Cashew milk is my absolutely favorite dairy-free milk. It’s slightly sweet, smooth, and creamy, with a beautiful white color. It’s also really easy to make at home as it doesn’t require any straining.
Making homemade nut milk is not a difficult process. However, if you don’t particularly love the nut milk bag, you might not always feel like making a batch of dairy-free milk. I admit that dealing with leftover pulp from making nut milk can be annoying. It’s wasteful to throw it out but can be difficult to use, especially if you make nut milk a couple of times a week. Sure, you can turn the leftover pulp into almond meal, but then you still have to come up with ways to use up that almond meal, and not everyone has time for that.
Enter cashew milk.
Cashews have very little fiber. For comparison, 100 g of cashews contain 3.3 g of fiber while 100 g of almonds contain 12.5 fiber! In other words, when you blend cashews with water, you end up with almost perfectly smooth cashew milk. There’s very little leftover fiber, so there’s no need for straining. This also means that all the fiber and nutrients remain in the milk. There’s no waste, no leftover pulp.
Cashew milk is also one of the mildest, most neutral-tasting of all other dairy-free milks. Almond, coconut, and tigernut milk are all fine alternatives, but I use them sparingly due to their taste complexities. They definitely do have a place in my kitchen, but the plant milk I turn to regularly is cashew milk.
Tips for Making Cashew Milk
You only need two ingredients to make homemade cashew milk:
- Cashews: if you can find truly raw cashews, they’re the best – sweeter, richer, and more appetizing. I get my cashews from Real Raw Food – a distributor of organically grown, truly raw foods. Of course, if you can’t get your hands on truly raw cashews, conventional “raw” cashews will work just fine. Just be aware that there’s a difference between cold-processed cashews and other conventionally-processed heat-treated “raw” cashews. The definition of “raw” for the cashew industry means not roasted; cashews in shells are either boiled in oil or scorched in the fire to condition the shell before cracking. However, during the heating process, the cashew degrades, and its essential fatty acids and enzymes are destroyed. The alternative is sourcing truly raw cashews from small-scale cashew farmers who handpick cashews from organically certified trees. The cashews are cracked open with special knives that pierce and split the tough outer shell of the unheated cashew nut. Once the shell has been broken to expose the cashew kernel (still nestled snugly inside), producers use a thin stainless pick to pry the kernel out. These kernels are still encased in a thin red skin, which must be dehydrated in solar dryers at a maximum of 104°F/40°C for 12-14 hours to facilitate removal.
- Water: I prefer filtered water over tap water because it tastes fresher and brighter. However, it really comes down to your specific geographical source regarding whether filtering offers any real benefits. Tap water is perfectly fine to use.
How to Make Cashew Milk
Making cashew milk is as easy as it gets. Having a high-speed blender that can completely break down the cashews is helpful, but since cashews are soft nuts, even a standard blender will work to make cashew milk; the milk might just require straining. Here’s the step-by-step process for making cashew milk:
- Soak the cashews. Add the cashews to a medium bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for at least 8 hours to soften up and blend easily. You can also add 1 tsp./5.7 g of salt to the soaking water to help activate the cashews and neutralize enzyme inhibitors in the nuts. When the cashews are done soaking, drain the water and rinse the nuts thoroughly. If something comes up and you can’t use the cashews within 24 hours, store them in the refrigerator, changing the water twice a day.
- Blend the ingredients. Add the soaked cashews and water to a high-speed blender and blend on high until the cashews have broken down and the nut milk is smooth and creamy.
How to Store Cashew Milk
- Refrigerating: transfer the cashew milk to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. If separation occurs, shake before serving.
- Freezing: transfer the cashew milk to an airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months. You can also pour the milk into ice cube trays and freeze it.
Cashew Milk Variations
The two ways you can change up homemade cashew milk – alternate the cashews to water ratio or flavor it.
I typically use 1 cup/137 g of cashews and 3-4 cups/720-960 ml of water, which yields a consistency similar to 2% dairy milk. The ratio is up to you, though. For cashew creamer (half-and-half), the ideal ratio would be 1:2.5. For cashew cream, a 1:1.5 ratio is the standard.
The recipe below is for plain cashew milk, but there are many ways you can flavor cashew milk. Add a date or two or 1 Tbsp./15 ml of maple syrup for sweetness. For vanilla cashew milk, add 1 tsp./5 ml of vanilla extract. If chocolate cashew milk is your thing, use 2 Tbsp./14 g of cacao powder with your favorite sweetener.
How to Use Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is one of the most versatile plant milks.
You can blend it into a smoothie, pour it over granola or cereal, stir it into a chia pudding, use it in all things oatmeal, make hot chocolate with it, add it to your morning coffee, froth it for a matcha latte, or bake with it! Cashew milk is also excellent in savory dishes – add a splash to your next batch of mashed potatoes, stir it into soups, or add it to curries.
More Nut Milk Recipes
- Almond milk: homemade almond milk is a very popular dairy-free milk alternative. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a beautiful bright white color incomparable to the store-bought variety.
- Coconut milk: the taste of fresh coconut milk is so clean, so refreshing, and so fragrant. It’s just like fresh coconut in the creamy liquid form.
- Tigernut milk: this plant milk is naturally sweet with a mellow nutty flavor (despite tiger nuts not being a nut).
If you try any of these recipes, please, leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.
- 1 cup cashews
- 4 cups water
- Blend the ingredients. Add the soaked cashews and water to a high-speed blender and blend on high until all the cashews have broken down and the nut milk is smooth and creamy.
- Store. Leftover cashew milk keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For longer-term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.