Nut milks are definitely having a moment in the spotlight, and rightfully so given their deliciousness, healthfulness, and the fact that they're a tasty alternative to dairy. Packed with protein and heart-healthy fats, nuts—in any form—are a staple of a healthy diet.

Nut milks are nondairy milks made from nuts, filtered water, and optional flavor additions. The basics of making your own nut milks are simple: soak, blend, and strain. But the real magic happens when you start playing around with additions—there are endless flavor combinations to be explored.

First, let's go through a basic recipe for nut milk. This recipe works for every kind of nut, as well as seeds (think hemp, pepita, sunflower, chia, and sesame seeds). Feel free to adjust the amount of water depending on the thickness you prefer. Thick milk is great as creamer for coffee and for baking, and thinner milk works well for granola.

Basic Nut Milk Recipe

Photo: Christine Chitnis

Makes 3¾ cups of nut milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of nuts (cashew, almond, Brazil, pistachio, and hazelnut are my favorites)
  • 4 cups cold filtered water, plus more for soaking
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Preparation

1. Place the nuts in a bowl and add enough cold filtered water to cover them completely. Soak for at least 4 hours, though I suggest covering the bowl and placing it in the refrigerator overnight to soak.

2. Drain the nuts and rinse them well. Place them in a blender with 4 cups cold filtered water and the salt and blend on high speed for several minutes, until very smooth.

3. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a wide-mouth glass jar (like a mason jar), squeezing the cheesecloth to extract all of the liquid. Compost the solids (if you're feeling particularly thrifty, you can use the nut pulp as an addition to baked goods, or dehydrate it and turn it into nut flour!).

4. When stored in a lidded glass jar, the milk will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Use in direct proportions wherever a recipe calls for milk. You can add the optional ingredients (below) during the blending phase.

For sweetness:

  • dates
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • coconut sugar

For spice:

  • ground cardamom seed
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • turmeric

For flavor:

  • coconut butter
  • vanilla bean
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • cacao nibs
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • matcha

The real fun comes in when you start playing with combinations. Feel free to experiment, but here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

Almond Turmeric Milk

Photo: Christine Chitnis

Add the following to the blender with the nuts, water, and salt:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Chocolate Hazelnut Milk

Add the following to the blender with the nuts, water, and salt:

  • 3 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Spiced Pistachio Milk

Photo: Christine Chitnis

Add the following to the blender with the nuts, water, and salt:

  • the scrapings of 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
  • 2 dates

Explore More