Almond milk or cashew, pistachio or hazelnut – nut milks are the most popular of dairy-free alternatives out there. And for good reason.
Creamy, smooth and refreshing, nut milks can provide new and tasty flavours to your cooking, whether blitzed into a smoothie or whisked into pancake batter, or mixed with cinnamon, vanilla or honey for a sweet drink. There are many dairy-free milk alternatives out there – oat and rice are cheaper alternatives, while sesame and coconut provide interesting flavours. Check out our DIY guide to dairy-free milk for more.
How to make nut milks
To make nut milks, you follow the same process whichever nut you choose to use. It’s simply a case of soaking nuts, blending them with water and straining out the milk. Easy! The only thing that may change is the soaking time. Find a guide to soaking times below, but it’s good to know that there’s no maximum time you can soak your nuts – in fact, the longer you leave them (up to two days), the creamier your milk will be.
Before you begin, you’ll need a high-speed blender and a piece of muslin or cheesecloth. A nut-bag works too, of course, but it’s not essential. Let’s get down to it…
6 easy steps to homemade almond milk
Soak 1 cup of raw, unsalted almonds in plenty of water for 8 to 12 hours. Use blanched almonds, but if they have their skins on, you can just peel them off after soaking.
Drain and rinse the almonds, discarding the soaking water, then place in a high-speed blender with 2 cups of cold water.
Blitz until smooth and creamy, then taste – this ratio will give you the consistency of skimmed milk. If you like it creamier, use less water. If you want it more watery, use more water.
Place a piece of muslin or cheesecloth over a large bowl, then carefully pour the blitzed almonds into the middle.
Gather up the edges of the cloth and bunch it together, then squeeze out the milk into the bowl, squeezing to extract every last bit of liquid.
Store the milk in a clean bottle and keep in the fridge for up to about four days.
Soak for 8 hours: almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pine nuts
Soak for 4 hours: pecans, walnuts
Soak for 2 hours: cashews
No soaking needed: pistachios, brazil nuts
Don’t throw the nut pulp!
Make it into flour by drying it out, whizzing it up again in the blender and storing it in a dry container until needed – use it as a substitute in baking or check out this alternative flour guide to making pancakes.