Rich and Creamy Homemade Almond Milk

This rich almond milk is a good substitute for cow’s milk. You can drizzle some into your cup of Cinnamon Rooibos Tea, use with Chai Rooibos Concentrate, or even make hot chocolate with it! It’s also good drunk straight with some cookies or Zucchini Millet Muffins.

I was very sad when I realized that I was sensitive to dairy. I had grown up with a high dairy diet and have always loved the creamy flavor of milk, the tang of yogurt, the bite of cheese, and the richness of sour cream. While almond milk is not a straight substitute for cow’s milk nutritionally, I’ve enjoyed it since I left dairy behind.

I have no been mostly dairy free for almost 4 years. Dairy free can still be very delicious. ( I’ve especially liked concentrating on cuisine from countries that don’t rely on dairy, like Japanese foods.)

And I’ve found that there are many creamy or tangy things that aren’t dairy free. I especially like creamy coconut milk. But sometimes I don’t have coconut milk around. It’s expensive to buy BPA free canned coconut milk, it takes a bit of time to make your own fresh coconut milk, and the delicious coconut milk powder from Wilderness Family Naturals has traces of dairy in it. I have been making coconut milk from coconut flakes lately with pretty good success, though it’s certainly not as rich as the canned version (recipe to come). But another good option is the following recipe for almond milk. I find homemade to taste significantly better than store bought. You can also control how rich you want the milk to be, which is nice. You can make it sweeter with added sweeteners and vanilla, or you can keep it plain.

Regardless, this is an easy way to make nondairy milk. I am planning on making some hot chocolate with mine today. Yum!

Rich and Creamy Homemade Almond Milk

    2 cups of almonds
    Water to cover
    salt, optional
    4 cups of water
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
    Sweetener of choice, optional

1) Place almonds in a bowl and cover with warm water. Add a few dashes of salt, optional. (Soaking nuts and seeds in salted water is a traditional practice). Soak at room temperature for about 8 hours. Drain the almonds and rinse well.

2) Place the almonds with 4 cups of water in a blender. If you have a smaller sized blender like me, you may need to do this in two batches. Blend for about 1 minutes, or until the almonds are crushed well. Strain using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, squeeze well to remove all of the milk.

3) Add sweetener of choice (such as stevia, honey, or maple syrup) to taste (optional) and vanilla (optional). Keep refrigerated and shake before using.

Tips:
You can cut the almonds in half for less rich almond milk (cheaper too).
You can also make a variety of baked goods from the nut grounds leftover. Look at Elana’s nut crackers for an example.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. Kurt says

    Thanks for the recipe. I just soaked and dehydrated almonds for the first time a few weeks ago. I can see that this looks easier in some respects as there’s no dehydrating, just blending and then straining. Does it matter whether or not the almonds still have the brown skin on them?

  2. KimiHarris says

    Kurt,

    Some people claim that the skins of the almonds can make almond milk a little bitter. However, I think that when you soak the almonds overnight, it takes away any bitterness. :-) So no, it doesn’t matter!

  3. says

    Not to keep you from almond milk but have you used Tropical Tradition’s Coconut Cream? You can make coconut milk from it but simply adding the cream to water. Comes in glass too so it’s an easy way to make coconut milk. Just thought I’d share.

    • Heather says

      What ratio of their coconut cream concentrate to water have you found makes the best milk? If I remember right when I checked the jar it seemed their ratio seemed like a very thin milk.

      • cirelo says

        I have a hard time getting TT coconut cream concentrate it to blend in water? Any tips on that? It makes it so it just tastes like lumps of coconut oil floating in water, not a very appetizing beverage, though I think it works fine in soups.

        • says

          Truth be told I havent’ made coconut milk from TT coconut cream. I just know about it. I still make my coconut milk from flakes. But even that gives you a cream/oil line at the top.

        • says

          I experinced the same problem when I tried making it as a drink. The last time I use it I put in a mason jar with some hot coffee, raw honey and cococa powder. Then I shook it up and it mixed nicely but if I’m just adding it to tea… I didn’t like it. It worked great in my peanut sauce and soup.

    • says

      Coconut Almond Milk. You can add coconut flakes to your almond milk, add 1/2 cups dried coconut (shredded) to the soaked almonds and 4 cups of water.
      Chocolate Almond Milk. Add 4 TBSP of coco power, increase the honey to 4TBSP and 1/2 Tsp vanilla.

  4. says

    I can’t wait to try this! I discovered about two years ago that I was lactose intolerant (after my doctor tried everything including a stomach scope to see what was wrong with me!). I can still eat most aged cheeses, but I have to stay away from pretty much everything else. Almond milk can get pretty pricey, but that is what I use exclusively in place of milk. I’m going to have to try making my own to see how the flavor differs! Thanks, Kimi!

  5. Rosie says

    I’ve been making my own almond milk for a couple of years now. I always soak my almonds at least overnight. I highly recommend using a VitaMix blender! It’s great for making coconut milk too. The video/recipe at Tropical Traditions is quick and easy!

  6. Sharon says

    Kimi,
    Okay, this sounds easy….even to me! We made the switch to almond milk last March. We do still use some dairy such as heavy cream, sour cream, aged cheeses, but for drinking and baking we switched. Whenever I read your blog, I always yearn to have a peek inside your kitchen to see how you organize all of your real food-ism. :o) Have you ever thought about doing a post on “a peek inside a real foods kitchen”?
    Thanks for being an encouragement to those of us who seek to eat a more nourishing diet using the means God has graciously given us.
    Sharon

  7. says

    I’ve never tried this, but I’m glad for an easy recipe and the motivation. Store-bought almond milk tends to have carrageenan in it, which I’m allergic to. So glad to know I have an alternative to coconut (which I like, but I do get tired of everything tasting like coconut). :)

  8. Brooke says

    KIM – WHAT A BLESSING THIS IS! Just last night went to Costco and the Blendtec booth guy was making almond milk and I had never even thought to make my own til last night. Thank you so much for the recipe. We are in the process of eliminating dairy from our diets, mainly b/c my 3 y.o. seems to have a sensitivity to it also. It is very overwhelming at times (b/c I love cheese!) but I want it all out of the house, as well as the gluten. Being somewhat new to this site, I ask you, do you have lots of DF recipes??? Thank you so much

  9. says

    I love homemade almond milk. It is sweet and so delicious! And I use it in many of my gluten free, dairy free baking recipes. When I first went dairy free, homemade almond milk was my milk of choice, and it still is. I don’t always have time to make it so I always have a carton (I like Blue Diamond best cause it’s unsweetened) in the frig.

  10. Sheri says

    Thanks so much for this recipe. It’s very easy, which is what I need right now. I like to use a mix of almond milk and raw cow’s milk in my coffee and hot chocolate. But I don’t like that there are so many ingredients in store bought almond milk, so I’m glad I can make it on my own now.

  11. Laura says

    Kimi,

    Living in Italy provides all sorts of challenges in obtaining necessary ingredients, products and materiels for the gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free diet. I have prevailed with on-line shopping, but occaisionally the mail is interrupted due to various world events. What substitutions would you make for straining out the almond milk/tofu/fruit juices, etc? Apparently, nylon mesh does not exist in my part of the world and they don’t know what cheese cloth is either. I do have a 220v Vitamix, which has been a life saver, but my kids don’t really care for the thickness of the fruit/vegie juice. Any ideas? Thanks so much for your time!

    • Barbara says

      Hi Laura,
      Perhaps you can find a plain white cotton “tea towel” or fabric similar to flour sack material where you live? Probably any lightweight fabric (white or natural) would work, just line a sieve with it, then gather up the material, twist it closed and squeeze the contents to drain the nut milk. Another option may be to find some sheer curtains and use that material. Here in the States, I buy paint straining mesh bags from the hardware store and use those as draining bags. They wash up easily and have held up pretty well (and they’re cheap, too ;-).
      Good luck with your search,
      Barbara

      • Sara says

        I lost my nut milk bags & have just used a large strainer with a cloth napkin lining it, over a bowl. I pull up the corners of the napkin & squeeze out the milk that way. It works great & it’s way cheaper than buying special bags. Also, some of my napkins are made from ripped up cotton sheets, so there’s another idea.

    • Virginia says

      If you can find unbleached muslin in a fabric or craft store that is what I use. I just cut them in large squares that fit inside my mesh strainer, with a few inches overhang. They wash up nicely.

  12. says

    I have a question you may or may not be able to answer. We go through almond milk pretty slowly. A single quart of Pacific Natural Foods organic almond milk usually lasts up to two weeks in our refrigerator. Would it be possible to make this almond milk and freeze it? Do you think it would defrost well?

  13. says

    How does the creaminess of this compare to Almond Breeze? I like using Almond Milk in my Teeccino mochas because it froths well. Have you ever used a frother with this recipe when making a hot drink? Thanks!

  14. rose says

    hi, looks like a great recipe.

    I learned how to make this before, but using a vitamix…we don’t have one, nor even a regular blender..would you advise using a food processor instead of a blender if you don’t have a blender?

    also, for the remaining pulp after milk is made, do you dehydrate it to make flour?

  15. Ashley says

    I love almond milk! I was just curious about your comment regarding almond milk not being a great nutritional substitute for dairy milk – isn’t it BETTER for you than cow’s milk? I know from reading The China Study and other research, that cow’s milk actually depletes your body of calcium, because it is so acidic (and your body fights this by using calcium stored in our bones). Were there other nutrients that you were referring to that almond milk doesn’t have?

    Thanks!

  16. Barbara Cooper says

    I’ve made almond milk before, and it is very good. But the problem I’ve had is that my throat is very sensitive – and I can’t seem to strain out the fiber fine enough that it doesn’t make me cough when drinking the milk. Any suggestions on that? I’ve trdied making the milk with blanched almonds, thinking that would help – but it turned out the same.

  17. Janet D says

    My son has several food intolerances, including dairy and soy. He really misses the sour cream on some of his favorite foods, so I’m looking for a substitute for sour cream. Have you ever made a “sour cream” with almond milk? If so, would you mind sharing the recipe? Thanks.

  18. Cayla says

    Ok, so I have been making almond milk for about a year now and just recently it has been going sour after like two days! I don’t think I’m doing anything differently. I soak the almonds with their skins overnight then blend in a vitamix, then strain in cheesecloth. I don’t add any sweetener etc. After two to three days it smells almost fermented and tastes sour. I know this isn’t exactly the place for these kinds of questions but I am in desperate need of help. Is it possible my cheesecloth is hiding bacteria – if you have one bad almond in the bunch will that turn the whole batch? Any ideas? Anyone experienced this before?

  19. says

    Hi,

    I think your almond milk is going bad because of the container. I rinse mine with boiling water even after it’s been through the dishwasher. My almond milk keeps for 3-4 days.

    I use rubbermaid heavy plastic containers. I used the CARAFE bottles
    http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?CatName=Beverage&SubcatId=BeverageStorage&Prod_ID=RP091888
    from Rubbermaid and these they are mixermate containers for beverages.

    http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?CatName=Beverage&SubcatId=BeverageStorage&Prod_ID=RP091195

    I strain my almond milk several times, in a seive very very fine from our local HONG KONG market and sometimes I find them at the $1.00 store (not the chain type).
    I just bought a nut bag from Amazon… it was $7.00. I am going to take the bag to JOANN fabrics to see if they have material close to it to make more bags. But my seive straining takes an extra 6-7 minutes. I like mine to have NO grit in it. I do the same straining on my SOYMILK making also.

    -Heidi

  20. says

    This is an awesome method- I’ve been making this for a few weeks and I love it! I just wanted to let you know I just blogged about milk alternatives and I link to this post. It won’t go live until Wednesday so I can’t link directly to it, but I’ll try to remember to come back and do it!

  21. George says

    I really enjoy making homemade almond milk. The store bought stuff is always too gummy for my tastes. The problem I have is the muslin/cheesecloth method of straining. Just too messy and inconvenient. I found that pouring the blended almond pulp into my juicer (which I never use anymore since buying the Vitamix), and then PULSING the juicer (just turn on for a few seconds – don’t let it get to full speed at first or you’ll have a mess on your hands) while slowly pouring the pulp into the juicer. This produces perfectly strained almond milk. Then after its mostly drained I turn the juicer on to full speed to extract the rest of the almond milk from the pulp. I use a fine filter paper to make cleanup of the juicer easy. I should patent this method! Its so easy!

  22. Agata says

    Sweeteners? You mean this chemical cancerogenic Aspartame stuff?? How strange seeing this on your amazing blog! :/

    • KimiHarris says

      Pardon? No, I meant using whatever natural sweetener you desired, honey, coconut sugar, etc. That could have been clearer on my part, however, I don’t think most people would think of chemical sugar substitutes when I say to add your choice of sweetener. ;-)

  23. Angie says

    Kim,

    Hi, I just made almond milk last night without any sweetener and I absolutely Loved It!!! I placed it in a container with a lid and placed in fridge. This morning I shook the container and poured some over my milk but it had a different taste and smell to it. I know the milk last about 3-4 days but it hasn’t even been a full 24 hrs and the milk didn’t taste as good as it did last night. I am hoping to stay away from any kind of sweetener if possible. Any suggestions?? Thanks in advanced.

  24. Nancy Nurse says

    Thank God that you’re allergic to milk. It is one of the worst things that you can consume. Dr. John McDougall (and other well respected Docs that are TRULY looking out for welfare, such as Dr. Neil Bernard and Dr. Esselstyn (Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease) to name just a few, call milk “Liquid Meat” – there’s nothing good about humans consuming milk from an animal that is designed to grow a 60 pound baby calf into a 600 pound cow in less than 8 months! Just think about that for a moment. It takes a human 18 years or so to become fully developed. Take a look: http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/mar/dairy.htm

  25. Shelly M says

    Great discussion. I made home made almond milk tonight, I just strained it through a metal coffee filter that I have and squeezed the pulp to get all the milk out.

    I added some Agave nectar and dash of salt to it before blending.

    I don’t mind the taste, but is there anyway to make it a bit more creamy? I find that even though I followed all of the instructions and ratios of almonds to water, the milk just tastes a bit too thin. Or is this the way it is supposed to taste?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

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