These days, many of us are swapping our milk for a dairy-free alternative, such as almond milk. But if you normally heat milk for coffee or other hot beverages, you might be wondering if you can do the same with nut milk too.
So, can you heat almond milk? Almond milk can be gently warmed or heated at low to medium temperatures, using a double boiler, a pan directly on the stovetop, or the microwave. Overheating almond milk will give it a slightly burnt, bitter flavor, as well as destroy beneficial nutrients.
Want to give warm almond milk a try in your coffee or tea? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about heating almond milk!
What Is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a plant milk made from (yes, you guessed it)—almonds!
You might look at a bowl of almonds and wonder how on earth they could ever become milk, but most nuts are packed full of a white, milky liquid that can be released from the flesh through some clever processing.
Almond milk is produced by grinding almonds and soaking them in water. This gives a pulpy white flesh, which is then pressed to extract the milk.
Almond milk is often fortified with extra vitamins, and both sweetened and unsweetened varieties are available.
The reason that almond milk has become so popular is that it has a great flavor, and a creamy texture similar to dairy milk.
Some people describe almond milk as having a nutty taste, although some manufacturers add flavorings to make it taste more like cow’s milk.
This delicious milk is not only tasty but also suitable for people with specific dietary requirements.
It does not contain any animal products, so it can be consumed by vegans. Almond milk is also suitable for anyone who is lactose-intolerant.
Can You Heat Almond Milk?
Almond milk can be heated, without any detrimental effects on the taste or texture of the milk. In fact, when almond milk is warm this can enhance the flavors in many ways!
The vital thing to remember when heating almond milk is to keep the whole process as slow and gentle as possible. This delicate milk can easily scorch and burn, which will ruin the flavor of the milk.
So, when it comes to heating almond milk, “low and slow” is the way to go! Heat the milk to a moderate temperature—around 140-150°F is just perfect.
Heating the milk to a hotter temperature will not only risk it burning but may also destroy the nutritional properties of the milk.
Why Should You Heat Almond Milk?
There is nothing wrong with cold almond milk, and many of us enjoy a splash of this chilled beverage in our hot drinks or on our breakfast cereal. So, why would you want to heat almond milk?
Well, there are a few advantages to heating almond milk! Firstly, heating the milk can increase the intensity of flavor, enhancing the sweet, nutty, almond taste.
In fact, a glass of warmed almond milk can be a comforting and soothing bedtime drink!
If you’re a fan of barista-style coffee, then you will know that warm milk is often used in these artisan beverages.
Whether you’re serving the milk frothed, steamed, foamed, or simply flat, heating the milk is essential to create the perfect coffee.
For those of us fond of a splash of almond milk in our hot drinks, you’ll be well aware that this dairy-free milk can often split and curdle as it hits the hot coffee.
Heating the milk beforehand reduces the likelihood of this happening, ensuring you get a smooth, milky hot drink that is free from lumps.
And finally, if you’re a fan of a bowl of steaming oatmeal, you will know that heating the milk is essential to creating the perfect oatmeal texture!
When added to warmed almond milk, oatmeal turns into a delicious, creamy breakfast that will satisfy even the hungriest appetite.
Can You Boil Almond Milk?
Like any type of milk, it pays to be cautious when it comes to boiling it. It is possible to bring almond milk to a very gentle simmer without ruining the flavor, but you will need to stir it constantly.
The reason for this level of caution is that almond milk can quickly scorch on the bottom of the pan. This will give it a burnt, bitter flavor, which will overpower the sweet, nutty taste of the milk.
And when it comes down to it, there is no real reason why you’d want to boil almond milk! We can do everything we’d want just by gently heating it, so it makes sense to take it off the heat before it starts to boil.
What Is The Best Method For Heating Almond Milk?
Fancy trying warmed almond milk in your next barista-style coffee? Let’s find out the best way to do this!
There are several ways to heat almond milk, but all of them follow the same basic principles.
What we are aiming for is milk that is heated slowly to just below boiling point. This prevents the milk from burning and retains as many nutrients as possible.
The best way to heat almond milk is using the double boiler method. This is where the milk is warmed in a container placed in a pan of water.
The water is gently heated, and this warmth is transferred to the milk. This method has the lowest risk of burning the milk.
An alternative method is to heat almond milk in the microwave. Place the milk in a microwave-safe container, and heat it for 30 seconds.
Check the temperature, and heat for a further 15-20 seconds at a time until it is starting to steam.
If you want to stick to heating almond milk on the stovetop, you can also do this without using a double boiler.
Put your milk directly into a saucepan, and place this on the stove on the lowest heat setting. Stir the milk every 30 seconds or so, and remove the pan from the heat as soon as the milk starts to steam.
Last of all, you can also use your espresso machine to heat almond milk if it has a steaming wand! Use this to heat milk in the normal way, stirring the wand around the jug to distribute the heat evenly.
If you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a great video demonstrating how to use a double boiler!
We hope that you have learned a lot from the information about heating almond milk! Here are some other questions that may be of interest if you are new to drinking almond milk.
Does almond milk need to be refrigerated?
Whether almond milk needs to go in the fridge or not can be very confusing! Basically, there are two types of almond milk—shelf-stable, and chilled.
The shelf-stable type has been processed in a special way to enable it to be stored at room temperature.
So, whether your unopened carton of almond milk needs to go in the fridge or not will depend on the type you buy. If it came from the chiller section in the store, then it needs to be kept in your refrigerator.
But if you picked it up from the grocery shelf, then it can sit in your pantry until you open it. However, don’t forget that once it has been opened, it needs to be kept chilled in the fridge!
Can you freeze almond milk?
If you’ve opened a carton of almond milk, you might be wondering about how to store any excess to prevent waste. After all, it can be a problem finishing off a carton before it goes bad! But is it OK to freeze almond milk?
Freezing almond milk will change the texture of the milk, and your smooth and creamy milk will develop unappetizing lumps. This is still perfectly safe to consume, but it is pretty unappetizing!
However, all is not lost! Frozen almond milk is fine for cooking and baking, so you could freeze small quantities to use at a later date. Just remember not to pop it into your coffee, as it will not be pleasant at all!
How long can almond milk sit out at room temperature?
Like all chilled foods, there are clear guidelines about how long almond milk should sit out at room temperature.
It is advised that you should not leave almond milk out of the fridge for more than 2 hours, and this time limit is reduced to one hour in warmer climates.
So, if your almond milk has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, then it should be discarded. It might look and smell absolutely fine, but you can’t be completely sure that it hasn’t started to turn bad.
Obviously, this only includes chilled almond milk or an open carton of shelf-stable almond milk. Whole, unopened cartons of shelf-stable almond milk can be stored in the pantry at room temperature for up to one year.