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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Homemade rice milk: 3 recipes to choose from

by Lili Mounce

Reading my blog, you're probably thinking that I make everything from scratch. It may appear that way. But I don't. I make the things that are easy enough, and that will save me the most. For example, I don't make my own salt. (Although, be on the lookout on April 1, for an amazing post on how I extract salt from the rocks in my own back yard, using nothing more than an ice pick, a blender and 1 cup of leftover pickle juice.) I bake bread, make granola, make salsa, jams, jellies, pickles, and I make my own rice milk.

I'm lactose intolerant and use soy milk for most of my needs. My family, however, can have all the dairy milk they want. Soy milk is about 3 times the cost of dairy milk. So I like to reserve it just for my personal use.

A bedtime story: The Three Bears and Their Supply of Rice Milk
What do the Three Bears have to do with homemade rice milk? One of these rice milks is too thick, the second rice milk is too thin and separates, but the third rice milk is just right. Read on.

All three of these recipes have their merits. And so I provide all three for you to choose which would suit your needs best.

a bit thick for me for drinking, but good flavor
with the addition of almonds, which by the way,
the skins of almonds are the little flecks in the milk

Rice milk #1 (This is the most digestible of the rice milks, due to prolonged cooking; good for those having tummy troubles. Mostly I use this in baking. I don't care for it's viscosity, as is.)

This rice-almond milk has appealing flavor, creaminess, and is ideally suited for use in cooking and baking for my whole family, as it's super cheap to make and reserves the costlier, fortified soy milk for my personal use.

1/4 cup (48 g) long grain brown rice
4 cups (950 mL) water
1/4 to 1/2 cup (40-60 g) almonds (blanched, slivered, slices, whatever you have, for color you may want to use almonds out of the skins I use the slivered almonds, as they're smaller pieces and without skins)
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt (my soy milk has 120 mg sodium per cup, 1 cup of this blend will have about 140 mg sodium)
up to 2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons (35-50 g) sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup (whatever sweetening you prefer)
1  1/4 cups (300 mL) additional water

In the pot in which you plan to cook the rice, wash the rice, by stirring rice and some water vigorously with a spoon for about 60 seconds. Strain through a strainer, and rinse.

Add the 4 cups of water to the rice. Bring to a boil. Add almonds. Reduce to simmer, cover and allow to cook for 3 hours.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add salt, sugar and vanilla. In 2 cup (425 mL) batches, run through the blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve, if desired (I don't bother straining). Store in canning jars or a pitcher with a lid. This will keep for 5-7 days refrigerated. Stir or shake before use, and thin as desired.

this has been sitting for 1 hour
you can see it has separated already
Rice milk #2 (This rice milk is the easiest to make. However, it is a bit thin and separates significantly. But when I'm in a hurry and need some rice milk for a recipe, provided I have some cooked rice in the fridge or freezer, I can whip this up in about 10 minutes -- and just skip the "allow to stand" portion.)

1/2 cup (82 g) cooked, cooled rice
1 cup (240 mL) water
1 tablespoon (15 mL) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL)oil
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) vanilla extract

In the blender container, scoop 1/2 cup of rice. Add 1/2 of the water. Process until smooth. Add sugar, oil and vanilla. Blend. Add remaining water. Blend till smooth. Allow to stand for 45 minutes.

Strain through a mesh sieve. Then pour into a jar or pitcher and refrigerate. Stir well before each use.

The remaining pulp can be used in muffins, pancakes, and added to oatmeal when cooking for a breakfast cereal.

Rice milk #3 (This is the rice milk I prefer most. I use it in coffee and on granola.)

the baby bear of the three milks,
this one is just right
1/2 cup (95 g) dry, long grain brown rice
2 cups (480 mL) water
1 to 2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) sugar (to taste)
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) vanilla

Wash rice before straining and adding fresh water.

Add rice to water and allow to soak for 6 hours, at room temperature.

Scoop rice and about half of water into blender. Blend on HIGH, until smooth. Add remaining water, sugar, salt and vanilla, and blend again.

Pour through a mesh sieve, using a spoon to gently move the liquid through the mesh (without scraping it through). Again, the pulp can be used in cooking oatmeal and various quick breads.

This rice milk has a bit of a raw taste. To minimize the rawness, pour half of rice milk into a microwaveable container (I use a pyrex 2-cup measuring cup). Microwave on HIGH until the rice milk comes to a boil. Remove from microwave, stir and pour into raw half of rice milk. Mix the two together and pour all of rice milk back into the blender. Blend to remove any lumps of thickened cooked rice milk.

Pour into a pitcher or glass jar. Cover and refrigerate.

Any of these quantities can be adjusted up or down. If you want to try all three, just make tiny batches, about 1 cup of water per batch. then you can compare the three and see which you prefer.

I still prefer the convenience and vitamin fortification of the packaged alternative milks. But these are great in-a-pinch substitutes.

*update* for an improved version of rice milk go here


  1. You talked about recipes calling for rice milk. What kind of recipes are these? Is it good for making yeast bread like potato water?

    1. Hi June,
      I must have mis-phrased something, as I didn't mean recipes that specifically call for rice milk. But I use rice milk as an alternative milk to dairy (for my lack of ability to consume dairy). There are many packaged alternative milks, rice, soy, almond, hemp are the four that I see in local markets. But they are about $3 - $5 for a half gallon. Making my own rice milk costs about 30 cents to $1 per half gallon (depending on if I add almonds or not).

      Anyways, I use both packaged and homemade alternative milks in recipes, just as I'd use dairy milk. Rice milk is just a substitute. If I cook/bake something that I have no intention of eating then I use dairy milk. But if I'm going to want some of what I've baked/cooked, then I have to use an alternate milk, and homemade rice milk is my milk of choice for this.

      I've never tried it to replace potato water in a bread. That's something I may try. Would be interesting to see if it works the same.

      Now, I do want to emphasize that homemade rice milk is not fortified as packaged milks often are. And it's not a nutritional equivalent to dairy milk by any stretch. But it does act in recipes similarly to dairy milk, and allows me to eat some of my favorite things, like biscuits, pancakes, cakes, muffins, and can make a soup somewhat creamy, instead of me always having to have broth-based soups.

      Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify. I hope I did.

    2. Thanks for taking the time to help me learn more about rice milk. No one in my family has any dairy milk problems, so I'm not up on all of the alternatives.

    3. Your welcome. And I'm glad for you and your family, that you don't have to deal with problems with dairy. It's in so many foods. It can be a pain to try to work around.

  2. Neat post! Will have to try this one out for sure. Also, would be great to have this recipe on hand (since I always have rice) for when I run out of dairy milk and don't have a trip planned to get more.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      It is handy to know how to do, for those days when I've just run out of dairy milk, and don't want to rush out to the store. And like I said, the best of the three, IMO, is the third.

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. Oh, this is GREAT info, Lili! I can't wait to make rice milk! The price of milk at the dairy case is obscene and rice milk is really spendy, too. We do get coconut milk from time to time.

    I'm glad to know you are not doing soy milk. It really is not meant to be consumed...I hate to think of livestock eating it, as well. When humans consume edamame or soy products of any kind it interferes with the hormone system and can figure into gender identity, allergies and more. Dr. Sherry Rogers has written extensively about this for years.

    I'll let you know how this goes...I'm very optimistic.


    1. Hi Connie,
      I've only recently heard about problems with soy. I'll look up Dr. Sherry Rogers and read more. The 3rd recipe for rice milks is my personal favorite. While I wouldn't mistake it for dairy milk, it tastes good and has adequate thickness.

      None of these homemade varieties are fortified with calcium and vit D, however. So that must be remembered in planning for nutrition.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Eagerly awaiting the April 1 post ...

    1. Yes, in our house, we like to joke about all kinds of extreme things one could do in the name of frugality!

  5. Oh I agree what great information! We don't use dairy products so this should be great to try. Thanks!

    1. Hi Alicia,
      Have you tried to make other types of milk? I've also done almond milk, which is also quite good. But costs more. Almond milk can be blended with rice milk for a milk higher in protein, fats, calcium and really nice flavor.

      Hope you like it. Try the 3rd recipe. It's my favorite one.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. Could you make version 3 of the rice milk with white rice instead of brown? I ask because I've recently been diagnosed as having an allergy to nickel, and that means absolutely no whole grains or seeds/nuts. I hate the taste of cow milk, and have used commercial rice milk for years, but it is made with brown rice and with safflower or sunflower oil, all of which are disallowed. I'd like to make my own rice milk, but it has to be made with white rice. Thanks.

    1. Hi there!
      Absolutely! Use the same amount of long-grain white rice, as called for here. Go with the lesser amount of sugar, to start, as white rice tastes sweeter to most people. Enjoy! It's also good with a bit of cinnamon, a lot like horchata.

  7. How do you use the rice pulp in cakes and quick breads, etc? Thank you.
    I was looking for a way to make rice milk and as a bonus I found a way to use my brown rice that was given to me before it turned rancid

    1. Hi Susan,
      To use the leftover rice pulp, you need to cook it in some water on the stove, as if you were to make a hot breakfast cereal like Cream of Wheat. Then after it's cooled, you can use the pulp as some of the wet ingredients in a quick bread, such as a substitute for half (or more) the applesauce in applesauce cake, or half the pumpkin puree in pumpkin bread. The cooked rice pulp added moisture to quick breads and muffins. Good luck! And I'm glad that you now have a way to use up the gifted brown rice.


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