Homemade Rice Milk – The Healthy, Cheap Dairy Alternative
For various reasons, which will be further explored on this blog in the future, I choose not to give my kids much dairy. I certainly never give them cow’s milk (I do give them some dairy products, to help prevent them from developing allergies), but at the same time, I prefer not to give them a lot of commercially purchased milks. My solution is to make my own milk substitute: rice milk!
There are a lot of concerns about feeding kids too much soy (yet another blog topic for the future – I’m going to be busy!), so I rarely give my kids soymilk. I prefer to limit their soy intake to tofu and tempeh. Almond milk is great, but it does contain nuts, which means it’s not a good ingredient to include in dishes for guests or that must be nut-free to be sent to school (it’s also a bit more difficult to make at home). Even oat milk and rice milk purchased at the store can contain additives, sugars, flavorings, and preservatives. Even if you do find a milk substitute that meets your standards, it becomes incredibly expensive to purchase on a regular basis.
What if there was a healthy milk alternative that was both cheap and easy to make? Enter homemade rice milk!
Most people are amazed when I tell them how easy rice milk is to make. It really does take 5 minutes or less to make, per liter.
And how about the cost? Mine comes in at about 30 cents per liter, which is up to a tenth of what it costs to buy it in the store (of course where you live affects your savings, but where else can you get organic brown rice milk for so cheap?!).
Because the rice milk I make at home is so easy to make and so cheap, nobody in my family has any qualms about using it in large quantities. I substitute it for milk in almost every recipe. Sometimes I even substitute it for water in recipes to give some added nutrition to a dish, added creaminess, and added flavor.
Bear in mind that rice is gluten free, so this is a good substitute for people who are allergic to many major allergens like wheat, soy, or nuts.
The best thing about making your own rice milk, which trumps even the time and money factors, is that you can customize it. Want it sweeter or less sweet? Adjust the amount of sweetener you add. Want it flavored? Add your own preferred amount of essence or flavoring – the sky is the limit! Now you don’t have to be limited to just vanilla and chocolate flavorings. Want your rice milk thinner? Add more water. Want it thicker? Add less water. No matter what you want it for or what your personal preference is, you can make it to be exactly the way you want it to be.
The only downside I find is that no matter how much I blend mine up, it still separates a bit in the fridge. But is this really a downside? After all, even commercially produced rice milks with homogenization equipment available still have to be shaken before use. And how much effort is it to shake up some rice milk before using anyway? But this is actually the only bad thing about homemade rice milk that I could come up with. I’m really grasping at straws here!
My kids love this rice milk and actually… so do I. I can’t stand the flavor of commercially produced milk substitutes. They just do not have the right kind of texture to compare at all with the cow’s milk I grew up on. But fresh rice milk, straight out of the blender and ever so slightly warm…. Oh, yeah, that’s creamy and delicious, I have to admit!
At the very least, this recipe is worth a try. At best you and your kids will love it and it will revolutionize your cooking. It will help you and your kids to lead healthier lives and consume a healthier diet. And at worst? Well, you have a liter of rice milk that cost you 30 cents – add it to some baking and never worry about it again. But somehow I don’t think that will be the outcome.
Homemade Rice Milk
1 cup cooked rice (I recommend organic brown rice, but you can use any kind of rice left over from dinner – I have used basmati, jasmine, and other kinds of rice and they all turn out delicious)
1 pinch salt (I recommend pink Himalayan salt)
1 tbsp sweetener (I use agave nectar or honey, depending on whether or not I want the resulting milk to be vegan, but any kind of sweetener will work – I have used date syrup, unrefined molasses sugar, and maple syrup – just be aware these may slightly alter the resulting flavor)
4 cups filtered water
- Cook rice if not done already. Whenever I cook rice for a meal, I make extra to use for this purpose. Alternatively, make a big batch and freeze one-cup servings of rice to use for making rice milk. Cooked rice freezes surprisingly well!
- Add all ingredients to blender.
- Blend on high for 4 minutes in a conventional blender or 2 minutes in a Vitamix/professional catering blender.
- Serve, use in cooking, or put in a container in the fridge. Keeps in the fridge for approximately 5 days.
- Shake before using if it has been stored in the fridge.
- Add flavorings to make your rice milk more exciting and varied. Pureed strawberries for strawberry milk (or add whole strawberries when you blend the milk), cacao powder for chocolate milk (you may need additional sweetener), vanilla essence for vanilla milk. But don’t think you need to stop there. Why limit yourself? What about mango milk? Or try adding some interesting essences for different flavors. Almond essence can fool people into thinking they’re drinking almond milk, or better. Mix some mint essence into chocolate rice milk for mint chocolate milk. Any flavor you can imagine can be mixed in to make this drink more palatable for picky kids!
I use rice milk for everything. Pancakes, muffins, and bread in baking. I mix it into scrambled eggs, frittatas, and quiches. I use it in smoothies and desserts. And, of course, I use it on its own, for drinking or for cereal. Try using flavored rice milk with plain cereals like Weet Bix, pure shredded wheat, or plain puffed cereals. Adding a flavored milk like chocolate or strawberry will give the cereal the impression of having the fun flavor, too. This can help you cut the heavy artificial sweeteners and flavors out of kids’ diets by enabling you to eliminate heavily flavored and sweetened cereals from their diets.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for rice milk as much as we do!