Is oat milk gluten-free? Oat milk has become a popular non-dairy alternative to cow's milk. People with a gluten sensitivity, allergy or intolerance may want to know whether oat milk is gluten free or not. Find out here!
Dairy-free milk has become in demand these days and those looking for substitutes have a lot to choose from. While almond and soy milk may be at the top of the list, there are other great choices that range from cashew, hemp and flax milk to pea, rice and oat milk (just to name a few)!
Oat milk is definitely one of the best plant-based alternatives on the market. From your coffee orders to baking ingredient alternatives in your pantry, oat milk is a well-liked dairy-free option. With its pleasantly sweet and nutty flavor, paired with plenty of a creamy factor and its amazing health benefits, it's great for those looking to change up their diets, adhere to specific health regimens or simply those that enjoy good stuff. Oat milk is also great for vegans looking for calcium and vitamin sources that can stand in for regular dairy milk. But is oat milk suitable for a gluten-free diet?
What is Oat Milk?
In general, oat milk is produced the same way most dairy-free substitutes are. Oats (usually steel-cut oats, sometimes whole groats) are soaked in water and then blended. Afterwards, this is strained, either through cheesecloth or special nut milk bags. Some manufacturers add other ingredients like sweeteners, salt, gums, stabilizers or other vitamins, before the liquid is homogenized—a process in which the fat droplets are reduced to small droplets and distributed in a uniform manner so that the cream does not separate—to retain that milk-like, creamy texture.
Oat milk is a popular source, not just of calcium, but also fiber. In fact, compared to other milk alternatives like almond milk and soy milk which only contain about a gram of fiber, oat milk contains two grams of soluble fiber. It's also a good source of vitamin D; a one-cup serving provides about 25% of your recommended daily allowance for vitamin D.
Is Oat Milk Gluten Free?
Oats are generally gluten-free so you might assume naturally that oat milk would be the same. But that's not necessarily true. They're often grown near wheat, barley or rye and are often, though not always, processed in facilities that likewise process wheat or other gluten-containing ingredients. This gives oat milk a sort of notoriety within the gluten-free community: given the way it is manufactured, the risk of cross-contamination is likely, and it may not be safe to tout oat milk is a gluten-free milk substitute as is.
However, there are oat milk brands that take great care to ensure that their products are, in fact, gluten-free. If craving oat milk in particular—or even if you just want to try it—but you still want to ensure that it's safe, especially for those struggling with celiac disease, look for brands that explicitly label their products as so. That is, make sure to patronize manufacturers that use gluten-free oats, processed in gluten-free facilities.
Best Gluten-Free Oat Milk Brands
- Planet Oat: Planet Oat milk is free from gluten, as well as a host of other potential allergens and additives, including dairy, nuts, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, and is lactose-free. They have unsweetened and extra creamy varieties, too. This is the perfect oat milk for those with lots of dietary sensitivities.
- Oatly: As discussed previously, Oatly is a great brand if you're in the market for gluten-free oat milk. Just be careful to make sure you buy from the US; Oatly products sold in Europe and Asia aren't gluten-free (though they have significantly less gluten).
- Califia Farms: Another great brand is Califia Farms. Their Original Oat Milk has a smooth, creamy texture with no added sugar. It's also rich in calcium and vitamin D. Califia Farms oat milk also has a vanilla variety, as well as a barista blend. It is my personal favorite!
Frequently Asked Questions
Again, this depends. Oat milk that is accurately labeled gluten-free in accordance with the FDA will not have any gluten in it. Be careful to check the labels, though! Oat milks that are not labeled as such could contain up to 5 milligrams of gluten per 8 ounces.
Truly gluten-free oat milk might be a good choice depending on its use: coffee, for example, is great with oat milk because of its inherent sweetness. However, even those who find they can stomach oats may have a hard time with oat milk. Again, it's very important—and this cannot be stressed enough—to check whether your oat milk is gluten-free before you consume it. If so, then it's a great alternative!
Oatly products sold in the US are gluten-free! They're advertised as having no gluten (which the FDA considers a synonym for gluten-free), and to drive that point in, their packaging also includes the Certified Gluten-Free mark from GFCO. One way by which Oatly ensures they remain gluten-free is by sourcing oats specifically for the purpose of manufacturing non-gluten oat milk. They get their oats from Grain Millers, which mechanically sorts their oats to avoid cross-contamination.
How Does Oat Milk Compare To Other Milks?
So with all that in mind, how does oat milk compare to other milks? Here are some facts:
- Almond milk: Unsweetened almond milk has less calories but more fat and sodium. In contrast, unsweetened oat milk has more carbs, fiber, and protein.
- Soy milk: Both these options are high in calcium, but in general, soy milk contains more protein and carbs, while oat milk is richer in fibers. Oat milk is your best bet for Vitamin D, but soy is richer in the B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate and Vitamin B12.)
- Coconut milk: Coconut milk contains high levels of calories and fats, so it's better to consume coconut milk in moderation. Compared to both almond milk and oat milk, it also has less protein. Oat milk is a healthier option, but coconut milk is also a good alternative in moderation.
- Cashew milk: Like oat milk, cashew milk has an inherent sweetness. It's also a good source of magnesium. However, most store-bought varieties may have less protein and healthy fats compared to oat milk.
Oat milk is a great alternative to both dairy and non-dairy milk options but not all brands are gluten-free. Make sure to check the label to enjoy a fabulous gluten-free oat milk experience!