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How to Make THICK Almond Milk

Today’s lesson, students, is all about the science of viscosity. Viscosity is, of course, the term that refers to the thickness of a liquid. The thicker the liquid, the more “viscous” it is said to be. Cream is more viscous than water, and molasses is more viscous than cream. Make sense?

All this talk about viscosity has everything to do with the fatal flaw of homemade almond milk: it has none. Almond milk is naturally as thin as water – “almond tea” might be a better term for this beverage. It has the right flavors, but none of the creaminess that we expect from milk. Commercial producers of almond milk are well aware of this problem and add carrageenan (you’ve heard of that recently, haven’t you?) as a gelling agent to increase its viscosity and emulate the mouthfeel of thick, fatty, “viscous” whole milk. The debate about carrageenan’s safety aside (it’s not as bad as it seems), your only other option is to follow one of the myriad homemade almond milk recipes online and enjoy your pitcher of watery almond tea.

This problem has puzzled me for months. I’ve often wondered how to naturally thicken my homemade almond milk without chemical additives, but nothing worked. Then, as is always the case with scientific discoveries that forever change the course of humanity (like this one), it happened completely on accident. I had just made a fresh batch of watery homemade almond milk and used it to make my afternoon chai tea latte. As this began to cool in my mug I noticed something interesting: the liquid was… thick! Not just a little thicker, but as thick as heavy cream.

I immediately went back to the kitchen and tried to figure out what I did to cause this thickening. It wasn’t anything I added, like the tea, it couldn’t be the whisking, what about the… heat? Surely, bringing the almond milk to just under a boil couldn’t permanently increase its viscosity, could it? It turns out, that’s exactly what happens. By some bizarre chemistry, the particles in the almonds thicken the liquid when exposed to heat. And lest you think we’re just reducing the mixture (i.e. evaporating the water to make it thicker), this is certainly not the case because the milk is only heated for a few minutes.

I don’t fully understand the chemistry of what’s happening, but I did do some very nerdy scientific viscosity experiments that gave me conclusive evidence: unheated almond milk is as thin as water, but heated almond milk remains 50% thicker and more viscous at the same temperatures. Go figure.

Thick Almond Milk Pouring

Thick Almond Milk Jar

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups almonds
  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla extract (optional)
  • Maple syrup (optional)

Equipment

FilterBag This recipe does require some unique kitchen tools. You’ll need a blender and large pot, which you likely already have, but you also need a fine mesh filter bag to strain the blended almond pulp out of the finished milk. You can buy these reusable nut milk bags online for like $7-15 each (at Amazon here) or you can simply go to your local hardware store and buy paint filter bags that cost about $1 each. I don’t know if they’re necessarily “food grade” but I soak mine in hot soapy water a few times before use and they do just fine.

Step One

Soak the almonds for at least 6 hours; 10-12 is even better. As the almonds soak, they become softer and absorb much of the water. This allows them to break down better and impart more flavor into the milk when blended.

Step Two

When thoroughly soaked, drain and rinse the almonds. Then add them to a large blender with water and salt (a Vitamix can handle the full batch, but you may have to do 2 batches with a smaller blender). Blend for at least 2-3 minutes to fully break down the almonds. Allow this to rest for 5-10 minutes to “steep” (much like tea) to get the most flavor.

Step Three

Grab your handy milk straining bag (or paint filter bag) and strain the mixture through this bag and into a large pitcher below. Go slowly and use your hands to squeeze the almond pulp and extract all the liquid. This process kind of resembles milking a cow (which is really ironic) but let’s not go there… When all the milk is strained you’ll be left with a chunk of almond pulp. You can discard this, use it to make things like pates, or even dehydrate it and use it as almond flour.

Give the milk a taste and stir in any flavorings you’d like. I often add a little vanilla and maple syrup.

Step Four

Now for the fun part! In my multiple experiments with this process, I have noticed that the thickening reaction happens quite suddenly at the right temperature and produces a liquid that is REALLY thick when cooled (more viscous than heavy cream). Depending on your usage, this can actually be too thick and impractical. The best way to control the viscosity is to reserve some of the almond milk in its unthickened state, heat and thicken the other part, then combine them together for the perfect consistency of whole milk.

To do this, reserve about half of the thin almond milk in a pitcher and add the other half to a large saucepan. Crank up the heat and stir almost constantly until it reaches a high temperature – we’re basically “scalding” this almond milk. At a certain point, right before it reaches a boil, you will notice that the hot liquid almost immediately goes from watery to slightly creamy when you run a spoon through it. That’s what we’re looking for – the reaction has happened. Quickly remove from the heat before it boils and simply pour back in the pitcher with the other half of the milk and allow the whole mixture to cool in the refrigerator before serving. Voila, thick almond milk!

Thick Almond Milk

199 Comments

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  1. This is amazing! I am so lazy and usually make my almond milk by blending water + almond butter so not only is it watery, but also super grainy. Knowing I could have thick almond milk is a potential game changer though. Thank you for your contribution to vegan science πŸ™‚

      • Hello Andrew, I wanted to know about thicker almond milk because I make my own ice cream using Egg whites whipped and double cream whipped, I am hoping to replace the double cream with thick almond milk but I will have to see if by whipping it it produces peeks like whipped cream.

        • Hi Peter, I’m not sure it will produce peaks. Just because it’s thick doesn’t necessarily mean it will substitute for egg whites… but it might if you also added some egg replacer into the almond milk. I know Ben & Jerry’s uses almond milk in their new non-dairy ice cream, so give it a shot and good luck!

          • I’ve made thick creamy almond milk with rice. By accident, when I was cooking some rice to make rice milk but already had some thin almond milk. So, I combined them in the blender. It’s awesome!

            the water from a can of chickpea can be whipped to peaks for vegan meringue .

        • Hi Peter, have you ever considered coconut cream? Its fabulous and I think it could work in your ice cream recipe. Some people take the cream from a can but there is another product called “So Delicious” which is the coconut cream with sugar, sold in the frozen section. It really is soooo delicious !

        • if you want a dairy free sub that will whip up to peaks you should look into acquafaba — essentially the juice drained from a can of chickpeas (or other beans but chickpeas have the most mild flavor). You can whip them JUST like egg whites with sugar and vanilla and they taste fantastic. I swear. I had to see it for myself to believe it.

    • Hi Shannon! I make my almond milk the same way. I experimented a bit last time with Andrews method and found that heating all the milk (instead of half) and then straining with a nut milk bag significantly reduced the graininess. I’m also testing adding a tiny bit of tapioca starch (1 tsp to 1 gal) when heating to see if there’s any effect. It’s currently cooling in the fridge since I don’t have cool almond milk to add doing it this way.

    • Perhaps! I did notice that it doesn’t separate at all in the refrigerator when cooled, so that may have something to do with it. Something definitely changes with the almond part of the mixture once it reaches a certain temperature, that’s for sure.

  2. Thanks for a great new method. I’ve been making almond milk for a while but never though of making it thicker this way. I wonder if the end result would make a thicker yogurt, too.

  3. Absolute game changer! This is the reason why I stopped making my own almond milk. Time to break out the old paint filter again!

  4. Ok, I was honestly and without a doubt the worst student in chemistry class but your thickening process described here totally makes sense! Thanks for this recipe and I cannot wait to try a thick (homemade) almond milk – finally!

    • I have not… well, I did use it to make my chocolate peanut butter oatmeal and that turned out great, but I assume it would be virtually identical to unheated milk for all baking applications.

      • My question is does heating the almond milk destroy nutrients. I assume it takes away a certain n degree of the nutitional content of the milk

  5. Amazing! Not only does it actually resemble milk….the way it is coating the raspberries and cereal, it looks luscious! My question is, where do you get your almonds?? The cost of almonds has deterred me from trying homemade almond milk. I buy a 3 pound bag of almonds for $9-12 at a bulk store.

    • Thanks, Amber! πŸ™‚ I typically buy a giant bag of almonds at Costco. I don’t remember exactly how much they cost, but isn’t *too* expensive when you consider that 1 1/2 cups makes 6+ cups of milk and you can keep all the almond pulp for other uses. Cashew milk, on the other hand, can get much more expensive.

  6. I’m going to try this today! Do you have any recommendations for the leftovers, I saw you said something about a pate but do you have a recipe for that? Thank you!

  7. Hi Andrew, another wonderful recipe, thank you. Not just because it’s a good recipe, but because how you dig deep to perfect just one ingredient, one recipe for a full appreciation of the taste and perfection. I have been really enjoy your recipe of cashew nut milk, that’s what I only have for breakfast, now I can’t wait to try almond milk !

  8. hey Andrew just found you and like everything so far. As I usually buy my almond milk by the case I am curious to know how much is made with this recipe. Also I am not a fan of the unsweetened milk and was wondering (I would like to pick your brain right now!!) if you would sweeten this with honey, agave or xylitol?

    Be back soon

  9. Wow! I just searched for this after making my first ever batch of almond milk. I had to try it straight away and it worked! Thank you! Very clever and I love your site and philosophy. I will return πŸ™‚

      • I am sorry but I have to report back that I tried this and had to pitch a whole batch because it separated. I followed your instructions to the letter. Bummed!

        • Bummer! I’m sorry to hear that. As you can see in these 100+ comments, some people have trouble while it works perfectly for others. I still don’t know what the variable is πŸ™

  10. This is interesting, because I actually make my almond milk in my commercial soy milk maker, which means it’s heated as it grinds and turns into milk. It definitely doesn’t get thicker that way (I make my thicker and creamier by adding a 1/4 cup of oat groats), so it has to do with being heated after. I wonder if I can make it in the soy milk maker, let it cool as usual, then heat it to a thicker state.

    • That IS interesting. I have no experience with a commercial soy milk maker so I can’t speak for how that might effect this, but give it a shot and let me know. I just did another test today where I heated half the batch plain and half with a little maple syrup (just to make sure it wasn’t a weird sugar reaction that was causing the thickening) and they both thickened just fine. Now, we’re not talking about insanely thick like a gel, but definitely more towards heavy cream than water.

  11. Andrew thank you for being so observant! And thank you so much for being so kind as to share the information! This has been a pet peeve of mine – the nut milks are just so thin the mouth feel is wrong. I can’t wait to try this I’m going to go to the hardware store and get some paint filter bags today. I wonder if this would work on other nut milks?!?!
    Thank you Andrew !!!!

  12. I’m so glad I found this! I’ve made homemade almond milk once or twice, but decided the thin texture was just unappealing. I gave this a try and was completely blown away – it really does take just a second for the milk to get ultra thick (in fact I should have reserved a bit more of the unheated milk – the final consistency was close to half and half, which isn’t prime for drinking but is absolutely amazing over cereal). I’ll definitely be making my own milk regularly from here on out.

    I’m curious if heating the milk extends its fridge life – I’ve heard for most nut milks three days is best (though I’m just at the end of this batch already, and I made it yesterday)

    • Hey Kathryn! I’m so glad it worked for you as well! If it gets too thick you can add a little water to thin without diluting it too much. Hmm, I don’t know how this would impact fridge life… Like your, mine hasn’t lasted that long πŸ™‚

  13. I immediately had to try this after reading this post! I am from Manila and I sell cold-pressed juices, and I have been experimenting with almond milk for quite some time. This recipe was just what I was looking for to thicken my milk. Thanks a lot for sharing!!! I just have to ask, how long do you usually heat your almond milk? Is there a tendency to overheat it?

    • Hi Mia, thanks for the comments! To answer your question, I usually only heat for about 3-4 minutes, just until it looks like it’s about to boil. At that point, the reaction has happened and the milk thickens.

      • Hi Andrew! Appreciate your quick reply! Does homemade almond milk look separated? Doesn’t look appetizing at all but tastes great anyway. Maybe you have a secret tip on how to make almond milk separate less? πŸ™‚

        • Well interestingly, it does separate unless it’s been heated and thickened in this way (in my experience). Somehow the same reaction that thickens it caused it to not separate for me. Either way though, a good shake or stir will remix everything. πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Andrew, I really love your website. Your recipes are delicious. I feel compelled to mention that I’ve been told Costco’s Kirkland Brand almonds are fumigated with toxic Propylene Oxide(PPO) gas. I was really disappointed when I learned that information and I returned to Costco the bag of almonds I had just purchased. I now buy my almonds at Trader Joe’s. They claim that all their almonds are steamed not fumigated.

    • PPO boils below blood temperature and has a reasonably-high LD50, though I’m uncertain of its LC0. Relatively harmless.

      Pasturization agents are at extremely high, toxic concentrations in solution, but not in consumption. For example: ethylmercury compounds are readily filtered by the renal system, but are *highly* poisonous to humans and other cellular life. Ethylmercury compounds in a flu shot are at a ridiculously high concentration, the kind of thing that would kill you instantly a dozen times over if your blood had that kind of EM concentration; but then you inject 1mL into 10,000mL of blood, and the concentration is like 1/78th of the LC0. A muscle or nerve cell near the injection point might get irritated for a few seconds, but that’s about it.

      You’re surrounded by pesticides and other targeted toxins, mostly synthetic (fortunately; organic pesticides tend to have much higher toxicity to humans and non-target species, and a longer biological half life). These pesticides keep down the levels of molds, fungus, and vermin carriers which *will* kill you: without the high levels of toxic compounds floating in our air, we’d all be dead around 35-45, mostly by horrible disease or respiratory problem.

      This necessity is one reason we have strict air quality standards: we don’t want fumigation products and commercial building treatment services pumping this crap everywhere in high quantities, but we can’t just stop using it unless we want dead kids, short lifespans, and ridiculous healthcare costs.

      You should see how much PBO is in the air. They spray that on food, too; over 98% of your intake is just by breathing the offgassing from building materials.

  15. Hi Andrew!

    I’m new to your blog. I found you linked from a group I belong to – someone was raving about your method for thickening almond milk. I soaked my almonds and tried it out today… worked a treat! πŸ™‚ I am going to try using this in my coffee tomorrow morning. Thank you so very much for the wonderful tips.

    Peace!

    • Hey ZenMomma! That’s so great – I’m glad it worked for you as well. Thanks for stopping by to let me know!

      P.S. I’ve tried this in coffee and it works really well πŸ™‚

  16. Super cool that it works like that Andrew! I actually make almond “cream” myself by just simply adding less water to my blender with the almonds before blending, then I strain it. I use half the amount of water you do and it becomes creamy and coats a spoon. I use the thickened cream when I make my homemade ice cream, and it’s so much better than storebought version. I guess though doing your version with the 6 cups ensures more milk though in the finished product! That is super cool. I make a chocolate almond milk too, will have to heat it up and see it thicken up! πŸ™‚

  17. I noticed one reply had mentioned using a lot less water to make almond cream but I wonder if it would be more effective using the separation method. It’s a question I have yet to see discussed on any blog or website: can we use the separated “white creamy top part” the same as using the top part of fresh cow’s milk where the cream rises? Though the obvious reply is yes that the top part is the cream, what I don’t know is what am I losing by throwing out the watery part? It is yellow in color so it has some of the properties of the almond milk other than just water, and before trying it I would like to have some idea of what ingredients have been separated, and are there any concerns using only a part of the mixture other than losing some of the health benefit properties in the part being thrown out. Also, could the watery part be used something like buttermilk in recipes? If you know of a website that has some info on this it would be appreciated.

    • Hi Paul, well I’m not so sure about that because there really is no comparison to cow’s milk. You aren’t separating fat, but almond pulp. I can’t really think of any process that would work other than straining through a bag as mentioned.

      • I’m only comparing it to cow’s milk in that once you’ve made almond milk (strained through a nut bag, which I do) and let the milk settle for a while, there is a separation and you have to give it a shake before you pour yourself a glass. It’s likely there is some pulp in there but the majority of the pulp should have been removed in the straining process, we should be left with the “milk” of the almond with all its minerals and other good nutrients. I read up on the fact that almonds have a high fat content and that is what I thought separates from the water and floats to the top, same as any fat (cow’s milk or otherwise) will eventually float above any water content when not homogenized. My search continues to find more info on the fat content of almonds and whether it’s as simple as just separating it to have something akin to β€œalmond cream”, thanks for your input.

        • Oh okay, that makes sense. It definitely does separate by I can’t say for sure what parts are separating. My guess would be that it is tiny particles of the almonds themselves, not just the fat. But if you do some experiments, let me know what you find! πŸ™‚

  18. Wow! I just tried this but with almond milk I made yesterday so I took it out if the fridge and tried it and it TOTALLY worked! I didn’t mix it with half of the I heated mixture because I want to try making almold milk ice cream with it. πŸ™‚ I will let you know how that works with this method. Also – I always use the leftover almond pulp. I put yet in the oven on 200 until it is dried out and then use it in any recipe calling for almond meal/flour. It’s a great way to save money.

    • Awesome, Leah! πŸ™‚ I’m so happy to hear that it worked for you too (and I’m not totally crazy, haha) I’d LOVE to hear how the almond milk ice cream turns out – I want to try that too!

  19. Mmm, delicious. Made recipe according to your instructions, scalding half, and it was like 2% milk. Second time I used a 1:2 ratio and scalded everything. Turned out just like cream. Wonder if 1:1 ratio, scalding all, would make almond yoghurt. I’m super excited about this. If future experiments go well I will not buy soy milk, cream or yoghurt again. This is the best vegan invention since the flax egg!

    • Nice! Glad it worked for you too. Ooh, almond milk yogurt sounds fantastic! I’m not sure it would be *that* thick (in my experience 1:1 was just about like heavy cream), but it might with a little help… now you’ve got me thinking about how I could make that happen πŸ™‚

  20. I will definitly try this recipe!! One that I’ve invented myself is to boil the water with rice flour!! I use 1 or 1 1/2 table spoon of rice flour for 1 L of water and bring the mixtue to boil. Then I blend this mixture with almond, sea salt, maybe some vanila or medjol dates and strain the milk! It is a very nice alternative to make a thicker almond milk!!!

  21. Almonds soaking as I type this, super excited to FINALLY get thicker almond milk! My question for you Andrew, is if you’ve ever made fruit flavored nut milk i.e.: blackberry, raspberry, etc ? And if so, what would be your suggested amount of fruit to add in?
    =)

  22. Wow. Amazing. I am not vegan, but right now I am off dairy due to hormonal issues. I have been adding almond milk to my iced coffee, but this has left me missing the “body” provided by whole cow’s milk. Coconut milk is thicker, but not an option for me, as I strongly dislike the taste and get a belly ache when I drink it. So I had to try your trick and wow! a dream come true. Thickened almond milk is the ideal iced coffee creamer. Thank you so much for sharing this tip!

  23. I use a jelly bag to strain my nut milks. They’re mesh bags used to strain fruit pulp for jelly making. They are cheap, food grade, reusable, and sold in almost any store that carries mason jars and camning supplies.

  24. Oh my! There is no such thing as being too thick to be practical. Home made ice cream or pasta sauce anyone?
    So excited to give this a try:)

  25. I’ve tried this method several times, but have been unsuccessful in making truly thick almond milk. I am looking to get the consistency of cream. I don’t add anything to mine in terms of sweetener. Do you think that could be affecting the final product?

    • Sorry about that Allie πŸ™ Since I really don’t know the chemistry behind why this works, it’s hard to say what the problem could be. It is possible that the sweetener is aiding the reaction in some way… maybe give it a shot with a little maple syrup, as I did in my tests?

  26. Hi Andrew! I’m messaging you again just now cause I stopped making almond milks for a while and I just got back on track. My recent batch got spoiled really easily, it was such a waste. Would you have any expert advice on why this happened and perhaps share tips on how to avoid this? Sincerely need your advice. Thanks!!

    • Hmm, I’m sorry to hear that Mia. I really couldn’t say for sure. If I use fresh almonds and store it in a sealed mason jar in the refrigerator, it typically lasts for 5+ days. I’m not sure how you stored it, but using a sealed container is important.

  27. Didn’t work. My first try was without sweetener, since that’s why I am making almond milk in the first place. I added a bit of maple syrup. Still it’s only as thick as skim milk. I reheated it after adding the maple syrup, so heating it twice might be the problem. I don’t know. I will try again tomorrow. SO disappointed.

    • Bummer! I’m sorry to hear that, Ashley. πŸ™ This is weird, because I’ve gotten it to work consistently every time, and others have confirmed that it works. But there seem to be certain conditions where it doesn’t thicken as expected and I haven’t been able to figure out why (yet).

  28. Just made this, absolutely delicious! However, I was a bit confused with the water. Soaking fine,but do you then use the same water to blend or different water and is it the same amount? Trying it on porridge tomorrow morning (if I’ve not drunk it all by then!)

    • Hey Gina! I’m glad you liked it! πŸ™‚

      Sorry that wasn’t clear. So when the ingredients mention 6 cups of water, that’s the fresh water to use in the final blending process. In terms of soaking, just cover with tap water and then drain and discard that soaking water before blending with the fresh water.

      • Have you ever considered or tried using the soaking water in making the milk? I wonder if reclaiming the soaking water could reclaim some nutrients and flavor that is being leached out?

          • I would discard the soaking water. Almonds have an enzyme inhibitor that prevents them from sprouting until soaked. Removing that by soaking renders the almonds easier to digest. Ditch the soak water and rinse well.
            Trying this today…awesome.

  29. Hi
    I think the process is simply that under the heat, the protein coagulate. Actually, the proteins in almond (or any nut, and probably oat) are not that different to those of egg for example, which solidify if cooked.

    • Hi Mickael, thanks for that insight. I suspect you’re right. I had a chemist comment on this a while ago and suggested the same thing. Now, the real question is why it isn’t working consistently for everyone. Some commenters have mentioned that it did not work for them and I can’t imagine why.

  30. This worked really well – I had almost given up on making nut milks as they were too thin! I used my thermomix to heat the milk for 4mins on 100C sp 1 (once I’d strained it). I have made this twice now and it’s so thick and delicious. I only use blanched almonds as I find having previously making the milk with almond skins gives me a stomach ache. My ratio was 100g almonds:500g water. But I could definitely use more water afterward to thin out the milk but I prefer it cream-like. Thank you for this recipe.

  31. Thank you so much for this! I’d just about given up on making almond or cashew milk at home because of the weird separation that was happening and then both still being slightly gritty more than creamy despite putting them through a nut milk bag.

    I heated all 4 cups after “double-straining” it (I didn’t put the milk in the bag, but instead had it strain through the doubled up bag and I didn’t milk the bag or push much through because too much of the almond silt can get through imo). I added a bit of salt, vanilla, and maple syrup.

    Heating it made it PERFECTION- this is the almond milk we’ve been waiting for. Thick and creamy but not gritty and still hasn’t separated.

  32. Sorry if you’ve already answered this, I didn’t read through all of the many comments. I can and have made soup in my vitamix. Could I save a step (and a pan) and just blend and heat my almond milk on the soup setting? thanks!

    • Hi Debbie! Hmm, I hadn’t though of that. I have a Vitamix too and I know it can reach pretty high temperatures, so, possibly? You’re welcome to give it a shot, but it might be less efficient than simply heating in a pan and I couldn’t guarantee results. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  33. Hi Andrew,
    It’s been wonderful following your recipes and when I stumbled upon this one, it changed my life as I had to get off dairy. I love tea and coffee for the mere reason of adding CREAMY milk to it. I’ve played around with this recipe a bit and found that the milk still settled when left overnight and curdled when added to tea and coffee. So I went ahead and added soy lecithin to emulsify it.
    Result: works wonderfully with tea, but no matter how much lecithin I add (incrementally) it doesn’t work with coffee. It even seems that it gets less emulsified with the more lecithin I add, just thicker. Please, please help me out…
    What can I do to make this behave like coffee creamer?
    Thanks

  34. The thickened almond milk lasted 4 or 5 days for me in the fridge without separating or needing to be shaken up. Perfection.

    I just tried the same heating technique w cashew milk I made in my vitamix and it’s also perfect. I’m drinking it in coffee right now.

    For vanni or others having problems w separation in coffee, I always use an aerolatte frothed to blend any milks and sugar/sweetener into my coffee or tea and there’s zero separation of the heated nut milks in my coffee this way.

  35. I tried this method for thickening my almond milk and unfortunately it hasn’t worked.
    Used 100g of almonds and 500ml of water, a couple dates and some cacao powder.
    Any other advice on thickening? Tried even boiling it for a couple seconds. Couldn’t see it getting thicker.
    Thanks.

    • Bummer! This is so strange, I really don’t understand why half of those who try this get good results and the other half do not. My only thought at this point is that it could depend on the amount of almond pulp that makes it through the straining process. Perhaps if it’s too watery at the start, the milk won’t have enough mass to thicken properly…

  36. It woooorks!! I had just made a quart almond milk, to which I whirred in a tablespoon of melted coconut oil and a tablespoon of honey in the blender. I wondered if there was a way to make it thick because I really only want it for tea, and the search brought me here. I put some in a pan and started heating, turned my back on it for a minute and it boiled and separated so I stirred it well and poured in into a jar. It was thicker, for sure. Then I tried again and stayed right there stirring until it just wanted to boil then removed it and it is really thick! Thicker than the second batch which is thicker than the first. The raw milk is fine for smoothies and things but for reaminess, this is the ticket. Yipee! Many thanks, Andrew!

  37. Hi, I’ve tried several techniques but just got it NOT to separate 1 of maybe 8 times.

    I’ve boiled too….but now I’ll just heat till close to boil and stir constantly, THIS i have not yet tried. I think there is an art to this and the heat, stir constantly till near boil seems to be the difference…I’ll report back..

    I was also told to add coconut oil (2 tablespoons) per 4 cups is a good gage.

    I also add other sticking agents like, salt, liquid raw Vanilla , raw honey and blend it in….and I also put a bit of cardamom in it while heating ….adds a very nice flavour. You could blend the cardamom and strain it out, but I think the flavour subtlety emerges during a heating process.

    So all in all, you could add honey , cardamon, et al while heating. If you grind the cardamon, add during blending, but if heating, add WHOLE cardamon and take out or leave in at will.

    Thanks…and happy blending…oh this was only with Almonds. Cashews sounds great. Want to keep costs down too, so will have to quantify when I get it right.

  38. Heating foods, especially fats, above 118 degrees destroys the nutrients, beneficial enzymes and fats. Fat that has been exposed to high heat rancidifies causing it to become extremely acidic and basically turns all the beneficial substances into cancer causing free radicles. Eating foods cooked at a high temperature also causes leukocytosis ie. The ‘Food coma’. Why go through all the trouble of making home made nut milks only to destroy all the good stuff with heat?
    I have found that a nice hemp sack works very well for making beautiful frothy nut milks. Also letting the blended milk steep for a few hours in its water and then straining makes for a thicker, more flavorful milk. As for the thickening conundrum, maybe some avocado blended in after straining could remedy the problem?

  39. I made my almond milk this way today (adding the scalding step at the end), and it made the milk so much better to add to my coffee. I asked my husband, who’s a Chef, why it thicken it and he said your evaporating the water out of it. Genius!

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Linda! At the top of this post I talk about how this isn’t the result of a reduction / evaporation because it’s only heated for a minute and we’re not evaporating much water. A reduction like that, with a whole batch of milk, would take a long time. I believe it’s some kind of a reaction with the proteins when they hit a certain temperature.

  40. I have GOT to try this! I just started making my own nut and seed milks yesterday and today and I am hooked on experimenting, but keep getting such a thin consistency…I’ll be testing this out next! Thanks for the tip!

  41. I did this for awhile, to keep my almond milk from separating once I put it in the fridge. Little did I know that I was actually killing the nutrients in the milk by heating it. Meh. As long as you’re aware of this drawback, I say keep calm and milk on.

  42. Wow, this looks very interesting. I am off milk for a while (allergy related) and dam, my little tummy is not liking that soy milk and using almond milk from the store is not giving me that creaminess I like in my coffee / tea. I plan on making this next weekend! Just hope I have the hand power to strain. I have slight carpal tunnel on my right hand, although I could get my husband to do that part !! Thanks so much for sharing genious and will definitely let you know how it turned out !! Do you use organic almonds ?

      • Just tried this ! Wow, sooooo yummy ! I actually did not add any sugar or any flavorings as I want it for coffee / tea. I did exactly as instructed…letting half of the milk get to boiling point and boy did it start to get thick, however, once added to the rest of the milk, it went back to the way it was. I’m not sure how long it takes to “set” but it has been nearly 1.5 hours and looks the same, not thick. Cant wait to try this in my coffee tomorrow morning. Thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚ Also, I’m not sure if you know, but I wonder how many calories in 1 cup ? Just curious.

    • Andrew,

      I was so excited to discover your site, and this amazing tip regarding almond milk. I,too, have never like the consistency of “almond tea.”

      I do have one question: If I want to use almond milk to make hot cocoa, will the thickness remain after reheating it? Please share your thoughts with me.

      Thank you, once again, for this
      wonderful site!

  43. I’m not a chef, but in the past I had a personal chef. Since I do not eat dairy, but I make my own raw almond milk, she made some absolutely delicious almond milk reductions which I used as salad dressings. The texture was very thick and creamy. I would love to find some almond milk reduction recipes since I never asked her how she made them!

  44. Thanks a million!!! My toddler has to have thickened liquids and I have struggled to thicken her almond milk naturally as dairly additives ( purΓ©ed cottage cheese tastes best) upset her tummy. And yogurts have s strange sourness when she just really loves her plain almond milk flavor!!! Can’t wait to tet

  45. Tried this today using this recipe’s ingredients (1 tspn vanilla, 1 Tbspn of maple syrup, organic almonds, salt and water) but accidentally let it boil (i.e. some big bubbles just starting). I then mixed the reserved milk with the heated milk. It seemed to thicken to a whole milk consistency, and to have a more opaque creamy color. I let both the creamy and milky version cool on the countertop (mimicking your initial experience with having it cool in a cup of tea/coffee) for 15 mins then put both in the fridge for an hour. Neither the milk nor the cream separated. I suspect high heat is the cause of others’ frustration re-separation. I heated it from start to finish on a low-medium setting because high heat causes regular dairy milk to separate and curdle. See http://www.ehow.com/info_8625377_causes-milk-curdle.html

    Not being able to leave well enough alone, and having read all the above comments, I wondered if I could get an *even creamier* consistency that others here seemed to be raving about. More like half-and-half or thick cream. I wondered if cranking up the heat (as you suggested) and catching it before it boiled was the key to producing a thicker consistency, and decided to test my hypothesis.

    So I took my almond milk (never heated), put it in the pot, cranked the heat up to high and watched vigilantly. As thick steam began rising above the pan, and tiny blisters started to form on the surface (but before it started to boil with bursting bubbles), I took it off the heat. I wanted it as thick as possible, so I didn’t add any plain almond milk. Set it on the counter for 15 mins and… it separated. Dramatically. πŸ™

    Having nothing to lose at this point, I put this now-tepid and horrid-looking separated mess back in the pot, stirred it and re-heated it on low and let it simmer (very small bubbles only). Then let it cool on the counter. Waited 15 mins. To my amazement, it did not separate. πŸ™‚ Put it in the fridge for an hour – still good. Mind you, it was no thicker than the first batch, but at least now it was no longer separated and unappetizing. Heat is a mysterious force.

  46. Just started making raw cashew milk and it was too watery despite lowering the recommended nut to water ratio.

    After blending, I poured 3/4 of the milk straight into a pan and heated it for about 7 minutes on medium heat and added it into the 1/4 unheated milk.

    It was much creamier and the heating process brought out the nutty flavour even more!

    Thank you for the wonderful observation, definitely a game-changer.

  47. Are your almonds raw? American almonds are pasteurized and European almonds are not. Could that be the difference in whether it gets thick?

    • Hmm, I hadn’t thought about how the almonds have been processed could affect the outcome. I know that all California “raw” almonds are pasteurized, as you say, and that makes up a huge percentage of the world’s almond supply, so I’m not sure that’s the issue but it’s worth considering…

  48. Can I suggest sometime that you check the temperature that you raise it to before you take it off and time how long you take to get it there? That way it will give a more accurate recipe and hopefully more successes.

  49. I’ve tried this a few times, each slightly different, and nada. Have no idea what’s up. At this point I’m tempted to throw some tapioca starch in the blender with the rest of the stuff. Grrr.

  50. Hey! Wonderful recipe. I shouted you out on my blog with my tweaked almond milk recipe! haha, isn’t that how the blogging world works? Just wanted to let you know the milk was thick and amazing, and I gave you some props on my blog! Thanks again.

  51. Hi Andrew,

    Where do you get your almonds from? Do you have a resource list for you favorite/regularly used items?

    Thanks

  52. This is such a cool idea! Will it work with store bought almond milk and can it be used to make homemade ice cream? Does anyone have a creamy recipe they want to share?

  53. Honestly, this is my first time ever posting a comment on any blog. But this little trick has changed my life. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this with the world. It makes my milk allergy a little more tolerable and my homemade almond milk thick like cream. My coffee is delicious, my cereal is delicious, and my soul sings every time I take a swig with my new almond milk mouth-feel. :). So, a tip of the cap to you, dear stranger. Cheers!

  54. Hey everyone. Well I tried this last night. Sadly I was another that it failed on. πŸ™ Not only didn’t it thicken, but it curdled too. Totally bummed. I’ll attempt again though, and will check in again.

  55. Hey, it would be interesting if you could make a video explaining the steps. Also was it raw almond or roasted? I’ve tried with raw and it failed. Also i’m making my almond milk form almond butter so i don’t have to strain it.

    I took half of my batch and put it under heat right before boil and I took the other half to a boil. The first batch is exactly the same as if I didn’t heat it and the one that boiled just separated permanently.

  56. Help – I made this recipe twice and it turned out terrific but today – the almond milk tastes sour!! What did I do? Could I have warmed the almond milk too much?

  57. Andrew, a few people mentioned the problem of losing valuable nutrients when heating the almond milk. Could you speak to that further? As much as I would like mine to be creamier, it kind of defeats the purpose if heating it destroys most of the nutrients.

  58. Andrew, I have tried your recipe TWICE and both resulted in some form of separation.

    The first time, I didn’t exactly know when to turn off the heat, so I let it bubble before removing from the stove. This first batch resulted in a bottle of almond milk that separated IN THE MIDDLE… Yes, I kid you not… It was white on the top, whey-ish yellow liquid IN THE MIDDLE, then white on the bottom.

    I knew I didn’t heat it properly, so I did it again, this time heating it until white foam started gathering around the edges near the pan. Now this second batch is separated the normal way – white on the top and the yellowish liquid on the bottom, just the way the raw unheated homemade almond milk would be. Major fail again for me…

    I did notice that when I turned off the heat for both batches, the heated almond milk looked curdled. I am trying it the third time, probably going to warm the almond milk only until it’s just heated and foamy and BEFORE I see any curdling… *sigh* I hope that works. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong, but the heating part is the only thing that I might have done wrong… I even googled and youtubed how to scald milk!

    Both batches of almond milk is wonderful and thick: it’s just that I can see small curdled bits floating and both batches are separated. My dairy-eating husband was shocked that it had such wonderful diary milk-like mouthfeel. Thank you for your recipe, and I hope I get the heating thing right.

    P.S. I am sure I’m asking a lot, but could you may be make a video of how you make your almond milk? Please?!

    • Hmm, thanks for the feedback Angela. I do think some separation after refrigerating for hours is normal and can be solved by shaking, but not to that extreme level.

      It’s a very touchy process, apparently. As you can see from the comments, it’s about 50/50 whether it works or not. Perhaps I’ll revisit this in the next few weeks and see if I can do more digging on why it only sometimes works.

      • Well, I’ve been making almond milk using your method, and sometimes it looks just downright curdled and sometimes it looks only a bit curdled. I can never make it thick, luscious, and beautiful-looking as yours… But it sure feels thicker and tastes creamier!

        I hope you’ve found some time to revisit this recipe… if you haven’t, I hope you do sometime soon. I still have no clue when to take it off the heat. Today, for instance, I took it off the flame before it started showing large bubbles. It was foamy and steamy (as in steam began rising from the surface but no large angry bubbles). I mixed it with unheated almond milk and 10 minutes later, it looked curdled on top and separated. I just gave it a nice shake and put the bottle in the fridge. Last time, I boiled it until large bubbles began showing (because my husband asked me something and I took my eyes off for a few seconds). Less curdling and minimal separation. Go figure.

        Well, thank you so much for your reply in any case. I shall do my own experimenting and see what works!

        • Hmm! I haven’t revisited this yet but perhaps I’ll have some time to do further tests soon. If I do I’ll either update this post or write a “part two” kind of thing on whatever I discover. πŸ™‚

  59. Hi there. Got through half the comments and thought I’d put my 2 cents in.
    Ive just made a batch of sprouted almond milk. I too love the experimental process (im a lab tech/foodie). I love almond milk but not in my coffee or my chocolate because of it separating. Hence why the trolling tonight
    I also dont like it from the cafes. I am also a barista so ive got savvy.
    Sooo.. what to do.
    Ive read on another post to add brazil nuts. This makes it creamier and it doesnt split.
    I am also trying to be raw so leaning away from heating the milk. But i am going to try it.
    Thanks so much for this. Ive ig you and fb you. ☺

  60. I can’t thank you enough for this advice. Is life changing!! I made my almond milk yesterday, put it on the stove and… Wonderful, thick, creamy almond milk.
    So happy!!
    Thank you so much!!!

  61. Hello Andrew,
    Thanks for the recipe.
    I’m planning to try this at home.
    Can I add cow’s milk to this by any chance, if yes, how would the recipe differ?
    Thanks.

  62. I read through all comments and noticed that you seem to reply promptly, but haven’t responded to anyone that questioned the heating process and the effect on nutrients. I was wondering specifically about that and hoped you could respond?!

    • Hi Rebecca, I don’t think that was a conspiracy or anything, I must have missed them! I have no idea. Almonds are already cooked/pasteurized so, I don’t think it would make much difference.

  63. Awesome, thanks so much!
    I’ve done it with truly raw almonds, crispy almonds (soaked, dehydrated, then resoaked and processed into milk) and the regular (flash pasturized) US almonds and it worked with all of them.

    For those that wondered if it makes thicker almond yogurt – doesn’t seem to make much difference if using just the almond milk alone.
    However, there seems to be less watery separation once it has been chilled, so that’s an advantage.I have found that using some soaked cashews together with the almond milk makes for a nice thick yogurt and very little separation of the yogurt, once it’s cultured.

    Next, I’m going to see if the thicker almond milk fares better in setting up for cheese making!

  64. Thank you. I’m new to nut milk making but am going to try this. I read that it also stops the milk seperating.
    Has anyone tried the same with oat milk please? Like the taste but not the sludgy layer left in the bottom of my mug of tea!!

  65. i start with 2 cups superfine almond meal and 2+ cups filtered water in a vitamix and blend til it gets pretty warm. i stir in some cashew yogurt by forager and the contents of 2 acidophilus capsules. i transfer it to a qt mason jar and screw on the lid. the jar is immersed up to the mylk line in hot tap water. i cover the pot with a thick towel and check back later. i change out the water (i dump the cold water in the washing machine) and repeat a few times over 4-6 hours. the yogurt is tangy and the spoon stays thickly coated. it gets even more solid as it chills

  66. Andrew, it works! Ha!
    I tried it out and it was perfect.
    Later I read that almond skin is rich in pectin so I removed the skins and boiled them I one cup of water (out of 4 for one cup of almonds), returned the drained skins to be blended with the almonds and later missed the water with the skin extracts with the almond milk and voila! It worked perfectly! So you only need to heat 1/4 of the total liquid or maybe none at all if you add store bought pectin, but this last option would remove all the fun.

    Maybe store bought pectin could be useful for coconut milk.

    Saludos,

    Bernardo

    • Hey Bernardo! Awesome, I’m glad it worked for you. That’s so cool about the pectin in the almond skins. I’ll have to try that, thank you for sharing your brilliant ideas with us πŸ™‚

  67. I’ve been doing this to my almond milk for a few weeks, and it’s wonderful. I love the taste of almond milk, but the watery mouthfeel was the worst hurdle. It still won’t stay together when poured into drip coffee, but it barely separates in the fridge, and I just give my coffee a quick stir before I sip it. It’s really a great step to add to your almond milk making process!

    Today I had something super weird happen (I was messing around – but it was interesting, so I thought I’d report). I soaked my almonds overnight, but I was on the end of the bag, so I was a tiny bit short on the amount I like. So I decided this morning that I would bulk up the milk a little with some rice. I added a couple tablespoons of dry rice to my soaking almonds and let them soak for a couple hours.

    Then, I made almond milk as usual, strained it into a pot, and heated it. Now this is where the weirdness happened. When I reached the point where the almond milk thickens, mine REALLY thickened. Like, we’re talking gravy, or thin pudding, or bechamel sauce.

    It still tastes great, and if I hadn’t blended it with a load of cinnamon and vanilla in it I’d experiment with trying to make a vegan cream sauce out of it for pasta, it’s that thick.

    Anyways, interesting, thought I’d report in case anyone else is ever trying to bulk up their almond milk with rice, you probably want to skip the heating unless you want a sauce.

  68. Hey, hey Andrew!
    What luck for me that I found your post. I tried it out and my experience was that it thickened at 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Worked like a charm!

  69. Hello,

    WOW! I am a newly retired chef. I really like almond milk and have made it off and on for a few years now. That has been my biggest complaint that the almond milk like water. I will be making it more often using your advice to make it thicker.
    I have my new blog site which is still under construction. The name of it is below. Will be launching soon. Again thank you for the Advice on thicker almond milk

  70. Hi! Thanks for the recipe, I surely want to try it out. Would you happen to have a pic of its consistency so I can have an idea how it should look like? Thanks in advance. Christine

  71. First I would like to thank you for your dedication to good healthy plant based As for the this recipe I am trying a slightly approach to see if it achieves intended results. I let my vitamin blender run for about 7 minutes on high, instead of the normal 3 minutes. I strained it and will wait to see if it thickens. Do you think this might work as well ? Do you think this is a good method since it involves only one step?

    • You’re very welcome, Paul! Oh, I see what you’re saying. If you let a Vitamix run for a while it produces so much heat that it basically simmers the liquid. That could very well work and I hope you’ll report back with your results!

  72. Andrew, I checked back about 4 hours later, and it’s a little creamier than normal. It’s not as thick as whole milk, but more like 2% milk, my ratio is 5:1. Maybe if I blend it an extra two minutes, it might reach the same level of consistency as whole milk. When I strained it, the milk is tepid warm (not hot enough to burn).
    On a related note, have you even tried combining more than one nut milk? For e.g. Brazilian, cashew, and almond milk altogether? I have tried each separately but not all together. Also, do you know of a natural way of keeping the milk for at least seven days? Mine last for about three days.

    • Interesting! Probably just adding it to a saucepan is as fast and easy as trying to Vitamix it forever, haha. No, I have not tried making nut milk blends, but adding cashew to almond would thicken it, I bet.

  73. Xantham gum. I bought some from my health food shop.

    I made around 1.5ltrs milk, strained then returned the milk to my thermomix jug and added 1/2 tsp xantham, stevia and vanilla. I blended at a medium speed for a minute resulting in a thick and creamy almond milk that never separates – even after a few days.

    The consistency is a little thicker than full cream milk. I’ll try 1/4 tsp next time.

  74. This is a nice thought but it just didn’t work for me. There was zero change in consistency. Not even a little! I tried scalding first, then even let it boil slightly. Nothing but a now separated mess.

  75. Thank you for this, I will definitely be trying it. I’m allergic to cow dairy and nobody in the USA sells goat’s milk cream, so when it comes to recipes that call for heavy cream I’m kind of screwed. Fingers crossed!

  76. I use my home made almond milk to add to oats for breakfast every day and it is always much thicker and creamier than my husbands he uses soya milk which stays quite thin. I would like ideas for a press instead of squeezing a nylon bag every morning! Any ideas? I am going to try a French coffee press
    Love your ideas thanks

  77. Hi, I just found your website, and have been experimenting with making my own almond milk. I save the skins and grind them up and add them to oatmeal. However, last night, the homemade almond milk I made started to separate, this is my 8th batch, and all the other batches have not done that. Is there a chemical reaction or scientific explanation as to why it happened? Here’s my process:

    Soak 1 c almonds over night
    Squeeze almonds to remove skin
    Take blanched almonds, and add 4 c of filtered water into Blendtec
    Add pinch of salt, 1 date, and 1/8-1/4 tsp of vanilla extract (genuine, not imitation)
    Blend setting on Blendtec (Whole Fruit) about 1.5 mins. Let it sit for 1 minute, Put through strainer, and pour into glass container. That’s it.

    Thanks,

    Tom

    • Hmm! I’m not sure why… in my experience, it separates overnight, but combines again with a quick shake. If it’s more severe than that, I don’t know maybe it was a freak thing?

    • Hi Tom, Are you using the suggestion of heating 1/2 the milk? You didn’t say that in your recipe. Andrew’s point is half the milk needs scalding…I would guess about 180 degrees F.

  78. Great receipe. Made it this morning was out of cashews. Work beautifully. Am drying the pulp for flour for muffins. Thanks for the help. I’m going to whole food from vegan. Lots more cooking!

  79. The first time I tried this it separated. I believe I let it heat just a little too long and I only used a mesh strainer.

    I took cheese cloth and strained it again then mixed it with the non heated milk. Left it in the fridge over night and in the morning- no separation and it tasted great!

    It was about the consistency of 2% milk. I’m doing another batch to see if I can get it thicker for a cream.

    Thank you

  80. Mine too, separated after cooling in the fridge. I originally strained in a cheese cloth. Any suggestions on what I may have done incorrectly?

  81. Hello, I tried bringing my almond milk to the boil and it actually curdles more than before. In fact when stored in the bottle it separates with an almost clear liquid on top, and really curdled more in tea – any ideas?

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