration" bag is a a sheer sack that you strain the liquids from the solids. You can purchase these at many health food stores and online. You can get them at iHerb, Amazon etc. You can also use a washed sheer knee-high piece of hosiery and strain with that "sock". I do it all the time when I am travelling I hope this helps. @Alfredo Bernardo - yes, and you can get so much nutritional diversity by making different milks every few days. It makes it more interesting. @Tom Irelan - Enjoy. Can't wait to hear what you think. Most of the specific recipes are on my site too, if you would like more guidance. @Bloodaxe - Yes, raw nut can get expensive. But rice, and many of the seeds can be very affordable, and you only need one cup to make the recipes. @Jessica @Mahendra - Enjoy @Jane - Yes! LOVE cashew and almond cream!



Hey thanks! So I can make this with brown rice? Yeah @Bloodaxe I'd reiterate that while cashews and some other raw nuts can be very expensive, organic brown rice is pretty darn cheap! I am so excited to know that I can make raw rice milk; I had no idea! Thanks! How long would I soak brown rice? I didn't see it on your list. Thanks.

What is the shelf life for this?

Thanks for the info! For the pumpkin and sunflower seeds, does one use the shells, or should the shells be removed?

I use my Old standard blender with two speeds to make almond milk. Works great! I slowly ramp up the speed to highest and blend for a couple of minutes. strain. No added anything. I use a 1:2 ratio almonds to water to make a richer milk that froths in my milk frother. Works great! I like to put it on a cup of Almond Amaretto or Hazelnut Teeccino for an out of this World cup of herbal coffee latte. You will never drink real coffee again.

This is really nice, I have been making milk for years. My children are healthy and really injoy healthy foods. Thanks for sharing.

@Jeanne Thanks for posting the link. SO helpful for everybody. @Candice Enjoy playing around with the different grains and seeds. There are lots of specific recipes and ratios for the various milks on my website. @Hannah Yes, you can make raw rice milk or cooked rice milk. Soak the rice for 24 hours. It will slightly ferment, which is a good thing. Rinse thoroughly, then rinse again, and then blend with filtered water and flavour and sweeten to taste. It is fantastic! @Debbie Most of these milks will keep for 2 - 3 days in a very cold fridge. I only make small batches to keep things fresh. You can freeze these strained milks in ice cube trays for use later. @Eric T always use shelled seeds. @Ronda Yes! I use 1:2 cup ratio for rich creamy almond milk too. We also add some raw hazelnuts to ours too. YUMMO! I totally agree with you. It is DELICIOUS! @Bev N.D I am so glad your children are benefiting from you making fresh nutrient-dense plant based milks. That is so awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Just made this with pecans and almonds...turned out excellent! Thank you : ))

Great @Rob Smith. I am so pleased. Thanks for sharing your experience :)

Thanks. This is so helpful. I am currently living in Istanbul and we haven't been able to get Almond or coconut milk yet. They do import Soy milk, But I can't drink that stuff. So this is really helpful. Thank you.

Pleasure @Rex Rogers. You can now make any milk you want to at home in minutes. Enjoy :)

So for rice milk, would it be better to use brown rice or some other organic white rice? Or does it really matter at all?

@Deb I prefer to use organic brown rice for the most nutritional value. Soak, cook, blend, and strain.

frozen fruit banana and seeds with bit of honey and coconut is the bomb guys !

@Pedro YUM!

Great basic recipe & alternatives! I'd make the sweetener optional (most of us probably still eat too much sweets) but not the salt - just make sure it's Celtic or Himalayan salt to have a full balance of minerals rather than just sodium; enhances the flavor perfectly. If you use vanilla, it's nice to steam the alcohol off before adding. I use far less almonds-to-water in ratio, which makes it more economical using organic; but you can always add water, not take it out. The point is, it's easy and you can't really go wrong - you will just develop your own preferences! I've never added coconut oil, but will give that a try. Thanks!

Thanks for your input @Alexandria Yes, sweetener is optional.

the link to the soaking times for nut milks seems not to work. Perhaps you could check it. Would like those times. Thanks

Sorry @Elinor - I just flipped my site and there are some broken links that i am fixing. Here is the link to the soak times:

Thank you!

I've been using pitted dates for a bit of sweetness. Blend them up with the nuts & water. The basic recipe and soaking times in the October 2014 issue opened up a whole new arena for my vegan son and I. I've made hemp, almond, rice (brown and white), and hazelnut so far. I've used them in baking, and I buy the Fair Trade Organic cocoa mix that needs milk and used my almond milk for that. Delicious! (Don't boil.)

I see that Walnuts are not listed here. We have a Walnut tree in our back yard so would love to use them in this way. Is there a reason why this particular nut doesn't work?