Find out if oat milk is safe for a gluten-free diet, get a list of gluten-free oat milk brands, as well as some brands you’ll want to avoid.
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If you’ve been down any refrigerated case or health food aisle in the last few years, you’ve likely come across oat milk. And if you’re anything like me, your first thought when seeing it was “Oat…. Milk?”
The idea of milking oats or somehow getting a liquid from oats seems so extremely strange, and yet it’s been made into a beverage – and a very good one at that! Oat milk is a popular plant-based beverage that’s become popular in the last few years alongside other nut milks, seed milks, grain milks, flax milk, and even banana milk. Yes, you read that right: banana. Milk. Who knew?!
So if you’re looking for a new plant-based milk option, are trying to avoid dairy for health or other reasons, or are just plain curious about oat milk, I’ve got you covered in this blog post.
We’re going to talk about what oat milk is, what it’s used for, and definitely what it’s made of. We’ll talk about how oat milk fits into a dairy-free diet, and what you need to know about oat milk and gluten. Finally, we’ll wrap this post up with a list of some oat milks to look for next time you’re at the store.
Let’s talk oat milk!
What is oat milk?
Oat milk is considered a plant-based milk that is made from mixing oats with water, then straining out the solids. Oat milk is creamy in texture and has a slight oat flavor. It is often used as a milk alternative for folks who are looking to avoid dairy in their diets.
What is oat milk used for?
Oat milk is a newer plant-based milk that has come onto the market in the past few years as the trend of moving towards more plant-based eating has become popular. All kinds of plant-based milks have shown up at grocery stores and coffee shops, including almond, cashew, pea, and macadamia nut milks.
Oat milk can be used in any way that you’d use cow’s milk. It is an alternative that works great in most recipes that don’t require a fat component, like heavy cream or cow’s milk might. Oat milk can be used for baking, in coffee or latte drinks, and breakfast dishes like french toast or waffles.
You can also use oat milk for making a plant-based pudding or casserole in place of cow’s milk in a traditional recipe, like rice pudding, tapioca pudding, or homemade macaroni and cheese. Oat milk adds a creamy texture to smoothies and ice cream.
What is oat milk made of?
Oat milk is made with just two simple ingredients: oats and water. More ingredients can be added, and probably are added with store-bought versions, but a basic recipe only requires these two ingredients.
Rolled or steel cut oats are blended with water in a high speed blender, then this mixture is strained through a cheesecloth or other sieve to remove the solids. This liquid left behind is a creamy oat milk that’s perfect for all your favorite recipes.
Store-bought oat milks may contain other ingredients, like oil, added vitamins and minerals, sea salt, gellan or other gums for texture, ascorbic acid, sugar or other sweeteners, and flavorings.
What is dairy?
Dairy is a general name for ANY food that is made from milk. Technically, this is any food made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk or sheep’s milk. Any animal milk is dairy.
However, mostly when we’re talking about dairy, we’re talking about drinking cow’s milk, because that’s what is most popular here in the United States.
Are oats dairy-free?
Oats come from a plant and are therefore completely dairy-free and safe to enjoy on a dairy-free diet. Oats in any preparation are dairy-free, but be sure that however the oats are prepared does not include dairy products, like milk or cream to keep it dairy-free.
Is oat milk dairy-free?
Since oat milk is made using oats and no animal milk, this drink doesn’t contain any dairy and is safe for a dairy-free diet. Oat milk is considered dairy-free.
You can use oat milk in place of regular cow’s milk in any of your dairy-free recipes. It’s great for baking, in coffee, in soups, in smoothies, and to be enjoyed on its own.
Is oat milk lactose-free?
Oat milk contains no dairy and lactose is a protein found in cow’s milk. Oat milk is made with oats and water, so this product is naturally lactose-free and safe for people who avoid lactose in their diets.
Is oat milk gluten-free?
Not all oat milk is gluten-free. That’s because not all oats are considered gluten-free. In order to have gluten-free oat milk, you’ll need to look for a gluten-free label on the packaging of the oat milk.
Without a gluten-free label or certified gluten-free label, you’re likely to run into the possibility of cross-contamination with gluten containing ingredients in your oat milk.
Read on: Is oat milk gluten-free?
Read on: Are oats gluten-free?
Read on: Is oat flour gluten-free?
Read on: Is oatmeal gluten-free?
Brands of dairy-free oat milk
Since most brands of oat milk are considered to be dairy-free, you’ll likely not have any problem finding a dairy-free oat milk that works well for you. Here are a few brands you may want to be on the lookout for next time you’re at the store looking for a dairy-free milk alternative to try out.
Those with an asterisk (*) are labeled by the brand as gluten-free, in case you’re like me and also avoid gluten along with being dairy-free.
Califia Farms have a few different oat milk options, all of which are gluten-free.
- Original Protein Oat
- Vanilla Protein Oat
- Original Oatmilk
- Vanilla Oatmilk
- Oat Barista Blend
- Mushroom Oat Barista Blend
Chobani makes oat milk in a few different flavors and are considered dairy-free and vegan. They carry oat milk for cooking and drinking, as well as coffee creamers and yogurts.
The ingredients list does not indicate they use gluten-free rolled oats in their recipe, so I’d steer clear of this option if you need to avoid even trace amounts of gluten in your diet.
- Zero Sugar Plain
- Zero Sugar Vanilla
- Plain Extra Creamy
Read on: Are rolled oats gluten-free?
This oat milk brand is considered dairy-free and lactose free. It works well in smoothies, coffee, or to drink plain on its own. There are no notes on gluten in the oats used, so I’d assume this brand to not be safe for a gluten-free diet.
- Oat Unsweetened
- Oat Original
Elmhurst offers “milked oats” oat milk in a few different flavors. Each of these have a gluten-free label, so you can be sure there is less than 20ppm of gluten. All three of their flavors are vegan and dairy-free.
Forager offers an organic oatmilk that uses gluten-free oats and they promote that they don’t use any gums or additives in their products. This brand is certified vegan, organic, dairy-free, and soy-free too.
Good + Gather
Good + Gather is Target’s grocery line of products and they offer an oat milk that is considered vegan and dairy-free. The website labels it as gluten-free and says it does not contain any of the 8 major allergens, however there isn’t an actual gluten-free label on the packaging, so I’d be aware of that if you’re also on a gluten-free diet.
Happy Planet offers a few different oat milk options, including those you’ll find in the cold case and shelf stable varieties. Their products are all gluten-free.
- Original Shelf Stable
- Vanilla Shelf Stable
- Barista Oatmilk
- Original Oat Creamer
H-E-B brand makes their own oat milk that is considered a non-dairy, vegan, and gluten-free option. It works well in coffee, smoothies, or can be enjoyed in a glass on its own.
Mooala makes coconut oat milk that’s made from gluten-free oats and no added sugar. This is a great dairy-free milk alternative if you’re avoiding both gluten and dairy.
Natural by Nature Organic Oatmilk*
This brand makes oat milk that’s plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan friendly. It comes in two flavors:
- Oat Delicious
- Oat Delicious Vanilla
Oatly makes their oat milk with gluten-free oats. They have a few different flavors to try, and all are great for a dairy-free diet.
- Barista Edition
- Barista Edition Chilled
- Full fat Chilled
- Chocolate Chilled
- Low-fat Chilled
- Original Chilled
Read on: Is Oatly gluten-free?
Oatsome is vegan, gluten-free, and organic. This brand uses gluten-free oats and they have no gums, thickeners, or stabilizers in their recipe. It’s my top choice for oat milk, and I use it in my homemade lattes and in baking too. Try one of their delicious flavors!
- Coffee Creamer
- Creamer Lite
Pacific Foods makes oat milk, but it is not gluten-free. They specifically state on their website that there is cross contamination with wheat in their products. You’ll want to avoid this brand on a gluten-free diet.
Planet Oat has a few varieties of their dairy-free oat milk, all of which are gluten-free. Try one of these flavors:
- Unsweetened Original
- Unsweetened Vanilla
- Extra Creamy
- Dark Chocolate
Rise Brewing Co.*
This brand makes oat milk that’s both gluten-free and dairy-free, and considered a good option for a vegan diet too. It comes in three flavors:
Silk Oat Yeah! Milk*
Silk has a line of oat milks that are all gluten-free and dairy-free. Look for one of these flavors at the store next time you’re shopping.
Simple Truth is the grocery brand from Kroger. Their oat milk is considered dairy-free, but the Kroger website does state that it may contain wheat and their derivatives, so be aware of this if you’re also following a gluten-free diet. It comes in two flavors:
Simply Oat is a dairy-free oat milk that promotes using only a few premium ingredients in their products. Their website states that the product is gluten-free, but I’d double check the product packaging before buying if you’re on a gluten-free diet. This brand offers dairy-free oat milk in three varieties:
Thrive Market’s oat milk is “free” from many other allergens, but gluten isn’t one of them. Avoid this brand on a gluten-free diet as there is likely cross contamination with gluten containing grains during manufacturing.
Kirkland Signature oat milk is considered vegan and organic. It’s a good option for a dairy-free diet, but is not considered a gluten-free product. This brand of oat milk has vegan, dairy-free, and nut-free labels on it, but no gluten-free label.
Trader Joe’s offers a non-dairy oat beverage in both refrigerated and shelf stable options. They also offer different flavors of their oat beverage throughout the year, like maple, pumpkin, oat, and nog. Though their website shows it is gluten-free, be sure to check the package itself if you’re on a gluten-free diet for confirmation.
If you’ve been looking for an answer as to whether or not oat milk will work for your dairy-free diet, I hope this information has been helpful for you. Oat milk is considered a great option for folks who are trying to get away from eating dairy, because it works well in recipes as a replacement for cow’s milk.
If you’re on a dairy-free diet, choose from any of the brands I listed and shared. If you also avoid gluten, be sure to find a brand from the list that is marked specifically on the packaging as gluten-free to ensure that product contains less than 20ppm of gluten.
Next time you’re looking for a dairy-free milk alternative for your coffee, morning cereal, smoothies, or to add creaminess to your favorite soup recipes, give oat milk a try!
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