The first time I made oat milk, it turned out undrinkable, a slimy, gloppy mess that tasted terrible. Ugh. I made it with rolled oats, which are great in cookies and granola, but aren’t friendly in oat milk unless you soak them first.
Fortunately, my pandemic pantry is well stocked with oat products, all certified gluten-free. (Oats are gluten-free, but can be contaminated with gluten. Look for the gluten-free label on any oat product you purchase.) In addition to rolled oats, I had bags of instant oats and steel-cut oats. So, I did a little experimenting.
My first mistake, obviously, was not to soak the oats. (I had to look this up, sadly.) I always soak nuts before making nut butters, but I’d omitted this step with oats. Soak the oats first, and you’ll get rid of the slimy texture.
I soaked one cup of each of the three types of oats overnight in filtered water. I drained and rinsed the oats, then blended each cup of soaked oats with 4 cups of filtered water. I filtered the blended oats through a nut milk bag, and came up with three oat milks that had slightly different textures but tasted pretty much the same.
It’s easiest to make oat milk out of instant rolled oats, which turn into a somewhat thin oat milk that’s not slimy, nor does it taste very oaty. Oat milk made with instant oats separates easily, so you have to stir it up a lot.
Steel cut oats produced an extremely thick oat milk that didn’t separate much, but was a little slimy. I thinned it down with three extra cups of filtered water, which made it more drinkable. It tasted the least oaty of the three types, which I preferred.
Rolled oats produced the slimiest oat milk that tasted a bit grainy and oaty. I wasn’t happy with the texture or the flavor. Oat milk made with rolled oats separates easily too.
Steel cut oats are the best choice for making oat milk you plan to drink it all by itself. Rolled oats and instant oats work if you don’t mind stirring or shaking. For cooking and baking, all three types should work just fine.
My pandemic-crammed fridge didn’t have the capacity to hold all three pitchers of oat milk, so I mixed them together into a bottle I could shake, added a little stevia and vanilla plus some water to make it thinner. The resulting oat milk mixture tasted fine on granola and in my coffee.
Should you be the oenophile equivalent for oat milk, stick with steel cut oats for the best flavor and texture. If you’re like the rest of us, you can make a fine, useful oat milk out of steel-cut, rolled or instant gluten-free oats. Don’t forget to soak the oats.
How to Make Gluten-Free Oat Milk
It's easy and inexpensive to make gluten-free oat milk out of rolled, steel-cut or instant oats. The flavors and textures vary slightly but all work fine in cooking and baking.
- 1 cup gluten-free oats (rolled, steel-cut or instant)
- Filtered water
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Put the oats into a large bowl, and cover with filtered water.
Let soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Drain and rinse the oats with more filtered water.
Put the soaked oats plus 3 cups of filtered water into a blender (see NOTE).
Blend until the mixture is creamy.
Filter the blended oats through a nut milk bag.
Stir in stevia and vanilla, if using.
Oat milk keeps in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to three days.
If you're using steel cut oats, you'll need to thin the oat milk with more water after you've filtered it through the nut milk bag, or the oat milk will be undrinkably thick. I added 3 extra cups of water, but I prefer a thinner oat milk. Add less filtered water if you prefer thicker oat milk.
Soak a cup of oats in water. I experimented with three different types of oats.
Steel cut oats:
Soak 1 cup of oats in filtered water for at least 4 hours.
Rinse and drain the oats, and put them into a blender.
Add 4 cups of filtered water.
Blend until smooth.
Filter through a nut milk bag, and the oat milk is ready to drink. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Oat milk works as a substitute for regular cow’s milk in many recipes.