Non-dairy milks are becoming quite popular these days, which give people with dairy intolerances, sensitivities, and dietary preferences cause to celebrate! Almond, rice, cashew, and soy have all been dairy free options for awhile, but now there’s a rise in interest for oat milk. One reason may be that oat milk uses much, much less water to produce than cow’s milk or dairy free almond milks.
If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you might be wondering if oat milk is a good choice for you.
While oats are naturally gluten free, oat milks (and oats in general) can cause problems for people on a strict gluten free diet. They may not be the best choice of non dairy milk.
What is oat milk made of?
Oat milk is made by blending rolled oats with water, and squeezing the resulting liquid through a filter. The ‘pulp’ is discarded and the remaining liquid is oat milk.
Manufactured oat milks, bought at the grocery store, may also contain nutritional additives, stabilizers, and preservatives to minimize separation and make it last longer.
Oats are complex carbohydrates that also contain some protein. As a grain, they can be purchased as steel-cut, rolled, bran, groats, flakes and instant. These different types of oats are processed differently to change up the cooking time or what you can use them for.
Are oats gluten free?
Oats are naturally gluten free; however, they can be tricky for individuals on a strict gluten free diet as they easily become contaminated with wheat and other gluten products during processing. They can be a major bummer for people on a strict gluten free diet!
Oats are frequently grown next to wheat fields or can be mixed with gluten containing grains during sorting and processing at manufacturing facilities. Since they are highly contaminated, if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it’s critical you always purchase oats that are labelled gluten free - regardless of their format (rolled, flour, instant, etc.)
In most countries, products labelled as gluten free have been tested and verified to not contain more than 20ppm of gluten. These products are considered certified gluten free.
Purity protocol oats are oats that are grown separately from gluten grains and are manufactured in a dedicated facility. If you have reactions to certified gluten free oats, give purity protocol oats a try to see how your body reacts.
If your body can’t handle either certified gluten free oats or purity protocol oats, you may need to avoid them completely. (A total bummer!)
Is oat milk gluten free?
Oat milk can only be considered gluten free if the oats used to make it were certified gluten free. Since oats become easily contaminated with gluten-containing grains during growing, harvesting, or processing - oat milks made with oats that are not certified gluten free will contain gluten.
Gluten free oat milk options
If you want to try oat milk, here are some options for you to ensure it’s gluten free...
Buying at the grocery store
Many brands of oat milk are not made with gluten free oats; however, there are a few on the market that are labelled as gluten free, or certified gluten free. Be sure to check the product labelling and look for the certified gluten free label or anything that indicates gluten free oats or purity protocol oats were used to manufacture the oat milk.
Homemade oat milk
If you can’t seem to find any gluten free brands of oat milk at your local grocery store, you can easily make your own! Use this Dairy Free Almond Milk recipe, but substitute the almonds for 1 cup of rolled oats. There’s no need to soak the oats, so you can immediately blend 1 cup of oats with 4 cups of water in a high speed blender.
Filter the liquid through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or clean tea towel. Add a sweetener such as maple syrup (optional) and a bit of vanilla extra (also optional), to taste.
Homemade oat milk in 10 minutes without any extra additives? It's a no brainer!
What is oat milk used for?
Oat milk has a wide range of uses. It’s got a great taste and creamy texture, so it’s perfect to use in dairy-free baking, smoothies, and can be used in hot beverages such as coffee, tea, lattes or cappuccinos.
If you’re on a strict gluten free diet and visiting a coffee shop, be sure to ask if the oat milk they are using is considered gluten free (and uses certified gluten free oats). If not, you’ll want to avoid getting oat milk in your beverage and you might also want to ask about cleaning practices. If oat milk was used for the beverage previous to yours, spouts, spoons, and even dish towels/cloths can be contaminated with the oat milk (and gluten). Always be sure to ask before ordering.
Is oat milk dairy free?
Oat milk is dairy free and vegan, since it uses no animal products at all.
Homemade almond milk only contains oats and water (plus a sweetener and vanilla, if desired).
Manufactured oat milks purchased at a grocery store will contain other additives and preservatives. Although it should be dairy-free in theory, always check to make sure no dairy products have been added to the particular brand you are looking at buying.
Recipes using oat milk
Want to try baking with oat milk? Try my Gluten Free Zucchini Muffin recipe that uses oat milk and makes them deliciously dairy free!
Looking for a breakfast idea? Substitute the almond milk for oat milk in some Blueberry Lemon Overnight Oats and make undoubtedly oatey!
Feel in the mood for a S’more - any time of day or season? Use oat milk to make the pudding in the gluten free S’more Pudding Cup recipe. Oat milk is the perfect excuse to bring the campfire to your kitchen!