In recent years, plant-based milk alternatives like oat milk have become incredibly popular.
Oat milk is a good choice for people with certain food allergies and intolerances, as it’s naturally free of lactose, nuts, and soy. If made from certified gluten-free oats, it’s also suitable for those with gluten-related disorders.
Due to its growing popularity, you can find it in most grocery stores and online. You can also make it yourself at home and customize it to your taste.
This article explains everything you need to know about oat milk, including its nutrition, benefits, potential downsides, and how to make your own.
Oat milk is easy to make at home — and potentially even cheaper than store-bought options.
What’s more, making your own allows you to choose the ingredients and avoid the additives or thickeners that are found in some commercial products. You can also make it gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats.
Here’s how to make homemade oat milk in just a few minutes:
- Blend 1 cup (80 grams) of rolled or steel cut oats with 3 cups (720 mL) of cold water for 30 seconds.
- Place a cheesecloth over a wide-mouth jar or bottle. Pour the mixture over the cheesecloth to separate the milk from the oats.
- Lift the cloth from the ends to form a sac, and gently squeeze any remaining liquid into the jar.
To enhance the flavor, try adding either a pinch of salt, a little vanilla or cinnamon extract, a few dates, maple syrup, or honey before blending.
You can safely store the oat milk in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To avoid a slimy result, use cold water, refrain from squeezing the cheesecloth too hard when draining the remaining liquid, don’t soak your oats beforehand, and don’t blend them for longer than 30 seconds.
You can make your own oat milk by blending 1 cup (80 grams) of oats with 3 cups (720 mL) of water and pouring the mixture over cheesecloth into a bottle or jar. It keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Oat milk is an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
One cup (240 mL) of unsweetened, enriched oat milk by Oatly contains (
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin B12: 50% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Riboflavin: 45% of the DV
- Calcium: 25% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin D: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 20% of the DV
- Potassium: 8% of the DV
- Iron: 2% of the DV
Oat milk isn’t as nutritious as whole oats, and commercial oat milk is often enriched with nutrients like calcium, potassium, iron, B vitamins, and vitamins A and D. As such, store-bought versions typically offer more nutrients than homemade ones.
Oat milk generally has more calories, carbs, and fiber than almond, soy, and cow’s milk. It provides less protein than soy and dairy varieties.
Oat milk is a rich source of nutrients, especially if it’s fortified. It has more calories, carbs, and fiber than almond, soy, and cow’s milk, but less protein than soy and dairy milk.
Studies on oats and oat milk show that they may offer several health benefits.
1. Vegan and free from lactose, soy, and nuts
Oat milk is a sensible option for those with certain dietary restrictions.
Since it’s based on oats and water, it’s vegan and free of nuts, soy, and lactose.
Though oats are naturally gluten-free, they can be processed in the same factories as gluten-containing grains that may contaminate them (
If you prefer guaranteed gluten-free oat milk, check the label to make sure your chosen product is made with certified gluten-free oats. Alternatively, you can make homemade oat milk using certified gluten-free oats.
2. Great source of B vitamins
Oat milk is often fortified with B vitamins like riboflavin (B2) and vitamin B12.
B vitamins are essential for optimal health and linked to numerous benefits.
3. May lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
Oat milk is high in beta glucan, a type of soluble fiber with heart health benefits.
Beta glucan forms a gel-like substance within your gut that can bind to cholesterol and reduce its absorption. This may help lower blood cholesterol levels, especially levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which have been linked to heart disease (
For example, an older study from 1999 including 66 men with high cholesterol found that drinking 3 cups (750 mL) of oat milk daily for 5 weeks reduced total and LDL cholesterol by 3% and 5%, respectively (
Additionally, a review of 58 studies involving mostly people with high cholesterol demonstrated that getting an average of 3.5 grams of beta glucan daily for 5–6 weeks reduced LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B by 4% and 2%, respectively (
Apolipoprotein B is the main protein found in LDL cholesterol. It’s a better indicator of heart disease risk than LDL cholesterol alone (
One cup (240 mL) of oat milk may provide up to 1.2 grams of beta glucan (
4. Great for bone health
Oat milk is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D, both of which can benefit your bones.
Calcium is essential for strong and healthy bones because it’s the main mineral used to form them. Over time, a continuous lack of calcium in your diet may cause your bones to become brittle and more likely to fracture or break (
Adequate vitamin D is just as important, as it aids the absorption of calcium from your digestive tract. A lack of vitamin D can keep your body from getting enough calcium and thereby weaken your bones (
Many types of commercial oat milk are also a good source of vitamin B12. Some studies have linked this vitamin to healthy bones and a lower risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by porous bones, particularly in postmenopausal women (
Keep in mind, though, that homemade oat milk will not contain vitamin D or B12 — only fortified commercial versions do (
For reference, 1 cup (240 mL) of Oatly provides 20% of the DV for vitamin D and 50% of the DV for vitamin B12 (
Oat milk is free of many common allergens and may lower blood cholesterol. Fortified versions often provide B vitamins and nutrients that support bone health.
While oat milk has several possible health benefits, it also comes with some downsides.
First, certain sweetened or flavored varieties may be high in added sugar, so stick to unsweetened options whenever possible.
Plus, most commercial oat milk is not certified gluten-free. Gluten-contaminated products may cause digestive problems for people with gluten-related disorders.
If you have problems digesting gluten, it’s best to purchase oat milk labeled as certified gluten-free. You can also make it yourself using gluten-free oats.
Keep in mind that homemade oat milk is not enriched with vitamins and won’t be as nutritious as most commercial alternatives.
Oat milk also contains significantly less protein than its dairy alternative, and as a result, it likely won’t make you feel as full after consuming it (
Another downside of oat milk is that it’s generally more expensive than cow’s milk. If you’re on a budget and would like to try it, it’s likely cheaper to make it at home.
Oat milk is generally safe for babies and children. However, it’s not a suitable replacement for breast or cow’s milk, as it lacks nutrients essential for optimal growth. It’s best to speak with your child’s pediatrician before serving a milk alternative.
Make sure to choose unsweetened oat milk to minimize your intake of added sugars. If you have a gluten-related disorder, choose oat milk that’s labeled gluten-free or make it at home using certified gluten-free oats.
Oat milk is a plant-based milk alternative that’s vegan and naturally dairy-, lactose-, soy-, and nut-free.
When made from certified gluten-free oats, it’s suitable for people with gluten intolerance or allergy.
Commercial products are often fortified with vitamins and minerals that may benefit your heart and bones.
To enjoy its flavor and health advantages, choose an unsweetened variety in stores or make your own at home.