How non-dairy milk alternatives compare to the real thing

Chances are, you’ve tried soy or almond milk in the past. Maybe there’s a special place in your heart for oat milk.

If you’ve made an enemy of dairy like so many of us, you might be in the market for a new alternative milk flavor. Boy, do we have a selection for you.

In The Know’s Phoebe Zaslav tried three up-and-coming non-dairy milk alternatives to help you best figure out the right fit for your taste. Here’s how they stack up.

Credit: Phoebe Zaslav / In The Know

Phoebe chose hemp, pistachio and pea milk because they’re “relatively affordable and easy to find” at your local health food stores.

She rated the alternatives based on two crucial factors: how tasty they are, and how they stack up compared to the real deal.

Dairy milk

Credit: Phoebe Zaslav / In The Know

Let’s not forget the real deal, shall we? Phoebe admitted she’s a huge fan of dairy milk, which she described as creamy, full and rich with a mildly sweet, nutty taste.

Hemp milk

Credit: Phoebe Zaslav / In The Know

Hemp milk has a sweet smell, but it’s surprisingly thin and watery, and Phoebe didn’t find the taste to be sweet at all.

“It was a little disappointing,” she said. “After smelling it, I thought it was going to be like a milkshake and it wasn’t.”

Taste rating: 3 out of 5
Similarity rating: 2 out of 5

Pistachio milk

Credit: Phoebe Zaslav / In The Know

Phoebe was genuinely delighted to try this one. The smell was nutty and a bit sweet, and she found that the taste totally matched her expectations.

“Oh, I love it,” she said before giving the drink a perfect taste rating. “I would actually swap out my [dairy] milk for this if I had to.”

Taste rating: 5 out of 5
Similarity rating: 4 out of 5

Pea milk

Credit: Phoebe Zaslav / In The Know

Pea milk seems to be just about as strange as it sounds.

Phoebe found it to have an earthy smell and taste as well as an odd sharp consistency — somewhere between the thinness of the hemp milk and the creaminess of dairy milk.

She said it nailed the rather “musty” taste of dairy, though.

“I don’t think I would have this with cereal,” she confessed.

Taste rating: 2 out of 5
Similarity rating: 4 out of 5

Ultimately, pistachio milk was the winner for Phoebe here — but she admitted none of these non-dairy milk alternatives could match her taste for the real thing.

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If you enjoyed this story, read more about other milk alternatives.

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