Oat milk is made by soaking oatmeal in water, then filtering off the solid materials. Oat milk has a distinctive sweet taste and is lactose-free, but has a similar consistency to milk, and can even be steamed for lattes just like real cow’s milk.
Oat milk is one of a number of popular non-dairy substitutes, and in its natural form, it has a solid protein content and is low in sugar as well.
Looking for the best oat milk? Our researchers have ranked and reviewed the ten best brands on the market.
1. Oatly Oat Drink
Oatly Oat Drink is a super-simple and delicious oat milk that’s only got a few ingredients. Aside from the obvious (oatmeal and water), it has rapeseed oil for a creamier texture as well as calcium and vitamin D, which are nutrients you’d get in standard fortified milk that also need to be added to oat milk.
Another reason it’s a great choice is for what’s not in it, which is added sugar. This oat milk is a great all-around pick and is our number one choice.
2. Pacific Natural Foods Organic Oat Milk
Pacific Natural Foods Organic Oat Milk comes in a large 32 ounce carton and is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B2. It also has no added sugar, and is a good all-purpose replacement for dairy.
This oat milk uses gellan gum instead of vegetable oils to achieve a creamy texture, so if you don’t enjoy the texture of some of the other oat milk products on this list, give Pacific Natural Foods a try.
3. Oatly Oat Milk Barista Edition
Oatly Oat Milk Barista Edition is quite similar to Oatly’s flagship oat milk, but has some additional ingredients to stabilize the acidity of the oat milk and to make it steam with a better texture.
It’s still got no added sugar, which is great if you enjoy lattes but are trying to keep your sugar intake low. Among the oat milks specifically made for lattes and other coffee or tea-based drinks, this is one of the best options.
4. Pacific Foods Vanilla Oat Milk
With their vanilla flavor, Pacific Foods puts a sweeter twist on the standard oat milk taste. As one of the few oat milk manufacturers to offer a vanilla flavored oat milk, it’s pretty much the only choice if you prefer your non-dairy milk beverages to have a vanilla tinge.
Aside from the vanilla flavoring, it’s the same kind of oat milk you’d expect from Pacific Foods, with no sugar added and fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
5. Rise Brewing Company Oat Milk Latte
If you’re getting oat milk to add to your coffee to make a latte, why not cut out the middleman? Rise Brewing Company Oat Milk Latte is a cold-brew nitro latte that uses oat milk as one of its primary ingredients.
It comes in a seven ounce can that you can easily store in your fridge and grab as you walk out the door.
At 12 grams of sugar, it’s a bit on the sweet side for people looking to keep their refined carbohydrate intake low, but it’s a decent choice for the occasional treat while still retaining the health benefits of oats.
6. Oatly Organic Creamy Oat
Oatly has a real winner with their creamy oat milk, which serves as a fantastic replacement for single cream for people who can’t eat dairy.
Amazingly, it has no added sugar and uses a mixture of rapeseed oil, palm oil, and rapeseed lecithin to create a heavy, easily creamed solution that still has the distinctive sweetness of oat milk.
If you’re looking for something to replace cream in recipes, this is definitely the best option.
7. Elmhurst Milked Oats
Elmhurst Milked Oats has an incredibly simple ingredients list, but it also has a few shortcomings. The biggest one for most people will be the added sugars; each serving has four grams of sugar added in the form of cane sugar.
While that’s not a huge amount of sugar compared to a soda or fruit juice, it’s still enough that people who are strict about added sugar might steer away from this product.
From a nutrient perspective, another issue is the lack of fortification with vitamin D and calcium. If you’re using oat milk to replace cow’s milk and other dairy products in your diet, you might not get enough calcium if it’s not added to your oat milk.
While the lack of fortified nutrients makes Elmhurst Milked Oats have fewer ingredients, many people might prefer an oat milk that is fortified.
8. Pacific Natural Foods Barista Series Oat Milk
Pacific Natural Foods Barista Series Oat Milk is the latte-friendly version of Pacific Natural Foods’ oat milk product line.
It uses canola oil for additional frothiness and ability to be steamed. However, some users find that it leaves a bit of an aftertaste when steamed, which might be attributable to some of the ingredient choices that distinguish this oat milk from its competitors.
9. Alpro Longlife Oat Milk
Alpro Longlife Oat Milk is a pretty standard oat milk, coming in a one liter carton and having been fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to distinguish it or set it apart from the rest of the competition, which lands it farther down in the rankings.
10. Quaker Frescavena Vanilla
Quaker Frescavena Vanilla is an oat-based drink, but it’s far different from the other oat milks on this list. It’s much sweeter, relying on sugar for its flavoring, and delivers 17 grams of sugar per serving.
It also uses oat flour, which has been processed much more heavily than regular oats that are used to make standard oat milk.
From a health and nutrition perspective, it’s far outclassed by its competitors, which lands it at the bottom of the rankings.
Oat milk benefits and side effects
Oat milk is one of a number of options for a non-dairy milk replacement for people who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy.
Along with other choices like flax milk, almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk, oat milk provides a liquid beverage that has some protein content, very little fat, and (when unsweetened) not much in the way of sugar either.
Often, oat milk is also fortified to include calcium and vitamin D, which are nutrients that you would be getting if you were drinking cow’s milk.
A fortified oat milk means you can get the same nutrient value without any lactose or dairy.
Oat milk is fairly low in sugar and high in protein. One issue that you’ll often run into when looking for replacements for cow’s milk is a beverage that preserves the nutritional value of real milk.
Dairy milk tastes sweet, but it’s because of the lactose, which is a form of sugar which is digested slowly and thus does not contribute to the spikes in blood sugar that are related to obesity, type two diabetes, and other problems associated with a high intake of simple carbohydrates.
Not all milk replacements offer the same kind of nutrients, but oat milk does. Oat milk’s sugar content is modest, at just shy of ten grams per eighth-ounce serving, and its protein content is modest as well, at about three grams of protein per eighth-ounce serving.
You do need to watch out for oat milk that has added sugar, though—while the highest quality brands use only natural ingredients and do not add any sugar to their oat milk, some other brands will add sugar to enhance the sweetness of oat milk.
This is more prevalent among oat milk products that are specifically aimed at being added to coffee to make lattes, but you’ll occasionally run into regular oat milk with added sugar too.
Most people, however, specifically enjoy oat milk because it does not require any added sugar to have a sweet taste to it, unlike non-dairy milk from almonds or flax.
Oat milk contains beta- glucans which can improve heart health. One of the distinct benefits of oat milk, as opposed to other sources of non-dairy milk, is its content of a particular type of complex carbohydrate that is found in the kernel of the oat grain called beta glucans.
They been investigated for several decades for its beneficial effects on heart health, and fortunately for drinkers of oat milk, beta glucans are a type of soluble fiber, meaning they are retained in the solution when oats are soaked in water to make oat milk.
One study published in 1994 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the effects of beta glucans from oats on the treatment of high cholesterol (1).
Twenty adults with high blood cholesterol levels were split into two groups, and randomly assigned either a liquid drink with beta glucans or a placebo drink to consume twice per day for four weeks. Then, the subjects switched treatments—the placebo group started taking the beta glucan supplement, and vice versa.
The results showed that the beta glucan was able to lower both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, which is known as a strong risk factor for heart disease.
A review article published in 2012 cited further studies indicating that beta glucans from oats lower bad cholesterol levels, raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and help with weight maintenance (2).
The evidence for the cardiovascular benefits of oat beta glucans is strong enough that regulatory bodies in both the United States and the European Union have approved marketing claims for oat products that discuss its heart health benefits.
The beta glucans in oat milk may also help with digestion and immune function by improving your gut bacteria. Reducing risk factors for heart disease isn’t the only thing that beta glucans can help with.
Research published by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2013 in the journal Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre indicates that beta glucans are also useful food sources for beneficial bacteria in your gut, which have a wide range of benefits ranging from better immune function to better digestion (3).
Longer chain beta glucans, which are not digestible by your body, are an excellent food source for the beneficial bacteria that live in your stomach and intestines; indeed, beta-glucans are occasionally found as ingredients in prebiotic supplements for exactly this reason.
A robust and healthy probiotic bacteria population in your gut is essential for maintaining proper immune system function and proper digestive function, so oat milk can be quite beneficial on both of these fronts.
In principle, you could make oat milk with just two ingredients: oats and water. As such, its potential for side effects is essentially zero, setting aside people with rare allergies to oats.
Typically, you’ll see a few more ingredients in oat milk products, like calcium and vitamin D to fortify the vitamin and mineral content so it’s on par with regular cows milk, but these don’t add any additional potential for side effects.
Oat milk is quite safe even in large amounts for anyone, as long as they don’t have an oat allergy.
Oat milk is a dairy-free milk replacement that has a number of unique health benefits linked to its beta glucan content.
These special complex carbohydrates can improve your heart health by helping you maintain your weight and decrease your cholesterol levels, as well as improving the quality of your gut microbiome by providing food to the beneficial probiotic bacteria in your body.
It’s a great option for people who are lactose intolerant but still want a sweet beverage that has some protein and isn’t too high in sugar.
Oat milk is free of potential side effects and provides a wide range of health benefits thanks to its beta glucan content, making it one of the best dairy-free replacements for milk.