Review: New Oatly Oatmilks Use Less Ingredients For A Bright Take On The Original

Oat milk has gained popularity in recent years as a plant-based alternative to dairy milk that is environmentally minded, cruelty-free, and allergen friendly. One of the leading brands in the oat milk industry is Oatly, which earned the top spot in Tasting Table's rankings of the best oat milk brands on the market. Oatly entered the marketplace with its Original Oatmilk and has since grown its product line to include chocolate oat milk, barista blend oat milk, low-fat and full-fat oat milk, as well as oat milk frozen desserts and oat milk cream cheese.

The Oatly brand has released two new products — Unsweetened Oatmilk and Super Basic Oatmilk — that serve as healthier alternatives to the Original Oatmilk that started it all. These offerings are arriving at a pivotal time; the plant-based alternative milk market is exploding and consumer trends toward diets with lower sugar and fewer ingredients may help Oatly stand apart from its competitors. Ahead of the product launch, we had an opportunity to sample the two new oat milk products alongside the original to see how the tastes compared.

Oatly's newest oatmilks

When Oatly first graced supermarket shelves, it was a leader in the industry. Notably, it offered a nut-free, plant-based milk alternative, which was a welcome addition for those with nut allergies or aversions in a space that was previously dominated by almond milk. Oatly soon began to serve as a branch from the plant-based consumer to the non-dairy curious looking to still enjoy a milk replacement with a rich and creamy flavor. 

Often when food brands launch new products, they're attempting to innovate on a culinary staple or fill a need in the market. Oatly's newest launches aim to do both simultaneously. Oatly Super Basic Oatmilk and Oatly Unsweetened Oatmilk are designed to accommodate consumers with specific dietary restrictions or preferences. 

Oatly Super Basic Oatmilk presents a stripped-back version of plant-based milk with only four ingredients — significantly less than the 11 that makeup Oatly Original Oatmilk. Additionally, Oatly Unsweetened Oatmilk is both low-calorie and zero-sugar. This is unique for the alternative milk market, which has historically been known to be limiting for folks conscious of their glycemic index and overall calorie intake.

What are the ingredients?

The ingredients in Oatly's newest kinds of oat milk are arguably the most important aspect. Oatly's Unsweetened Oatmilk features Oatly's signature oat base of water and oats, as well as 2% or less of the following ingredients: low erucic acid rapeseed oil (a good source of healthy fats), dipotassium phosphate (an emulsifier that helps with texture), calcium carbonate, tricalcium phosphate, and dicalcium phosphate — all three of which boost calcium in the diet — sea salt, citrus fiber, riboflavin (a type of B Vitamin), Vitamin A acetate, Vitamin D2, and Vitamin B12. 

Those ingredients are almost identical to Oatly's Original Oatmilk, but Oatly's Unsweetened Oatmilk has zero sugar. If you're the type of plant-based consumer who finds that list a little too lengthy for your liking then Oatly's Super Basic Oatmilk might just be the oat milk for you. Oatly's Super Basic Oatmilk contains only four ingredients: Oatly's proprietary oat base of oats and water, sea salt, and citrus fiber. 

Nutritional information for Oatly's new oatmilks

Oatly's two newest oat milk is all about nutrition. Oatly's Super Basic Oatmilk contains 1 gram of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat or trans fat, and 0 milligrams of cholesterol. One serving (aka 1 cup) of Oatly's Super Basic Oatmilk has 110 milligrams of sodium and 16 grams of total carbohydrates, which encompass 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of soluble fiber, and 7 grams of total sugars. Additionally, that serving features 3 grams of protein and 70 milligrams of potassium. Oatly's Super Basic Oatmilk has no added oils, which is rare for store-bought oat milk — including Oatly's. 

Both of Oatly's newest oat milk styles are allergen-free, vegan, and glyphosate-free — meaning the milk includes no harmful chemicals or herbicides. It's also gluten-free certified, kosher-certified, and non-GMO Project Verified. Oatly's Unsweetened Oatmilk has slightly more fat, with 1.5 grams for a 1-cup serving, but similarly contains 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, and 0 grams of cholesterol. Like the Super Basic Oatmilk, Oatly's Unsweetened Oatmilk has 115 milligrams of sodium but contains only 6 grams of total carbohydrates, with less than 1 gram of dietary fiber and 0 grams of sugar. 

The most notable nutritional component of Oatly's Unsweetened Oatmilk is the vitamins, which include 20% of your daily value of Vitamin D, 25% of calcium, 2% of iron, 8% of potassium, 20% of Vitamin A, 45% of riboflavin, 50% of Vitamin B12, and 20% of Phosphorus.

Price & availability

Just in time for the new year, both of Oatly's newest oat milk styles hit grocery store shelves in January 2024. Oatly Unsweetened Oatmilk and Oatly Super Basic Oatmilk will both be sold in 64-ounce refrigerated cartons, just like Oatly's Original Oatmilk, and can be found in your local milk or plant-based milk alternative aisle. The roll-out will be nationwide, allowing for a diverse range of customers to sample the new Oatmilks and compare the taste to Oatly Original as well as to the other oat milk brands on the market. 

To try Oatly Unsweetened or Oatly Super Basic Oatmilk for yourself, you can visit chains like Sprouts, Kroger, and Albertsons, as well as a variety of other local retailers. For online shoppers, both of Oatly's new Oatmilks will be available for purchase at Amazon. Both of Oatly's new Oatmilks are priced at $5.99 per carton, depending on your market and region.

Oatly Unsweetened Oatmilk taste test

While nutrition is important to us, we have to admit that taste still ranks fairly high in determining which products we return to the grocery store. So, what does Oatly's newest oat milk actually taste like? For the best assessment, we tried Oatly Original Oatmilk, Oatly Unsweetened, and Oatly Super Basic side by side. We began with Oatly Unsweetened and sampled the new milk on its own, chilled in a glass directly from the refrigerator. 

The first thing we noticed was the brightness of the oat milk — it's incredibly light and refreshing. The second thing we noticed was the lack of sweetness, which was a less positive assessment that became more and more evident with every sip, contributing to an overall weakness in flavor. For that reason, we liken Oatly Unsweetened Oatmilk to skim milk. If you're used to a thicker milk consistency, such as Oatly Original or whole milk, you may find Oatly Unsweetened a bit too watery for your taste. Because of its less robust texture, you may have better luck using Oatly Unsweetened as an additive to beverages or dishes that get their richness from other ingredients rather than enjoying Oatly Unsweetened on its own.

Oatly Super Basic Oatmilk taste test

After trying Oatly Unsweetened and finding the taste somewhat lacking, we anticipated the flavor of Oatly Super Basic to be even less robust given the pared-back ingredients. To ensure our taste test was accurate, we poured a glass of Oatly Super Basic and sampled the oat milk on its own before attempting to use it in any other way. To our delight, Oatly Super Basic had an immediate and incredibly strong taste of oats — which perhaps shouldn't have surprised us so much since it's made of oats and not much else. That intensity gave the Oatly Super Basic an overall powerful and satisfying flavor profile. 

As with Oatly Unsweetened, Oatly Super Basic is bright and refreshing, but the lightness in the latter is nuanced due to the decadent oat flavor rather than tasting weak or diluted like the former. To provide Oatly Super Basic with a dairy milk comparison, we liken this plant-based milk to 2% dairy milk, which has a rich texture and flavor but is slightly less thick and creamy compared to whole milk. 

Unsweetened Oatmilk vs. Super Basic Oatmilk

For our palate, there is little competition between Oatly Super Basic and Oatly Unsweetened. When comparing exclusively by taste, Oatly Super Basic has a stronger overall oat flavor, a more satisfying milk texture — almost as creamy as Oatly Original — and is light and refreshing without being watery. 

The fat contents of the new Oatly oat milk styles are relatively similar, as are the levels of sodium per serving size. The biggest difference in terms of nutritional information between Oatly Super Basic and Oatly Unsweetened relates to the total carbohydrates and the added sugar content. Therefore, if your dietary concerns or preferences are more squarely about carbs and sugar, then Oatly Unsweetened may be the right choice for you. A benefit of Oatly Super Basic beyond the enhanced flavor is that there are 3 grams of protein per serving size and 0 grams of protein in Oatly Unsweetened.

How do they stand-up to the original?

In terms of the overall flavor profile, Oatly Original is the creamiest of the three by far, with a thicker and more intense texture. Oatly Original truly approaches whole milk in terms of its rich and satisfying taste, a notable feat for plant-based milk. 

Somewhat unsurprisingly, flavor comes at a cost as Oatly Original Oatmilk is significantly higher in fat than Oatly Super Basic and Oatly Unsweetened, with 5 grams of fat within a 1-cup serving. Oatly Original has the same total carbohydrate breakdown as Oatly Super Basic with 16 grams, as well as the same amount of protein (3 grams). But because .5 grams of the fat content in Oatly Original comes from saturated fat, it might discourage some folks from selecting it. If a plant-based milk's nutritional content is your main determining factor, Oatly Super Basic is likely your best choice out of Oatly's Oatmilks given it has a strong flavor — not as strong as Oatly Original, but close — and is significantly lower in fat.

How to use the new Oatly Oatmilks

One of the best things about experimenting with plant-based milks is exploring what dishes to use them in. Something notable about Oatly Original is that because of the sugar content, you want to be mindful of cooking something savory unless you're intentionally playing with the pairing of sweet and salty. For our taste test, we prepared a hearty bowl of mac and cheese using Oatly Unsweetened, then used Oatly Super Basic to prepare a mug of rich chocolatey hot cocoa. 

Oatly Super Basic held up nicely in the hot cocoa, adding a subtle flavor of oats and sweetness while infusing the beverage with a gentle thickness. Oatly Unsweetened had the right flavor for the mac and cheese, but the dish ended up requiring more plant-based butter to achieve the proper mac and cheese texture. Whenever you cook with plant-based ingredients, it's useful to take into consideration how their nuances will affect the flavor and texture of the dishes you're preparing. 

Both Oatly Super Basic and Oatly Unsweetened would work nicely in oatmeal or sauces, as long as you also have a thickening agent. For baking, we'd recommend Oatly Super Basic, being mindful that you can likely reduce your sugar content in the overall recipe to accommodate for Oatly Super Basic's sweet flavor.

Are the new Oatly Oatmilks worth trying?

Whether you're already a fan of oat milk or you're just dipping your toes into the world of plant-based alternatives, we highly recommend sampling Oatly's newest oat milk. While our personal preference is for Oatly Super Basic in terms of the stronger taste and texture, if you're looking for a sugar-free oat milk, Oatly Unsweetened delivers a nice enough flavor and can easily satisfy your dietary needs. 

Oatly Super Basic is a strong choice to use in your morning coffee or to cook with as it has a lovely taste and is significantly lower in fat than both Oatly Original and dairy whole milk. One of the reasons health-conscious consumers have shied away from Oatly in the past is the mixture of oils and sugar, so Oatly Super Basic is a big step for the market. Plus, the original blend contains similar fat content to 2% reduced-fat dairy milk. Both Oatly Super Basic and Oatly Unsweetened present a significantly lower-fat alternative without compromising tremendously on flavor.