When it comes to cooking, baking, and generally navigating the kitchen, vegans can run into issues since so many recipes call for cow’s milk.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to explore the process of cooking with oat milk and substituting it for dairy in various food and drinks.
There’s a lot you can do with oat milk as a plant-based milk, and you can generally add it to baking recipes, coffees, teas, as well as meals that require milk. You can even turn oat milk into vegan buttermilk with a few simple steps.
Keep reading to learn about how you can cook with oat milk, use it in beverages, make breakfast with it, use it for savory recipes, and more.
We’ll also cover several frequently asked questions, so stick around to the end of the article to get those answers. Without further ado, let’s get into the specifics!
Can You Substitute Oat Milk for Milk in Recipes?
You can absolutely substitute oat milk for cow’s milk in many common recipes. Oat milk is fairly creamy, smooth, and mild, just like dairy milk is.
However, you need to keep in mind the texture and consistency of the food you’re cooking, as oat milk may alter the results.
For the most part, replacing dairy with oat milk in recipes is as simple as a 1:1 conversion.
In other words, if a recipe calls for one cup of cow’s milk, then you would replace that ingredient with one cup of oat milk.
Something else to keep in mind when replacing dairy with oat milk in recipes is that oat milk is noticeably sweeter than cow’s milk.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, oat milk has about 7 g of sugar per cup.
Oat Milk Nutrition Facts
So, if you’re creating a savory dish or don’t want your recipe to turn out too sweet, you may need to modify the amount of oat milk you add.
Or, you may even need to find unsweetened oat milk for those recipes.
How to Choose Oat Milk For Cooking
There are several options when it comes to the oat milk you can find at retailers, as well as different ways you can make it at home:
- Homemade unsweetened oat milk, blended and strained
- Homemade sweetened or enriched oat milk, blended and strained
- Sweetened/unsweetened store-bought oat milk
- Flavored/unflavored store-bought oat milk
We recommend only using plain, unflavored, and unsweetened oat milk for cooking.
It's healthier than the kinds that are labeled “chocolate” or “vanilla”, for example. And, they won't alter the flavor of the dish you’re cooking or baking too much.
The only time it’s really advisable to use sweetened or flavored oat milk for cooking is if you’re creating a sweet beverage.
Drinks such as chai lattes and iced coffees, for example, may taste good with added chocolate oat milk or honey-enriched oat milk.
How to Use Oat Milk For Beverages
We also have some tips and suggestions for how to optimally use oat milk in your beverages - both hot and cold.
Pour Oat Milk First, Then Coffee
Our first tip pertains to adding oat milk to hot coffee.
Because of the differences in temperatures (cold oat milk, hot coffee), you might run into an issue with your oat milk curdling or its fat separating off.
You can avoid this issue in most cases by first pouring your oat milk into your mug, then slowly pouring in the hot coffee.
This way, the cold oat milk isn’t blindsided by the heat of the coffee and instead acclimated to it gradually.
The same suggestion applies when it comes to adding oat milk to hot tea.
Shake It Up First
Prior to adding oat milk to your beverages, you should be sure to shake the carton well while it’s still closed.
This is especially a good idea if you’re using homemade oat milk.
The reason for this is that oat milk can sometimes separate or become pulpy from the oat particles.
And if you want to get the optimal nutrient benefits of your oat milk, as well as the best texture, you should shake it first.
Adding Flavor to Drinks
Third, we suggest enriching the flavor of your oat milk for certain drinks, such as sweet lattes or iced coffees.
If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add honey or simple syrup to your oat milk and stir well.
How to Cook Breakfast With Oat Milk
Just as you can add oat milk to your morning cup of joe, you can also add it to your breakfast recipes.
Do you normally add cow’s milk to your cereal but now need vegan cereal milk?
Oat milk is perfect for that, and the sweet, mild flavor complements most breakfast cereals well.
Furthermore, you can benefit from making your pancakes and waffles with oat milk instead of cow’s milk.
Oat milk supplements dietary fiber (about 2 g per cup) that cow’s milk doesn’t have (0 g per cup).
You could even whip milk into your scrambled eggs or plant-based egg substitute for added fiber and Vitamin B12, if you don’t mind it adding a bit of sweetness to the flavor.
Other acceptable breakfast dishes that you can use oat milk to make include:
- Breakfast pastries
- French toast batter
How to Cook Savory Dishes With Oat Milk
At this point, you may still be a bit baffled as to how oat milk - which is notably sweet - can work as a milk replacement in savory dishes.
In reality, though, it works pretty well, as long as you slightly alter other ingredients to make up for the flavor disruption.
One of the best uses of oat milk in savory dishes is when you’re making foods that require a roux, such as:
- Mac and cheese
- Potato soup
- Cream soups
- Mashed potatoes
- Alfredo sauce
For the most part, you shouldn’t have a problem adding unsweetened and unflavored oat milk to these recipes in place of cow’s milk or water.
If you want your dish to be more savory, though, you can always add a bit of extra salt or other spices.
Here's an example of how Rainbow Plant Life made vegan mashed potatoes with oat milk!
How to Bake With Oat Milk
Baking is perhaps one of the best uses for oat milk as a dairy substitute because most baking recipes yield sweet results.
Oat milk’s natural sweetness and sugar content are ideal for adding to cake recipes, cupcake recipes, pastries, puddings, custards, ganaches, buttercreams, and even mousses.
When replacing dairy milk with oat milk in baking recipes, you can use the same 1:1 conversion ratio that you use in other recipes.
And because oat milk is just slightly less creamy and thick than whole cow’s milk, you may need to use slightly more of it to get the desired texture/thickness in your recipe.
You can even use oat milk in your savory baking recipes, such as chicken pot pie crust recipes, as well as meat pies, tarts, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when you cook oat milk?
Oat milk can sometimes curdle when heated too fast or at too high of a heat level.
If you try to boil oat milk, it will likely thicken up and lose the consistency that you want when adding it to coffee, etc.
Why does my oat milk separate in tea?
Sometimes, a chemical reaction occurs between the acidity of your oat milk and the hot drink you pour it into.
Because your oat milk is cold and the tea is hot, the fat in the oat milk may separate from the liquid.
Can oat milk be turned into buttermilk?
Buttermilk is traditionally made by adding lemon juice to cow’s milk and letting it curdle after several minutes.
But you can do a similar thing to your oat milk to make vegan buttermilk by adding lemon juice and waiting up to 10 minutes for it to curdle.
Can you freeze your oat milk?
When cooking with oat milk, you may not use all of the carton at once. In this case, it’s acceptable and safe to freeze the oat milk and defrost it for later use.
Frozen oat milk will last in your freezer for up to three months, even if you’ve already opened the carton but it hasn’t expired yet.
Cooking with oat milk isn’t as crazy as it might sound.
Even though this plant-based alternative isn’t the same thing as cow’s milk, you can successfully and safely add it to many recipes, from baked dishes to breakfast dishes, beverages, and savory meals.
Although oat milk is sweeter than dairy, it has a similar texture, consistency, and mildness that makes it an ideal substitute.
When replacing milk with oat milk in most recipes, stick to a 1:1 conversion ratio and be sure to use unflavored and unsweetened oat milk.
And remember, if you’re going to add your oat milk to a hot drink, pour the hot liquid over the oat milk to gradually change its temperature so it won’t curdle.
To learn more about oat milk and its uses, benefits, and more, check out our other plant-based milk articles!