Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk

By • February 21, 2013 • 25 Comments

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Author Notes: Here’s a recipe for a deeply-flavored vanilla almond milk, made from scratch. I usually don’t sweeten my vanilla almond milk, simply because the flavors of the almond and vanilla work so beautifully together, without any help. But if you like yours sweet, by all means, add whatever natural sweetener you prefer, to taste. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, or you prefer a much milder infusion of vanilla, feel free to substitute the best quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste that you can find. Enjoy!! ;o)AntoniaJames

Makes about 3 ½ cups

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • Filtered water (2 cups for soaking + 3½ cups for blending)
  • 3 pieces vanilla bean, thinly sliced crosswise (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste)
  • Optional Sweeteners: 1 tablespoon warmed honey or maple syrup; a scant tablespoon agave nectar; 3 or 4 pitted dates (to taste)
  • Also optional: a dash of cinnamon, or a tiny dash of freshly grated nutmeg or finely grated lemon zest
  1. Soak the nuts in 2 cups of cold filtered water at least overnight – 24 hours is even better.
  2. Drain the nuts and put them in a blender with 1 ½ cups of fresh filtered water. Add your vanilla. You should also add your sweeteners, if using them.
  3. Blend for 3 minutes on high speed. Scrape down the sides and add up to 2 more cups of filtered water to the blender. Less water will produce a thicker, more intensely flavored milk. If you want a milk that’s thinner than regular cows' milk, add even more filtered water. It’s all up to you!
  4. Blend for at least another minute.
  5. While the blender is running, set up a strainer over large measuring cup or bowl. Cover the strainer with butter muslin or several layers of medium weave cheesecloth. (Butter muslin can be purchased from cheesemaking suppliers, or at crafts and fabric stores, where it’s called “90 muslin”).
  6. Let the milk sit in the blender for at least an hour, to allow the flavors to infuse. Then, blend for another 10 - 20 seconds before straining.
  7. After you’ve finished blending (whether or not you’ve used a vanilla bean), taste the milk. If it needs more sweetness, add it now and blend for another minute. If you think it needs more vanilla flavor, add more extract or vanilla bean paste, and blend for another minute.
  8. Once you've finished blending, and once the flavorings and sweeteners are to your liking, pour the almond milk through the cheesecloth lined strainer. When you start to see a lot of pulp and not much liquid – usually within about 5 minutes – gently use a spoon to push some of the pulp aside so you can pour more milk through.
  9. After about 20 minutes, all told, carefully draw up the edges of the cheesecloth and twist them together as you start to press on the ball of pulp to extract the remaining milk. Take care not to let the pulp ooze out of the edges of the cheesecloth.
  10. Squeeze as much milk out as you can, twisting the top down onto the ball of pulp, and pressing the milk out between your hands.
  11. Wash your cheesecloth clean under running water (rinsing with filtered water), wring it well, and hang it over the edge of a counter or over a chair to dry. You’ll want to use it again!
  12. Pour the milk into a tightly lidded pitcher or jar and refrigerate. It should keep for 3-4 days. If it separates, just give the jar a good shake, or stir it well with a spoon.
  13. Enjoy!! ;o)
Jump to Comments (25)

Comments (25) Questions (0)

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6 months ago Martha

What can I add to the milk to give it a thicker consistency?

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10 months ago Debbie Erman

Monika, I am assuming you mean the brown skin on the almonds. If I am correct in that assumption, yes, you leave the skin on while soaking and then mixing your soaked nuts with water. THEN after you've thoroughly mixed it, you use a fine mesh bag to strain your almond milk. Most people use a Nut Milk Bag. They are readily available at Amazon.com and Whole Foods. Maybe others know where else to get them. Your Almond Milk turns out looking just like milk….nice and white and creamy. Yum!!! You will end up with a half to a full cup of almond pulp depending on how much milk you make. The pulp is pure GOLD!. Do NOT throw it away!!!
I have made excellent hummus with that pulp, and nobody asked me if I had used different ingredients. They just kept telling me how good it was, and it all got eaten very quickly. I have another batch in my freezer, ready for impromptu usage.
I also found a totally addictive" Freezer Fudge" recipe which uses that pulp as a main ingredient. In the fudge recipe, you process the pulp with dates, lots of cocoa (for us, the darker the cocoa, the better) and add things like coconut flakes, cocoa nibs (if you like them, and we DO!), sea salt & vanilla. A funny thing happened: my father has always said he doesn't like dates. I was sure he wouldn't be able to taste the dates in the fudge, so I brought a pan over to my parents house and left it sitting out for a treat. He absolutely swooned over how good they were, and asked what was in them!!! I didn't tell him about the dates, because I want him to keep loving the fudge! It's VERY delicious, and if you want it, I will be happy to post the recipe.
I know I've given you more information than you asked for, but it's hard for me to talk about making my home made almond milk without discussing the benefits of the pulp! I hope you love making your own milk and that you, too, will fall in love with the pulp! There are many, many ways to use it. Just search for Nut Pulp recipes on the internet and you'll be surprised at how many ways there are to use it. Good luck!!

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10 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you, Debbie, for chiming in! I'd love to see that fudge recipe. Just a brief summary here with ratios would be fantastic. And what a great idea, using the nut pulp for hummus! I'm looking forward to trying that soon. Monika, I wrote a do-it-yourself article here on Food52 about nut milks: http://food52.com/blog... Check the comments there, too, for a lot more useful information. ;o)

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10 months ago Debbie Erman

Antonia,
Thanks for that! I appreciate it! I cannot take credit for the Freezer Fudge, so I will give you the site I got it from at the end. Since I always base how much I am going to make on how much pulp I have, it's SO easy to go by ratios. The recipe call for 1/2 c. pulp , which is what I usually get out of one recipe of this Almond Milk.
1/2 cup pulp requires the following:
Equal amount cashews (1/2 c.), which you basically process into almost a flour
Twice the amount of pitted dates (1 c), added to the cashews and pulp
5 TBSP Cocoa- unless you are me and use a lot more, like 8 TBSP or very dark cocoa
4 TBSP unsweetened shredded coconut (I've used more depending on wetness) and
2 TBSP of your choice of sweetener, which in our home is honey or maple syrup and, ta da:
1/4 tsp Sea Salt- I found that slightly salting the mixture and then sparsely topping the fudge with the 1/4th tsp sea salt (or what looks about right) makes all the difference in the world. It gives it that wonderful sweet and salty taste when the salt hits the tongue in a little "ping" instead of being mixed in! A note on sweeteners: The recipe says you may use agave, but I have been hearing some things about agave, and am not yet sure what to think. If anyone knows where to find the hard science on agave, let me know!
Okay, that's what the recipe calls for. Like I said, I use more cocoa or use very dark cocoa. Once I put some cocoa nibs in it, and THAT was truly scrumptious! That pan disappeared very quickly! The texture is such that it won't ever get really hard, even in the freezer, and is best served from the freezer or shortly after taking it out. I have experimented with putting other things in it, i.e. vanilla (yum). But I take my hat off to the gal who came up w/ this. I don't know the policy about posting websites, but to give this person credit, here it is. If it ends up being edited out, that's okay. I don't know this person, so I am not advertising for anyone!
http://www.therawtarian...

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10 months ago Debbie Erman

Antonia, CLEARLY I have a problem with the concept of "brief". I was horrified after it posted. I am sorry for being so wordy!
Debbie

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10 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Debbie, you make me laugh! I have the same problem with brevity (actually, I seem constitutionally incapable of it). Thank you for posting this! I've been thinking about trying to find something like this for ages. (And like you'll, I'll be adding extra cocoa.) ;o) P.S. As of this writing, it's perfectly acceptable to include links in comments on this site.

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10 months ago Debbie Erman

Thanks! I feel a bit better!! I guess one of my "hobbies" other than cooking is yakking, and my husband, sons, and girlfriends would agree with THAT!
Thanks for the info that it's okay to post someone else's website.
Cheers!

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10 months ago Monika Kordulova

Are the almonds already without bulb or do you use almonds with the brown bulb?;)

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10 months ago Lianne Friedman

Has anyone then made yogurt from the milk?

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10 months ago Debbie Erman

I am going to try it THIS week! Tired of buying non-dairy yogurt that is over-priced and I don't even really like it. So, I will post my results after I make yogurt with this recipe!

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11 months ago TOCOOK

you can also add the pulp in your cookie :-)

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11 months ago TOCOOK

has anybody else tried putting the soaked and skined almonds through the juicer along with a few dates. you'd have to add water while it's going throug the machine. i have. turned out pretty good.

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11 months ago Ellen Francis

Since there's so many additives in commercial nut milks (like carrageenan), it's great to learn how easy it is to make your own. Take a look at why carrageenan is in store bought almond milks and how to do it at home---so delicious too! http://veganamericanprincess...

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about 1 year ago dfcourtright

this was good with a hint of cinnamon. i used a bandana to strain for lack of cheesecloth!

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over 1 year ago Debbie Erman

This turned out absolutely perfect. I have ONE brand that I truly enjoy, and of course, it's on the expensive side. I believe this is at least as good if not better! Thank you so much!!! Someone else made a comment about saving the nut pulp and making hummus from it. I didn't add the vanilla or honey until after I strained this in a nut milk bag. Does anyone know how you would make hummus from the nut pulp? I imagine you would just use it in place of the garbanzo beans. In any case, I am thrilled that I have made my own nut milk and that it's this delicious. So glad I found this site. I made some amazing olive oil granola someone else posted, so it's been a good day in the kitchen!

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over 1 year ago NicoletteDickerson

That carafe looks absolutely perfect for this!!! Would you be able to tell me where I can get it on Amazon? Thanks. :D

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over 1 year ago beejay45

Isn't that just a Weck juice bottle? Look at weckjars dot com. You can order direct, or they will tell you where you can get their jars.

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over 1 year ago LuCinda Nedimyer

William Sonoma has these in their canning section

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over 1 year ago casperlory

this recipe is terrific! may i ask if you have any comparable oat milk recipes?

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over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks for your comment, casperlory! So glad you like it. I've never made oat milk. You should post a question on the FOOD52 hotline; there may be others in the community who have made it, and who can help. ;o)

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over 1 year ago InspectorJon

We found that a one gallon paint strainer bag from the paint store or big box building supply works great in place of cheesecloth. They are inexpensive, easy to use and clean and are reusable for a long time. Be sure to clean it well before using.

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over 1 year ago beejay45

I'm so glad I saw this. I've been wanting to make almond milk, but I thought it would take pounds of almonds to make this amount of milk. So glad to see that's not the case. Thanks!

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over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Happy to have been of help here. I hope you do try making your own. It's so easy and it's actually more cost effective than buying almond milk . . . not to mention that it tastes much, much better! ;o)

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over 1 year ago vvvanessa

Sounds great! I love almond milk but hate all the thickeners (and packaging waste) from the store-bought ones.

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over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks, vvvanessa. I'm totally with you on the packaging waste. I don't buy anything in packaging of any kind (even relatively innocuous foods like canned legumes) for that very reason, unless I absolutely have to do so. ;o)