Whether you are vegan, lactose-intolerant, or simply prefer plant-based milk to cow’s milk, almond milk can be a tasty and sustainable substitute. As more and more people make the switch to plant-based milk like nut or oat milk, traditional milk sales in the United States have dropped more than $1 billion in 2018, and for good reason. Almond milk — whether store-bought or made at home — can be downright delicious. Couple that tastiness with the fact that you’re doing good for the environment, and plant-based milks really feel like the direction the US is headed in.
Almond milk can go far and beyond what it’s normally used for (you know, a tall glass of milk or for dipping Oreos). Sure, almond milk makes a great lactose-free alternative in your morning cereal or used as a creamer of sorts in your cup of coffee, but did you also know that you can cook with almond milk?
Can You Cook With Almond Milk?
In most recipes, you can use almond milk as an alternative to traditional cow’s milk by simply doing a cup-to-cup replacement. That means if a recipe calls for 1C cow’s milk, you can instead use 1C almond milk. Certain recipes, of course, might need minor adjustments, but rest assured, it’s totally possible to cook with almond milk.
Almond milk can be used in recipes for baked goods such as cookies and cakes, muffins, pancakes, and even savory dishes like garlic bread and hummus. Don’t believe it? Almond Breeze’s website has a whole section dedicated to almond milk recipes and it includes everything from breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes to holiday favorites and even desserts.
Is It OK to Boil Almond Milk?
The number one question people have when it comes to cooking with almond milk is whether or not it’s OK to boil almond milk. Though almond milk might be fundamentally different than cow’s milk, the process of heating it up is pretty much the same.
To heat almond milk, add water to the bottom of a pan, then place another boiling pan on it. Put both on medium-to-low heat, adding the almond milk to the top pan. This is called double boiler heating and ensures that the almond milk gets heated gradually.
In order to heat almond milk, you could also use the microwave. Pour almond milk in a microwave-safe container. Heat the almond milk for 30 seconds at a time.
Whether you are heating almond milk by way of double boiler or microwave, it is important to not let almond milk actually boil. Almond milk may easily burn and burnt almond milk can be bitter and change the taste.
Which Non-Dairy Milk Is the Best for Cooking?
Almond milk is largely recognized as the best non-dairy, plant-based milk for cooking. Almond milk is a one-to-one substitute for traditional cow’s milk, meaning that if a recipe calls for 1C of milk, you can substitute it with the same amount of almond milk.
Almond milk does not have a strong almond flavor, which is another reason it makes a good choice for baking. If a recipe doesn’t call for almonds or almond flavorings, then you don’t have to worry about the taste of almonds overpowering the milk. Because the almond flavor is minimum, you won’t taste almonds in whatever it is you bake.
Lastly, almond milk can very easily be turned into “buttermilk,” according to Food Network. Simply add a tablespoon of lemon juice (or alternatively, a teaspoon of vinegar) to a cup of almond milk and you’ll have created a similar consistency to traditional buttermilk.
How to Heat Almond Milk
It is possible to cook with almond milk, but there are a few things you may want to keep in mind while working with almond milk near the stove. According to Leaf TV, when cooking with almond milk, you’ll want to use moderate heat. Refrain from turning the heat up too high or too low; too high a temperature could scorch the milk or even form a weird layer of skin around the milk. It’s also important to continuously stir almond milk when working with it on a stove top.
When working with a recipe that traditionally uses cow’s milk, you may need to reduce the baking time (just a little bit). Keep an eye on whatever it is you are cooking or baking. It’s possible that the almond milk causes the food to bake faster, so make sure to check in on the consistency.
Remember that almond milks — especially store-bought ones as opposed to almond milk made from scratch at home — are generally sweetened with added sugar. Therefore, almond milk may have more sugar than traditional cow’s milk. Because of this, you may want to compensate for the added sugar by reducing the amount of sugar a recipe calls for by anywhere from one-third to one-half.
If you are using almond milk for a recipe that needs to thicken — such as pudding or custard recipes — you may find that you need to add a few tablespoons of flour. Almond milk is thinner than traditional cow’s milk. If you’re making your own almond milk at home, you could make it naturally creamier by adding two or three dates to the almond milk recipe. But if you’re using store-bought almond milk or almond milk that’s already been made without dates, you can add a few tablespoons of flour to thicken the milk.
Lastly, when cooking with almond milk, you may want to be wary of recipes heavy with acidic ingredients. According to Leaf TV, ingredients such as tomatoes or lemons could potentially cause almond milk to curdle while baking or cooking.