Best Oat Milk Brands of 2020

7.8.2020

Plant-Based Diet • Best Oat Milk Brands of 2020We’re back it again to give you the best oat milk brands of 2020. We researched, shopped, and tested different brands to bring you the widest variety of oat milk we could find (in central Florida). I can’t wait to share the results with you. Oat milk […]

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We’re back it again to give you the best oat milk brands of 2020. We researched, shopped, and tested different brands to bring you the widest variety of oat milk we could find (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 milks.

Our Oat Milk Brands Testing Setup

Oat Milk Nutrition Facts

Like many plant milks (and even dairy milks), oat milk is commonly fortified with vitamins and minerals. Brands do this to compete in the ‘milk’ category. Oats are a healthy grain in their own right, though, as you will see below:

  • Lowers cholesterol: According to a study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine a 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. Use this as a base for a green smoothie, and 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 used 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). Oat 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, 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 that say “gluten free” on them:

  • Planet Oats
  • Elmhurst
  • Calafia
  • Chobani
  • Forager: states they use “gluten-free oats”
Oat Milk Brands

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 comes in a variety of flavors, oat milk categories are NOT straightforward. Let’s break down the lingo a little first.

Buying Oat Milk

The goal was to test all of the ‘original’ oat milks we could find. Yet, with grocery shortages and no real consistency in labeling between oat milk brands, 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 weren’t able to find a non-extra creamy version of Chobani, a full sweet version of Good and Gather, and 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!

Best Oat Milk Brands Samples in Cups

Best Oat Milk Brands of 2020

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

BESTBETTEROKAYNOT GREATHORRIBLE

While Califia was the stand out winner in all categories, most of the oat milks we tested were pretty middle-of-the-road. Only 3 brands, Califia, Elmhurst, and Forager, boasted a simple ingredient list. Most of the milks had several additives and gums, disqualifying them from ‘dark green status.’ I def recommend checking the calorie + sugar content of any oat milk 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: 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
  • Forager: 45 calories, 2g sugar (no added sugar)
  • Elmhurst: 80 calories, 1g sugar (no added sugar)

I’m still a firm believer that the best plant milks are homemade, so check out my recipe for oat milk and let me know how it compares to your fav store-bought brand.

Best Oat Milk Brands Testing

Where to Buy Oat Milk

All the oat milk in this review was purchased around the Tampa Bay area. Obviously, there will be regional grocery stores and oat milk brands not available here, and that’s okay. Comment below with your fav oat milk brand so we can all try something new! Here’s where my friend Erin shopped to get as many oat milk brands as possible for this review:

Oat milk brands are just starting to gain momentum here in the Southeastern United States. Even when we were shopping for our Top Almond Milk Brands test earlier this year, there weren’t this many oat milk brands available. I can’t wait to see how many brands will be on the market in 2021!

5 Recipes with Oats

homemade oat milk

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

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. The perfect breakfast post workout.

Homemade Granola Bars

These granola bars will keep the family happy all day long. They pack nicely in a daypack or cooler. 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 brand, or a nutritious snack on the go. It can be paired with fresh berries, yogurt, or on its own. It is 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 are 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

COMMENTS
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  1. 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.

  2. 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! 🙂

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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:

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

  6. 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! 🙂

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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! 🙂

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. Lauren says:

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

  15. 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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