Oat milk is getting more attention by the day. Take Oatly, for instance: It’s so popular that Starbucks recently had a nationwide shortage. And today, the company went public and is now valued at $10 billion. NBD. But with all the oat milk brands on the market, which is actually the healthiest? Is it Oatly, or some of the smaller brands that don’t have as bright of a spotlight?
First of all, let’s talk about the benefits of swapping dairy milk for oat milk. For one, it’s great for the planet: Oat milk has been deemed one of the most sustainable options out of all dairy and plant-based milks. It’s also a healthy option overall—one that’s recommended by registered dietitians for numerous reasons.
“It’s a nut-free variety, so it’s great for those with allergies,” says says Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition. “It’s also low in fat and it contains beta-glucans, which can help to promote gut health and reduce cholesterol levels.”
With that being said, not all brands are created equal and what you buy at the grocery store makes a difference. While some are made with minimal, clean ingredients (as they should be, considering you really only need oats and water to DIY a batch yourself), others contain things like oils and fillers. Here’s which ones our registered dietitians love most, and some you may want to avoid.
5 Top Oat Milk Brands, Ranked by Experts
Nutrition (per cup): 100 calories, 170mg sodium, 5 grams sugar, 2 grams protein
Ingredients: Filtered water, organic gluten-free oats, Himalayan salt
What’s not to love about MALK’s super-clean oat milk? It’s Certified Organic, glyphosate residue-free, and doesn’t contain any refined oils—a big plus, since Darlene Regueiro, RDN, founder of XO, Life Edit, says “conventional oat crops are sprayed with pesticides.” In fact, this oat milk doesn’t contain much of anything at all, and that’s exactly what you want. Just water, oats, and salt.
Nutrition (per cup): 100 calories, 120mg sodium, 5 grams sugar, 4 grams protein
Ingredients: Filtered water, whole grain oats, cane sugar, salt, natural flavors
Elmhurt’s oat milk is made with five ingredients (including whole grain oats) and contains no artificial flavors. That’s why it’s Shapiro’s top pick: “You want to have the fewest ingredients,” she says. She also loves that this option is free from gums, thickeners, and oils.
Nutrition (per cup): 90 calories, 120mg sodium, 4 grams sugar, 2 grams protein
Ingredients: Oatmilk (filtered water, oats), calcium carbonate, dipotassium phosphate (stabilizer), sea salt, gellan gum, vitamin a palmitate, vitamin D2, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12
Something Regueiro avoids at all costs when buying oat milk is weird oils. “I would look for an option that doesn’t contain canola (rapeseed oil), as this causes inflammation in the body,” she says. That’s why she’s a fan of this option from Planet Oat. Extra bonus: It’s fortified with nutrients, including vitamins D, A, and vitamin B12.
Nutrition (per cup): 120 calories, 100mg sodium, 7 grams sugar, 3 grams protein
Ingredients: Oatmilk (water, oats). Contains 2% or less of: rapeseed oil, dipotassium phosphate, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, sea salt, vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2), vitamin D2, vitamin A
Oatly’s oat milk is undeniably delicious. That’s why it’s nearly everywhere you look. With that being said, it’s not as healthy as the other options on this list. Aside from containing rapeseed oil—something Regueiro recommends avoiding—it also contains more sugar than the other products.
Nutrition (per cup): 120 calories, 100mg sodium, 7 grams sugar, 1 gram protein
Ingredients: Oatmilk (filtered water, oat concentrate), contains 2% or less of: sunflower oil, vitamin and mineral blend (calcium carbonate, vitamin a palmitate, vitamin D2, riboflavin [B2], vitamin B12), dipotassium phosphate, sea salt, gellan gum, locust bean gum, ascorbic acid (to protect freshness), natural flavor
Silk’s products can be found at pretty much every grocery store, making it easy to find plant-based milk options wherever you are. Unfortunately, this oat milk ranks lowest on this list. Like Oatly, it contains 7 grams of sugar. But it also only contains a single gram of protein and has the longest ingredients list of the entire bunch, including sunflower oil and gums.