Cashews are one of America’s favorite nuts.
And I don’t blame them.
I love cashews! They are great on their own, in my favorite green smoothie, and in homemade trail mix. But I probably don’t need to tell you all that. Chances are you love cashews too!
Besides being an amazing nut for eating, its great for drinking! Cashew milk is super easy to make and one of the best non-dairy milks. You can add some vanilla for a little extra pizazz. But it doesn’t need any sweetener since cashews are naturally on the sweet side.
Commercial Cashew Milk
Research on cashew milk is slim. Really slim. Like, there’s only one brand that makes it, slim. So Delicious seems to hold the market on cashew milk, which is great for them – no competition! But that’s not so great for us consumers. Partly because it gives them the ability to set the price (more on that in a moment), but partly because we don’t get to choose a brand that has less additives. Take a look at this list of ingredients:
CASHEW MILK (WATER, CASHEWS), NON-GMO CANOLA OIL, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, LOCUST BEAN GUM, GELLAN GUM, GUAR GUM, VITAMIN A ACETATE, SEA SALT, VITAMIN D-3, L-SELENOMETHIONINE (SELENIUM), ZINC OXIDE, FOLIC ACID, VITAMIN B-12.
What strikes me as odd is that the company starts off on the right foot – cashews and water is all it takes to make cashew milk! Why then add all the rest of that stuff?
Canola oil is a dangerous, highly processed, unhealthy polyunsaturated fat that should be avoided. Locust bean gum is a sweetener. Gellan gum is a sweetener that causes constipation. The last seven ingredients (minus the sea salt) are synthetic vitamins that our body doesn’t know what to do with.
Are we really willing to buy this?
These additives are not needed – homemade cashew milk is thick and delicious milk all on it’s own! And why are they trying to ruin the amazing nutrition found naturally in cashew?
Nuts like cashews are the ideal way to consume monounsaturated fats – the ones that help with glucose and insulin levels and keep our cholesterol in check. They’re also a source of several micro-nutrients like copper and magnesium. It also has manganese, phosphorus and a little bit of tryptophan. Yes, the same ingredient that makes us sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. (Source)
The good news is commercial cashew milk costs less than coconut milk. The bad news? It’s more than hemp milk. Amazon sells it for $5.36 (including shipping) for one quart and that won’t get you very far when you’re using it for cooking, baking or just plain ‘ol drinking.
Homemade Cashew Milk
Cashews aren’t too expensive if you buy them in bulk. I buy 2.5lb tubs at Costco for $14.99 ($5.99/lb) and these raw cashews are roughly $6.99/lb.
You can get 3 cups of cashews per pound and it only takes 1 cup of cashews for one quart of cashew milk. If you can get them locally in bulk, you’ll be paying as little as $1 for a quart of cashew milk, saving 81% over the cost of store-bought!
Dairy Alternative: Homemade Cashew Milk
Homemade Cashew Milk
- Category: Beverage
- 1 cup cashews
- 4 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
- Measure cashews into a container and cover with filtered water. Allow to soak for 6-8 hours. This softens the nut and makes it easier to blend, leaving less particles of nut in the finished milk (plus you get some of the benefits of soaking nuts too!).
- Note: Most commercial cashews are not raw, and do not contain the beneficial enzymes that protect the nut. In turn, soaking for longer than 8 hours may cause the nut to be bitter, resulting in bitter milk. You don’t need to blend right away, but at least strain from the water no later than the 8 hour mark.
- Drain nuts and place in a blender. Add 4 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy cold.
For two cups: 1/2 cup cashews, 2 cups water
For one cup: 1/4 cup cashews, 1 cup hot water
Additional Recipe Notes
I’m not a huge fan of nut milks, but I found cashew milk to be pleasant without adding any other flavors. Feel free to add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon if you need the boost of flavor.
This milk blended pretty well, so I didn’t see the need to strain it. You can use a fine mesh sieve if any remaining pieces bother you.
The list of non-dairy alternatives for milk is increasing by the day! Other non-dairy milk alternatives that may interest you:
More Cashew Recipes:
30 minute Cashew Chicken // Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Hummus // Pumpkin Lara Bar Bites
Thanks. Add a good pinch of salt to this recipe.
SJ - Team Crumbs
Thank you Donna! That’s a great flavor adjustment to try 🙂
Is it possible to make cashew nut milk powder for long term storage so that I can use it while travelling or away from home?
Hi Kush! Possibly!! I haven’t done it myself, but I imagine it would require making the milk and then dehydrating… Or taking cashew butter with you and diluting with water until you have a milk-like texture.
Can this milk be boiled like the dairy milk?
I guess it can, but there’s no reason to.
It says you don’t have to strain it. I tried to strain with my usual nut milk bag that I use for almond milk and it wouldn’t strain…too thick?? (To be fair, it did strain slightly. It would have taken an hour to do the whole thing vs like 5-10 mins for almond milk) is there a trick?
No trick Kathleen, but you can add more water if it’s too thick to strain. I’ve found that the nuts sometimes clog the filter holes, so using a spatula to move the nuts around to make room for more straining makes it a little easier.
Edith D. Thurman
Cashews will actually dissolve almost, specially if you use boiling hot water and blend them good. Then there’s no need for a nut bag, which is also what makes cashew milk so creamy compared to almond milk which is thinner. Plus you get the added nutritional value of the cashews actually being in the milk instead of just water. Ive been wanting to order some raw organic cashews, along with coconut chucks, after reading this I’ll be placing that order tomorrow. Just haven’t decided weather to make the milk with raw or roasted nuts. I know soaking them makes it so much better on digesting. That goes for all nuts. Hmm love this recipe!
I make a gallon of milk with 1 1/2 cups of cashews and one cup of chopped dates, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, about 3 tablespoons of imitation vanilla (the alcohol based real stuff has a bad alcohol flavor). Blend for 3 minutes with one quart of water, pour in pitcher, fill the gallon pitcher to the top to make a gallon of rich creamy milk with just 1 1/2 cups of cashews. I don’t bother soaking the nuts first. I just put it all together, blend in vitamix for 3 minutes, and its nearly as smooth as cow milk. People love it, as do my kids. They beg for the froth from the bubbles on top after it’s made.
Thanks for the yummy looking recipe, I can’t wait too try it! I think you may want to check the math on the cost of homemade, though, it looks to me like it would be $2/quart, not $1 as you say?
Almond milk causes constipation and gases. So i am stopping it. Does cashew milk also cause the constipation?
I don’t know Ravindra. I also wouldn’t put a blanket statement on almond milk unless you can attribute the side effect to almonds for you personally – there’s so many additives in store-bought almond milk that it might be one of those!
Thanks for this recipe, I can’t wait to try it! Does it work for both raw and cooked (roasted? Pasteurized? Idk what to call them lol) cashews? Is there a difference in flavor/texture? Thanks again!
I haven’t tried true raw cashews, but I think you’ll be fine either way Trista!
Quick question. This cashew milk uses raw cashews, correct? I’m assuming so, but since you reference raw nuts and commercial milks that use nuts that aren’t raw, I thought I’d ask.
I used cashews from Costco, which are likely not raw. There’s legislation in California regarding almonds, that says all almonds have to be pasteurized… and therefore aren’t necessarily raw (it depends on the type of pasteurization method used), and that’s what I was referencing. Raw nuts aren’t my budget, but they would be the best option!
For the record, I’m fairly certain that the locust bean gum and the gellan gum are not added as sweeteners, but instead to make sure the cashew solids don’t separate out. I love making cashew milk, but when I leave it in the fridge for even a couple hours it starts to separate – there’s a reason the commercial stuff doesn’t do that as much!
Thanks Ginny! I also believe that both of those gums can cause harm in the gut, especially for those who already have digestive issues.
I’m interested in buying some cashews. Please send me the details.
Hey there Stan, I missed Girish’s comment last year, and since I don’t know who that person is personally, I’d prefer to not allow them to sell their items on my site. Just an FYI, I’m going to delete their comment.
I want you to know that I am SO glad that you have done such excellent research & are spreading the news! I’ve been researching real food nutrition as well & you’re research is spot on to what I’ve found. The foods labeled falsely as “healthy” & promoted by ‘the professionals’ anger me. My husband has celiac disease & I believe it’s related to the processed foods putting his body into a state of inflammation for years & years. I work really hard to increase awareness of real food nutrition & LOVE to see how you are doing this.
I made the rice milk (with our pathetic quality of a blender – we just can’t afford a decent one) & it definitely wasn’t as creamy as yours but it was good in my coffee! I can’t wait to try the other milks!
Thank you so much!
Keep up the great work!
Thank you so much for your encouragement Megan! I think there’s quite a bit of disease linked to unidentifiable ingredients as well, but being aware and educating ourselves in the first step to truly getting healthy! 🙂
If you want thicker milk, add less water – that’s the bonus of making it yourself!! I’m glad it was tasty in your coffee – I hadn’t tried that yet!
Welcome to Crumbs Megan, and have a blessed week!!
Thank you for that recipe. I love cashews and will try that right away. I am also looking for a way to make Quinoa-Milk (I found a recipe to make quinoa-creamcheese, quite promising…), would that be a suggestion for you to try out next (and share?), pretty please?
Have a great one!
Hmmm… I hadn’t heard of quinoa milk. Consider it on the list Kirsten!!
Thank you Tiffany! By the way- I tried the peanut milk, since we all love peanuts, I thought it was a good idea.. I used unroasted peanuts, and the result was, well.. it tasted like raw beans (not good, but quite a good demonstration, that peanuts are actually beans, not nuts ^^), but it was actually good for cooking, next time I try to roast the peanuts first 😉
I’m really getting obsessed with making my own milk. I love it!!
Aha! A nice lesson to learn on legumes! 😉 Making milk is SO easy and convenient… I ran out the other day and whipped up just enough for that particular recipe and I was amazing at how easy it was, even in a pinch.
My daughter seems ot be having issues with lactose. How did the quinoa cream cheese turn out? It would be great to know if it is worth doing. Could you please share your recipe?
Sorry, I should have said Kirsten, not Kristen. My apologies for that.
Hi Tiffany! I’ve been obsessed with making nut milks lately! One of the reason that I didn’t make cashew is because I read that you can’t strain it. I prefer to strain nut milks so that they’re not quite so heavy. Do you think it would be strainable if desired? Sorry, I know you seemed to say that you could, but I just wanted to clarify! THANKS!
It’s not that you can’t strain it, but there just won’t be nut to strain out, thereby making the straining process pointless, ya know? I just made peanut milk and there wasn’t much nut left, and I don’t even remember tasting pieces when I tried the cashew milk. If you’re wanting it to be less heavy, I’d either make it with less cashews, or more water. You’re welcome!
Hi, love your web site.
Everything I have read about cashews say that they should not be soaked for longer than 6 hours because they will get slimy and not be any good if they are soaked longer (this actually happened to me that is why I started researching soaking cashews). Do you have a source that says differently? All other nuts are okay to soak for a longer period of time.
Thanks again for your great web site and wonderful recipes.
I did some digging and found similar results… since the nuts are going to be blended anyway, slimy-ness isn’t a factor for me. What may be an issue is that soaking for longer than 6-8 hours may cause bitterness, which would make the cashew milk bitter too. I’ll update the post to reflect the time frame – I don’t want anyone to have bitter milk! 🙂
I was recently diagnosed with a dairy allergy. So I am new to land of milk alternatives, so thank you for helping me with this post! I will definitely be trying cashew milk soon!
You’re welcome Christy! Have you tried it yet? How did it go?