I bought cartons of almond milk for years, and I still do on occasion. My sister always made her own almond milk and told me that it was soooo worth the small effort. When I finally tried, I couldn’t believe how creamy and delicious it was. With a few simple tips, almond milk is also easy to make–you just need a blender. The absence of additives means the milk tastes better, although it won’t keep as long. It can be frozen, however, and I have done so many times.
Once you try the homemade version, you could use a mix of nuts, experimenting with different flavors. Homemade Cashew Milk is creamy and has a delightful flavor, plus it’s an even speedier option because straining is not required.
- 1 cup (about 5 ounces) raw almonds
- 3 1/2 cups water, plus more for soaking
- 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) pure maple syrup ( or sweetener of choice such as honey or dates; optional, see notes)
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Soak the almonds, uncovered, for 8 hours or up to 2 days. The water should cover the almonds by an inch or two and, unless it is very warm, the nuts may be soaked at room temperature.
- Drain and thoroughly rinse the almonds under cool running water.
- Place the drained almonds in a blender and cover with 2 cups of water.
- Pulse the blender a few times to break up the almonds, then blend continuously for about a minute. Scrape down the sides if needed. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water and blend for another minute. (At this point, once strained, the almond milk is similar to 2% milk. If strained after adding only 2 cups of waters, the result would be similar to cream.)
- Line a strainer or colander with either an opened nut milk bag or a thin piece of cloth (see notes), and place over a bowl (ideally one you can pour from easily) or a quart-size measuring cup. Pour in the almond mixture.
- Gather the bag or cloth around the almond meal and twist close. Squeeze and press with clean hands to extract as much almond milk as possible. You should get about 4 cups. (See notes for what to do with the leftover almond meal.)
- Taste the milk, and if a sweeter drink is desired, add more maple syrup or sweetener of choice to taste.
- Pour the almond milk into a jar or other sealed container. Refrigerate for 4-5 days or freeze until ready to use. Shake before using.
- If you prefer to sweeten the almond milk with dates, blend several (I recommend starting with 3) along with the soaked almonds. You may also add vanilla extract or a vanilla bean and/or cinnamon to taste.
- When I started making almond milk, I didn't want to have to buy a nut milk bag. Instead, I used an old, thin piece of material to line the strainer. You could use a square of fabric cut from an old pillowcase, sheet, or even an old t-shirt. The thinner the material is, the easier it will be to squeeze out the liquid. Just make sure the material is large enough to extend over the sides of your strainer. When finished, the almond pulp can be easily removed and the cloth can be washed and reused. Cheesecloth may be used, but I find that it does not work as well.
- To use the leftover pulp as almond meal, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake in a low oven until completely dry (2-3 hours). Leftover almond pulp can also be added to oatmeal, smoothies, and muffins as is.