Almond milk is ridiculously easy to make. It only requires two ingredients ― almonds and water ― so there are few excuses not to make your own. It’s clear that making it homemade will give you a simpler product; store-bought brands include ingredients such as potassium citrate, sunflower lecithin and gellan gum. But going the homemade route offers economic benefits, as well.
I looked at three brands ― Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Silk ― and compared the cost of the almonds that it would take to make almond milk vs. the cost of pre-made almond milk.
I picked up a pound of raw, unsalted almonds at my local grocery store for $9.99 (they were on sale from $10.99). I used the recipe from The Kitchn to make the milk, which calls for one cup of almonds to two cups of water. I took a cup of almonds ― which weighed a little under 6 ounces ― and soaked them in water for two days. I blended the almonds with two cups of water until the whole almonds were reduced to a fine meal, then strained the meal through a fine-mesh sieve over a measuring cup. It took a good amount of time to really push the meal against the sieve, extracting as much milk as possible. After all that effort, I ended up with 1 3/4 cups of fresh almond milk ― or 14 ounces. With these exact ratios in place, I started doing the math. The findings were surprising.
Please note: there are many different recipes online for almond milk. With this in mind, I’ve also provided the numbers for those that used a higher water to almond ratio (4:1). Though it should be noted that the almond milk made with the above 2:1 recipe tasted comparable to the store-bought brands ― not too thick and not too thin.
Here’s a look at the numbers on Silk:
Homemade almond milk: $9.99 a pound for grocery store almonds, or $3.75 for the 6 ounces of almonds needed to make 14 ounces of milk ($0.27 per ounce). For a recipe using double the water, that would cost $0.14 per ounce.
Silk almond milk: $3.00 for 64 ounces ($0.05 per ounce)
If I tried to make it in a 64-ounce quantity it would cost me $17.28. That’s a $14.28 difference. (Or with the higher water ratio, it would cost $8.96. That’s a $5.96 difference.)
Here’s a look at the numbers from Trader Joe’s:
Homemade almond milk: $5.99 per pound for TJ’s almonds, $2.25 for the 6 ounces of nuts needed to make the milk ($0.16 an ounce). For a recipe using double the water, that would cost $0.08 per ounce.
Trader Joe’s almond milk: $2.99 for 64 ounces ($0.05 an ounce)
If trying to make a 64-ounce amount, that would total $10.24. That’s a $7.25 difference. (Or with the higher water ratio, it would cost $5.12. That’s a $2.13 difference.)
Here’s a look at the numbers from Whole Foods Market:
Homemade almond milk: $7.99 per pound for 365 Whole Foods brand almonds, $2.99 for the 6 ounces needed to make the milk ($0.21 an ounce). For a recipe using double the water, that would cost $0.11 per ounce.
365 Whole Foods almond milk: $3.65 for 64 ounces ($0.06 an ounce)
If trying to make a 64-ounce amount, that would total $13.67. That’s a $10.02 difference. (Or with the higher water ratio, it would cost $7.04. That’s a $3.39 difference.)
In the end, it looks like store-bought almond milk is a whole lot more affordable, though we will say that fresh almond milk is a whole lot more delicious. We are curious as to how other people justify the cost. If you’re an almond milk maker, please leave us your tips in the comments below.