How to Make Cashew Milk (Zero-Waste | + Bonus Flavors)
How to make cashew milk with just TWO ingredients (soaked cashews and water) and a blender! This homemade cashew milk is packed with health benefits, it is zero-waste and super versatile, straining it is optional, and it's easy to flavor and to adjust! Dairy-free, lactose-free, Whole30, vegan!
sweetenerdates (3-6 based on taste) or date paste), maple syrup/agave/honey, or sugar-free liquid sweeteners
Check the Recipe Notes below for more add-ins and flavor variations!
Step 1: Soak the Cashews
Add the cashews to a large bowl covered with cold/room temp water and a teaspoon of salt (to help "activate" them and further neutralize the enzyme inhibitors in nuts). Then leave to soak for between 8-12 hours (I usually do this overnight).You can do a "quick soak" option using hot water, allowing them to soak for at least three hours OR even boil the cashews for 15-20 minutes, until tender. For either of the "quick soak" options, you can omit the salt.
After soaking, drain the water from the cashews and rinse them again.There's no need to discard the soaking water if you didn't salt it. This "wastewater" can be used to water plants. However, I don't recommend drinking it as you'll be drinking all the nasties you've just spent all that time soaking to remove!
Step 2: Blend the Cashew Milk
Transfer the soaked cashews to your blender and blend into a rough crumb consistency. Then, add the filtered water (or tap water, if that's possible where you live) and allow the machine to blend until the liquid is creamy and milky-looking. This usually takes a couple of minutes but increase this if you don't have a high-speed blender.
Step 3: Strain the Cashew Milk (Optional)
In some cases, you might find that the cashews disperse well enough into the cashew milk to avoid straining. However, this will naturally contain more sediment and so will be grainier than when strained. For most mid-level blenders, straining is best. There are several ways to strain the leftover cashew pulp from the milk. These include using a coffee filter, cheesecloth (several layers placed within a sieve make it easiest to "hold" in place while pouring the milk in), or a nut milk bag (my preferred option) over a large bowl.If you're using a cheesecloth/a nut milk bag, squeeze as much liquid from the pulp as possible. With a coffee filter, you'll need to allow it to filter in its own time (which is why I avoid this method).
After straining the cashew milk, you can transfer it to a glass bottle (easiest if you have a funnel).
How Long Does Cashew Milk Last?
Store: Store the cashew milk in an airtight bottle in the fridge for between 3-5 days. As there are no stabilizers in this homemade milk, it will likely separate slightly in the fridge. Just give it a good shake each time before using. You'll know when the milk has gone bad as it will smell and taste sour. Freeze: I like to freeze mine in ice-cube trays, so it's perfectly "portioned," and I can pop a few cubes out, as needed. I recommend freezing the cashew milk for up to 3 months.
The Cashew to Water Ratio?
For creamier cashew milk (like half and half): use ONE cup soaked cashews + THREE cups water.
For cashew cream: using two cups of water to every one cup of cashews works perfectly for cream. However, in my "heavy"-style cashew cream recipe, I use a 1:1 ratio (1 cup cashews to one cup water!) for thick and creamy cashew cream.
For light and subtle cashew milk: you could use ½ cup cashews for every four cups water. It will still be smooth and slightly creamy but with a mild flavor and obviously more watery.
Flavored Cashew Milk
Vanilla cashew milk: use the sweetener of your choice, then add one teaspoon of homemade Vanilla extract or Vanilla Powder, and increase to personal taste.
Chocolate Cashew milk: add 2 tablespoon of cocoa powder with the sweetener of your choice (adjusted to taste) and a pinch of salt. A pinch of espresso powder will also enhance the chocolate flavor.
Strawberry cashew milk: you can use fresh or frozen (if drinking immediately) strawberries. I recommend using around 2 cups of berries with the sweetener of your choice, 1-2 teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt. You can do the same with other berries (raspberries, blueberries, etc.).
Salted caramel cashew milk: spoon in some of this vegan salted caramel (which is essentially dates, vanilla, and salt). I recommend 2-3 dates per cup of cashew milk. Feel free to make it sweeter with the addition of extra maple.
Maple Spice milk: add 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Optionally add some vanilla too.
Espresso: add some instant espresso (2-3 teaspoon per cup of milk) and sweetener of your choice for a simple, sweet, caffeinated treat.
Cashew almond milk: you can even use a combination of nuts or nuts and seeds. I particularly like to make cashew oat milk and cashew almond milk. I use 50/50 cashews and almonds but feel free to experiment with the ratios.
For a thicker/thinner consistency: simply adjust the amount of water used per cup of cashews.
For 2-minute cashew milk from cashew butter: when you've run out of cashew milk and need more ASAP, then you can combine 2 tablespoons of unsalted cashew butter (raw is best but not necessary) with the 4 cups of fresh water and blend until smooth and creamy.
Straining leftover sediment from the milk: if you've used a nut milk bag/cheesecloth and still have tons of sediment, you can strain the milk through a coffee filter.
For whole30 cashew milk: you can either leave the cashew milk recipe unsweetened OR use dates to sweeten it naturally. You can even experiment with some of the flavored options (for example, you could use cacao powder with dates and a pinch of salt for chocolate cashew milk).
When buying cashews: look out for ethically sourced fair-trade cashews. That way, you protect the workers who can end up with permanent hand/finger damage from harvesting cashews when the working conditions are poor.
Check the blog post for more notes and answers to top FAQs!