When I moved to Berlin over a year ago, one of the first, out-of-the-ordinary things I noticed at the grocery store was oat milk. I'd never seen this back in the U.S., and I was intrigued, so I tossed a box of the stuff into my cart and went on my way. Normally, I'm not a huge alternative milk drinker—yes, I've made nut milks in the past for fun, but in general I find these drinks too watery to be true substitutes for dairy milk. But this oat milk was different. It was rich and creamy, and if someone had told me it was actually dairy, I just might have believed them.
Now it seems that oat milk has made its way to the States, because people online are obsessed—to be honest, I'm pretty obsessed, too. Because I love a good kitchen project, I decided to see what it would take to make oat milk without having to pay the hefty price its often sold for at the grocery store. I thought it would be similar to making nut milk, but, to my surprise, it's actually way easier.
There are a handful of different oat milk-making methods online, so I tried out a couple from two of my favorite recipe blogs to see if I could do it myself. Here's everything I learned in the process, plus exactly how to make oat milk in practically no time at all.
Recipe 1: Homemade Oat Milk from Oh She Glows
Soak the oats first.
My first recipe came from the beloved vegan website, Oh She Glows. In it, you're directed to first rinse a cup of oats thoroughly, then soak them in water for 20 minutes or up to a day before doing anything else. I thought for sure this recipe would be the better one, because I figured soaking would be the best approach, since that's what you have to do to make nut milk. It turns out, the soaking may not have been the best choice after all (more on that later).
Use steel-cut oats if available, but old fashioned oats will work just fine, too.
It's not always easy to find the ingredients I need in Berlin. Sometimes they just don't have certain things (like, there's no vanilla extract here!) and sometimes they do and I just don't know what it's called or where to find it. I spent a good, long time at the supermarket scouring the aisles for steel-cut oats with no success.
I wound up using the only oats I could find instead—old-fashioned oats. Even though the recipe called for steel-cut, I didn't notice any problems with the swap. If you want to try it with steel-cut oats instead, I'm sure the results will be pretty similar.
After you soak the oats, rinse them again, blend for 10 seconds, then strain through a cloth and sieve.
Since the oats have been soaked, they'll be a lot easier to blend than if they hadn't, so you only need to blend them for a very short amount of time—8 to 10 seconds, as directed by Oh She Glows.
After you've rinsed the soaked oats, add them to a blender with 3 cups of water (you can add more water than that if you want, but the end result will be, well, more watery). Blitz them for those 10 seconds, and then pour the liquid over a cloth-lined sieve until the liquid fully passes through, leaving the oat pulp behind. I'm impatient, so I squeezed the liquid out of the cloth and that sped up the process a lot.
The resulting milk was light and creamy, but it was missing the heft that gives a dairy-free product that can't-believe-it's-not-real quality.
Recipe 2: Oat Milk from Minimalist Baker
Use old-fashioned oats, and don't worry about soaking them—just blend everything together.
This recipe was beyond easy. Rather than soaking the oats, Minimalist Baker directs you to simply put all your ingredients into a blender, and then let it ride at max power for a full minute.
Add four cups water and one cup oats (and any other ingredients you like, like dates or vanilla extract) to a blender. Cover and let it blend at a high speed for just a minute. Then, strain the liquid over a cloth-lined sieve. Again, I squeezed the liquid out to make the process go faster.
And that's it! The milk I was left with had a mouthfeel that really reminded me of dairy. That's probably because more of the actual oat was in the drink, since I didn't strip its fiber by soaking it, and because the longer blend time resulted in a finer, leftover pulp. The flavor was more like oatmeal than milk, but I was kind of into it.
If you prefer something light and frothy, go for recipe 1. If you'd rather have something silky and a bit heavier, recipe 2 is the one for you.
In my opinion, recipe 2 was both the easiest and the tastiest of the two oat milks I made. It was so simple, I honestly might do it all the time. That being said, recipe 1 was good, too—it was light and frothy and very thirst quenching, it just didn't taste as authentically like dairy as the other one did. Either one you choose, they're both easy to make and affordable to boot—definitely a worthy addition to your cooking routine.