Plant-based milks, like almond milk and oat milk, are a thing—so much of a thing that we’re willing to pay nearly twice as much for them as we’d pay for dairy. And every year or two, a new alt-milk option finds its way into your refrigerator. But around here, we’re pretty loyal to oat milk (we’ve even been known to make homemade oat milk on occasion). We love it for its neutral, almost dairy-like flavor and its creamy texture, especially when compared with, say, soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk. And we’ve learned, too, that oat milk is one the most sustainable kinds of alt-milk on the market.
But there’s not just one type of oat milk on the shelves. So we gathered 11 different brands to find the best one for mixing into coffee and for drinking by the glass. A side-by-side taste test showed us that a good oat milk isn’t hard to find (we’d gladly drink many of these brands again). Ultimately though, our favorite was Oatly Original Oat Milk. To find out why we loved it, and to read about our testing methodology, keep scrolling.
Oatly’s got the formula down pat—it’s delicious enough that we like drinking it plain. The flavor is mild, milky, and nicely oaty. While some of brands we tried tasted more like nuts or soy (or cardboard, or just bland), Oatly has a distinct toasted-oat flavor that set it apart from every other version we tried. Testers praised its well-rounded flavor and delicate, milky sweetness, deeming it “delicious” and the “most oaty of the bunch.”
The consistency is also very close to dairy-based milk—creamy, but not too thick. “It’s like cereal milk after a healthy cereal,” one tester noted. When paired with coffee, it mixed in smoothly (not separating or curdling), and the roasted flavors of the milk came through nicely. Although testers loved its flavor, some noted that they’d like the milk in their coffee to have a little more body. You should know though, Oatly does offer a thicker barista blend as well. (We focused on all-purpose milks for this test.)
Chobani’s oat milk was a close runner up in our plain sipping test; its flavor was oaty, creamy, and pleasantly neutral. But Chobani came out above Oatly’s Original milk in the coffee test: when mixed with a cuppa, Chobani’s extra-rich creaminess beat Oatly’s lighter profile. Tasters loved it for the way it made their coffee feel more luxe.
Buy it: Chobani Oat Milk, Plain, $5 for 52 ounces on Instacart
With this test, we set out to find the best all-purpose oat milk: one that we’d enjoy drinking plain, pouring into coffee, or using for baking. The first factor we considered was each oat milk’s flavor. Many of the samples were tasty, but some reminded us of soy or almond milk, which wasn’t always a good thing. Our favorite oat milks were clean and creamy: vaguely similar to dairy milk, with a fresh-seeming oat flavor that wasn’t overpowering. Additionally, we noted each milk’s texture and consistency—while some were thin and watery, the best oat milk was creamy, but not too thick to drink unadorned.
We sampled the “plain” or “original” oat milk of each brand’s lineup, putting the oat milk through two rounds of tests. First, a panel of Epi editors and staff blind tasted each brand on its own. After disqualifying a few brands for being bitter, sour, or watery, we mixed the top contenders with coffee for a second round of blind tasting.