Have you ever thought of venturing beyond the familiar dairy aisle and saddling up to explore other milk varieties? While the idea of sipping on mare’s milk might not be that common in America, it’s a treasured drink in places like Mongolia, and Cleopatra was even said to bathe in it!
If you’re curious and interested in trying it, some organic grocery stores actually carry it, and you can also get powdered versions online. But why exactly would you want to give mare milk a try, and how does it match up to cow’s milk? Let’s take a look.
Comparing mare milk vs milk
|Mare milk||Cow milk (including whole, 2%, skim, etc.)|
Being both animal-based milks, neither mare milk nor cow milk is suitable for vegan diets. Cow milk contains the common allergen of milk proteins, and it doesn’t accommodate paleo or keto diets. Meanwhile, mare milk doesn’t have any allergens and likely doesn’t fit paleo or keto diets since its carbohydrate content isn’t well-documented.
Differences between mare milk and milk
Mare milk and cow milk differ most in their consistency and flavor. Fans of mare milk say that it has a distinct sweet and nutty flavor (occasionally with a hint of sourness) and is much lighter in consistency, and appears almost translucent. On the other hand, classic cow’s milk is denser in color and texture and has a richer, creamier taste.
Types of cow’s milk
While there’s only one kind of mare’s milk out there (in powder and liquid forms), cow’s milk is so commercialized that there is a wide variety on the market. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Whole milk: Milk with all the natural fats intact, around 3.25% fat.
2% milk (reduced-fat): A balance between indulgence and moderation with 2% fat.
1% milk (low-fat): Even leaner milk with just 1% fat.
Skim milk (non-fat): Retains the nutrients and flavor of dairy milk but with no fat content.
Lactose-free milk: Milk made for those who are lactose-intolerant with added enzymes for digestion.
Raw cow milk (whole): Unprocessed and unpasteurized milk straight from the cow, which may come with health risks.
Flavored milk: A delicious treat in flavors such as chocolate and strawberry, often containing added sugars.
How to use mare milk vs milk
- Froth up a mare milk latte.
- Blend with fruit and sweetener for an exotic smoothie.
- Make desserts like rice pudding and panna cotta.
- Experiment with making your own yogurt.
- Ferment and make into Mongolian Airag (fermented mare’s milk).
- Drink as is.
- Whip up creamy mashed potatoes or rich mac and cheese.
- Create luscious sauces and gravies.
- Use for tea, coffee, and hot cocoa.
- Warm up or chill and drink on its own.
- Pour over oatmeal or cereal.
- Make dulce de leche.
Can you substitute mare milk for milk?
Since mare milk and cow milk are both mammal milks, it can be easy to swap them for one another in many recipes. Like with many mammal milk swaps, you’ll want to keep an eye on their consistency and flavor, as these qualities may change the outcome of your final dish or drink.
Nutrition: Mare milk vs milk
Although it’s hard to find a full nutritional profile on mare milk, it’s actually considered more nutritious than cow milk because of its higher concentration of whey (protein) and essential amino acids. While studies show that it has just 2.3% protein (which is less than many types of milk), it is rich in vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
However, cow milk isn’t inferior in its nutrition either, being most popular for its calcium and protein content. Skim milk, in particular, has the benefit of being low in calories (90), completely devoid of fat (0g), and higher in calcium (30% DV) and vitamin D (25% DV) compared to other cow’s milk types.
|Per 1 cup (237 ml/8 oz.)||Calories||Total fat (sat. fat)||Total carbs||Total sugars (incl. added)||Protein||Calcium||Vit D|
|Whole milk||160||8 g (4.5 g)||11 g||10 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|2% milk||130||5 g (3 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|1% milk||110||2.5 g (1.4 g)||13 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|Skim milk (non-fat milk)||90||0 g||13 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||30% DV||25% DV|
? = reliable information not available
How to store mare milk and milk
While there isn’t much information out there on how and how long to store mare’s milk, it’s likely that its liquid form should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within a few days to a week. With the powdered version, it should be stored in a cool, dry place and should stay at its best quality for about three months (although powdered milk, in general, typically has best-by dates that are 12 to 24 months from the production date).
Unopened cow’s milk lasts 4 – 7 days past the expiration date. Once opened, whole milk lasts around 5 – 7 days, reduced-fat and skim last 7 days, and lactose-free milk lasts 7 – 10 days.
Mare milk vs milk: Which is better?
In my opinion, mare milk is much too rare to be able to use regularly. While there have been many reviews and studies that boast the many nutritional benefits of mare milk – from digestion to immune system support – cow’s milk is better if you’re looking for something easier to find and much more versatile. But it’s not all one-sided. Cow’s milk is chock full of nutrients, but mare’s milk is better for those who want something easier to digest, gentler on the stomach, and naturally nourishing.
Humans can certainly drink mare’s milk! Although it might sound a bit unconventional, many cultures consume it as part of their diet. It’s known for its potential health benefits and unique flavor and can be used as a beverage, in cooking, or to make other dairy products like yogurt.
There isn’t exactly a clear-cut answer to whether one is better than the other. Horse milk, or mare milk, is said to be lower in fat and calories and is much gentler on the digestive system. However, cow’s milk is more widely available and is a well-rounded package of nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Cow’s milk also comes in lower-fat, skim, and lactose-free options if whole milk doesn’t fit your dietary preferences.