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6 types of plant milks and how to use them

As we mark World Plant Milk Day, the Veggie team is celebrating the versatility of dairy-free alternatives!

6 types of plant milks and how to use them
Since Plant Based News and ProVeg set up the World Plant Milk Day campaign in 2018, people around the world have cottoned on to the fact that there is a rich variety of plant-based milk alternatives on the market, from cashew and almond to rice and coconut.

Whether you're slowly swapping out dairy milk or have a stash of plant-based varieties at hand, it can be tricky knowing which milk alternative works best for what purpose.

The good news is that most vegan milks can easily replace dairy milk, but keep in mind that flavours differ among plant-based varieties, and the temperature can often affect a milk's consistency.

So, how do you use plant milks in cooking? And which variety is best suited to what purpose? Here's our quick guide to the most popular plant milks, plus some inspiring recipes to get you cooking with non-dairy alternatives!

1 Soy milk

Rich, creamy, and packed with protein, soy milk is perhaps the closest to cow's milk, and one of the best options in terms of cooking. Typically, you can use it to replace whole dairy milk in most recipes, whether it's a sauce, baked good or smoothie. Soy milk also curdles well when mixed with an acid like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (which increases its leavening power) so is a great option for making vegan buttermilk to boost the crumb quality of cakes and muffins.

2 Almond milk

Arguably one of the most popular non-dairy milks today – and an easy one to make at home – almond milk is high in vitamins and nutrients. Slightly sweet and nutty, it works well with cereal or in coffee – though for the latter, you're better to warm up the milk so it doesn't curdle when added to a hot drink. While it works well in savoury dishes, its sweeter flavour means it's best suited for using in smoothies and desserts - like this Guilt-Free Chocolate Mousse. If getting shop-bought almond milk, look for varieties with no added sugar or other unnecessary ingredients.

3 Coconut milk

Editor Sian loves drinking coconut milk straight up, or pouring it into coffee or tea for a rich, creamy cuppa. But it works beautifully in cooking and baking as well, adding a bit of coconut flavour without overpowering a dish. Be careful of the type you purchase, though: tinned coconut milk is too thick and creamy to drink, so look instead for cartons for this purpose. Tinned coconut milk, however, is a great option for vegan whipped cream and to make creamy puddings!

4 Cashew milk

The creamy texture of cashew milk makes it a great option for savoury dishes that require a thick, creamy sauce. It also works well in sweet recipes, desserts and creamy drinks.

5 Oat milk

Content writer Paisley is a fan of oat milk, poured over cereal and in her daily brew. It's also a great option for both sweet and savoury dishes – like this Summer Veg Carbonara – and its texture makes it a good option for curries and light soups.

6 Rice milk

With a more delicate texture and slightly sweeter taste, rice milk is a good option for desserts, soups and light sauces. Some people feel that it has a similar taste to cow's milk, so you may find you prefer it with cereal or coffee.

Has this inspired you to get cooking with plant-based milks? Here are our 5 favourite recipes using dairy-free alternatives.

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