Oat milk is a dairy free milk substitute that has quickly become a popular choice for those seeking to drink alternative milk options. It has a creamy consistency with a slight natural sweetness that is a perfect addition to your morning coffee.
Oat milk is pleasantly palatable as a beverage, when used in a bowl of cereal and even when added to a smoothie. In fact, oat milk has also found its way to the dessert category as a substitute for heavy cream in the form of dairy free ice cream.
So, can you free oat milk? Yes, you can free oat milk. The caveat is that it will have a slightly grainy texture when defrosted that can be averted by straining thawed oat milk through cheesecloth.
This article covers everything you need to know about freezing oat milk and the best way to thaw oat milk without compromising the texture. Answered below are frequently asked questions about how to freeze oat milk, you will learn all the details about the entire process.
Complete Guide to Freezing Oat Milk
Before beginning the freezing process, let’s start with what oat milk is and how it is made. Once this is understood, then the freezing and thawing method will become clearer.
By discussing how to make oat milk, the best uses for oat milk and the benefits of oat milk, you will have a better idea of the entire procedure. Then, the step by step instructions to freeze and thaw oat milk will become a bit easier to take in.
How Oat Milk is Made
Oat milk was developed in the 1990s when Swedish university researchers discovered that oat could provide a similar nutritional profile to cow’s milk.
In 1994, Oatly delivered the first manufactured oat milk to stores and coffee shops. To this day, it remains one of the most popular oat milk brands in the market.
Oats are naturally dairy free, nut free, soy free and gluten free, which is why the oat milk has become a popular vegan beverage for anyone that suffers from allergies or sensitivities related to those causes.
Oat milk is made by extracting flavor from oats into water, therefore the process is quite easy to make oat milk at home. We love making oat milk from scratch and it only take a couple minutes.
The list of basic ingredients is quite short, but the homemade freshness is immediately noticeable. You can even make oat milk like Oatly or oat milk creamer using variations of the same basic oat milk recipe, so give it a try for yourself and see what fresh homemade oat milk tastes like.
Basic oat milk recipe:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 4 cups of water
- 1 pinch salt
When making homemade oat milk, it is easy to add flavorings to make a sweet or savory taste. For a sweet oat milk, add a date, spoonful of maple syrup and a drop of vanilla extract.
Take the list of basic ingredients and blend the oat mixtures together in a high speed blender. That’s it, so lets cover the super easy instructions.
- Thoroughly blend the ingredients in a high speed blender for about 30 seconds until everything is well pulverized. Do not over blend, as the oat milk will have a slimy texture.
- Strain the oat milk mixture through a fine cheesecloth to separate the oat pulp from the oat milk liquid.
- Store the oat milk in an airtight container inside the fridge. Consume within 5 to 7 days.
Making oat milk is easy and delicious. Follow the simple directions mentioned above or check out the detailed instructions for the recipe notes.
Oat Milk Benefits
Oats are a whole grain food that offers a number of nutritional health benefits. To name a few, oats are a source of healthy fats, plant based protein and rich in dietary fiber.
As we learned from how oat milk is made, the oat pulp is strained from the liquid. The regulating process removes much of the nutrition from the beverage, but leaves behind a creamy texture and delicious, naturally sweetened liquid.
Commercially manufactured oat milk has much more nutritional value than homemade oat milk because it is fortified with vitamins and minerals to compensate from the strained sediments.
In general, it is a healthy, low fat, dairy free beverage that is a great alternative to milk.
Oat Milk Cons
With all the positives, it is easy to ignore the adverse effects. However, now is a great time to point out that there are oat milk dangers, oat milk disadvantages and oats side effects that should be acknowledged.
Commercially manufactured oat milk is high is added sugars, which mainly a concern for the sweetened and flavored varieties. Stick with unsweetened and you should be fine.
Though oatmeal is good for babies, oat milk is not a viable substitute for milk or breastmilk as it does not contain the complete nutrition required for growth and development.
Oat milk is known to cause upset stomach, diarrhea and is carb heavy. This is generally caused by the fact that most people are not used to consuming large amounts of fiber and need to be slowly adjusted to the fiber rich content of oats and oat milk.
Furthermore, oat are naturally gluten free but they are often contaminated by harvesting and processing equipment shared with wheat. If you suffer from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, then purchase gluten free oat milk or make your own with gluten free rolled oats.
Best Uses for Oat Milk
Oat milk is a vegan beverage that is commonly used as an alternative for cow’s milk, however it will not always act the same way as cow’s milk does in a recipe. Of course, there are some recipe specific substitutions like coconut milk in curry, but is general you can replace cow’s milk with oat milk with very slight difference in the outcome.
Here are the best uses for oat milk:
- Substitute for cow’s milk in cereal and granola
- As a creamer or latte in coffee and/or tea
- The base for oatmeal smoothies (try it with a frozen bananas, handful of blueberries, spoonful of nut butter, and protein powder to bulk up the nutritional value).
- Use in body care applications for face, skin and hair.
- As the liquid in baked goods like pancakes, muffins, cakes, bread and more
- Make overnight oats with oat milk or add a splash to loosen up a bowl of oatmeal for extra oaty goodness.
These are just a few of the ideas to incorporate oat milk into your regular routine. Give it a try and experiment with oat milk in your kitchen, you really can’t go wrong with all the creative ways to put oat milk to good use.
How long does oat milk last in the refrigerator?
Store bought oat milk should be consumed within 7 to 10 days of being opened, and must be kept in the fridge after opening. There is an expiration date on the carton that should give you a timeframe for how long the manufacture recommends keeping the beverage.
Homemade oat milk only lasts about 5 days and must be kept in the fridge because it lacks preservatives commonly found in manufactured oat milk brands. Label the container so that you know exactly when the oat milk was made so that you don’t risk consumer expired oat milk.
How to Freeze Oat Milk
Now to address the question we originally came here for. How do you freeze oat milk?
Most importantly, it must be mentioned that freezing oat milk will change the consistency and make it slightly grainy after thawing. Therefore it is recommended to evaluate whether or not it is really important to freeze oat milk before just throwing it in the freezer.
Though there exists an expiration date on the packaging, oat milk lasts beyond the best by date when stored in a cool, dry and dark storage area.
At worst, the oat milk will separate after extended storage. Simply shake the container and the mixture will homogenize again and should be as good as new.
That being said, there are two ways to freeze oat milk, in a carton or in an airtight container.
Here is how to freeze oat milk:
- In the carton: Place the entire carton in the freezer. Whether or not the oat milk has been opened, it should last up to 6 months in the freezer.
- In an airtight, freezer-safe bottle: Pour the oat milk into a freezer-safe bottle, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top of the container. Water based liquid expands as it freezes, so leaving enough room at the top is important so the glass doesn’t break when under pressure.
Oat milk will also last about 6 months in the freezer. Be sure to label the date when the freezing began.
In addition, it’s not recommended to refreeze oat milk. So make sure you plan to use all the oat beverage that you thaw after freezing.
There you have it, the two easy ways to freeze oat milk. Freezing keeps it fresh for much longer and preserves the nutritional value so that you don’t have to worry about degradation of the essential nutrients.
So what do you do when you want to use the frozen oat milk? Continue reading for the proper way to thaw oat milk so that the consistency and flavor remain optimal.
How to Thaw Oat Milk
When it comes time to use the frozen oat milk, thaw it in the refrigerator.
Oat milk is best when chilled before serving as a beverage, otherwise it can be room temperature when poured into hot beverages or used in baked goods and body care applications.
If the oat milk container has never been opened and remains sealed from production, then if can be thawed on the countertop.
If the oat milk container as been opened or is homemade oat milk stored in a sealed container, then it should be thawed in the fridge.
Here is how to thaw oat milk:
- In a carton: Remove the oat milk carton from the freezer and place in the fridge. Leave the oat milk in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight to fully thaw and use it as normal. Thawed oat milk should be consumed within 7 to 10 days.
- In freezer-safe bottles: Again, place the container in the refrigerator to defrost for 8 hours. It’s best to thaw oat milk overnight in the fridge if you plan to use it the next morning. Consume within 7 to 10 days.
Now that you understand the best ways to thaw oat milk you can freeze oat milk with confidence. Understand that the oat milk will separate when thawed, and it should come right back together with a quick shake or stir.
Furthermore, the oat milk may become slightly grainy. If you notice an extreme difference, then strain it through a piece of cheesecloth to remove some of the pulpy sediment for a smoother mouthfeel.
Heating Oat Milk
Oat milk thickens when it is heated. This can be a good and bad result, but one of the reasons why it is enjoyed so much as a coffee creamer because it gives a creamy finish to the hot beverage.
As long as you are aware of this property, you can safely use it to slightly thicken other recipes like soups and stews. If you go too heavy with the oat milk you may end up needing to water it down which defeats the purpose of building layers of flavor in a dish.
If you try to heat oat milk in a sauce pan, it will burn on the bottom before the liquid reaches a boil. Therefore it is extremely important to stir constantly while heating, you don’t want to scorch the bottom of the pan and burn the pot oat milk.
Freezing Oat Milk: Final Thoughts
Freezing oat milk should be a last resort option and not really necessary for store bought cartons. Once frozen, the texture and taste may change slightly, so be aware of the results before sticking it in the freezer.
Store bought oat milk has an exceptionally long shelf life if the carton is unopened, and it may even last for years beyond the expiration date if kept in a cool, dry and dark storage area. The sealed carton is shelf stable and will remain fresh when properly stored.
In contrast, homemade oat milk must be refrigerated or frozen because it lacks the preservatives and jarring procedures done to stabilize manufactured packaging.
Once opened, oat milk must be consumed or frozen within 5 to 10 days to maintain freshness.
Frozen oat milk should be thawed in the fridge for 8 hours or left overnight. Once defrosted, it can be used as normal.
Be careful when heating oat milk as it will thicken rapidly. If you heat in a pot, the bottom will start to burn before the oat milk boils, so stir it frequently while warming in a pan.
This is everything you need to know about freezing and thawing oat milk. Next time you have to urge to store oat milk in the freezer, you have all the information you need to successfully accomplish the task.