How to Make Oat Milk and 5 Other Low Waste Milk Recipes

Max La Manna shares 6 simple ways to make milk with less waste, including oat milk and almond milk, to help reduce your plastic waste at home.

As a zero waste chef and advocate of mindful consumption, I’m always looking for ways of creating the lowest impact possible – consumption and waste wise.  Whether it’s shopping at a local farmer’s market, walking instead of driving, turning the tap off when brushing our teeth – these all seem like small actions we can all make in our daily lives immediately.  These small actions are a drop of water in a pond.  They make a ripple effect and those ripples impact those around us and those around the world.  You can have a cloudy day, but that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t shining.

When I started making those small changes towards living with less waste, I looked at what I was consuming daily.  I made a consumption audit and devised a plan to shop for produce with no packaging, go to bulk stores and make my own products from scratch.  This may seem like hard work, and of course it will be because it’s something you haven’t been doing all this time. Where do I begin and how do I start? Give it a try for a couple days, a few weeks or even a month and see your results.  No one says you have to do this perfectly.

One product that I was consuming regularly that was on my audit was milk.  Milk, in my generation, has always been packaged in plastic or tetra packs.  When will the milkman or woman come back to our doorsteps and be the trend again? I needed to find my substitutions of plastic products more and more each day and needed to create that space between plastic and me.

I knew that if I’m drinking oat or almond milk from a packaged container, I then could make this milk myself from scratch. I then set off to a nearby bulk store for nuts, seeds and grains.  Anything that I’ve seen on a shelf in a supermarket, I knew I could make myself.  

How To Make Milk

The process is simple: Soak nuts, seeds or grains in water overnight; Strain water, rinse, add clean water, blend, strain again and consume.  Don’t believe how simple this can be and how much money you can actually save? Take my word for it and give it try.  I made enough barley milk for three days’ worth for two people and it cost me 10 pence.

Each of the milks you create will be good for up to 3-5 days for the freshest quality (it’s best when you can make it fresh and on the spot).  Here is how you do it…


Soak overnight:

Almonds 8-12 hours 
Walnuts 4 hours
Hazelnuts 8 hours
Oats 1 hour
Barley 1 hour
Pumpkin Seeds up to 8 hours

  • Be sure to drain and rinse after the soaking process.
  • Then add your choice of nut, seed or grain to a blender. 
  • Add 4 cups of filtered water, 1-2 dates (pitted), pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.  
  • Blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes until a smooth consistency. (If using almonds, peel the skin of the almond first before blending.  The skin can be used in making baked goods, like granola.)
  • Next, strain your milk through muslin cloth, cheesecloth, milk bag or whatever will allow you to strain off your milk.  
  • Add your milk to clean, airtight container and store in your fridge for 3-4 days for the best and freshest quality.
  • With the pulp that is left over, you have a few choices to create with it:
    • You can choose the simple route of composting.  If you don’t have compost caddy, contact your local council and request a bin.  
    • If you have space in your garden or yard, dig a hole 12 inches deep and dispose properly.  Cover the hole back up with soil and other green material; like grass, leaves or hay.
    • Another option is to use the pulp for baking.  I like using the pulp in replacement of flour for making pancakes.  You can also add pulp to other baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and muffins.

See our guide on where to buy bulk in the UK.

For more tips, tricks and hacks for eating more plants and creating less waste, follow Max La Manna