6 Mins Read
If you’re tired of buying different alt-milks for different purposes and dealing with all that packaging, or just feel like experimenting with plant-based milks that don’t yet exist, you could do with a nut milk maker. Here are some of the best.
According to industry think tank the Good Food Institute, Americans bought 2% fewer plant-based milks in 2022, but spent 9% more. There has long been a premium on vegan alternatives to conventional protein products like dairy, meat and eggs, and this is no different for alt-milk in the US, which exceeds traditional milk prices by 87%.
Food magazine Bon Appétit found that the cheapest whole milk in major US supermarkets came to two cents per ounce, compared to four and six cents for almond and oat milk, respectively. In fact, the overall cost of plant-based milk is 13-14% higher, according to the Guardian.
This is all to say that as people consumers are hit by inflation and price hikes, and become more conscious about ingredient and packaging waste, some might want to take matters into their own hands.
One way to do so is by using a blender and some form of filtration. If you’re like me, you have a billion jars lying around from your nut butter purchases, zero-waste store visits, or chilli oil experiments. For people like us, products like Open Funk’s Re:Mix, which is a ‘circular blender’, are perfect – it provides you with a lid that fits any 125ml to 1.2 litre jar, no matter the shape. It’s a wonderful way to use what you have and cut down on waste.
Meanwhile, dedicated home machines to make your own alt-milk provide a great solution – and they come in various price ranges to suit your needs. Here are some the best nut milk makers you can buy right now:
ChefWave Milkmade Non-Dairy Milk Maker
Packed with six programmes – almond, soy, cashew, oat, macadamia and coconut milk – the ChefWave Milkmade is one of the most highly rated plant-based milk makers out there. You can choose to make either 10oz or 20oz of milk, and each cycle only takes 10 minutes from start to finish.
There is barely any residue (and any minor grit can be filtered away), which reduces waste and eschews the need to figure out what to do with the leftover pulp from the processed ingredients. The machine does use steam while grinding and blending the ingredients to improve the texture, so the milk comes out warm. And while this can then be chilled in the fridge, you won’t get cold milk ready to use straight away.
But you don’t need to pre-soak ingredients (though rice and unprocessed oats could do with that), nor do you need a nut milk bag. As a bonus, the machine – which comes with a glass pitcher for easy storage – has a self-cleaning feature for the grinding jar. However, it isn’t cheap, landing in what you’d call a mid-range value for a nut milk maker.
You can buy the ChefWave Milkmade Non-Dairy Milk Maker online for $249.95.
Almond Cow is one of the most well-known nut milk brands. It’s probably the fastest as well (reviews have said it can make milk within 15 seconds to a minute). But don’t believe its name – it can make produce than just almond milk.
It has a built-in strainer that automatically filters the liquid from the nuts, seeds and grains you use to make plant-based milk, with a capacity of 48oz (about six cups). But it does require a higher ratio of dry ingredients to water, and hence produces a lot of leftover pulp, which it recommends repurposing in recipes like dips, soups, beverages, etc.
Cleaning has also been mentioned as a potential issue, with the blade attached to the top that contains all the electric components. And like the ChefWave Milkmade, its mid-range cost means it isn’t inexpensive.
You can buy Almond Cow online for $245.
On a slightly lower end of the price spectrum is the Nutr Machine, which is essentially a blender equipped with heating functions. It has three heat settings – room temp, warm (60°C) and boiling (100°C), with the latter used for milks that require cooking, such as soy and rice.
There is no filter involved, but usually, there isn’t a lot of sediment left over. You can process it twice to smoothen things out. There’s also a feature that can keep your milk warm after the processing. But there is a capacity issue – the Nutr Machine is designed to make single servings of milk, between 8oz and 13oz.
The boiling function takes about 20 minutes, and if you want to make larger batches, you’ll need to split it into multiple attempts and wait for the machine to cool down as it can overheat. But it does have a self-cleaning function and its compact size means it is easy to store.
You can buy the Nutr Machine online for $169.
Tribest Soyabella Plant-Based Milk Maker
Also in the lower tier of the pricing pyramid, Tribest’s Soyabella is quite similar to the Almond Cow, with the exception of an added heating setting. While the machine does filter out the pulp, the resulting milk can often be grainy – so running the cycle another time or using an additional filter helps create a smoother texture.
Its build can be tricky, as when the basket is filled with nuts, the attachment isn’t always the most intuitive to put in place. The hot function on the Soyabella – which has a capacity of about 44oz – does take 20 minutes to finish, and cleaning can be tedious as all components need to be hand-washed, and that’s after you’ve fished out the okara or nut pulp.
Tribest also offers a Soyabella model with a tofu kit for those who’d like to make homemade tofu, which includes a mould/press and cheesecloth. (You do need your own coagulant.)
You can buy the Tribest Soyabella online for $109.95.
NutraMilk Nut Processor
The clue is in the name. The NutraMilk Nut Processor is at the very high end of the price spectrum and takes a two-step approach to making plant-based milk. It’s essentially a premium food processor with a spigot, with the machine processing unroasted nuts into nut butter, before asking you to add milk and blending it all together.
It can also produce two litres of milk, which is the highest on this list. You also don’t need to soak any nuts or seeds – in fact, if you do choose to soak them, they’ll need to be dry before you can use them in the NutraMilk Nut Processor. There’s also a stainless steel filter to help remove any residual pulp and pour a smoother plant-based milk through the tap.
Cleaning is easy too as all parts are dishwasher-friendly, but the multistep process does mean there is a longer wait time to make room-temperature alt milk. Oat milk can take up to five minutes, while almond milk might need 11 minutes. But there is a great multi-utility factor if you’re into oat and seed flours or unroasted nut butters.
You can buy the NutraMilk Nut Processor online for $499.95.