Years ago, in a pre-Whole Foods universe, the nondairy milk section was much, much drabber territory than it is today. Those who chose to navigate it were met with the same dismal choices: industrially produced soy; watery rice; and, if you were lucky, some sort of sweetened coconut substance better suited for chicken curry than for Cheerios. Thankfully, though, the last decade has brought a new generation of plant-based milk to the shelves, each more enticing than the last. But how does one even begin to choose?
These seven healthy nondairy milks, ranging from hemp milk to almond milk to pea milk, represent the cream of the creamless crop.
As simple and satisfying as a hot cup of coffee, most of these plant-based milks derive their velvety smooth consistency and layered nuttiness from just four ingredients: water, nuts, a little cane sugar, and a dash of salt.The New York-based company offers a bunch of sweetened and unsweetened options, including peanut, cashew, walnut, almond, and, ahem, chocolate peanut (!!!). No matter the flavor, rest assured they all come from a facility that’s 100-percent gluten-free and sensitive to other allergies, so it’s a reliable pick if you’ve got other concerns on your plate. ($4.99; amazon.com)
Doesn’t this already sound like something you want to try? Made from raw macadamia nuts and known for its smooth consistency, slightly earthy aroma, and tiny hint of sweetness, this calcium-rich winner is great for replacing coconut milk (or any other milk, really) in everything from coffee and tea to cereal, oatmeal, smoothies and even baked goods. Be sure to also check out the Latte Da barista version for all your frothy macchiato-topping needs. ($4.19; thrivemarket.com)
Heat up a mug of this organic drink, which combines the natural butteriness of the almighty cashew with dates, cassava root, gluten-free oats, vanilla, and a touch of sea salt, and you’ll find yourself drifting away to cozy land faster than you can say, “Cue the Netflix.” And if you insist on changing out of your sweatpants and facing the world, throw a couple ounces of the stuff into a blender with your favorite smoothie add-ins for the ultimate morning bev.($5.99; jet.com)
No golden milk latte is complete without a healthy dose of luxe unsweetened coconut milk, and no one supplies the goods quite like Pacific, the OG of the nondairy beverage world.Simple, organic ingredients have fueled this eco-friendly company’s fire since 1987 and its products—pure, straightforward, and unadulterated—reflect its philosophy. Plus they’re a bonafide bargain. If it ain’t broke, right?($2.59; thrivemarket.com)
Milk? From peas? You better believe it. Every mom’s favorite dinnertime veg has recently broken into the plant-based beverage world and Ripple, headed in part by the mastermind behind Method cleaning products, is definitely ahead of the curve. Its spick and span flavor profile and easy drinking consistency make it as suitable for cereal as for coffee, tea, or even slurped straight up through a bendy straw. ($5.99; jet.com)
If nuts (or peas) aren’t your bag, try this Swedish-born oat number on for size. Its ultra-lusciousness—we’re talking whole-milk status here—make it a gooey chocolate (or carob) chip cookie’s best friend. It’s great for dressing up a warm drink without substantially altering the flavor and comes stocked with calcium, vitamins, and lots of fiber to start your day off right. (The cool packaging doesn’t hurt either.) ($23 (six pack); us.oatley.com)
One-hundred percent organic; produced in a gluten-free, soy-free, and peanut-free space; and the official almond milk of Whole Foods’ Allegro Coffee bar, this is one coffee-friendly dairy alternative. New Barn consulted with real-deal baristas to come up with a recipe that not only transforms into the softest cappuccino foam around but also works as the ideal semi-sweet creamer for non-espresso beverages. Hey, if Whole Foods approves, who are we to disagree? ($6.49; jet.com)