Taste

No, It's NOT Cheaper To Make Your Own Almond Milk. We Did The Math.

Someone had to do it.
01/24/2017 10:26am ET | Updated January 24, 2017
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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.

You’ll read on forums that making your own is more cost effective than buying it at the store, but no one ever provides any clear-cut math online ― so I set out to do it for all of us.

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.

Almond Milk Recipes
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