Homemade vanilla almond milk is my new vice. From the moment I nailed down my version of this oh-so-simple recipe, I COULD NOT stop drinking it. Whether straight out of the fridge or in my afternoon coffee, I can’t get enough. It’s creamy, slightly sweet, smooth, and wickedly addictive!
You want to know the best part??? This Vanilla Almond Milk is “no-sugar-added”. That’s right, I don’t add a lick of white sugar, honey, brown sugar, or even agave nectar. I use dates (you know, the fruit that can double as candy) to add a hint of sweetness. Not that the milk needs it, honestly. It’s delicious with the simple addition of vanilla extract, but my kids love the added sweetness so I oblige and put it in. (After all, it’s all about the kids!)
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Do I Need a Nut Milk Bag to Make Almond Milk?
When I first made the milk, I didn’t have my nut milk bag. I’d ordered it but didn’t want to wait to make the milk so I tried to make due with a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth. Boy was that inconvenient! I didn’t get all the fine bites of almond strained out, which left the milk slightly separated (with the heavy nut bits settling to the bottom). Plus, the flavor wasn’t as smooth and subtle. It’s definitely worth the little money to invest in a nut milk bag because it makes the job go so much quicker!
What Can I Do With the Strained Almonds?
One quick note about the finely ground nuts you will strain out of the milk – save this! I use it to make other things because otherwise I would feel so wasteful making the milk. You can add it to things like muffins, pancakes, breads, cookies, etc. Here are two recipes I love making with the leftover almonds:
One ingredient I occasionally add to my almond milk, which is completely optional, is xanthan gum. Say what??? I know, this sounds like something you’d add to franken-food, but it does wonders to the milk by thickening it into a rich velvety consistency, and helping to prevent separation in the milk. (The milk can separate into two subtle layers after sitting a day or two but by adding the xanthan gum, this doesn’t happen).
Xanthan gum is a plant-based fine white powder that has the ability to thicken and stabilize liquids. It is often used in gluten-free baking because it can mimic some of the properties of gluten, even though it is gluten-free.
The beauty of xanthan gum, unlike some other thickeners, is that it does not require heat to thicken a liquid, which makes it a perfect addition to make ultra-creamy almond milk. You can find xanthan gum in many supermarkets – look in the health food section or gluten-free baking section.
Is Almond Milk Dairy Free?
YES! Because almond milk is made from almonds, which are a tree nut, almond milk is dairy free. Almond milk contains no lactose, which makes it easy to digest for people who are intolerant to dairy or lactose!
Adding this Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk to Coffee
Speaking of cappuccinos, one thing I have learned is that for some strange reason, it’s important to put the milk in the cup first, and then add coffee. Going the other route, of putting the coffee in first, and topping it off with the almond milk makes the milk curdle – it doesn’t look or taste good!
So, take my word for it, and add the milk first. You can heat the milk very slightly over low heat (or on a very low power in the microwave) before adding the coffee, but don’t go overboard or the xanthan gum will gel into lumpsI
Have I mentioned how much I love this Vanilla Almond Milk??? Now, you try it and see what you think. Let me know by leaving a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
How to Make Homemade Vanilla Almond:
Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- Cold water
- 6 to 8 pitted whole dates
- ½ cup boiling water
- 3 ½ cups cold water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon xanthan gum, such as Bob’s Red Mill (optional)*
- Place almonds in a 2-quart glass measuring bowl. Add enough cold water to cover the almonds by about 2 inches. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours. (Or, for a quicker soak, add enough boiling or very hot water to cover the almonds by about 2 inches; cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours.)
- In a small bowl combine the dates and boiling water. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. If not blending right away, place dates in the refrigerator until you are ready to blend the milk.
- Drain almonds in a colander. Rinse well with cold water. Transfer almonds to a blender. Add 3 ½ cups cold water and the undrained dates. Cover and blend on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until nuts are very finely ground. Watch blender closely as the mixture will expand as it blends.
- Rinse out the 2-quart glass measuring bowl used to soak the almonds. Place your nut milk bag upright in the bowl and open the top of the bag. Pour the blended mixture into the bag. (make sure your hands are freshly washed for this next step.) Lift and slowly squeeze the bag until all of the liquid is pressed out of the almonds. This takes a bit of time and effort (I’m talking a minute or two) but it’s worth your while to squeeze as much of the liquid out of the nuts as possible. (Dump the strained ground almonds into an airtight container to save for another use. Refrigerate them up to 1 week or freeze for later use).
- Stir vanilla into the almond milk. If using the xanthan gum, rinse out the blender. Add the milk back to the blender. Add xanthan gum; cover and blend on low speed until well combined. Pour into a pitcher; cover and refrigerate up to 5 days.
Thank you for this. I made the fewer date version. I also used half the vanilla and it was perfect for my taste. I usually make it unsweetened and plain. I found your recipe when I was trying to find a good ratio of xantham gum to use. I still love the plain as well, but this is great for variety!
Thank you! I appreciate you letting me know it worked well for you!
Hi Laura, I’m trying to use a thickener. I have guar gum, arrow root, agar and xanthum. Have you had any experience with other products that i’ve listed. Thanks Leo
Hi Leo, I’m sorry but I haven’t tried using guar gum, arrowroot, or agar in my Homemade Almond milk. Just the xanthan gum that I give as an option in the recipe at the bottom of the post. I hope you find one you like!
Thanks for discussing the xantham gum. I’m making almond milk for the 1st time (already have my bag!) Everything was in the blender and I suddenly I wondered, hmmm, would xantham gum help make this smoother? Perhaps even help it foam for my morning cappacino?
A quick google search brought me to your blog. I would have 1) guessed at the amount of gum needed and 2) dumped the gum into the blender on the first pass.
Thanks for recipe!
I hope my Almond Milk recipe worked well for you, Miguel! Let me know if you have any questions! I believe the xanthan gum does help with the foaming quality of the almond milk!
I first enjoyed this recipe just as you concocted it. Next I tried it with almond butter, 3/4 as much as with the raw nuts. It worked great too. That led to further experiments with both raw and toasted nuts, and other nut butters.
So far I’ve made pecan, macadamia, cashew, and hazelnut. All delicious.
The xanthan gum really does improve the mouthfeel.
Thanks so much for your comment and for the sharing what you have tried for customizing the recipe! All of those options sound wonderful and I’m glad you are liking the recipe base! Happy cooking!