Best Oat Milk Brands of 2021

4.8.2021

My team did the research and testing to bring you the ultimate guide to oat milk brands. We tested for taste, quality, ingredients and more.

oat milk

We’re back it again to give you the best oat milk brands of 2021! 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.

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.

best oat milk brands tested by pouring into plain cups for a blind tastetest

Oat Milk Nutrition Facts

Like many types of plant milk (and even varieties of dairy milk), oat milk is commonly fortified with vitamins, as well as minerals. Brands do this to compete in the ‘milk’ category. Oats are a healthy grain in their own right, though, 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, but also an environmentally friendly choice for our planet. If you’re sensitive to gluten, then make sure to read the labels and ingredient list closely. Some brands will 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
  • Elmhurst
  • Calafia
  • Chobani (both kinds)
  • Forager: states they use “gluten-free oats”
every oat milk brand of 2021 in grocery stores

Best Oat Milk Brand

Before I reveal our results, I wanted to break down a little research into oat milk brands. Unlike almond milk, which is categorized as sweetened or unsweetened, and then comes in a variety of flavors, oat milk categories are NOT straightforward. Let’s break down the lingo a little first.

What ‘original’ really means

The goal was to test all of the ‘original’ oat milk we could find. The problem is, 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
  • Original
  • Plain
  • Unsweetened
  • Extra Creamy
  • Barista
  • Blended with coconut and cashews

How’s that for clarity?! While you can be fairly certain that any almond milk brand has an unsweetened original version, this wasn’t the case with oat milk. We did find the zero sugar plain version Chobani this year (yay!). Yet we couldn’t find a fully unsweetened version of Good and Gather. Then we had to pick between the original and barista version of Oatly! which threw us for a loop. I still think we came up with a pretty comprehensive list of what is on the market right now at the national level. So let’s get on to the results!

testing out oat milk with plastic cups

Best oat milk brands of 2021

To make the table easy to decode, I used a leaf scoring system (because green is best!):

chart highlighting the best oatmilk brands

While Califia was the stand out winner in all categories, most of the milk brands we tested were pretty middle-of-the-road. Only 3 brands, Califia, Elmhurst, and Forager, boasted a simple ingredient list. Simply Oat has a simpler ingredient list as well, yet included the ever elusive ‘natural flavors,’ which dethroned its seat from our cleanest list.

Since most of the milk we tested had several additives and gums, they were disqualified from ‘dark green status.’ I def recommend checking the calorie + 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 milk recipe and let me know how it compares to your fav store-bought brand.

oat milk brands

Where to Buy Oat Milk

All the oat milk in this review was purchased around the Tampa Bay area. Obviously, there are regional grocery stores and brands not available here, and that’s okay. Comment below with your fav oat milk brand + store 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:

Oat milk brands are steadily gaining momentum here in the Southeastern United States. For this year’s update, we were able to find 2 additional brands to try: Chobani Zero Sugar Plain and Simply Oat Original.

5 Recipes with Oats

homemade plant milk recipe

DIY Oat Milk

While there were some super great grocery oat milk brands, I still think nothing beats homemade. This oat milk recipe is simple, quick, and delicious. Try it and see how it stacks up against the store-bought competition.

cinnamon dolce latte with oat milk

Cinnamon Dolce Latte

Why wait in a drive-thru when you can make this coffee shop quality treat at home. Sweet, creamy, and oh so delicious, this plant based latte hits all the comfort factors needed to start the day.

banana oatmeal smoothie

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

This heart-healthy smoothie is loaded with fiber and just the right amount of sweetness. This is the perfect post workout snack, or even a quick breakfast on the go.

homemade granola bars with oats

Homemade Granola Bars

These granola bars will keep the family happy all day long. They pack nicely in a daypack or cooler as well. A burst of energy to keep the adventures going.

Jen’s Coconut Granola

Use this incredibly balanced granola as a breakfast with your fav oat milk, or as a nutritious snack on the go. It can be paired with fresh berries, yogurt, as well as munched on on its own. It’s seriously good, and can be found in the Fresh Start Autumn 21-day cleanse.

One of the many great things about green smoothies is that they’re so customizable. Next time you make one, try swapping the liquid base for oat milk to produce a creamier, thicker smoothie. Oat milk can be a great added protein, as well as a thickener for that delicious smoothie bowl

01
#1 Green Smoothie Of all Time— no joke!
02
HOW TO MAKE A MEAL REPLACEMENT SMOOTHIE
03
DIY FREEZER SMOOTHIE PREP ON A BUDGET
About Jen Hansard

Mom of 2, ran across the Grand Canyon and lover of smoothies, coffee & tacos. I transformed my family's health with a plant-based diet. I also found myself again along the way.

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  1. Lisa says:

    Surprised to not see Pacific Brands on here. Maybe it is only a big West Coast brand?!?

    • Simple Green Smoothies says:

      Hi Lisa! The Pacific Brands oat milk option is a newer offering here in FL, yet we do have it avaiable now. The main reason we didn’t test it this time around was due to the fact that it’s a shelf-stable oat milk and we were aiming for refrigerated versions as they are usually fresher and contain fewer preservatives.

  2. Erin says:

    Thanks for the updated report! This is super helpful.

  3. Meira says:

    Hi – thank you for this. I recently found a 6 carton pack of organic oatmilk branded in a simple sleek packaging called “oat”. I am curious to compare this to the others you tested.

  4. Eckhard Huelsmeier says:

    We started buying oat milk online once we started sheltering in place a few months ago. We buy Califia Barista Gluten Free Oat Milk in 6 quart cases, which come in cartons and not the plastic bottles that cause some folks concern, and it tastes great. The milk is shelf stable and does not require refridgeration until opened, and we use it for everything we used to use cow’s milk for. While the online price ($2.50/qt.) is more than in-store for a quart, the fact that it can be ordered online during times like these, more than makes up for the price, at least for us.
    (FYI – in case this sounds like a plug, we do not work for, nor know anyone else who works for, Califia. :-))

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      That’s great to know about the option to purchase online in bulk. Thank you, Eckhard! 🙂

  5. Dani Mitchel says:

    Thank you for doing these reports! I always find them so helpful when deciding which brands to buy. Califia comes in such a cute bottle too- glad it rated so well!

  6. Cassia says:

    I don’t get the Oatly hype. I bought a container and regretted it after the first sip. i did try the Chobani and I didn’t find it as bad as this review did. If the Califa oatmilk tastes like it’s eggnog cousin, I’ll pass on that as well. I have

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Even though they are all oat milks, they do all have different flavors and that’s such a personal preference. I hope you’re able to find one you like.

  7. Laura says:

    I’m so glad you did this test. Oat milk is my choice for my coffee and it’s so thick and creamy. I just love it. Thank you for doing this and sharing about the extra ingredients that are often in oat milk. Other than the added sugar it didn’t occur to me to look at the ingredients list. I think I’ll be changing my brand. 🙂

    • Jackie Fehrenbacher says:

      Yay! I love this so much. I changed to Califia Gluten-Free Oat Milk a few months ago with this pandemic. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      You’re very welcome, Jackie! 🙂

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Glad we could help explain things and assist you in making a well-informed decision, Laura!

  8. PaPai says:

    YAY! Love this. I switched to Oat milk last year and love it especially in tea lattes. I recently got my SO to switch over from real milk and he loves Califia and my favorite is Oatly’s Low Fat version. So we have both in the fridge now. 🙂 Thank you for the this great review.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      That’s great you were able to find one for you and help your SO find one he likes, as well! 🙂

  9. Janet says:

    Hi Jen….thank you for all the information. I love oats and anything that you can make with them.
    I do have a concern though. Glyphosate… it’s said to be used on oat crops…and not a good thing for us. What do you think?

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hi Janet. Organic farmers are absolutely forbidden from using glyphosate (a synthetic substance) in their farming practices therefore, any certified organic ingredients/products won’t contain it, nor will any products that are certified Non-GMO. Non-organic oats or oat-based products have the potential to contain glyphosate, as this is a farming aid widely used for weed control and crop desiccation.

  10. Gail says:

    Awesome! I am happy to know that I’m using the #1 oat milk! I live in the Pacific NW (200 mi from Seattle) and I find Califia at Safeway, usually on sale. Can’t wait until coffee shops add it to their regular non-dairy menu.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Our local coffee shops offer oat milk as an option and I was so happy when I discovered that. I’m sure more and more will follow suit!

  11. Megan Logsdon says:

    Thank you so much for doing these. As a consumer, I get confused by which thickeners are necessary vs which ones are unhealthy. I can’t love these studies enough!! A helpful idea: Maybe make the charts into a pdf for quick access on my phone while shopping!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      So glad you’re finding these helpful, Megan! And that’s a great suggestion about the charts. I will pass it on to Jen! 🙂

  12. Carrie says:

    This is great! While some of the metrics above are obvious. I’m wondering about “quality”. Is quality linked to the how healthy the food is, how long it lasts, etc? Also, I am curious about the packaging metric because while I love the design of Califa, I often avoid it because of the plastic. Thanks for providing a great resource!

    • SGS Rawkstar Erin says:

      Great questions Carrie! We based quality on the following: quality of ingredients, packaging (some companies are certified B corps, so they got a boost in the quality category), and quantity of ingredients. If 2 brands had similar ingredients, yet one used organic ingredients and one didn’t, the organic one was rated higher in the quality category. All of the packaging was considered ‘recyclable’ yet the companies that use certified environmentally packaging got a better rating as well.

  13. Brittany says:

    Thank you! I have been drinking oatly since discovering oat milk and like it better than almond!.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      I agree! Since I’ve discovered oat milk, I have been using it more and more. And it’s great to have a review of so many of the options available!

  14. Gina says:

    I agree about Califa, but I like the barista blend best. I bought it for my coffee, but definitely use in other things.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      The barista blend makes a great froth when I mix up a drink in my Vitamix. 🙂

  15. Caroline | Founder Journey To Glow says:

    Thank you for this amazing research Jen and your work in general. I’ve been following you ever since attending your workshop at WWS (5, 6 years ago?) — best workshop by the way! — and I think you’re a total Rawkstar.

    I live in Quebec, Canada and we don’t have nearly as many choices for Oat Milks but I do love Earth’s Own Barista Edition and it’s a Canadian company!

    Cheers! To Oatmilk!

  16. Lauren says:

    Can you do a coconut milk round up/review??

  17. Jessica Ann says:

    I was most shocked that Silk scored so poorly! Can’t wait to try out some of these new brands.

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