Do Nuts Have Nipples? How To Make Homemade Alt Milk

August 11th, 2010 - filed under: The Food » Recipes


Making your own nut and seed milks is so damn simple, I just wish I’d figured it out sooner. It’s super economical, easily customizable, and you get to avoid all those additives and fillers. But best of all, it TASTES AMAZING. Seriously, a totally different experience. You gotta try it!

I was just looking through these pictures in preparation for this post and realized I probably don’t even need to write anything. It’s pretty self-explanatory, because it really is that easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup RAW nuts or seeds (almond, hazelnut, sunflower, hemp, etc)
food processor or blender
sprouting bag/cheesecloth/mesh strainer (I use a sprouting bag, you can get one here)
various containers, and a funnel helps

Step 1: Soak 1 cup nuts/seeds in plenty of water. Place in the fridge, covered, for 8-24 hours.

Step 2: Drain and rinse nuts/seeds. Place in food processor or blender with 4 cups of water. Here’s where you can get real creative. Add a vanilla bean or vanilla extract for vanilla flavored milk. Add maple syrup or other sugars if you like it sweeter (though it really doesn’t need it.) Add almond extract or peppermint extract or cocoa. Add cinnamon and other spices for a twist on horchata! The possibilities are endless. Now, Blend blend blend!


Step 3: Line a large bowl with sprouting bag or cheesecloth. Pour entire contents of blender into bowl. If using a mesh strainer, pour blender contents through strainer.






Now you have a bowl of milk!


Step 5: Pour it into a big jar for storage. Here’s where a funnel helps, though obviously not enough. Try not to spill it all over – like I always inevitably do!


Step 6: Save the pulp. It freezes well. This is a nutritious almond meal that can be used in tons of ways, like thrown into smoothies, blended into dips, dehydrated into raw crackers, and much more. Mine most often becomes the crusts in my raw tarts!


And that’s it! Enjoy your alt milk over cereal, in smoothies, in baking, with fresh berries – anywhere you’d use milk. But the flavor is so divine, I do suggest you go for a glass straight up!


  • Ginger Baker

    Oooh I haven’t done nut mylk in a while. I’ll have to get back to that…I was just thinking the other day that some sort of milk to serve with sliced CSA peasches would be divine.

    I keep buying kombucha to make my own per your instructions. Only one problem…I keep drinking it instead of growing my own LOL! I’ll have to just buy, like, three times as much next time.

    (And on the simple, no-instructions-needed front, I feel that way about cold brewed coffee! Totally worthwhile and really super easy. It was the first time I really understood Kahlua.)

  • Lindsay Jewell

    Hah. I haven’t been making nut milk because I could never figure out what to do with the pulp. It always seemed like such a waste. Thanks for the pulpy inspiration. :)

  • Valerie

    What if my food processor won’t hold 4 cups of liquid. Could I blend it in batches & then strain/squeeze it all together? Do I need to make sure sure I use equal parts nut-to-water with each batch or does that matter?

  • Tenise Rae

    Woah! This is awesome! I thought I’d need some sort of pressing/squeezing machine to help get the milk out, apparently not.
    So when you say soak the nuts in water for 8-24 hours….that’s a huge difference in time. Any particular reason for that?
    Is it kinda like tea, where the longer you soak it the more yummy properties you get?
    I might just have to try this!!

  • Deven

    I literally just had this conversation yesterday about making my own almond milk. I realized that it seemed quite simple to make and that I could customize it to suit my tastes but I wasn’t sure just how economical it is. Have you ever done a price comparison? Oh! And another good point is it helps eliminate the waste of all those carton containers (of which I use to help my freezer run more efficiently when its low on food). =) Thanks for sharing this!

  • catherine

    really? wow.

  • Jen

    So cool! I can’t wait to try this! I am even more excited to use the pulp :D

  • wendi

    do you do cacao??? I recently read about it and was wanting to give a try. also how do you make crackers out of the pulp?!

  • Erin B.

    Call me crazy but I’ve never even had ANY kind of nut milk…I’m a newb on this health food change. But I’m so excited to try this! Especially w/ cocoa for my kids!

  • Amanda

    This is an awesome tutorial and it looks sooo delicious! Thanks for the info!

  • Kathryn

    DELICIOUS. i’ve been meaning to make almond milk for ages, but our blender/food processor is horrible. i mean, it makes pretty good hummus, but smoothies? blegh. :(
    great ideas for the pulp, and thanks for the link to the strainer :D

  • Jeni

    I can’t wait to try this out! I’ve just found out I can’t do dairy and have been drinking Rice/Soy/Almond when I can. To make it MYSELF will be amazing!!!

    More and more I’m going towards more of a vegetarian/RAW lifestyle. I can’t wait until I figure out how to get there 100% but am so thankful for your website.

    Oh I came across a site and thought of you. I’m not sure if there is anything not so great about hydroponics but it’s worth a check!

  • Jennifer

    Ohh! Thanks for the recipe!!

  • erosan

    @Erin B.: You are not alone… I have never tasted true nut milk…

    Closest I’ve gotten to that is coconut milk, but coconut is actually a drupe and not a true nut, so it does not count ;)

    Guess we’ll just have to give this a try, right?

  • Minna

    Awesome! Hazelnuts are my favourite, I should definitely try this one.

    I have a very blonde question… so how much milk did you eventually get out of this? In litres?

    I’ve made my own soymilk almost like that and it turned out to be real tasty (apart from the bean taste), boiled it with vanilla… But nut/seed milk must be so much healthier as it’s raw and hasn’t been boiled.

    Thanks for the recipe :)

  • Sara

    Thank you thank you thank you!
    And HEL-LO chai tea. How I missed you.

  • Shango

    Sayward, what effect does soaking for 24 hours have versus 8 hours? Will I get more essential Almondness out of the nuts? Does it just blend easier?


  • Lily

    Neat! Thanks. :)

  • Squiggle

    You have just become my hero. Seriously. This hazelnut milk is the most amazing thing I have ever tasted!

    Any idea how long it will keep for?
    B x

  • Sayward

    Wow! What a response, who knew??! Yay, I love that you guys are so into this. Thanks for all the comments! I’m just going to answer the questions but know that I rad and love every single comment, so keep ‘em coming! =D

    @ Ginger Baker – Please tell me more about cold-brewed coffee! I’m totally unfamiliar but ver very intrigued . . .

    @ Valerie – Yes! You can definitely blend in batches. Just try to keep the nut-to-water ratio relatively the same, but it certainly doesn’t have to be precise.

    @ Tenise Rae & Shango – Well, the 8-24 is a general guideline, but 8 hours is about the minimum to get the nut/seed all ‘woken up’, and 24 is about the max before they’d need to get rinsed or risk getting slimy/spoiling. But like I said, it’s really a rough guide. If you can only soak them 4 hours they should be fine, and if you forget about them for 30 hours but they look okay, well that should be fine too. =)

    @ Deven – I haven’t done the cost breakdown for myself (it will be a bit different for everyone depending on your access to alt milk/almonds/organic versions of each) but this blogger crunched some numbers. I think her analysis is good and pretty generally applicable.

    @ wendi – Oh lawdy do I do cacao! I LOVE cacao but I have to be careful with it. I know it’s good in a lot of ways but it also gets me so lit up, I definitely can’t have it at night. I usually do it as my weekend breakfast smoothies – it’s a nice treat to look forward to. =)

    As for crackers, I don’t have a particular recipe I use, but if you Google around for raw almond crackers you should get tons of ideas. For truly raw you’d need a dehydrator, but you can do it on your lowest oven setting and it’ll still taste great!

    @ Minna – Not a blond question at all, you’re on a different system! You’ll get about 4 cups, which is a little less than 1 litre.

    @ Squiggle – YAY! So glad you like it, isn’t it a totally different flavor than the storebought stuff??

    It should keep in the fridge for a week or so, if you can make it last that long. ;-)

  • Ginger Baker

    LOL well my pics aren’t NEARLY as pretty as yours, but I posted my coldbrew coffee process a while back:

  • Squiggle

    Turns out I didn’t need to know the use by date as I’ve guzzled the whole lot in the last 4 hours *oops*. I think I’d better find a wholesaler for hazelnuts :s

  • Sayward

    @ Ginger Baker – Thanks! Going to check it out now . . .

    @ Squiggle – Ha!

  • Vicki-lou

    I showed my husband this as he has IBS and wants to try various frugal alternatives to cow’s milk to help calm it down. Going to try soaking almonds tonight!

  • Sayward

    @ Vicki-lou – Ooh good luck! Have fun playing around with it!

  • Michelle

    Genius tip!

  • Vicki-lou

    Almond milk = success! may add a little vanilla to it next time. Tasted very good in our Irish oatmeal.

  • Julia

    Oh, I can’t even express how much I love my homemade almond milk. I just add a date for a sweetener, but I’m excited to try adding more fun stuff to it now. So glad you’re spreading the word. Also can’t wait to try hazelnut milk, sounds amazing.

  • Marlene

    I just recently started making Almond Milk and I love it! I use it in my coffee, in smoothies and drink it staight from the jar sometimes. Love it! I strain it into a batter bowl. It makes it really easy to pour it into a jar. Now I need to decide what I’m going to make with the pulp.

  • denielle

    Just wanted to thank you for this tutorial. I’ve always been afraid to make my own nut milks but after you showed just how easy it is I finally gave it a shot. It is so delicious, much better than what I used to buy in stores.

  • DeniseC

    In another post, you discuss the importance of soaking seeds, but part of the soaking includes making the water acidulated to deal with antinutrients that bind minerals. You didn’t recommend that for alt-milk. I’m a bit confused.

  • Sayward

    @ DeniseC – In the recipe in this post, the word “soak” is a link to the other article with instructions on proper soaking practices. ;-)

  • Lauren

    I just made this yesterday. It was super easy (some water did splash out of my food processor while I was blending… but no big deal), but the almond milk came out more watery than I was expecting. I wonder if I didn’t blend long enough, or if the store-bought version that I’m used to is just so much thicker. Maybe I’ll try only three cups of water next time. I look forward to trying again!

  • Sayward

    @ Lauren – Blending for longer and using less water will both definitely help. Alas, it may never get quite as creamy as the store bought stuff ’cause they use thickeners/emulsifiers/etc. But try those techniques – I bet you’ll notice a difference!

  • Fiona

    I’m going to try and make some almond milk, but had to comment on your funnel pic/comment – that thing totally looks like a boob with a cow’s teat nipple!!!! So maybe nuts do have nipples – big, red nipples!

  • Britt

    So then for coconut milk, you’d, what? use 1 cup of coconut (pro’ly easier to get the packaged pre-shredded deals, huh?) in place of the nuts?
    Thanks! I navigated over to this page after reading about your coconut yogurt… Mmmmm…. Me gots a wee one, as well… 10 1/2 months… I’m thinking, Coooooooool….

  • Sayward

    @ Britt – Hmm, I’ve never made homemade coconut milk! I always use the canned stuff. If you want it raw, I know you can crack your own fresh coconuts! =D

  • Britt

    @ Sayward- Oh, yeah…! That makes sense. Plus, after I wrote that last post, I realized that pre-shredded coconut would definitely not be the most efficient. But, yeah…! Canned coconut milk… Brilliant! =D Thanks!

  • Leslie

    Love the almond milk. Thanks again for yet ANOTHER amazing post. Question…been using raw organic almonds from Trader Joes and have been reading that any raw almonds sold in the US can not really be raw as some pasteurizing is required. Am thinking about order my almonds from Nuts Online as they say they have actual raw organic almonds from Spain. Any ideas on this????

  • Sayward

    @ Leslie – My understanding is the same, and though I do sometimes buy the raw almonds (and almond butter) from Trader Joe’s, I do so knowing that it’s probably not truly raw. This month while I’m doing a real RAW trial, I will be getting my almonds elsewhere (my co-op carries local, guaranteed-to-sprout almonds). If you’re not trying to be a true raw foodist or a purist, I think it’s up to you. The “raw” almonds from TJ’s may not be truly raw, but they’re still healthy and they’re still good for you! If ordering from Nuts Online is easy for you and no big deal, then of course that’s ideal and I’d say go for it. But if that’s costly or super stressful, then I say cut yourself some slack and don’t worry about it. You know?

    Kristen had a recent article about hte raw almonds fiasco –

    Hope that helps!

  • sara thomas

    just made my first batch of almond milk!! sooooooooo tasty! i cant thank you enough! do you think this would work with raw coconut flakes? i tried making my own coconut milk yesterday & it was really watery, but the directions said to only soak for an hr.

  • Katie

    I FINALLY got around to trying this, and can I just say … it’s SO GOOD! I never really enjoyed store-bought almond milk. It’s too sweet, too thick, and just odd-tasting to me. Plus, we’ve been trying very hard to cut down on anything processed in our house, and the ingreds in almond milk sounded quite “processed” to me. So this method is perfect! I love putting the almond meal in my morning smoothies for extra fiber, too. Thanks, as always, Sayward, for such a GREAT blog with fabulous info.

  • Sayward

    @ sara thomas – You can use coconut! I’ve never done it but other BA readers have. I think (?) you use 2 cups shredded coconut to 4 cups water.

    @ Katie – Yay for success! So glad you like it. =)

  • Jessica

    I know I’m a little late to the party, but I thought I’d add my experience to the collective wisdom. I tried this today with almonds. So much water splashed out of my blender that I had to lay a towel down, and the resulting milk was watery and very tasteless. I believe my less than stellar food processor is at fault- due to the splashing, I couldn’t process the almonds long enough to get a quality milk. I almost gave up, but decided to dump the almonds back in the food processor with just a splash of liquid. I ended up reblending and squeezing three times, and I’m quite happy with the finished product. It doesn’t have much of a taste, in my opinion, but I didn’t add anything to it at all- the whole reason I wanted to make my own is because I can’t find unsweetened where I live.

    Next time, I think I will blend the almonds in two batches, and use less water overall. I mostly use alt-milk in savory, not sweet, applicationg, so I care more about creaminess than taste.

    Thank you so much for this recipe, Sayward- it feels awesome to know this is a product I can make at home from now on!

  • Lanae Foley

    so you are basically milking your nuts for all their worth!

  • Rachel

    Your post makes the directions so simple as compared to just the written directions (I think as a visual person pictures help a ton).
    I am SO motivated to do this right now.
    Now if only you could supply me with a raw tart recipe??? (What are the chances :))!

  • Sayward Rebhal
  • Anonymous

    Question! Can you experiment with vinegar to make a buttermilk substitute using alt milk?? Because, then my life would be complete.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    1 tsp of apple cider vinegar in a cup of plant milk will produce a buttermilk mimic!

  • Anonymous