Sure we live in hell, but we’re also in a golden age for alternative milks. Oat milk is making serious gains among socially conscious consumers, and for good reason. It’s the most allergen friendly of the alt milks, it’s vegan, and it’s only second to almond milk in lowest carbon emissions. Just within the last five years, dozens of different brands have joined the fray to capitalize on the oat milk craze. That means you have buying options, and if you think all oat milk is the same, you’d be wholly mistaken.
Some oat milk is minimalistic and natural, while other types include a small amount of gum and stabilizers to recreate that creamy milk texture. Some oat milks have added calcium, some are shelf stable, and some are loaded up with sweet, sweet sugar, which, to me at least, isn’t a bad thing. Milk, in all of its various forms, should be an enjoyable experience, and healthy, vegan-friendly food doesn’t have to be bland. A little sugar helps.
So, what are we looking for in a good oat milk? Well, it should have flavor, body, and taste. It should be versatile, as well. You should be able to seamlessly add it to cereal, coffee, cake, and use it to make mac and cheese. To conduct this taste test, we, the Sporked staff, poured a little bit of oat milk into paper cups, then swirled it, sniffed it, and drank it. Call us milk sommeliers. So put your pinkies up and let’s talk about the GOAT oats.
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- Chobani Plain Extra Creamy
Simply put, Chobani extra creamy oat milk is so good it feels like dairy. It’s creamy, with a texture that kind of resembles half and half, and it’s got a delightfully fresh flavor to it. Chobani is also the most versatile of the oat milks. Squirt in some Hershey’s syrup to make an absolute banger of a chocolate milk. Use it for cereal, coffee, and baking. Chobani would also make an amazing smoothie or latte. It’s stable and flavorful; confidently use this for all of your milk substitute needs.
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- Silk Vanilla
As staff writer Jordan Myrick put it, “This tastes like birthday cake.” Silk Vanilla is straight up delightful and sugary, and yet it doesn’t have any more sugar than the other brands on this list, which we all found to be absolutely bonkers. It also has the best raw flavor by a mile. If you want to double down on flavored cereal or are looking for a lactose-free, flavored creamer substitute for coffee, this is your brand. There’s also a ton of possibilities to explore if you want to bake with an oat milk that has a subtle birthday cake flavor to it. Silk Vanilla scores big in the “pure joy” category and that’s of utmost importance to us here at Sporked. The only reason it’s not number one is because there’s such a pronounced sweet flavor. Bonus: This has the most calcium per serving on the list.
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- Whole Foods 365
Whole Foods 365 Oatmilk is smooth and creamy, yet refreshing. There isn’t a distinct vanilla flavor or an overwhelming blast of sugar, meaning you can harmlessly add it to just about anything. It’s a lot like 2% milk in that regard: It’s plain, but not bland. Plus, the texture is perfectly balanced; not too creamy, not too watery. That means it’s flexible. This is the kind of oat milk that would add some decadence to your oatmeal, or you could throw into your cereal and let the sugary niblets impart their flavor. Use Whole Foods 365 confidently, and use it often.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Whole Foods
- Trader Joe’s Non-Dairy Oat Beverage
Trader’s Joe’s Oat Beverage is creamy and has a great, concentrated oat flavor. There’s some slightly earthy notes happening here that are accented by its relatively thick texture. This is exactly what the box says: It’s an oat beverage. Keep it cold, drink it by the glass, dip cookies in it, make a White Russian, so long as you obey the package and treat it like a drink. This feels the most oaty of the bunch.
Important note: Trader Joe’s has two different types of oat milk, and here we’re talking about the perishable one that’s sold from the refrigerator.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Trader Joe’s
Oatly has a full-bodied creaminess to it that has made it the flagship brand of oat milk for Starbucks. It works well in lattes and cappuccinos, but it shines brightest in an iced coffee, which it makes creamy and decadent. Oatly has a hint of vanilla and a slight nuttiness to it that makes it quite enjoyable and versatile.
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- Planet Oat
Planet Oat isn’t the thickest oat milk, but it’s not watery either; there’s something refreshing about the texture. Also, it has less sugar than some of the other oat milks on this list, making it an excellent base-level option for your cereal. Whether you pair it with something healthy like Fiber One or go full sugar monster like Cap’n Crunch, Planet Oat is a great addition to any box of sugary, crunchy morsels. I’m on board. Shoot me into space, Planet Oat.
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Elmhurst is the “healthiest” of the seven oat milks listed here. It’s got zero added sugar and zero saturated fat, and it has the most protein (four grams) per serving. The ingredients listed are simply filtered water, whole grain oats, and salt. This is the only oat milk that skips stabilizers and oil, as well, unfortunately making it a bit watery. This isn’t really great for cereal or coffee if you’re looking for a thicker consistency. However, Elmhurst has a wonderfully refreshing quality to it. It replenishes you like water. This is the sports drink of oat milk, and it deserves a spot on this list.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon
Best of the Best
Best 2% Milk Alternative
Best Pure Oat Flavor
Best for Iced Coffee
Best for Cereal
Best Low Sugar
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