The 4 Best Alternatives to Dairy

The 4 Best Alternatives to Dairy

You make a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up the basics: milk, eggs, bread… But wait, what's that next to the milk? Perhaps it's one of the many delicious milk alternatives that are giving Bessie a run for her money!

And thank goodness they're on the market! Approximately 75% of adults experience a decrease in lactase activity (the enzyme necessary for breaking down the sugar in milk) and with up to 90% of some ethnicities suffering from lactose intolerance, it’s a good thing we have so many alternatives to choose from.

Dairy alternatives are also widely popular for those with milk allergies, digestive issues, those who follow an animal-free diet, or those wishing for a healthier option void of any added antibiotics, hormones and byproducts of factory dairy farming. Almond, rice, hemp, organic soy, and coconut milk, among others, are widely abundant at your local grocery store, but buyer beware! Some contain added sugars and fillers and can cost more than your traditional cereal topper. Luckily, some commercial brands are often fortified with nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, plus others to either meet or exceed the amount found in dairy milk.

Want to try your hand at making these milk alternatives at home? It's easier than you think and leaves you with the freshest, most natural milk alternative you've probably ever had!

1. Hempseed Milk

Pumpkin, flax, sunflower, and sesame seeds are also delicious! The recipe is the same, except for pumpkinseed milk, which may require slightly more than 2 Tbsp for your desired taste and texture.

Makes approx. 8 oz


  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 8 oz chilled coconut water*
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract (optional)

*For a less sweet alternative, use filtered water. You may also add dates, figs, honey or maple syrup to lightly sweeten.


  1. Place hemp seeds and coconut water or filtered water and sweetener in the NutriBullet short cup.
  2. Blast for about 30 seconds until it turns milky white.
  3. Chill sealed in the fridge.
  4. Keep sealed in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Shake before serving.

Nutritional Benefits

High in Omega-3 fatty acids

Great source of highly digestible protein

High in potassium, if using coconut water

Good source of iron, magnesium, and zinc

2. Almond Milk

Also try hazelnut, cashew, macadamia, pecan, or walnut!

Makes approx. 12 oz


  • ½ cup raw almonds (soaked overnight)
  • 1.5 cups chilled filtered water*
  • Sweetener of choice, optional (1-2 pitted dates, figs, or 1 tsp honey or maple syrup)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract, optional

*May use chilled coconut water for sweetness


  1. Soak raw almonds for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Drain the water and rinse the nuts well.
  2. Add the nuts and water to the NutriBullet Tall cup, twist on the extractor blade, and extract until well blended, about 30-40 seconds.
  3. Strain the mixture through a very fine strainer or sieve, cheesecloth (muslin), or nut milk bag (voile) into a large bowl underneath.
  4. Discard pulp or save it for use in baking or your next NutriBlast for extra fiber.
  5. Add liquid “milk” back into your tall cup and add desired “extras” for flavoring.
  6. Blast again for 5-10 seconds to mix well.
  7. Chill sealed in the fridge.
  8. Keep sealed in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Shake before serving.

Nutritional Benefits

Naturally rich in calcium and magnesium for strong bones

Contains vitamin E to support skin health

Almonds help stabilize blood sugar


3. Oat Milk

You can also try quinoa milk; be sure to cook the quinoa first!

Makes approx. 12 oz


  • ½ cup steel cut oats (preferably gluten-free)*
  • 1.5 cups filtered water (add more if a thinner consistency is desired)**
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp pure maple syrup, honey, or pitted dates, optional for desired sweetness
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract, optional

*Rolled oats can also be used. These do not need to be rinsed and can soak for a shorter time.

**Chilled coconut water can be used instead for added sweetness


  1. Rinse and drain steel cut oats.
  2. Pre-soak oats in filtered water for at least 20 minutes – overnight for steel cut
  3. Drain and rinse the soaked steel cut oats.
  4. Scoop oats into NutriBullet cup and add water or coconut water.
  5. Twist on extractor blade and blast for 10-20 seconds.
  6. Use a sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag to strain mixture into a large bowl. Be sure to squeeze the pulp tight!
  7. Rinse cup and strainer (sieve/bag/cloth).
  8. Pour liquid “milk” back into NutriBullet cup.
  9. Add in your optional ingredients (maple syrup, dates, figs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon) and Blast for 10-20 seconds.
  10. Store in a sealed container for up to 4 days. Contents will separate so shake before serving.

Nutritional Benefits

High in fiber to help reduce cholesterol and promote digestive health

Good source of iron, magnesium, and zinc

Oats contain phytochemicals that help promote clear skin

Nut and soy-free for those with allergies (can be made gluten-free, too!)

4. Rice Milk

Makes approx. 24 oz


  • 1/3 cup dry brown rice (cooked in 1 cup water)
  • 3 cups warm filtered water (separate 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
  • Sweetener to taste (honey, pitted dates, figs, maple syrup, stevia extract) optional


  1. Cook rice per package directions.
  2. Place cooked rice and 2 cups warm water (not hot) in the NutriBullet tall cup and extract for 55 seconds. Allow to rest for 30 seconds and Blast for another 45 seconds until creamy and homogenous.
  3. Divide in half and work in two separate batches.
  4. Add another ½ cup of warm water and Blast again. Repeat for second batch using another ½ cup of water.
  5. Let both rest for about 30 minutes to allow mixture to separate. Remove any film on the top.
  6. Drape a cheese cloth or nut milk bag over the top of the cups and pour liquid thru the cloth into a bowl.
  7. Pour back into NutriBullet cups.
  8. Add any sweetener or optional ingredient as desired and re-Blast to incorporate
  9. Chill sealed in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutritional Benefits


Rich in fiber

Good source of the antioxidant selenium

May help lower blood pressure

Want to Jazz it Up a Bit?

Other flavorings you can add to any of the above milk alternatives:

  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Fresh fruit (remember strawberry milk?)
  • Sweet spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Whole fresh, crushed spices like ginger root, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks can be steeped into the milk while chilling (let it steep 12-24 hours for the best flavor)


Registered Dietitian

Comment by Eat2Live
July 28, 2015
I live in Asia and see raw coconut water being sold. Having been here for 4 years, I presume I have been exposed to most 'bugs'. Any cautions?
Comment by rebbie336
January 29, 2015
I can't stand the taste of almond milk!! I try to drink it and it comes right back up. Are there alternatives to the gazillion recipes made with almond milk?
NutriLiving Krista Haynes on February 25, 2015
Certainly! You can use hemp milk, oat milk, coconut milk, organic soy milk, rice milk, coconut water, plain water or even organic cow's milk if you tolerate dairy.
Comment by Kurteen
November 24, 2014
I always use Lactose free fat free milk. Is this just as good in a blast?
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