This cashew milk recipe, which includes dates for sweetness, is easy to make and turns out a rich, creamy, slightly sweet substitute for milk.
This cashew milk recipe was inspired by cashew milk sampled at a roadside farmers’ market in rural California. The authors happened upon a sign advertising a “natural plant milkshake,” according to the lettering scribbled on a large white sign at the end of the lane. The authors couldn’t pass that by and, haunted by just how sweet, refreshing, and creamy the nut milk was, begged the owner of the shop to share the ingredients, but he demurred as it was his wife’s secret recipe. They did their best to replicate it here.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Use Cashew Milk
Forget about those wan, runny, forgettable store-bought cashew milks that have disappointed you in the past. This homemade cashew milk recipe is sufficiently rich and thick to use as a non-dairy creamer for your coffee and your chai tea. It also makes terrific smoothies and, if you strain it and thin it with a little additional water, is lovely on cereal. Here’s how to make it.
- Cover the cashew nuts with enough cold filtered water to cover and soak for 6 to 8 hours.
- Drain the cashews, reserving the soaking water to use on your garden. Dump the drained cashews in a blender along with the dates, 3 cups cold filtered water, vanilla, cardamom or cinnamon, and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. If desired, strain the cashew milk through a fine-mesh sieve, pouring about 1/3 of the milk into the strainer and stirring to help the mixture strain. Rinse the strainer before repeating with the remaining milk. If you want a super smooth milk, pour the milk through cheesecloth into a tall glass jar. Add more cold filtered water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
- Serve immediately or cover and stash in the fridge for up to 3 days. (The cashew milk may separate after a couple days but a quick stir or shake will remedy that.)
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
The number of commercial milk alternatives that I’d want to drink straight is zero. But here is a homemade cashew milk that is as easy as can be (no straining required!) and tastes great as is. It might be a bit too thick and rich for cereal, but it’s excellent on its own or blended with some berries for a “milkshake.” It also makes a terrific non-dairy creamer for your coffee. If you have a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, and just a little patience, the milk will blend up completely smooth. The dates take longer to get smooth than the soaked cashews. I found the sweetness to be at a nice level. I opted for cardamom over cinnamon, as I thought that would be a more versatile flavor. It’s subtle and not at all overpowering. This delicious cashew milk is a recipe I will be making again and again.
Sweet, creamy, and refreshing, just as described! I soaked the cashews much longer than the 8 hours noted. My cashews went into the water in the late afternoon one day, and I didn’t return to them until the following evening. I used vanilla extract and cardamom initially, and then someone wanted to try it with cinnamon. Everyone loved it with the cardamom, and some also with the cinnamon, although the added cinnamon was not to my personal taste, as it became too sweet for me. Part of what I liked was that it originally wasn’t too sweet. I didn’t need to strain it; if anything, I would’ve been straining for the cardamom, which wasn’t extremely finely ground, so there were little distinguishable bits of cardamom, which didn’t bother anyone. The next morning, the cashew milk was the same as it had been the evening before; no separation. By the afternoon, however, it had separated just a bit and required a small amount of stirring to bring it back together. And while I don’t think I have the charm of the delightful girl in the photo, the milk made me smile, as it did my cadre of tasters.
I was attracted to this recipe because I am utterly obsessed with cashews, and I also don’t like dairy milk. Because of this, I’m always looking for a flavorful substitute that can be drunk on its own, as well as has the right fat content to be mixed in with coffee and made into the base for chai. This recipe was quick and didn’t disappoint. The result is very rich and flavorful and best served-ice cold, though I’m sure it would also be nice warm. The cashews are soft and gooey after soaking. I would recommend straining the milk from the blender through a fine-mesh sieve and then through a cheesecloth to get all of the cashew and date pieces out.
I always have a 1/2 gallon of store-bought almond milk in my fridge. I love using it on oatmeal, cream of wheat, and in fruit smoothies. I love the nutty taste and healthy qualities of almond milk and have always wanted to try cashew milk. Here was my chance! Easy to make and even easier to enjoy, this lightly sweetened version was made sweet by puréed dates, which I loved, and flavored with a touch of vanilla and ground cinnamon. I soaked the raw cashews overnight in water and puréed the ingredients together the next day. It had a hearty texture, so I strained it once through a fine-mesh strainer just to make it a bit smoother. After one straining, it still had the same lovely flavor and a bit of visible ground cashews and dates, which was nice. I used the milk immediately on some oatmeal and stored it for 3 days in the fridge. Today, which is day 3, it has separated with a layer of water on the top and the heavier cashew mixture on the bottom, but all you need to do is stir it back together before using. Yum yum!
Originally published January 17, 2016