Are you wondering what the best milk for smoothies is? Which one tastes the most delicious, has the highest protein, or the lowest calories? Then you’re in the right place…
In this article – our nutritionist explores which milk is the best for smoothies and shakes, based on factors like taste, nutrition, and dietary needs.
Milk (plant-based or dairy) is a staple ingredient in most smoothie recipes. It adds a creaminess to the flavour and texture, and helps dissolve supplement powders too. Choosing the right milk can make all the difference in terms of both taste and nutritional benefits. But which is the best?
Well, it depends on what you want from your smoothie…
Most people drink smoothies and shakes for specific reasons. Whether it’s to nourish their body with healthy vitamins, fuel up with protein after a workout, or help them lose weight. The reason behind your smoothie will influence which milk is best to use.
So, we’ve broken down the best milks for different types of smoothie, so you can choose the most appropriate one for your needs. Whether you’re seeking creaminess, protein power, or specific dietary preferences, we’ve got you covered…
- Tastiest – coconut
- Cheapest – dairy
- Protein – soya
- Low carb – unsweetened almond
- Low sugar – unsweetened almond
- Gluten-free – almond
- Lactose-free – oat
- Paleo – coconut
- Keto – coconut
Let’s explore each of them in more detail…
You might also like… 7 Delicious Yogurt Alternatives For Smoothies & Shakes.
The Tastiest Milk for Smoothies
We’re just going to come out and say it straight – coconut milk is the tastiest option for smoothies.
Yes, it’s true that taste is a matter of personal preference. But many people would agree that the most delicious milk would be creamy, rich, and silky in texture. Coconut milk ticks all these boxes to a much greater extent than almond, soya, dairy, or any other milk on this list.
It can make your smoothies feel indulgent and satisfying in a way that other milks just can’t compete with.
You might also like… this Coconut-Packed Piña Colada Protein Smoothie.
Cheapest Milk for Smoothies
What if price is your primary concern? The cost of living is spiralling after all…
Well if you want to make cheap smoothies on a budget, consider using cow’s milk. It’s typically the most affordable option available. Dairy milk provides a good balance of nutrients and is widely accessible.
If you want a plant-based milk that’s cheap, then go for oat milk. It’s another cost-effective option that offers a creamy texture and subtle sweetness, while being wallet-friendly too.
Highest Protein Milk for Smoothies
If you want to boost your protein intake, then unsweetened soya milk is an excellent choice. It naturally contains a decent amount of protein and blends smoothly in smoothies. Other high-protein options include dairy milk and Greek yogurt, which can add a macro punch to your recipes.
Here’s a comparison of the protein content of different types of milk…
- Plant protein soya milk – 5g protein per 100ml
- Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk – 3.6g protein per 100ml
- Whole milk – 3.5g protein per 100ml
- Soya milk – 3.3g protein per 100ml
- Oat milk – 1.1g to 0.3g protein per 100ml depending on the brand (Oatly being the highest)
- Almond milk – 0.4g protein per 100ml
- Hazelnut milk – 0.4g protein per 100ml
- Coconut milk – 0.1g protein per 100ml
You might also like… 7 Delicious Ways To Make Your Protein Shakes Taste Better or this Mango & Soya Milk Protein Smoothie.
Lowest Carb Milk
If you’re following a low-carb diet, then unsweetened almond or coconut milk are great options. They contain fewer carbohydrates compared to other milk varieties. These milks can add a light and nutty flavour, while keeping your smoothie low-carb too.
Recipe inspiration… a quick and tasty Easy Almond Milk Smoothie.
Lowest Sugar Milk
Sugar is a type of carb, so the same options go for this one too. To keep the sugar content of your smoothie in check, opt for unsweetened almond, coconut, or cashew milk. These milks contain minimal naturally occurring sugars (but you could also consider using water instead as that contains zero carbs).
Best Gluten-Free Milk for Smoothies
If you follow a gluten-free diet, there are several milk choices available for your smoothie recipes. Almond, coconut, and rice milk are all gluten-free options that blend well in smoothies. Almond is our personal favourite, but they all provide a neutral taste that won’t overpower the other ingredients.
Just be sure to read the label carefully as some brands claim to be gluten-free, but then admit in the small print that cross-contamination may be possible (e.g. if their milk is packaged in the same factory as wheat products).
You might also like… this Easy Almond Milk Protein Smoothie.
Lactose-Free Milk Options
If you’re lactose intolerant, there are now plenty of dairy-free milk options available (many of which taste just as creamy as the real thing). Almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and soy milk are all lactose-free and can be used as delicious creamy substitutes in smoothie recipes. Oat is our fav since it’s slightly better for the environment than others as it uses less water to produce.
We don’t do dairy in our smoothie recipes so you can be confident that anything you try on our website will be lactose-free. Check out these protein powders that don’t contain whey or dairy.
Best Milk for Paleo Smoothies
If you follow a paleo diet, then you’ll want to choose a milk that aligns with your dietary choices. Coconut milk, almond milk, and cashew milk are popular choices for paleo smoothies as they are free from dairy and additives. They provide a naturally sweet and creamy base for your creations (we’d say almond is the best).
Milk for Keto Smoothies
Keto smoothies are all about healthy fats and low carbohydrates. So full-fat coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, and macadamia nut milk are excellent choices as they contain minimal carbs and are rich in beneficial fats. They add a creamy texture and enhance the flavor of your keto-friendly smoothies.
So, there you have a comprehensive guide to the best milks for your smoothies and shakes. Whether you prioritise taste, specific dietary needs, or fitness goals, there’s a milk option that suits your preferences. Choosing the right one can elevate the taste, texture, and nutritional value of your smoothie, so it’s worth experimenting with a few different ones. That way you’re more likely to discover the perfect blend for your next delicious smoothie recipe!
Read next… Make a creamy smoothie without milk (zero dairy).
Yes, most of the milk options mentioned in this article, such as soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk, are suitable for vegan smoothies.
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment and create your own unique blend. Combining different milks can result in a balance of different flavours and nutritional benefits.
Yes, you can use water as a base for your smoothie if you prefer a lighter consistency. However, using milk or milk alternatives can add creaminess, enhance the flavour, and provide extra nutrients.
People with lactose intolerance should avoid dairy milk. Instead, opt for lactose-free milk options like oat, almond, coconut, or soy milk.
If you have a nut allergy, it’s essential to avoid nut-based milks like almond and cashew milk. Instead, consider options like oat, rice, or hemp milk.