Oat Milk: What’s All The Fuss About?
Oat milk is, in its simplest form, a dairy-free alternative to milk made from oats and water. Some brands and recipes will use added sugar, sweeteners, vitamins, minerals and other additives as well, either to enhance the taste or add to the nutritional value of the drink.
Is Oat Milk Good For You?
This obviously varies depending on the brand of oat milk you buy, but a lot of people are interested to know the nutritional benefits. Is oat milk good for you? Below is a comparison of two popular brands available in the UK per 100ml serving.
Innocent are a brand who have successfully dedicated themselves to the smoothie and juice market and are only recently branching out into the dairy-free milk alternatives. They are all about minimal, honest and whole ingredients, which reflects in their name and all their packaging . Innocent’s oat milk recipe uses only 3 ingredients and fits with their ethos of keeping the product as natural and simple as possible.
In contrast, Oatly are a brand wholly specialising in oat-based products and are focused on producing the best possible quality, taste and nutritional value in their products. They are representing a bright future for oat-based alternatives to many dairy foods and drinks, and have a whole exciting range of products to try including crème fraîche, yoghurts, and spreads. Oatly’s oat milk is made from the same base ingredients that Innocent use, but with added rapeseed oil, calcium, and vitamins.
- Energy 209kJ/50kcal
- Fat 0.8g
- Of which saturates 0g
- Carbohydrate 11g
- Of which sugars 4.8g
- Protein 0g
- Salt 0.05g
- Energy 190 kJ/50 kcal
- Fat 1.5 g
- Of which saturates 0.2 g
- Carbohydrates 6.6 g
- Of which sugars 4.1 g
- Fibre 0.8 g
- Protein 1.0 g
- Salt 0.11 g
Why is it better than other non-dairy milks?
While different oat milk brands will vary, it tends to be naturally thicker in consistency when compared with some other dairy-free milks; it is more akin to soya or almond, for example, as opposed to coconut or rice which have a more naturally watery base. It’s also fairly creamy without being cloying or too rich and fatty tasting.
What does it work best for?
It’s versatile as it has a neutral, uncomplicated flavour that can work in both sweet and savoury dishes well. Its naturally savoury base and thick texture mean oat milk works well in sauces. We tried it in a white béchamel sauce for a vegan lasagne and it was really nicely, textually. We balanced it with soya milk so that it didn’t give off too much of an ‘oaty’ flavour through the sauce.
Being a classic morning ingredient, oat milk really shines in breakfast dishes. As we all know, oats are the base for many first meals of the day since they are a tasty, slow release carbohydrate that’s naturally low in fat. They work great in a pancake or waffle batter, but also in your porridge or an accompaniment for your granola. The flavour, thickness, and nutritional side all work in your favour for a great start to the day!
Where oat milk really shines, though, is in hot drinks. It doesn’t have a strong aftertaste and it’s creamy and thick. The best part is that it doesn’t curdle in the same way that soya and almond milk can do. It also foams beautifully when steamed. This is why more and more coffee shops and cafes are now stocking or swapping their dairy-free milk offerings to oat milk. Personally, we’ve found the barista oat milk by Oatly to be the perfect milk substitute for lattes.
How does it measure up to other milks?
The not-so-good points
- It is lower in protein than dairy milk.
- It can still potentially be a problem is you are gluten-free (check the brand).
- It’s generally a little more expensive than other milks at the moment.
- You may not like the oat flavour!
The good points
- Higher in fibre than dairy, soya, and almond milks.
- Generally less sodium and added sugar than other non-dairy options.
- Lower in fat than dairy milk.
- It’s generally free of allergens unlike its dairy, nut, and soya-based counterparts.
- Overall, a pleasing, neutral flavour which makes it versatile.
- Heats and froths well, so works brilliantly in sauces, cooking, and hot drinks.
Nowadays, there are so many different milk alternatives to try. But if you haven’t already given it a whirl, we’d definitely recommend trying out one of the various oat milk brands – for coffees, sauces, baking and more, it can be a brilliant substitute for dairy.