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Everything You Wanted to Know About Nut Milk, Explained

Break out of your shell with these nondairy alternatives
The Best Nut Milk Alternatives
Photo: Laurie Castelli/Getty Images

Whether you're vegan, lactose intolerant or looking for a dairy-free option, nut milks are great alternatives to cow's (or goat's) milk. And we've come a long way from just almond milk—there's cashew, hazelnut, macadamia and walnut, to name a few. Each is smooth and creamy, and exactly what you want in your morning coffee. Though most are available at your local supermarket, making them at home is easier than you think and allows you to control things like the amount of sugar in each batch.

Then swap your homemade nut milks for regular milk in your morning cereal or fruit smoothies, or use them to make delicious vegan ice cream. It's time to break out of your shell and try one of these alternatives instead.

① Almond Milk

This alternative is the one most people are familiar with and a common nondairy option at your local coffee shop. As its name implies, it's made from ground almonds and filtered water. It is packed with minerals like calcium and iron, as well as vitamin C. While you can find it at the supermarket, it's also easy to make at home. Plus, many of the store-bought brands contain loads of sugar and thickeners, which you can avoid by making it yourself. Almond milk goes great in smoothies and overnight oats.

② Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is similar to almond milk in that cashews are first soaked in filtered water, and then drained and ground into a paste before getting blended with water. An average glass of unsweetened cashew milk is about 25 calories and contains healthy vitamins such as D and E. Though it doesn't have as much protein as cow's milk, unsweetened versions contain almost no sugar. Follow this recipe to make it at home or pick a carton up at specialty supermarkets. For warmer weather, cool off with this vegan salted caramel ice cream, or when the weather gets cold, prepare yourself a hot cashew milk latte.  

③ Macadamia Milk

Sure, you've eaten a handful of macadamia nuts here and there, but have you ever tried macadamia nut milk? Compared to other nut milks, it has the most calories because it's higher in monounsaturated fat, which, according to the American Heart Association, can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Purchase it at a speciality grocery or health store, or make it at home with this recipe. Add it to your morning smoothie or use it to make a delicious soup.

④ Walnut Milk

While almost all nuts are nutritious, walnuts contain a number of bonus nutrients such as vitamins, protein and essential minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium. Walnuts are reported to help with heart disease and are rich in plant-based omega-3 fats. Like with the other milks available at the store, making walnut milk at home allows you to control the amount of sweetener that is added. You'll feel so much better once you start your morning with a cinnamon and walnut milkshake.

⑤ Hazelnut Milk

This nut milk is full of vitamin B, which helps turn food into energy, leaving you feeling full and energized. Hazelnut milk is also a great source of vitamin E, which can help boost your immune system and is naturally gluten, lactose and soy free. Add a splash to your morning coffee or substitute it for milk in various dessert recipes.

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