Written by: Carole Beck, December 5, 2018 Reviewed by: vegan chef Day Radley, December 7, 2018
Ever wondered which is the perfect plant milk to use in tea or coffee? How about in baking? Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian or lactose-intolerant, find out which plant milk pairing will make your day taste better.
Best for teaTea fans, rejoice – you’ll still get a satisfying cuppa when you switch to dairy-free milk. The first step is to choose a milk alternative that won’t curdle in boiling water, and doesn’t overwhelm the delicate flavour of tea. Oat milk wins the prize, according to the charity Veganuary.1 It’s stable at high temperatures and tastes neutral. Plus it’s low in fat and high in beta glucan, a type of soluble fibre which can help lower levels of cholesterol.2
Best for coffeeLike tea, your cup of joe also needs a creamy drink that doesn’t split in hot water – step forward hemp milk. Made from whole hemp seeds, it has a subtle nutty flavour, and is a source of essential fatty acids. It’s also a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids your body needs.3 Not sure about the slightly nutty taste? Grab soya milk instead.
Try: GOOD Hemp Drink
Best for porridgeWith its creamy texture and sweet flavour, coconut milk is perfect for porridge. Made from mixing coconut flesh with water, it’s low in sugar but also a source of saturated fat, so consume in moderation.4 A 2013 study reported it can reduce levels of unhealthy cholesterol and raise levels of good cholesterol.5
Best for bakingIt’s important to choose a plant milk to complement the other flavours in your cakes and desserts, but the creamier nut plant milks – like hazelnut, cashew and coconut milks – will add a sweet flavour. Vegan bakers recommend hazelnut milk – it contains vitamin E, needed for healthy cells, while being low in calories and rich in omega-3 fatty acids.6
Best for smoothiesFor a tasty, slightly nutty smoothie, you need almond milk, made from ground almonds mixed with water. It’s low in calories and saturated fat, and, like hazelnut milk, is naturally high in vitamin E, too.7
Best for a white sauceMaking a vegan lasagne? Soya milk won’t curdle when heated but has a neutral flavour that complements the sauce – though of course you’ll need the unsweetened version for a savoury dish. It’s a solid milk health-wise too – it contains as much protein as cow’s milk, is low in saturated fat and a source of potassium, essential for healthy nerves.8,9 Shop Milk Drinks Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
1. Charli Holmes. Veganuary. What Plant Milk Should I Put in My Tea? Available from: https://veganuary.com/blog/plant-milk-tea/
2. Whitehead A, et al. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat B-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5394769/
3. Lizzie Streit. Healthline. Hemp Milk: Nutrition, Benefits and How to Make It. Avaialble from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hemp-milk
4. Jamie Eske. Medical News Today. Health benefits of coconut milk. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323743.php
5. Ekanayaka RAI, et al. Impact of a Traditional Dietary Supplement with Coconut Milk and Soya Milk on the Lipid Profile in Normal Free Living Subjects. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3824402/
6. Arlene Semeco. Healthline. 7 Ways Hazelnuts Benefit Your Health. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hazelnut-benefits#section1
7. Elise Mandl. Healthline. 9 Science-Based Health Benefits of Almond Milk. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/almond-milk-health-benefits#section2
8. Brian Krans. Healthline. Comparing Milks: Almond, Dairy, Soy, Rice, and Coconut. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/milk-almond-cow-soy-rice#cows-milk