Oat milk contains minerals like potassium and zinc, which aid bone health.
Oat milk contains soluble fiber like beta-glucan, which may aid in digestion and gut health.
Oat milk is packed with essential nutrients like B-12, which promotes overall health.
If you aren't already familiar with oat milk, it could be the perfect dairy-free alternative for your coffee and smoothies. Plus, it's delicious on its own.
But what is oat milk? What does it taste like? And why has it become such a popular non-dairy milk option?
Here's everything you need to know about oat milk.
What is Oat Milk?
If you're looking for a vegan-friendly and lactose-free alternative to dairy milk, you can't get much simpler than oat milk.
It's made from steel-cut or whole oats and blended with water.
Once blended, the oats and water mixture is strained. You then have smooth, creamy milk to enjoy.
Of all the plant-based milk alternatives, oat milk has the creamiest texture. While it's not as thick as whole milk, the texture falls between 2% and whole milk.
It sounds a lot like oatmeal, doesn't it?
Make no mistake. The milk doesn't taste like your favorite hot cereal. It does, however, have a sweet, slightly nutty flavor.
Some people think it tastes closer to cow's milk than any other plant-based milk.
- Oat Milk Taste: Sweet and nutty.
- Oat Milk Texture: Creamy, very close to whole milk.
Oat Milk Nutrition Facts
If you're looking for a nutrition powerhouse, oat milk is dense due to the nutrients in the oats.
This milk contains protein, fiber, and iron.
Compared to other milk alternatives, only soy milk has a higher protein level.
According to the USDA, here is the nutrient breakdown for 1 cup of oat milk:
Oat Milk Nutrition Facts
The nutrition facts for oat milk may vary by brand or the ingredients you use if you choose to make it at home.
The Benefits of Oat Milk
Beyond the high protein level found in oat milk, you'll enjoy several other nutritional benefits.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider drinking this popular milk alternative.
Oat Milk Is Vegan-Friendly and Dairy Free
Oat milk makes the perfect milk alternative for consumers who choose a diet free from animal-based ingredients.
If you or someone in your home can't tolerate lactose, try this tasty milk alternative. You can drink it solo, add it to coffee, or use it on hot and cold cereals.
Oat Milk Promotes a Healthy Gut
A healthy gut and a healthy microbiome play a vital role in your body's functions. Drinking oat milk can improve your gut health.
It's the beta-glucan fibers.
According to a study by Science Daily, consuming foods rich in soluble fibers such as beta-glucan boosts the good bacteria in your gut.
Oat Milk Improves Digestion
It's no secret that many people don't get enough fiber in their diets. Instead, they rely on over-the-counter fiber supplements—or suffer from chronic constipation.
How much fiber do you need?
Women should shoot for a minimum of 21 to 25 grams of fiber every day. Men need 30 to 38 grams.
With 2 grams of dietary fiber and 3 grams of plant-based protein in each 1-cup serving, oat milk contributes to healthy digestion.
Oat milk contains more natural fiber than most plant-based milk.
Oat Milk Is High in Vitamins
Oat milk contains vitamin B-12. Your body uses vitamin B-12 for energy and the normal function of your red blood cells.
Some brands fortify their products with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin A.
When you change from cow's milk to oat milk, look for brands that supply a comparable amount of these essential vitamins.
Oat Milk Does Not Contain Saturated Fats
Has your doctor advised you to cut the fat? Oat milk has 2.5 grams of fat in each 1 cup serving. None of that fat is saturated.
If you drink whole cow's milk, you get 4.63 grams of saturated fat in each 1 cup serving. As far as calories, whole milk has 152 calories per serving.
Oat Milk Has Zero Cholesterol
We've all heard about the dangers of high cholesterol. If not controlled, you could develop atherosclerosis, a precursor to heart disease.
Oat Milk Contains Three Bone Strengthening Minerals
While you've likely heard a lot about women and osteoporosis, bone health is a hot topic for both women and men.
In addition to calcium and vitamin D (both found in some oat milk brands), you also need three minerals in your diet to keep your bones healthy.
Oat milk contains all three:
As you can see, if you drink oat milk, you'll enjoy a wealth of benefits, but aren't there also a few downsides to choosing this plant-based alternative to milk?
We'll look at them in the next section.
The Downsides of Oat Milk
Oat milk makes an excellent milk alternative, but like just about anything you consume, there are a few things to watch out for, including:
May Go Through Facilities that Process Wheat
Some oats go through the same machinery used to process wheat during processing.
It's also possible your oats came from a facility that processes tree nuts, so it may be best to avoid oat milk if you have allergies.
Sometimes Contains Added Sugar and Preservatives
While oat milk is naturally sweet, many brands add sugar during production. You might also get a dose of preservatives.
Sugar improves taste. Preservatives improve shelf life.
Both can hurt your health. It's wise to check the labels of each brand and make sure you choose the one lowest in these additives.
We suggest sticking to plain, unsweetened oat milk to avoid added ingredients. Also, opt for oat milk made with organic oats, as oats tend to be high in pesticide (source).
High in Calories
Of all the plant-based milk products, oat milk doesn't weigh in with the lowest calorie count.
However, it does have the advantage of being lower in calories than whole cow's milk.
If you're on a weight-loss mission, check the calorie count for each brand.
They usually differ slightly based on added sugar.
How To Make Oat Milk
You'll be excited to know that you can make oat milk at home.
Here are the ingredients, equipment needed, and step-by-step instructions.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 4 cups water
- Pinch of salt
- High-speed blender
- Large bowl
- Mesh strainer
- Pitcher or storage container
Soak oats in water for at least 30 minutes. Drain the soaking water and rinse oats thoroughly under cold running water.
Tip: Some recipes say not to soak, but soaking helps minimize sliminess.
Add rinsed oats, ice-cold water, and salt to your blender.
Blend on high for one minute. Let the milk rest for a minute. Blend again for about 30 seconds.
This recipe is for unsweetened oat milk. If you prefer a little flavor, you can add pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, a few pitted Medjool dates, or vanilla during Step 2.
Some people insist on straining, but others advise against it to prevent sliminess in your finished product. Like most recipes, you’ll want to experiment at least a bit to decide which methods work best for you and your blender.
Oat Milk Recipes
Oat milk isn't only for drinking. Enjoy the full range of possibilities and try a few of these recipes.
DIY Oat Milk Coffee Creamer
Who needs that pricey, preservative-laden coffee creamer? Not you! You'll find a delicious, economical, and healthy creamer for your coffee at helloveggie.co.
Oat Milk Rice Pudding Brûlée
Dairy-free doesn't need to mean bland. Why not use oat milk to create a healthier version of a classic dessert? Try the recipe at culinaryginger.com.
Oat Milk Ice Cream
You can't get much simpler (or healthier) than this 3-ingredient oat milk ice cream. Check out the recipe at thebigmansworld.com.
Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole
Creamy Oat Milk and Tomato Pasta
If you love penne alla vodka, you'll love this dish. No vodka, but plenty of plant-based goodness. Visit thefeedfeed.com for the recipe.
Oat Milk Alfredo Sauce
Who doesn't enjoy a rich, creamy pasta sauce? You can love it even more with this vegan, gluten-free recipe from theherbeevore.com.
Oat Milk FAQ
Now that we've inspired you to switch to a milk alternative and tickled your taste buds, you likely have a few more questions.
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about oat milk.
How Healthy Is Oat Milk?
Oat milk, packed full of soluble fiber, plant-based protein, and several essential vitamins and minerals, gets a high health score.
You can't argue with a milk alternative that keeps your gut healthy, smooths digestion, and has no saturated fat and zero cholesterol.
Does Oat Milk Make You Gain Weight?
At 120 calories in each 1-cup serving, oat milk isn't your lowest calorie option, but it does have fewer calories than whole milk.
There's no reason not to enjoy oat milk if your focus is on weight loss. Like any other food or drink choice, moderation is key.
What Are the Disadvantages of Oat Milk?
The top concern for people using oat milk in their diet is the calorie count.
Yes, it's lower in calories than whole milk, but it's not considered a low-calorie food item.
Other plant-based milk, such as almond milk, have fewer calories.
Some brands add sugar, which poses a concern for consumers who need to watch their sugar intake.
Even naturally unsweetened oat milk contains sugar.
If you have diabetes, you could experience a rapid elevation in blood sugar after enjoying oat milk in its liquid form.
Is Oat Milk Healthier Than Dairy Milk?
If you put oat milk up against whole milk and compare the amount of protein found in each, milk takes first place at 8 grams per serving.
Oat milk contains 3 grams of protein.
Oat milk wins in the calorie category with 120 vs. whole milk's 149 calories.
While you'll find other lower-calorie milk alternatives, oat milk still makes an excellent choice for calorie-conscious consumers.
If your doctor has advised you to lower your fat and cholesterol, whole milk isn't the way to go.
Oat milk contains no cholesterol or saturated fat, making it a healthier choice than milk if you intend to follow the doctor's orders.
Both oat milk and cow's milk have vitamins and minerals necessary to support good health.
Their nutrient profiles aren't identical, making it difficult to make a side-by-side comparison.
Oat milk is the healthier option for the consumer who has lactose intolerance.
Oat milk can be a healthy choice if you have a nut allergy or gluten sensitivity.
You'll want to scrutinize the packaging labels before purchasing because some brands process in facilities where they use the same machinery to process tree nuts.
Try Tasty Oat Milk Today!
Next time a friend asks you, "what is oat milk?" you'll have an answer.
It's a plant-based, vegan-friendly milk alternative that offers several health benefits.
We hope you enjoy using oat milk as much as we do — as a creamer for your coffee, as a beverage, as a topping for cereal, and as a healthy ingredient for just about any recipe you want to make.
If you're interested in learning about other types of non-dairy milk, check out our other guides below.