Non-Dairy Milk Taste Test: The Best Plant-Based and Vegan Milks
Non-dairy milks are everywhere and taste like the real thing, or if you're like us and you don’t happen to want to drink milk, they often taste even better. Plant milks are richer in nutrients and higher in protein than regular dairy from cows.
Plenty of people have given up dairy in favor of plant-based milks and swear by the swap, and the movement is growing. For inspiration or to join the community, follow the IG called Switch4Good.
To know which plant-based milk is best, we tasted over 10 different milks. We poured the plain ones over cereal at the office and watched as the crowd gathered. (Everyone wanted in on this taste test!) Some preferred the creaminess of the banana milk and said it would be great in a smoothie, and other testers liked the skim-like consistency of almond milk best.
Here are the best plant-based milks on the market, rated for both taste and health.
For all the Beet Meters, check out the best vegan products.
365 Unsweetened Almond Milk
“You can taste the almonds!” said a tester. This one is very similar to the Califia Almond Milk, but has a nuttier taste and is not as creamy. We loved this in cereal and would drink it with most anything, especially our iced coffee to add a little extra flavor. If you enjoy a thin milk texture, we would suggest drinking this one over the Califia because it’s more like skim.
The Bottom Line: This milk is so low in carbs, fat, and calories you can enjoy it as often as you like. The sodium is a little high but still in the range with the rest of the crop.
Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0g
Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk
Personally, this is our favorite almond milk brand, since it has the perfect combination of taste and nutrition. All of our taste testers agreed. It’s similar to real milk: creamy and smooth, but it has a refreshing-yet-subtle almond taste. If you’re an almond milk latte fan, we recommend using this brand because your latte foam will have a thicker texture. We tried this milk in comparison to the 365 Unsweetened Almond milk and there wasn’t a huge difference, but we would prefer to eat cereal with Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk because of its milk-like texture with a hint of almond.
Bottom Line: The Califia Almond Milk gets high marks in both the taste and the health categories for being low in calories, carbs, and fat yet high in calcium. If we had to pick an overall winner, this would be it!
Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0g
Elmhurst Unsweetened Almond Milk
Elmhurst is one of the cleanest store-bought milk and it's only made with two ingredients: Filtered water and almonds. Elmhurst almond milk has a silky, smooth consistency and tastes just as healthy as it is. You can add it to smoothies, protein shakes, waffle or pancake mix — or even drink it by the glass. Elmhurst is a bit pricey, around $7 per 32-ounce container, but if you're trying to eat cleaner, it's worth it.
Total Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 1g
Good Karma Flax Milk + Protein, Unsweetened
Honesty is harsh sometimes, but here’s the truth: This was our least favorite milk because it tastes “too healthy,” like you were drinking your vitamins. This Good Karma product may be full of positive zen vibes, but it's not big on taste. The thin consistency would make a skim-milk lover happy, but we didn’t enjoy the chalky texture.
Bottom Line: Although we wouldn’t choose this for our morning cereal, it would be great in any smoothie because it delivers 8 grams of plant-based protein and 1,200 milligrams of Omega-3s per serving, which is the winning count for the entire milk category. Another major positive: this milk is made from flaxseed, so if you have a nut allergy or need to increase your fiber for health reasons (and don’t we all want more fiber?), then this milk is a great plant-based choice.
Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0g
Hope & Sesame Sesamemilk
If you have never heard of sesame milk, it’s definitely worth a try because this milk is both delicious and highly sustainable compared to other plant-based milk products. Hope & Sesame outperforms all conventional and plant-based milk brands when it comes to sustainability and requires 95 percent less water per serving to produce than almond milk! Not only is Hope & Sesame perfect for consumers who shop for environmental reasons, aka “climatarians,” but sesame milk is an excellent source of fiber (14 grams), calcium, and Vitamin D. Hope & Sesame adds a creamy richness to your morning coffee and froths up just like traditional creamers.
Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 0g
JOI Almond Milk Base
JOI stands for Just One Ingredient, which is a welcome change from other milks that include additives and preservatives on their labels. Keep this small container in the fridge and you will never be out of plant milk for your cereal or coffee. All you need to do is add 1 to 2 tablespoons to a cup of water and blend for 30 seconds to have fresh, un-adulterated almond or cashew milk. One small container of JOI nut base makes 27 servings of milk. You might not drink it but it's great in everything else.
Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 1g
The thing about Almond Malk is that it tastes so much like real skim milk you can hardly believe it isn't. Malk makes its Almond milk with just 3 ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic Almonds, and Himalayan Pink Salt. None of the Malk formulas contain gums, fillers, binders, oils, or carrageenan. This won me over since my previous favorite plant-based milk had all of the above. The other thing about Malk is whether you prefer unsweetened almond (which is more like skim) or the vanilla formula, it tastes clean. Honestly, now that I've tasted Malk, it's my new favorite non-dairy milk. Go out of your way to find this brand!
Total Fat 1.5g, Saturated Fat 0g
The thing about Oat Malk is that it tastes so much like real cow's milk you can hardly believe it isn't. Malk makes its Oat milk with just 3 ingredients: Filtered Water, Organic, Gluten-Free Oats, and Himalayan Pink Salt. None of the Malk formulas contain gums, fillers, binders, oils, or carrageenan. The other thing about Malk is whether you prefer oat (which is more like 2% in thickness and frothiness) or you want a touch of vanilla (made with pure organic vanilla extract) or chocolate (they add organic cocoa), it tastes clean. Honestly, now that I've tasted Malk, it's my new favorite non-dairy milk. Go out of your way to find this brand!
Total Fat 4.5g, Saturated Fat 0g
Mooala Banana Milk
It’s time to go bananas. This is the most unique tasting milk we put to the test, by far. Made from bananas and cinnamon, it’s sweet like a dessert and would taste the best with a decadent cereal if you wanted a sweet treat.
Bottom Line: The banana milk also has the thickest texture, thicker than Oatly Oat Milk. I wouldn’t eat this with cereal but instead, I would mix it into a smoothie, or use it for baking. If you’re the kind of coffee-drinker who likes half & half or a creamer substitute, this is the milk for you. One of our testers noted that it was almost like drinking a kids’ “Danimals Kids” yogurt smoothie from his childhood. However, if you do use it in a smoothie, we recommend you leave out the banana since it already has a strong banana taste.
Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0g
Mooala Original Almond Milk
This almond milk is thicker than its counterparts so if you prefer that texture you’ll like this. The Mooala almond is slightly chalkier, though and we would suggest adding it to anything that needs a thicker texture like a smoothie or frozen treat.
Bottom Line: The nutrition facts are impressive with only five ingredients, 6 grams of carbs, 60 calories per serving and 2 grams of protein. One caveat: Anyone who doesn't eat honey needs to skip this milk because it does contain it as a sweetener.
Total Fat 3.5g, Saturated Fat 0g
Oatly Oat Milk
You want to hate the new girl, the one who moves here from Sweden with the perfect skin and silky hair and then she turns out to be funny, self-deprecating and smart and you can’t help but immediately welcome her into your circle and think: Why didn’t she show up earlier? We LOVE her. That’s Oatly. This milk is the newcomer to the shelves, and it turns out to be a game-changer. If you’re moving away from dairy and embracing the non-dairy milk habit, this one might be the closest to what you’re used to drinking. Its texture is creamy and smooth with a hint of natural sweetness, just like regular milk. There is no need to add any sweeteners, and that’s why it works great with coffee or cereal, and it would make even more delicious your oatmeal, giving it a creamier consistency than making it with water.
Bottom Line: All of our taste testers finished this milk with their cereal and wanted another pour to drink by itself. It was a unanimous winner. We voted this milk alternative as the best but keep reading because there are plenty of other great choices, especially if you’re looking for less creamy options. And with 5 grams of fat, it's got staying power that'll keep you full for longer, too.
Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Planet Oat Unsweetened Vanilla
Compared to other plant-based milk, Planet Oat is the biggest bang for your buck at under $4 a gallon, making this creamy oat milk one of the most budget-friendly options. Packed with 25 percent and 20 percent of your daily value of vitamin D and 25 percent of your calcium, Planet Oat is a smart choice for your mornings. Whether you use your milk in your cereal or your coffee (or both), Planet Oat is a frothy, thicker milk alternative than most of its competitors. The vanilla flavor adds a little sweet punch that makes it a top contender for the sweet tooths.
Total Fat 0.5g, Saturated Fat 0g
Rice Dream (Original)
We loved the light texture and hint of brown rice aftertaste, which kind of reminds us of a bran muffin. It gave our cereal a sweeter and richer taste. One of our testers described the taste as the leftover milk you drink after you finished the cereal in your bowl.
Bottom Line: Overall, we enjoyed the taste and would drink it simply by itself—the added sugar made it slightly sweet and delicious. This milk is low in fat but a bit higher in carbs than some of our other choices.
Total Fat 2.5g, Saturated Fat 0g
Ripple Pea Milk
Although Oatly won our hearts, this pea milk deserves a special honorable mention for being a crowd-pleaser and healthful, with a big protein punch and skim-like consistency that those of us who prefer a thinner texture will enjoy. There are two big differences in Ripple Pea Milk compared to Oatly Oat Milk: First, you notice the taste of peas is stronger than the taste of oats in oat milk. Second, the texture is a bit thinner than oat milk. Finally, pea milk packs 8 grams of protein, more than double that of oat milk. So if you need extra protein, pack in the peas.
Bottom Line: Best in cereal, coffee, or smoothies. The pea milk lacks some of the sweetness of the others so if you’re avoiding carbs, this is a good choice. But it has a wallop of sodium, which some people who work out a lot and sweat out their salts may not mind but anyone worried about their sodium intake may consider avoiding.
Total Fat g, Saturated Fat 0.5g
Silk Coconut Milk
This milk has less of a coconut taste than most other brands using coconut but has a smoother texture. We loved the nutty vanilla flavor (surprising, since this is strictly coconut). Although both the Silk coconut milk and So Delicious coconut milk taste very similar, we liked this one better in cereal than the So Delicious because of its creamier texture.
Bottom Line: Dip a coconut cookie into it for a sweet treat or use it as a coffee creamer.
Total Fat 4g, Saturated Fat 4g
Silk Original Oat MIlk
Silk’s Original Oat Milk is rich, smooth, and perfectly creamy, exceeding our (including chef Gordon Ramsay’s) expectations for plant-based milk. Packed with 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk (35 percent of your daily value), this bone health-conscious beverage will quiet any concerns about oat milk not providing the same nutrients as cow’s milk. This oat milk is also free of cholesterol, carrageenan, and gluten, delivering a clean milk substitute that everyone can enjoy.
Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0g
So Delicious Coconut Milk
With a hint of vanilla and coconut, this is a delicious milk alternative. It has a light texture, sweet taste, and is flavorful without being overly powerful. It tastes very natural and not artificial—which is hard to find in coconut products. Use this milk when baking desserts or as a coffee creamer.
Bottom Line: It tastes delicious in cereal but for anyone who would prefer something thicker, this milk is a skim-like consistency. So if you love skim, choose this one.
Total Fat 4.5g, Saturated Fat 4g
Tache Original Blend Pistachio Milk
If you are looking for a heart-healthy non-dairy creamer, then pistachio milk is a great choice. Tache’s Pistachio Milk is high in Omega-3 heart-healthy fats, like pistachios themselves, which studies show help to lower cholesterol. Pistachio milk contains more potassium than other non-dairy milks. The taste has a hint of pistachio but if you like that nut you won’t mind. This plant-based milk might be pricey (nearly $8 per carton), but it is one of the creamiest, most luxurious vegan milks that froths up like the real thing.
Total Fat 3.5g , Saturated Fat 0g