I might be revealing a bit too much about what generation I'm in when I confess: I adore oat milk. Or "milk," I should say. It took me—like the rest of the tristate area—by storm, when it arrived in New York City a few years back. And then things took a turn when an Oatly shortage befell the city earlier this year. I had to take matters into my own hands.
After much testing, this is the recipe I have found best strikes the balance of exceedingly creamy, and minimally fussy. I should note, though, that I was able to produce oat milk with a wide variety of oat types, across many different lengths of soaking period (including none at all). In other words, use what you have on hand, and don't fret too much. Cut some of the water or soak for longer if you'd like it even creamier—or thin to your heart's desire with more liquid. —Ella Quittner
about 4 1/2 cups oat milk
For Plain Oat Milk (Unsweetened)
1 1/2 cups
old fashioned rolled oats
water (room temperature), plus more if needed to thin
For Chocolate and Vanilla Varieties (Optional)
plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup, divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon
small pinch of salt plus 1 large pinch of salt (plus more to taste)
plus 2 teaspoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with its blade, soak oats in water for 15 minutes.
Then, blend for about 45 seconds, until it looks homogenous and opaque. (There will still be very small shards of oat floating in the liquid.) Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a container (ideally one that has a pour spout), using a spatula to push as much liquid through as you can. You should get about 4 1/2 cups of liquid, the consistency of cream—this is your unsweetened oat milk. If you would like to thin it, just stir in additional water to your desired consistency.
From here, the possibilities are endless—you could make a sweetened variety by adding maple syrup, agave, honey, or any soluble sweetener you like (to taste), plus a pinch of salt. You could add some cinnamon. Or, you could divide the batch in two, and make vanilla and chocolate flavors to drink with an amusingly patterned straw, as follows:
Into one half-batch, whisk 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1 small pinch of salt. (This is the vanilla flavor.)
In a separate container, make chocolate syrup: Whisk together 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, and a large pinch of salt, until the cocoa powder has dissolved. Add the remaining half-batch of oat milk to the chocolate syrup and whisk to combine. (This is the chocolate flavor.)
Note: Oat milk should be stored covered in the refrigerator. It keeps up to a few days. The milk will separate as it sits; just stir from the bottom to recombine.
Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.