Tigernut milk has become one of my favorite non-dairy milks of late. It’s naturally sweet with a mellow nutty flavor (despite tiger nuts not being a nut). You might have encountered tigernut milk under the names of tigernut horchata (popular in Spain) or chufa milk. It’s raw, vegan, grain-free, nut-free, seed-free, coconut-free, and oil-free.
Tiger nuts have been around for a while but only recently started getting a lot of spotlight. The name itself is a bit misleading, as tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts, but rather tiny tubers (root vegetables) that grow wild all over the world. They are about the size of a chickpea, wrinkled, and amber colored with stripes on the exterior, hence the name.
Unlike most starchy root vegetables, the resistant starch in tiger nuts acts more like a fiber. Resistant starch resists the digestive process and moves through the small intestine into the large intestine undigested. (1) Eventually, the beneficial microbes in the large intestine break down the starch, which becomes food for beneficial bacteria in the gut. It is PREbiotics that feed our PRObiotics. Another benefit of resistant starch is that it takes long to digest. So, tiger nuts are particularly popular among people who want to lose weight or maintain their target weight.
You can eat tiger nuts raw, but it can be kind of a commitment. As soon as the nuts are harvested, they are dried in the sun. This concentrates all the fiber and turns the nuts into a very intensive chewing experience. I like it, but some may not. One option is to rehydrate tiger nuts before eating. Another option is to make tigernut milk or Spanish horchata (sweetened tigernut milk).
Tips for Making Tigernut Milk
Just like most plant milks, tigernut milk is incredibly easy to make, requiring nothing more than tiger nuts and water. Standard tiger nuts are unpeeled, which I prefer over the peeled ones because they have a fuller and overall sweeter flavor. They have a flavor reminiscent of both coconut and almonds, so they are an excellent alternative for those with nut allergies.
You can also combine tiger nuts with other nuts and/or seeds. One of my favorite has been a milk made from half tiger nuts and half almonds.
You can keep the tigernut milk plain or add spices (such as cinnamon or cardamom) and/or a sweetener.
Tigernut milk is a traditional method of preparing tiger nuts. Technically, you don’t need to soak tiger nuts because they don’t contain any phytic acid or enzyme inhibitors. However, I always do because it helps with the blending process. Whether you soak the tiger nuts or nut, you will want to use a high-speed blender to blend them until smooth.
You will be left with quite a bit of tigernut pulp, so make sure you strain the milk through a nut milk bag. You can dehydrate the pulp and use it to make tigernut flour. It’s the leftover pulp that contains all the resistant starch.
How To Use Tigernut Milk
Just like tiger nuts, tigernut milk is sweet. An easy way to introduce tiger nut milk into your diet is through breakfast cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, or ice cream.
It’s also great for drinking straight out of a glass or as horchata de chufa. Tigernut horchata is essentially sweetened, cinnamon-infused tigernut milk served over ice. It’s very popular in Spain, especially during hot summer months. While horchata originated in Valencia with tiger nuts, other countries made their own versions using rice (in Mexico and other parts of the Americas), almonds (in Central American countries), and sesame seeds (in Puerto Rico).
More Plant Milk Recipes
In fact, I have an entire guide on how to choose the right plant milk because the options can be downright overwhelming. Which are the best non-dairy milk alternatives? And how do these different plant milks compare nutritionally? It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Blender (Vitamix 750) | 2. Measuring Cup (2 Cups, Anchor Hocking, Glass) | 3. Mesh Strainers (Set of 3, Cuisinart, Stainless Steel) | 4. Nut Milk Bag (12″x 12″, Ellie’s Best, Nylon) | 5. Mixing Bowls (Set of 3, Pyrex, Glass)
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- 1 cup tiger nuts, soaked*
- 3 cups water
- Blend the tiger nuts. Add the tiger nuts and water into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and frothy.
- Strain the tigernut milk. Pour the tiger nut mixture into a nut milk bag set over a large mixing bowl or a measuring cup. Gather the nut milk bag around the nut meal and close. Squeeze and press to extract as much tigernut milk as possible. All you should be left with is a nearly dried ball of tigernut meal.**
- Store. Leftover tigernut milk keeps well in an airtight bottle or a jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, though best when fresh.
*I used tiger nuts by Yupik (available only in Canada). Another great brand is Gemini, which is is the only USDA-Organic Certified TigerNut company in the USA.
**Save the leftover tigernut meal and toast it in the oven. You can then blend it into a smoothie, bake with it, or toast it in the oven and sprinkle on top of oatmeal. You can also grind the dehydrated tigernut meal into flour.
***Prep time does not include soaking the tiger nuts (4-8 hours).
****Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.