Okay, my beloved raw milk, cover your milky ears for one minute.
I have a new obsession: creamy, naturally-sweetened almond milk. I hear ya, “Almond milk? How do you milk an almond?” Trust me, I was there. I had multiple objections to the whole idea of a little nut being turned into some imposter white substance and proclaiming itself as “milk.” But desperate times call for desperate measures.
See, there’s this thing we often forget with our year-round grocery store supply, something called seasons. The modern-day grocery store is an amazing place, but its constant supply of any and every food also leads to forgetfulness: melons peak during the summer months, the taste and consistency of milk changes as grass withers and then flourishes, and chickens take “egg breaks.” Our ability to ship food in a million different directions has been an amazing perk of the modern-day food system, but also leads to greed, in my humble opinion.
While I love shopping at grocery stores (I practice my love weekly), I also enjoy sourcing our food from local farms. My selection is a bit limited in Florida, due to bugs and extreme heat, but I have a few local food options.
One of my favorite local food sources is a family-owned raw milk farm. My love for our local raw milk runs deep within my food loving veins. The rich, creamy texture with the floating cream on top is flat out the best food in the world, besides chocolate. And when you mix the two together–homemade chocolate syrup and local raw milk—oh, heavens. I can’t even begin to describe the amazingness of this wonder drink.
Since raw milk isn’t available 365 days out of the year, I’ve learned to embrace the seasonal changes and look for milk alternatives when needed. Truthfully, the whole idea of dairy-free milk kinda grossed me out for a long time (even during my vegan years). I’ve never been able to get past the watery consistency and bland taste of store-bought “milk.” Milk should be many things, but watery is not one of them. So wrong! Much like 1% dairy milk— let’s not even go there. So so so wrong. This post isn’t about depressing milk, because there’s hope!
Enter homemade almond milk.
Homemade almond milk is the mind-blowing milk alternative I turn to whenever good ol’ Bessie starts slowing down on production. It’s okay, Bessie, it’s just natural. There’s a season for everything. Homemade almond milk is nothing like the “milk” sold in the store. It’s perfectly creamy and naturally sweet, with a hint of natural vanilla flavor. Perfection! In fact, it’s so good I make this homemade treat even when my beloved raw milk is in season. I guess that’s called “double dipping” or “double drinking.”
I never ever in a million years thought a How to Make Almond Milk post would appear on Live Simply, but today, that changes. Why? Because homemade almond milk is so easy to make and utterly delicious, it deserves a day/post in the Live Simply spotlight. It’s also my latest obsession. Just take a sip, just one, and you’ll see why.
Disclaimer: This blogger is not responsible for the addiction caused by making homemade almond milk. Proceed with caution and delight!
How to Make Almond Milk
- 1 cup raw almonds unsalted, + 2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 cups water
- 4 medjool dates pitted
- 2 vanilla beans scraped
- 1 nut bag linen kitchen towel, or an old (clean) shirt*
- Place the almonds, water, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Soak the almonds overnight.
- After the soaking period is complete, drain the water and rinse the almonds. Squeeze the almonds to remove the peels. Discard the peels. This step is optional, but highly recommended.
- Place the almonds, 4 cups of water, dates (remember to remove the pits!), and scraped vanilla beans into the blender. Note: To scrape the vanilla beans, cut the long beans in half, use a butter knife to scrape the little black seeds into the blender. Discard the long beans or add them to vodka to make vanilla extract.
- Blend the ingredients for 60 seconds on high. Hold the lid on the blender (trust me!). We don't want any explosions.
- Strain the milk through a nut bag/towel/shirt by slowing squeezing the bag like you're milking a cow. The pulp inside the bag may be dehydrated and pulsed in the food processor to make almond meal/flour, or discarded.
- Place the milk in a bottle with a tight-fitting seal for 7 days (I've gone as long as 10 days). The bottle pictured in made by Kilner.
*Vanilla Beans: Purchasing individual vanilla beans can add up quickly. If you’re planning to make almond milk, ice cream, extract, etc. I recommend purchasing beans in bulk. I purchase a large bag from Frontier (the “where to buy” link).
*Nut Bag: I’ve been using a large linen towel from IKEA to make almond milk (pictured). If you’re planning to make homemade almond milk frequently, I recommend purchasing a nut bag. I just bought the “where to buy” bag the other day.
Update: Recently I didn’t have any dates or vanilla beans in my pantry. I used 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of the beans and dates. The taste was still amazing!
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Recently tried making almond milk and I didn’t know how to sweeten it… it tasted wretched. So this recipe looks amazing-balls! 2 questions
1- What is the purpose in salting the almonds as they sit and soak?
2- Why do you recommend peeling the almonds? Is there no nutritional value in them? Are they bitter?
Thank you! Feel like we are friends already ?
Have you ever made bulk batches and tried freezing the Almond Milk? I have very limited time (As we all do!!!) and was wondering if you or anyone had tried? Im going to try making some this weekend! 🙂
You can freeze almond milk in mason jars. Just leave an inch or so from the lid or it could explode in the freezer.
When you say leave in fridge for 7 days does that mean it isn’t ready for 7 days? Or that’s how long it lasts?
Hey Avery, That’s how long it lasts. It can be stored for up to 7 days.
I’ve made this recipe several times with great success; so much so, in fact, that it’s become a weekly staple in my fridge. However last week I experienced quite the enigma: my almond milk fermented! Clearly this is not the right word since this recipe is wholly vegan and therefore cannot ferment. Yet after about four days in the fridge (four days during which I enjoyed my usual daily glass of deliciously creamy almond milk), it suddenly tasted quite sour, almost like kombucha. I briefly wondered if I hadn’t washed something properly or if I soaked the almonds too long, but if that had been the case wouldn’t the milk have tasted sour right from the get-go? Why did I have four initial days of delicious milk? Have you ever had this happen before? Thanks in advance for your wisdom.
Hmmm, Evey, I’ve never encountered this. The only thing I can think is maybe the fridge was too warm, or maybe the location of the milk was in the front of the fridge and the opening of the fridge door caused that part of the fridge to be warmer. I would try keeping the milk in the back of the fridge, the coldest part, and see if that helps.
I made this but with vanilla extract instead of the beans. The milk was wonderful but spoiled in 2 days. Could it be the alcohol in the vanilla extract that spoiled the milk? I was so bummed.
Hey Lana, I use vanilla regularly in my almond milk. The alcohol won’t spoil the milk. I’m not sure why the the milk would spoil so fast–did it taste bad? Maybe the almonds were bad? Was the milk kept in the fridge? I’m honestly not sure why it would spoil that fast–I’ve never had that happen before.
I made my first ever batch of almond milk last night. I used pure maple syrup and pure vanilla extract. I do have a question: what is an easy way to peal the almonds? I found that part took longer than anything. Otherwise, easy wonderful recipe. I was surprised by the different taste than store bought almond milk. So much better! Thank you!
Hey Tracy, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the almond milk! You can try blending the almonds (after soaking) with the skin still on. I’ve done this quite a few times when I don’t feel like peeling the almonds. If you can’t tell a difference (or don’t mind) in the taste and texture, then you could continue doing this. Other than that, the easiest way to try popping the peels off between two fingers.
Can this milk be frozen?
Hey Emma Yes, it can!
Where do you get your nuts? I was trying to figure out cost and it seems a little high, but maybe not if I can also use the pulp for almond flour.
Hey Shirley, I purchase my nuts from Costco. Another option is to use raw cashews instead.
I recently just had almond milk and really liked it! I’m trying to reduce my waste and plastic use, so homemade almond milk is the perfect thing! Thanks for sharing!
Hey Britney, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe. Yay!
Oh wow, so that’s how you would make almond milk. It seems like almond milk is the most preferred that is being asked by some of the customers at my bakery store. I often run out of that milk in less than a week that I end up having to multiply my order of almond milk to the diary distribution services.
Hey Andre, I’m glad you found the recipe helpful!
Love this recipe and have made it regularly! I’m just wondering what the calorie count might be?
Hey Toni, I’m so glad you’re enjoying this recipe! To be honest, I’m not really sure how to calculate the calories for this recipe, but I found this super helpful article that may help: http://smallbites.andybellatti.com/you-ask-i-answer-nutritional-content-of-almond-milk/.
Yum! I already love making almond milk, and since your recipes are always my favorite this post is a bonus! However, I’ve been tossing the pulp (regretfully) since I don’t have a dehydrated. Any idea how to use an oven instead?
Hey Andrea, Here’s a great tutorial for making almond flour in the oven from the pulp: http://allsortsofpretty.com/how-to-make-almond-milk-and-almond-flour-a-surprisingly-easy-diy/. Technically you’re just dehydrating the pulp in the oven vs. a dehydrator. I love the author’s advice to freeze the pulp until you have enough to make the almond flour worth your time.
PS: I’m so glad you love the recipes on Live Simply! Insert big puffy heart emoji ;).
Hi Kristin, I was just wondering where you may have bought the glass? King Arthur Flour used to sell something similar with a lid. But they stopped carrying them before I could purchase some. (So sad,) I checked target and Home Goods since I know you get most of your awesome jars there, but I didn’t find them there. Pooh pooh.
Hey Bethany, This is a Kilner brand bottle: http://amzn.to/1lk7YmI. HomeGoods used to sell them; I picked this one up on Amazon.
Would I be able to substitute local honey for the dates? Or would it overpower the almond flavor?
Hey Lindsay, Honey will probably work great. I would just 1-2 tablespoons.
Have you tried using other nuts? I’m thinking cashew would be even sweeter and creamer, have some “raw” cashews, so I thought I’d give it a go. Just wondered if you had any tips for making other nut milks :-). So funny, you posted this just after I made my first batch of almond milk. I soaked a bunch of almonds at the same time and dried the rest of them. It amazes me how much better “crunchy” nuts taste.
Hey Bethany, Yep, I use other nuts and seeds to make homemade milk. Almost any nut or seed will work!
I never thought about adding dates, great idea! I usually blend the almonds, strain them, rinse the blender, add almond milk back in with any honey or add-ins then blend again. Do the dates leave any grit that I would want strained out or could I add those on my second blend? Thanks for the idea!
Hey Jenn, You’re welcome. The dates may leave behind some small particles, so I recommend adding them during the first blend, then straining.