Almond Milk: The Best and Worst Brands

 

 

Do you drink Almond milk? Here is a round-up of the best and worst almond milks, and what to look for in a brand.

Almond milk is one of an ever-growing line of non-dairy alternatives to traditional cow’s milk.

The current list includes: oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, flax milk, hemp milk, and coconut milk hybrids. Oh, and don’t forget hazelnut milk, and even cashew nut milk.

2018 Updated Edition

We’ve added a bunch of new milks, and revised everything else.

Since first publishing, we’ve noticed that many manufacturers have reformulated their milks. Almost all of them have removed carrageenan as an additive.

Disappointingly – still almost none of the US manufacturers list the percentage of almonds.

Silk

Their range includes Original (7g sugar per cup), Vanilla (16g sugar), Light (5g sugar), Light Vanilla (11g sugar), Unsweetened, Unsweetened Vanilla.

Ingredients (original): Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Contains Less Than 2% Of: Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2), Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid (To Protect Freshness).

  • Uses non-GMO almonds.
  • Carrageenan free.
  • Almond Percentage: Unlisted.

silk.com

(Discounted at Amazon).

Califia Farms

Their range includes Original (5g sugar per cup), Vanilla, Unsweetened, Chocolate, Coconut, and even a Barista Blend.

Ingredients (original): Almondmilk (Water, Almonds), Pure Cane Sugar, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum

  • Almond Percentage: Unlisted.
  • Non-GMO project verified.
  • Carrageenan free.

www.califiafarms.com

(Discounted at Amazon)

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze

Range includes Original (7g sugar per cup), Vanilla (13g sugar), Chocolate (20g sugar !) Unsweetened, Unsweetened Vanilla. They also have chocolate flavors.

Ingredients (original): Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, D-Alpha-Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E).

  • Almond Percentage: 2% (source: bluediamonduk)
  • Also has a coconut milk blend.
  • Uses non-GMO almonds.
  • Now carrageenan free in the US.
  • In other countries like the UK, it still may contain carrageenan and it doesn’t contain added vitamins.
  • Chocolate flavoring is from ‘dutch process’ chocolate (read more here).

www.almondbreeze.com

(Discounted at Amazon)

So Delicious Almondmilk

Range includes Vanilla (13g sugar per cup) and Unsweetened (0g sugar). There is also an almond blend with cashew.

Ingredients (unsweetened): Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Contains 2% Or Less Of: Vitamin And Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2), Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid (To Protect Flavor).

  • Almond Percentage: Unlisted.
  • The 5+ range contains extra protein (pea and rice protein).
  • Uses non-GMO almonds.

www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com

(Discounted at Amazon)

Elmhurst Milked Almonds

Elmhurst have a single almond milk (sweetened with sugar – 7g per cup).

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Almonds, Cane Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavors.

  • Carrageenan free.
  • Non-GMO.
  • Almond Percentage: Unlisted – although they mention 18 almonds per cup.

www.elmhurst1925.com

(Discounted at Amazon).

Malk

Malk have an unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened vanilla, and a pecan milk (!)

Ingredients (unsweetened): Organic almonds, Himalayan salt, filtered water.

  • Carrageenan free.
  • Non-GMO and USDA organic.
  • Almond Percentage: Unlisted

What’s interesting is that the sprouted almond used have a higher amount protein than other beverages.

malkorganics.com

Malk can be found at Kroger, and some Whole Foods markets.

Pacific Organic Almond Milk

Range includes Original (7g sugar per cup), Vanilla (10g sugar), Unsweetened, Unsweetened Vanilla.

Ingredients include: Almond Base* (Water, Almonds*), Dried Cane Syrup*, Potassium Citrate, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2

  • Almond Percentage: Unlisted.
  • Non-GMO almonds.
  • USDA certified organic almonds and sugar

www.pacificfoods.com

(Discounted at Amazon)

Almond Dream

This company has mostly Rice and Soy milks, but has a single unsweetened Almond milk.

Ingredients include: Almond Base (Filtered Water, Almonds), Sunflower Lecithin, Tapioca Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Sea Salt, Gellan Gum, Natural Flavors, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12.

  • Almond Percentage: Unlisted.
  • Non-GMO almonds.

www.dreamplantbased.com/

naturaNatura Almond Milk

This Canadian range includes Original (7g sugar per cup), Chocolate (18g sugar), Vanilla (15g sugar), Unsweetened.

Ingredients include: Filtered Water, Almonds, Cane Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavours, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Gellan Gum, Zinc Sulfate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A Palmitate.

  • Almond Percentage: Unlisted.
  • Non-GMO almonds.

www.natura.ca

Trader Joe’s Almond Beverage

Range includes an unsweetened original, and unsweetened vanilla.

Ingredients include: Almond Base (filtered water, almonds), tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, gellan gum, dipotassium phosphate, xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, vitamin A palmitate, Ergocalciferol (vitamin d2), d-alpha tocopherol (vitamin e).

There is little information about the source of almonds, however the above ingredients list has been verified against the package nutrition label.

wholefoodsalmondWhole Foods Market 365 Almond Milks

Ingredients: Organic almond milk (filtered water, organic almonds), organic evaporated cane juice, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, xanthan gum, potassium citrate, sunflower lecithin, vitamin A palmitate, ergocalciferol (vitamin d2), dl-alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin e).

  • No carrageenan, but uses Xantham Gum as a thickener.
  • They use organic almonds and sugar.
  • Available in original, unsweetened, and vanilla

newbarnalmondmilkNew Barn Almond Milk

The New Barn range includes original (7g sugar per cup), unsweetened, vanilla, and unsweetened vanilla.

Ingredients (original): Organic Almondmilk (Water, Organic Almonds), Organic Maple Syrup, Organic Acacia Gum, Sea Salt.

– USDA Organic
– Only available at certain stores.

www.thenewbarn.com

Simply Nature Almond Beverage

Simply Nature is an organic brand from Aldi stores.

Ingredients: Organic almondmilk (filtered water, organic almonds), tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, potassium citrate, organic locust bean gum, gellan gum, organic sunflower lecithin, vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D2, d-alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E).

  • No carrageenan

Friendly Farms Almondmilk Original

Also a brand from Aldi, this is NOT organic.

Ingredients: almondmilk (filtered water, almonds), evaporated cane syrup, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, gellan gum, dipotassium citrate, xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, d-alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E).

  • No carrageenan

Notable Mentions

Three Trees – This unsweetened almond milk has just two ingredients (almonds and water). Difficult to find, but unique among almond milks.

Beber – This boutique almondmilk is made in California using local ingredients. Just two ingredients – filtered water and organic almonds. Only available in smaller outlets in California.

Starbucks Almond Milk

Starbucks offer an Almond Milk (the call it almondmilk)that is their own formulation. This is not a separate product as such, but can be chosen in some stores instead of dairy milk. It has less sugar per serving than any other milk product in their stores.

Ingredients: almond milk (filtered water, almonds), sugar, tricalcium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, and vitamin D2.

Per serving: 60 calories, 4 grams fat, 110 mg sodium, 5 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams sugar, and 2 grams of protein

  • Almond Percentage: 3%.
  • Carrageenan-free

Almond Milk Nutrition Issues

Carrageenan
A texturizing additive derived from seaweed. Regarded as safe by the FDA, although some people report gastro-intestinal issues (see more). It is used predominantly in dairy and meat products, but does sometimes turn up in Almond Milk. (Here’s a large review, if you’re really concerned.)

Additives
Different kinds of thickeners and gums can be found in non-dairy milks. Chris Kesser sums this up well “gums can be problematic for those with digestive issues simply because they’re mostly indigestible, but it’s very unlikely any of them will actually cause harm.”

Vitamin A Palmitate
Many ready-to-drink products are fortified with vitamins. There is some controversy surrounding vitamin A palmitate, as it may be sourced from palm plantations that are damaging to ecosystems.

Many commercial almond milks contain Vitamin A Palmitate. If you wish to avoid additives, the only way is to make your own.

“Chocolate Almond Milk Has How Much Sugar?!”

One thing I learned: A cup of Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk has almost as much sugar as Coca-Cola!

  • Chocolate Almond Milk: 20g
  • Coke: 26g

Which Almond Milk is Best?

This comes down to your preference for price, taste, mouthfeel, and nutrition. In terms of nutrition, aim for unsweetened varieties. If you can’t handle the blandness, then try an unsweetened vanilla.

For the best nutrition, try Elmhurst or Malk (if available near you). For a cheaper milk, try Silk.

If you’re in Australia, the Australia’s Own Organic or Pure Harvest is a great product.

Other non-US Brands

  • Almo Milk (Australia) – A boutique milk with just 5 ingredients: Filtered water, 5% almonds, calcium, non GM xanthan, sea salt.
  • Almond Fresh (Canadian) – similar sugar content, contains carrageenan.
  • Vitasoy – This Hong Kong based company markets to NZ and Australia. Almond milks contain 3.8% almonds and contain no carrageenan..
  • So Good (NZ & Australia) – Contains carrageenan. Sweetened and unsweetened varieties. Almond Percentage: 2.5%
  • Australia’s Own Organic (Australia) – Certified organic, no carrageenan, lightly sweetened with Agave Syrup. Almond Percentage: 3.
  • Macro Organic Almond Milk (Australia / NZ) – A store brand (Woolworths/Countdown) with 4% almonds.
  • Pure Harvest (Australia) – Certified organic, uses Rice Syrup to sweeten. Claim 7% almond content (activated almonds).
  • Alpro Almond Milk (UK) – No carrageenan. Slightly sweeter than other brands.
  • Earth’s Own So Fresh (Canada) – No carrageenan, but uses Gellan Gum, Locust Bean Gum, and Soy Lecithin

Almond Pasteurization

Many nutrition labels list almonds as raw. This is not strictly true as (from 2007 onwards) all almonds grown in the US must be pasteurized (after some outbreaks of Salmonella during the early 2000s). This process is either done by steam treating the almonds, or by using the fumigant Propylene Oxide (PPO) (see more). PPO is an animal carcinogen, but the USDA and EPA consider the dosage levels on almonds to be so low as to be completely safe.

If you wish to avoid almond milks that were sterilized with PPO you must choose an organic source which will have been treated with steam.

Back to Basics

If you want straight Almond milk – make your own. The recipe is simple: try this one here at Nourishing Simplicity.

We’ve made Almond milk at home. I found the taste reflected the quality of the almonds. Sometimes I find that almonds I buy are old, and have that slightly… hmmm… rancid undertone?

I recommend using a nut milk bag to strain the almonds.

MORE: Dark Chocolate: The Best and Worst Brands

References

  • Pan, Z., Bingol, G., Brandl, M. T., & McHugh, T. H. (2012). Review of current technologies for reduction of Salmonella populations on almonds. Food and Bioprocess Technology, 5(6), 2046-2057.
  • Chang, S. S., Han, A. R., Reyes‐De‐Corcuera, J. I., Powers, J. R., & Kang, D. H. (2010). Evaluation of steam pasteurization in controlling Salmonella serotype Enteritidis on raw almond surfaces. Letters in applied microbiology, 50(4), 393-398.

295 Comments

  1. Lisa Fritz 4 days ago

    In the summary, why didn’t you list Malk? It appears to me to be the only one that’s organic and has nothing added. Am I missing something?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 4 days ago

      There are so many brands available and this list isn’t exhaustive. The list is also intended to show you what to look for when choosing a brand so that you can make decisions about the many brands that aren’t on the list.

      Reply
    • James 4 days ago

      No specific reason, it just didn’t get updated when I added Malk. This has been rectified.

      Reply
  2. Martha Sekander 3 weeks ago

    For health reason. sugar should be dehydrated cane, either in the liquid form or granules. When they say sea salt I am pretty certain they mean sodium chloride. There is a difference and after sea salt is treated it is no longer sea salt, it is entirely something different, sodium chloride. One is very healthy while the other causes all kinds of ailments. They still list it as sea salt. The FDA should stop that.

    Reply
  3. Willard 4 weeks ago

    I didn’t see carrageenan on the list of ingredients of the Walmart brand, Great Value Almond Milk.

    Reply
  4. Nanda Kumar 1 month ago

    Does Costco brand unsweetened organic Almond milk contain anything bad ?

    Reply
  5. Malinda Miller 2 months ago

    Vitamin A palmitate does not come from palm trees. It is the synthetically made form of vitamin A. If it is not synthetic, then it comes from animal sources.

    Reply
  6. Laura 2 months ago

    Hi. “Nut milk Bag” Would using cheese cloth work? what is the difference between them, if any?

    Thank you.

    Reply
  7. James westmoreland 2 months ago

    I have noticed last time I purchased almound milk at Aldi it’s thicker than normal wonder if the formula has changed if yes then it’s not very good will have to change where I buy.

    Reply
  8. Anna 2 months ago

    I’d like to mention another non-US brand, Almo milk. Carrageenan free.

    Reply
    • James 2 months ago

      Thanks, we’ve added it to the list.

      Reply
  9. ClassyGlobal 3 months ago

    Good article and great selection. I contacted a few. Wondering what other brands are out there. Who offers cases of single serve (10oz or 12 oz). I’m deployed to Afghanistan. Lactose intolerant & Soy sensitive. Single serve is the best way to package and consume here. The larger containers are not very wise as we don’t have large individual storage space & keeping a larger opened containers for long periods is not a great idea. Any suggestions? (Not a fan of silk or blue diamond) But may have to resort to Blue Diamond Thanks all!!!

    Reply
    • Nancy Carol Wrona 3 weeks ago

      God bless and stay safe. Nancy Carol Wrona

      Reply
  10. Charis Boissevain 3 months ago

    Thank you for the fabulous & informative article.

    Reply
  11. Don 3 months ago

    I agree with Myra. Why add the sugars, etc ?

    Reply
  12. Karina 4 months ago

    Try Beber

    Reply
    • James 4 months ago

      Great find. Added to the page.

      Reply
  13. Linda Acosta 4 months ago

    Do you have any information on the Great Value unsweetened almond milk brand?

    Reply
  14. Myra 4 months ago

    Earth’s Own So Fresh has changed their ingredients to include Gellan Gum. Simply put this might give you gas. A LOT of gas. Beware! BTW: if eating clean, why have cane sugar..or any sugar and salt in milk? Not needed. Suck it up. Lol.

    Reply
    • James 4 months ago

      Have added So Fresh to our list. Thanks.

      Reply
  15. Kamini 4 months ago

    How about europa vegan farms organic almond milk.

    Reply
    • James 4 months ago

      This is only available in India.

      Reply
  16. Carrie 4 months ago

    I took a picture of Aldi’s friendly farms almond milk carton but not sure how to share it with you.

    Reply