Is Macadamia Nut Milk Healthy? Nutrition Benefits + A Recipe
Almond milk and oat milk seem to have taken over the alt-dairy industry, but that doesn't mean they're the only nutritious options. Macadamia nut milk is an oft-overlooked alternative, high in healthy fats and rich in vitamins and minerals. But how healthy is it really? We chatted with nutritionists to learn more about the health benefits of macadamia milk—especially compared to cow's milk or other nondairy beverages—plus, how to make your own at home.
What is macadamia nut milk?
Macadamia nut milk is a plant-based, dairy-free alternative to cow's milk. The beverage is made, similar to other alt-milks, by blending soaked macadamia nuts and water, then straining the excess liquid. While macadamia milk is not as popular as oat or almond milk, it's a creamy replacement that works well in coffee drinks.
Is macadamia nut milk good for you?
"Macadamia nut milk is a great nondairy alternative to cow's milk for people who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or looking to explore dairy-free options," Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., CDN, says.
Compared to other nuts, macadamias are higher in fat1. However, registered dietitian Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D., says those are mostly monounsaturated fats2, which have been proved to reduce oxidative stress, insulin resistance, inflammation, and even signs of aging. Feller also says consuming fat from tree nuts can decrease total cholesterol3 and increase HDL levels (aka good cholesterol).
Macadamia milk contains a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, thiamine, iron, B6, potassium, and manganese. "Store-bought macadamia nut milk may be fortified with vitamins and minerals to boost its nutritional profile," Moon says, "but may also have added sugars and fillers."
In its minimally processed form, macadamia milk can be a healthy alternative for people with lactose intolerance, dairy, or soy allergies. Just be on the lookout for those undesirable additives.
Macadamia nut milk nutrition.
- Calories: 50.4
- Fat: 4.99 g
- Sodium: 96 mg
- Carbohydrates: 1.01 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Fiber: 0.96 g
- Protein: 1.01 g
- Calcium: 451 mg
Is macadamia milk better than almond milk?
"[Macadamia milk] is higher in healthy fats and manganese than most other nondairy nut milks," Moon says. Because it's higher in fat and lower in calories than almond milk, macadamia milk is the better option for anyone following a keto diet.
Both almond milk and macadamia milk can be fortified with vitamin D and calcium, making those nutritional components comparable to that of cow's milk. In terms of protein, though, cow's milk far surpasses both.
Because macadamia nuts are high in fat, they require less soaking time (about one to two hours), compared to almonds (12 to 18 hours). If you're in a pinch, it's a much quicker process than homemade almond milk and produces a creamier final product.
How to make macadamia milk.
If you're looking for a straightforward macadamia milk, this simple recipe from Moon is great as is. Depending on how you want to use it, though, you can enhance the neutral base with other ingredients. Add baking spices, dates, or vanilla if you're using it in a smoothie, Moon suggests. Or turmeric, pepper, and chili flakes for a savory sauce.
- 1 cup macadamia nuts
- 3 cups filtered water
- Salt, to taste
- Soak macadamia nuts for two hours, up to overnight.
- Drain and rinse your nuts before combining them in a blender with water and a pinch of salt.
- Add more water as desired if you prefer a thinner consistency.
- Optional: For a creamier texture, you can strain through a fine-mesh metal strainer or cheesecloth.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two days, or freeze in ice cube trays for two to three months.
How to use macadamia milk.
Macadamia milk can be used in anything that calls for cow's milk or liquid dairy, Feller says. For example, cereal, oatmeal, smoothies as well as cooking and baking.
"Given macadamia nut milk is extremely creamy," Feller says, "it is especially good in your morning latte, as a thickener in your favorite soup, and even for making ice cream."
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.