We’re back at it again to give you the best oat milk brands of 2023! We researched, shopped and tested 12 different brands to bring you the widest variety of oat milk we could find (at least in central Florida). We’ve also done taste tests for the best almond milk and the best coconut milk if you want to check those out next.
I can’t wait to share the results with you. Oat milk is something I’m reaching for more and more these days due to its creamy texture and mild taste. Let’s see how it stacks up in this growing world of plant-based milk.
Table of Contents
Before I reveal our results, I want to break down a little research into these brands. Unlike almond milk, which is categorized as sweetened or unsweetened and comes in various flavors, oat milk categories are not straightforward. Let’s break down the lingo first.
What ‘Original’ Really Means
The goal of our project was to test all of the ‘original unsweetened’ oat milk we could find. Brands are not consistent with their labeling, so we had to get a bit creative. Here are all the ways we found ‘original’:
- Less Sweet
- Full Fat
- Less Fat
- Extra Creamy
- Blended with coconut and cashews
How’s that for clarity? While you can be fairly certain that any almond milk has an unsweetened original version, this wasn’t the case with this milk. We did find the zero sugar plain version of Chobani this year (yay!). Yet we couldn’t find a fully unsweetened version of Good and Gather.
We also had to pick between the original and barista version of Oatly!, which threw us for a loop. We came up with a comprehensive list of what is on the market right now at the national level. Let’s get on to the results!
Best Oat Milk Brands of 2023
To make the table easy to decode, I used a leaf scoring system (because green is best!):
While Califia was the stand-out winner in all categories, most of the milk brands we tested were pretty middle-of-the-road. Only three brands, Califia, Elmhurst, and Forager, boasted a simple ingredient list. Simply Oat has a more straightforward ingredient list yet includes the ever-elusive ‘natural flavors,’ which dethroned its seat from our cleanest list.
Because most of the milk we tested had several additives and gums, they were disqualified from ‘dark green status.’ I recommend checking the calorie and sugar content of any oat beverage you purchase. The sugar content alone ranges from 1g to 10g between brands, so we felt them worth mentioning:
- Natural by Nature: 120 calories, 10g added sugar
- Trader Joe’s: 90 calories, 9g added sugar
- Good + Gather: 90 calories, 9g added sugar
- Chobani Extra Creamy Original: 120 calories, 8g added sugar
- Oatly: 120 calories, 7g added sugar
- Califia: 130 calories, 4g added sugar
- Planet Oat: 90 calories, 4g added sugar
- Silk: 80 calories, 4g added sugar
- Simply Oat Original: 80 calories, 4g added sugar
- Forager: 45 calories, 2g sugar (no added sugar)
- Elmhurst: 80 calories, 1g sugar (no added sugar)
- Chobani Zero Sugar Plain: 80 calories, 0g sugar
I’m still a firm believer that the best plant milk is homemade, so check out my homemade oat milk recipe and let me know how it compares to your favorite store-bought brand.
Where to Buy Plant-Based Milk
All the oat milk brands in this review were purchased around the Tampa Bay area. Obviously, there are regional grocery stores and brands not available here. Comment below with your favorite oat milk brand and store where it can be found so we can try to include it next year! My friend Erin shopped at the following stores to get as many oat milk brands as possible:
- Trader Joe’s
- Whole Foods
Oat milk brands are steadily gaining momentum here in the Southeastern United States. For this year’s update, we were able to find two additional brands to try: Chobani Zero Sugar Plain and Simply Oat Original.
Like many types of plant milk (and even varieties of dairy milk), oat beverages are commonly fortified with vitamins and minerals. Brands do this to compete in the ‘milk’ category. Oats are a healthy grain in their own right, as you’ll see below:
- Lowers cholesterol: According to a study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine, regular consumption of oat milk for 5 weeks showed lower cholesterol levels.
- Loaded with fiber: 1 cup of oat milk contains 3.3 grams of fiber, 13.2% of the recommended daily intake. If you use this as a base for a green smoothie, then your gut will be thanking you for helping to keep it regular.
- Heart healthy: The soluble fiber in oat milk is also excellent (and necessary) to keep hearts healthy.
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: not only does oat milk promote human health, it also promotes environmental health. It takes up hundreds fewer square miles to produce than dairy milk, and uses 1/8th of the water consumption expended in the production of almond milk.
- Fortified with B vitamins: Most commercially available oat milk is fortified (as are other dairy and non-dairy milk products). This plant milk specifically is loaded with B vitamins, which helps the body stay energized and also promotes heart health.
Is Oat Milk Gluten Free?
I love that oat milk isn’t only a healthy choice for our bodies and an environmentally friendly choice for our planet. If you’re sensitive to gluten, make sure to read the labels and ingredient list closely. Some brands specify gluten-free oats were used, yet most don’t. If you’re looking for a gluten-free brand, these are ones we found that say “gluten free” on them:
- Planet Oats
- Simply Oat
- Chobani (both kinds)
- Forager: states they use “gluten-free oats”
Best Oat Milk Brands FAQs
It really depends on what you are looking for. Unsweetened, plain oat milk that is just oats + water contains small amounts of several nutrients, is low in sugar and has a good amount of fiber. Many store bought brands also fortify their milks with vitamins and minerals, so you can always read labels to determine the best milk for your needs.
As with many store brands, beware of the added sugar, gums and fillers that might be in your oat milk. This varies widely between brands and if it’s important to you then make sure you read your labels. Also, since oats are a whole grain, they are higher in carbohydrates. This could lead to spikes in blood sugar if your body is sensitive to that. Bring your preferred brand to your health practitioner to determine if this kind of milk the best one for you.
Unsweetened, plain oat milk contains 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of sugar per serving. Store bought brands typically fortify with vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin D and vitamin C. Always read your labels to determine the best brand for you!