In this article, we cover all the plant-based milk options available on the market to help you decide which one is the best. You will also find out what is the healthiest plant based milk, the most delicious one but also the most versatile option.
Let’s dive in.
What is Plant-based Milk?
Plant-based milk is a delicious dairy-free alternative to regular cow's milk and other animal milk. They're commonly made from nuts but there are other varieties out there including oat and pea which also taste incredible. But which is the tastiest plant-based milk? We've grown so accustomed to cow's milk that trying unusual plant-based milk sounds super strange.
The appeal comes from the taste, and there's still a little bit of uncertainty on which plant-based milk tastes the best. As people who advocate plant-based diets within our brand, we like to think we know what we're talking about by now. That's why we made this list, so that you don't have to try every plant-based milk to know what it tastes like, and to gain a better understanding of which plant-based milk is best and why.
Plant-based Milk List
Before we start, let's break down the rating chart for a better understanding. The scale is on a 1 to 10 ranking, 1 being “Get that milk away from me and throw it in the trash immediately.” 10 being “my word I've reached Nirvana, let me bathe in this milk for eternity.” the middle rankings are a bit “meh, I could probably have this regularly but it's not the best.”
Let’s get started.
Almond milk is probably the first milk you think of when we say vegan or plant-based milk. It has become a popular plant-based alternative that is used in most vegan recipes. To be perfectly honest it's not the best plant-based milk. Almond milk is the finest of all the nut milks and the consistency is quite watery and bland. It does have a nice smooth flavor but the unfortified and unsweetened versions are nowhere near as silky and creamy as other nut milk varieties. It also has a very distinct almond flavor (as to be expected) so it's not the best option if you're looking for a mild alternative to cow's milk.
Overall rating 5/10
for its lack of exciting-ness and watery consistency in comparison to other nut milks
Hazelnut milk much like almond milk is very similar in consistency and flavor. Hazelnut varieties of plant-based milk are distinctively nutty and personally, we believe they taste better when that nutty taste is utilized. For example, using hazelnut milk to make vegan chocolate milk would taste fantastic. It’s a silky-smooth milk whose nutty flavor would pair perfectly with that rich chocolate and a frothy latte. However, if you're looking for a milk replacement in tea, it’s probably best to avoid this distinctively nutty plant-based milk.
Overall rating 6/10
for its a distinct flavor that tastes great but limits what we can use it for
Macadamia nut milk is a little bit harder to get hold of, but it is becoming more common. The macadamia nut itself is a lot fattier and more substantial than other nuts like almond. It’s a delicious nut whose flavor is not intimidating, making it the perfect go-to vegan milk if you’re not a fan of unusual tastes. The only downside is that it’s difficult to find creamy and thick macadamia milk.
Overall rating 6/10
for its versatility but lacks of creamy options
Like macadamia nuts, cashews are naturally creamy once blended into milk form. You'll find them used often in recipes looking to imitate cheese sauces and other creamy sauces for that exact reason. Therefore, it makes for great plant-based milk that can imitate cow’s milk. The creaminess of the nut translates particularly well into a milk form, adding a nice subtle flavor.
Overall rating 8/10
for its creamy texture, versatility, and ability to replicate cow's milk
We won’t try to pretend soy is not an unusual milk. Unlike nut varieties, soy milk comes from the soybean plant. It's also used to make other vegan products like tofu and tempeh. It's one of the highest in both protein and fats and has a similar consistency to cow's milk. Soy milk itself has a distinctive taste. It's a mild taste with sweet undertones and a creamy body. It's independent in its own right, with a love it or hate it kind of flavor. For that reason, this is the only milk on this list you’ll have to try before you know if you like it or not.
Overall rating 8/10
for its versatility in both sweet and savoury dishes, protein content, subtle sweetness and creamy texture, but not to everyone’s taste
Coconut is straight up what is it. It’s coconut flavored. The cartoned coconut milk that you can drink is different from the coconut milk that you'll buy canned. Often watered down so that it's less thick and milder in flavor. It can enhance your hot drinks incredibly, adding a soft coconutty undertone that's not overpowering. However, it's too watery to be adding to your cooking dishes so for food be sure to stick to the canned variety. What's nice about the drinkable version is it has a lower fat content while retaining that coconut flavor. It’s just up to you to decide if coconut is your vibe or not.
Overall rating 7/10
for its bold coconut flavor, versatility on sweet dishes and sweet/savoury ones too, but its watery texture
Oats are a fantastic plant-based alternative for milk and are becoming a wildly popular option that will soon take over almond milk in popularity. It's a very mild flavor that's not very intrusive to our taste buds. Oat milk blends well with pretty much everything without affecting its flavor. Making it great for drinks, baking and drinking solo. It's only downside is that, much like almond milk, it can sometimes be quite watery. However, brands like Oatly have set out to make sure oat milk is outrageously delicious and creamy. So, if you get the right brand, it's a perfect alternative for cow’s milk. The flavor is already one that we're familiar with so if you're intimidated by switching to plant-based milk, definitely start with oat.
Overall rating 10/10
for its perfect balance of flavor, welcoming taste, and versatility - one of the tastiest plant-based milk options!
For those that are feeling adventurous, pea milk is fresh to the plant-based milk scene. Only a few brands have just started producing it and it is primarily made from the yellow pea variety. From testing and trialing all the above plant milks, pea has a distinct taste that isn’t invasive. Nothing like peas though! Instead, it has an earthy flavor with a slight sourness. Something that gives it the cow’s milk-esque taste with a similar level of creaminess. Peas are also the primary source of vegan protein in vegan protein powders and are the plant-based milk with most protein. The perfect milk if you select the right brand if you ask us.
Overall rating 7.5/10
We could easily give a 10 to pea milk but it depends on the brand you choose as we found some brands have a different taste profile. Its “just like cow’s milk” flavor and high protein content make it a great option.
Which plant-based milk is best? What is the healthiest plant-based milk? It very much depends on how you plan to use it, if you care about protein content but also your own taste. We do hope this list of the different types of plant-based milk has helped you to decide. Switching to plant-based milk is a great way to get started if you're looking to switch to a vegan or plant-based diet and test out new vegan recipes. They taste outrightly delicious and each have a unique flavor. With so many varieties out there, you are guaranteed to find one that you like and enjoy.