Do you ACTUALLY know what milk is?
Technically, milk is defined as being an opaque white liquid made by mammals to feed their babies. However, the term “milk” is also used to describe plant-based beverages meant to mimic true milk such as soy milk, almond milk, and many others.
Whether you drink milk on its own, add it to your coffee, or use it to make smoothies, you have plenty of options to choose from. We’ve researched and reviewed 52 types of milk (animal-based and plant-based) and provided their nutrition information in a handy table so you can glance at all of them at once.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll also find:
- Factors to consider when choosing a milk
- Which milks are compliant with special diets like vegan, paleo, and keto
- Which milks are sources of the most common allergens
We guarantee you’ll learn something new from our guide (we definitely did!). And who knows? You might even be inspired to try a new type of milk!
Considerations for choosing milk
Dairy milk vs. non-dairy milk (lactose)
Milk made from mammals (cows, goats, sheep, humans, etc.) contains lactose, a natural sugar. The amount of lactose from mammal milk varies; for instance, reindeer milk is lower in lactose than cow milk and goat milk.
Some people are lactose intolerant, which is when your body doesn’t contain enough of the lactase enzyme.
Without enough lactase enzyme, your body can’t properly break down lactose in your intestines, leading to symptoms like abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and vomiting after consuming lactose.
Milk that isn’t from mammals (plant-based) doesn’t contain lactose, which is why it’s suitable for people with lactose intolerance. In addition, you can choose lactose-free cow milk, which simply has the lactase enzyme added directly to it.
Plant-based milk vs. animal-based milk
Plant-based milks come from plants, so they’re suitable for vegans. They’re also lactose-free and suitable for those with a cow milk allergy.
The most popular sources for plant-based milks include:
- Nuts and seeds (almond milk, coconut milk, flax milk, etc.)
- Legumes (soy milk, pea milk, etc.)
- Grains (oats, spelt, etc.)
- Other plants (fruit, tubers, etc.)
Mammalian milk contains lactose and isn’t suitable for those following a vegan diet. Cow milk, goat milk, and camel milk are all examples of animal-based milk.
Animal-based milk tends to be higher in saturated fat compared to plant-based milk, and is also a source of cholesterol (plants don’t contain cholesterol).
Which milk you choose will likely depend on your dietary preferences. If you follow a special diet such as a vegan, paleo, or keto diet, you’ll need to choose milk that is compatible with those diets.
Vegan-friendly milk doesn’t come from animal sources, so all types of plant-based milk are vegan-friendly (unless they contain honey, which isn’t common).
It gets trickier with a Paleo diet, which excludes dairy, legumes, and grains – as well as refined sugar that can be added to flavored milk.
Keto-friendly milk should have no more than 2 grams of carbs per serving. Luckily, you’ll see in our nutrition comparison table that many kinds of milk fit the bill for being keto-friendly!
Almond milk and coconut milk are examples of milks that fit into all three diets.
Sugar content/glycemic index
Milk from animal sources (and humans) contains natural sugar in the form of lactose. Plant-based milk can also contain natural sugar, though it’s usually in lower amounts than animal-based milk.
If milk has added sugar (flavored milk), it’s going to be higher in sugar overall. The more sugar the milk contains, the higher its glycemic index (GI) likely is. (Glycemic index measures how quickly a food or drink raises your blood sugar level.)
Other factors that impact glycemic index: the GI of the source (e.g. rice has a high GI, so rice milk has a higher GI), fat content, and protein content (protein and fat slow digestion so can lower the GI).
For example, cow milk has a lower glycemic index (37) than rice milk (79+), likely due to the fact that rice has a high GI and cow milk contains more protein and fat than rice milk.
Most commercial milk is fortified with added nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin D. Some types of plant-based milk will also contain added nutrients like vitamin B12 to help meet the needs of vegans.
The amount of nutrients added depends on the manufacturer – and some don’t add any extra nutrients at all.
Many types of plant-based milk contain added thickeners and emulsifiers to help give them a creamier texture, which is desirable in milk. Common thickeners and emulsifiers include carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, and guar gum, among others.
Choosing milk with a higher protein content can help boost satiety, or a feeling of fullness after you drink it. Many popular plant-based milks (including coconut and almond milk) are low in protein, but there are plenty of higher-protein plant milks out there (soy milk, flax milk, pea milk, etc).
Animal-based milk is naturally rich in protein, such as cow milk, goat milk, and sheep milk.
Ultra-filtered cow milk is filtered to remove lactose (sugar), which means it’s higher in solids like protein compared to regular cow milk. Ultra-filtered milk also has the lactase enzyme added to it, making it lactose-free.
Pasteurization & homogenization
Most kinds of milk – both animal-based and plant-based – are pasteurized to kill potentially harmful bacteria. Pasteurization is done by quickly heating the milk to at least 161° F and then cooling it, which also helps prolong the shelf life.
Homogenization is a process where fat droplets from milk are emulsified (mixed in) so the fat doesn’t separate from the liquid. Homogenization is standard in cow milk, whereas plant-based milk typically has an emulsifier added in lieu of homogenization.
If milk isn’t homogenized, you’ll need to shake it prior to using it to re-mix the fat particles with the lower-fat liquid.
Like most foods and drinks, you have the option to choose organic or non-organic milk. The sources of organic milk aren’t treated with things like pesticides, growth hormones, and other chemicals/drugs. If milk isn’t organic, any levels of these substances must be considered low enough to be safe in order to be sold commercially.
Animal-based milk tends to have a shorter shelf life compared to plant-based milk. For animal-based milk, refer to the expiration date printed on the package to determine how long it’ll last.
For plant-based milk, the shelf life is generally much longer – even several months from when you purchase it. However, most containers of plant-based milk have a printed suggestion to use the milk within 7-10 days of opening to ensure it’s fresh.
If you choose milk in aseptic packaging (shelf-stable/not refrigerated), it means it’s been treated with heat in a way that makes it shelf-stable for a long time – even up to several months – at room temperature. This is called “ultra-high temperature” (UHT) milk, and it’s exposed to higher heat (280°F) than regular pasteurization.
Most popular types of milk
There are several types of milk out there (we’ll review 52 types next!), but the four most popular types of milk (at least in the United States!) are:
- Cow milk (commonly just called “milk”…includes whole, 2%, skim, etc. and makes up 81% of the world’s animal milk production)
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
- Soy milk
52 types of milk
- A2 Milk
- A2 milk comes from cows that only produce a natural protein called A2, instead of regular milk which typically contains proteins A1 and A2.
- A2 milk is believed to be better digested/tolerated than cow milk which contains the A1 protein.
- Not suitable for people with cow milk allergy, but may be better tolerated by people with lactose intolerance (though it still contains lactose).
- Comes in similar varieties as regular milk, e.g. whole, 2%, chocolate, etc.
- 1% milk (low-fat)
- Considered low-fat milk, 1% cow milk has less fat than 2% milk but more than skim/nonfat milk.
- Unless it’s raw, 1% milk is typically homogenized, pasteurized, and fortified with vitamins A and D.
- 2% milk (reduced-fat)
- 2%/reduced-fat milk contains more fat than 1% milk but less fat than whole milk’s 3.5%.
- Like 1% milk, 2% milk is typically homogenized, pasteurized, and fortified with vitamins A and D (unless it’s raw).
- One of the most popular types of cow milk.
- Acidophilus Milk
- Regular milk that has been enriched with Lactobacillus acidophilus (probiotic), a beneficial type of bacteria that makes up the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.
- Sweet acidophilus milk is similar to regular milk in terms of taste and texture, while fermented acidophilus milk is more tangy, similar to yogurt/kefir.
- Acidophilus milk might be better tolerated if you have lactose intolerance since the bacteria can help break down lactose, the natural sugar in cow milk.
- Almond-coconut milk
- A blend of almond and coconut milk, almond-coconut milk has natural sweetness from almonds with a touch of coconut flavor.
- Typically thickened and emulsified with ingredients like sunflower lecithin and gellan gum to give it a creamier mouthfeel since almond milk and coconut milk are naturally thin, and the fats can separate from the liquid.
- Almond milk
- Made by soaking and grinding almonds in water and straining the liquid from the almond meal/pulp.
- Almond milk is the most popular plant-based milk alternative; it’s widely available at most coffee shops to substitute cow milk.
- Comes in unsweetened varieties as well as flavored (vanilla, chocolate).
- Usually has added thickeners due to its naturally thin consistency.
- Banana milk
- Referred to as “bananamilk” by its manufacturer (Mooala), bananamilk is made by blending bananas and sunflower seeds with cinnamon; gellan gum is added as a thickener.
- Not fortified with vitamin D, but it is fortified with calcium and potassium.
- Barley milk
- Made from barley, barley malt, and water, barley milk is plant-based but isn’t gluten-free like most other plant-based milks.
- Fortified with more calcium and vitamin D than most plant-based milks (Golden Wing brand).
- Natural source of iron with 8% of the daily value per cup.
- Good vegan choice due to high calcium and vitamin D content, as well as being a source of iron.
- Brazil nut milk
- Made by blending Brazil nuts with water; Brazil nut milk is described as being very creamy.
- Commercial options are hard to come by, but you can make your own using recipes online (like our Brazil nut milk recipe!), or purchase from companies (no nutritional information is available for those, though).
- (Water) Buffalo milk
- Sourced from water buffalo (not bison, which don’t produce enough milk to be commercially milked), buffalo milk is lower in cholesterol and richer in calcium and protein compared to cow milk. It’s much higher in fat than whole cow milk, though.
- Like A2 milk, bison milk naturally contains only the A2 protein, which means it might be better digested compared to cow milk which also contains the A1 protein.
- Comprises 15% of the world’s animal milk production.
- Buttermilk is fermented milk, which was traditionally made by collecting the liquid that was leftover after churning butter out of cultured cream.
- These days, buttermilk is made by adding a probiotic (culture) to pasteurized/homogenized milk that is fortified with vitamin D (regular cow milk).
- Typically low-fat (similar to 1% milk).
- Popular for cooking, baking, or drinking (it has a tangy flavor similar to yogurt).
- Camel milk
- Camel milk is a popular milk in Middle Eastern, Asian, and North African cultures, but is available for purchase in the United States through US-based brands like Desert Farms and Camel Culture.
- Nutritionally, camel milk is the most similar to colostrum (human milk), which is incredibly rich in nutrients and proteins like immunoglobulins, which help support a healthy immune system.
- Can be purchased fresh, frozen, or powdered.
- Considered “gently” or “flash” pasteurized.
- Can be considered Paleo-friendly (one of the brands we researched is Certified Paleo) unlike cow milk; however, many Paleo dieters may still choose to avoid it.
- Cashew milk
- Similar to almond milk and other nut milks, cashew milk is made by soaking and grinding cashews in water and straining the liquid from the solid cashew pulp that is left over.
- Depending on the brand, cashew milk may or may not have added thickeners or emulsifiers.
- Some brands also contain almonds (like Silk Cashew milk).
- Chocolate milk (cow milk)
- While any type of milk can have chocolate flavor added to it, the kind we’re referring to is chocolate milk made from cow milk.
- Like regular milk, fat content can vary from nonfat to whole milk.
- Much higher in sugar than regular cow milk due to the sugar added for the chocolate flavoring.
- Like regular milk, chocolate milk is usually fortified with vitamins A and D.
- Coconut milk
- There are two types of coconut milk: canned and carton. Canned coconut milk is very high in fat and mostly solid at room temperature, whereas carton coconut milk is liquid and ready to drink.
- Canned coconut milk is made by heating high-fat coconut pulp in hot water and then extracting the liquid from the solid pulp. It’s typically used in cooking and not as much for drinking.
- Carton coconut milk is made by blending thick coconut milk or coconut cream (a fattier version of canned coconut milk) with water. It’s popular as a dairy-free/plant-based milk alternative for drinking, putting in coffee, etc, and is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
- Condensed milk
- Cow milk with around 60% of the water removed with sugar added (also called “sweetened condensed milk”).
- Comes in canned form with a longer shelf life compared to regular cow milk.
- Used in making candy, desserts, in coffee/tea, and any other uses where you want to add sweetness and creaminess without adding a lot of moisture.
- Donkey milk
- Higher lactose content than cow milk, donkey milk is more similar to human milk in terms of lactose.
- Suitable for people with a cow milk allergy, but not necessarily for those with lactose intolerance.
- Lower in fat and cholesterol compared to cow milk, sheep milk, and goat milk.
- Hard to find – you can purchase dehydrated donkey milk powder and reconstitute it in water.
- Evaporated milk
- Unlike condensed milk, evaporated milk is not sweetened.
- Concentrated, shelf-stable canned milk with about 60% less water than regular cow milk.
- Can be used in things like smoothies, soups, sauces, oatmeal, and to add to coffee.
- Flavored milk
- Flavored milk is an umbrella term for any milk (mammal milk or plant-based milk) with added flavors. The most common flavors added to milk are chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.
- A source of added sugar due to the additional sweet flavor – the source can vary, but regular sugar and corn syrup are popular sweeteners for flavored milk.
- Flax milk
- Made from whole or ground flaxseeds, flax milk is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than most other plant-based milk.
- Some types of flax milk have added protein (e.g. Good Karma brand adds pea protein).
- Goat milk
- Suitable for people with a cow milk allergy, but goat milk isn’t low in lactose.
- Accounts for 2% of the world’s annual milk supply.
- Naturally rich in calcium, and may help lower cholesterol levels, according to some studies.
- Sometimes fortified with vitamin D, depending on the brand.
- Hazelnut milk
- Another nut milk, hazelnut milk isn’t suitable for those with a nut allergy but is vegan, dairy-free, and lactose-free.
- Not fortified with added vitamins and minerals like more popular nut milks like almond milk.
- Like other nut milks, hazelnut milk isn’t rich in protein.
- Hemp milk
- Made by soaking and blending hemp seed with water (hemp seed is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant…i.e. it won’t make you high).
- Naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Can be sweetened or unsweetened.
- May be fortified with vitamin D and calcium (Pacific Foods brand is; see nutrition table below).
- Human milk
- Also known as breast milk, human milk is unique in its nutritional content, which varies depending on the need of the infant.
- According to a study, mature human milk is 3-5% fat, 0.8-0.9% protein, and 6.9-7.2% carbohydrate, primarily as lactose. (The majority of the composition of breast milk is water!)
- Lactose-free milk
- Lactose-free milk is regular cow milk with the addition of lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose (people with lactose intolerance lack enough lactase enzyme).
- Comes in varying levels of fat content like regular milk.
- Not suitable for those with a cow milk allergy.
- Llama milk
- Not generally commercially available, but llama milk is consumable by humans (people in South America drink it and utilize llamas for other resources like wool and meat).
- High in lactose, but suitable for those with a cow milk allergy.
- Macadamia milk
- Similar to other nut milks in terms of benefits (low in carbs, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly, etc).
- Fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
- Mare milk
- While not typically consumed in the United States, mare’s milk (milk from lactating horses) is consumed in other countries such as Mongolia.
- A study analyzed mare’s milk as containing 2.3% protein.
- Considered more nutritious than cow milk due to its higher concentration of whey (protein) and essential amino acids.
- Oat milk
- Oat milk is gaining popularity faster than other plant-based milks, with the craze starting around 2016 when oat milk was less widely available and more “exclusive.”
- Naturally gluten-free, but not suitable for keto or vegan diets.
- Pea milk
- Among the higher protein plant-based milks due to the pea protein blend in it.
- Some brands (like Ripple) add sunflower oil and added nutrients like algal oil and vitamin B12.
- Pistachio milk
- Like other nut and seed milks, pistachio milk is made from soaking and blending pistachios with water.
- Might not be fortified with vitamin D and calcium like more common plant-based milks.
- Difficult to find a commercially-sold unsweetened version.
- Potato milk
- The main manufacturer of potato milk (as of now) is DUG, a Swedish brand.
- Considered more sustainable since potatoes require less water to grow than other plant-based milk sources like almonds.
- The ingredients in DUG’s potato milk are:
- Potatoes (4.5%)
- Rapeseed Oil
- Pea protein
- Powdered milk
- Made by evaporating milk until the liquid is removed, leaving a dry powder.
- Used to make things like infant formula, candies, and baked goods.
- Can be mixed with water to create liquid milk.
- Available in different fat contents like regular milk.
- Pumpkin seed milk
- Commercial versions aren’t easily available, but there are many recipes for homemade pumpkin seed milk you can make at home.
- Typical ingredients for DIY recipes include pumpkin seeds, a sweetener (maple syrup, dates, etc.), water, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
- Quinoa milk
- Commercial versions aren’t readily available (though there are some rice/quinoa milk blends), but you can make quinoa milk by blending cooked quinoa with water (straining it afterward) and adding optional ingredients like cinnamon and a sweetener.
- May be higher in some nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium than other plant-based milks – but it’s difficult to ascertain the nutritional value without a commercial product available.
- Raw cow milk
- Raw milk (in this case we’re talking about cow milk) hasn’t been pasteurized to kill any potential bacteria.
- Advocates of raw milk claim that it’s richer in fatty acids, amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals compared to pasteurized milk because they aren’t denatured or destroyed through the heating process of pasteurization.
- Reindeer milk
- Reindeer milk is the only source of milk in countries like Sweden, Norway, Finland and parts of Russia since it’s too cold for other dairy animals to survive.
- Considered to be higher in calories and fat compared to cow milk, while being lower in lactose.
- Rice milk
- Higher in carbs than many plant-based milks, which means rice milk isn’t keto-friendly.
- Least allergenic type of plant-based milk, so it’s suitable for those with soy and/or nut allergies.
- Sesame milk
- Considered a complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids (the ones your body doesn’t make on its own).
- Richer in protein than many plant-based milks.
- Sheep milk
- Contains more fat and protein compared to cow milk and goat milk.
- Sheep milk is so high in fat that it’s not typically drunk plain, but is a good option for making yogurt and cheese.
- Skim milk (nonfat milk)
- The most skimmed milk of all varieties of cow milk, skim milk contains 0 grams of fat.
- Thinner in texture (and less creamy) than higher-fat cow milk varieties.
- Soy milk
- The “original” plant-based milk, soy milk has been popular much longer than many of the newer plant-based milks (it started becoming popular in the 1990s in the US).
- Rich in protein (similar to cow milk).
- Comes in sweetened, unsweetened, and flavored varieties.
- Spelt milk
- Made by soaking ground-up spelt (an ancient grain) in hot water and then straining the liquid from the solids (commercial versions aren’t readily available, but you can find DIY recipes).
- While spelt is lower in gluten than traditional grains, it does still contain gluten. Spelt is a great source of iron and magnesium, two nutrients where deficiencies are common.
- Strawberry milk
- Strawberry-flavored cow milk isn’t as popular as chocolate milk, but it’s available from different brands like Darigold and Fairlife (and maybe most popularly Nestle’s Nesquik).
- Doesn’t contain real strawberries, but rather “strawberry flavor”.
- Fat content will vary depending on the type of milk used (whole, 2%, etc).
- Sunflower seed milk
- Made by soaking sunflower seeds (preferably overnight), blending with water, and then straining (not many commercial versions available, but you can DIY it).
- Suitable for those with nut allergies (sunflower seeds are a common alternative for tree nuts and peanuts).
- Tiger Nut Milk
- Made by soaking tiger nuts and blending them with water (tiger nuts are tubers that grow on a plant called the yellow nutsedge).
- Tiger nuts are packed with fiber and contain iron; however, it’s not likely that the fiber will remain in the milk since it’s in the solid parts that are removed when straining the liquid.
- A good option for those who can’t consume tree nuts, coconut, or soy milks.
- Ultra-filtered milk (Fairlife)
- Ultra-filtered milk removes excess water and lactose, which means the remaining milk is higher in protein while being lower in sugar.
- The main brand of ultra-filtered milk is Fairlife, but other brands, such as Darigold, have released their own ultra-filtered milk.
- Most brands add the lactase enzyme to make the milk lactose-free.
- UHT milk (ultra-high temperature)
- Any milk treated with higher temperatures than regular pasteurization, which allows it to remain shelf stable at room temperature for several months.
- Comes in aseptic packaging.
- Vanilla milk
- Vanilla is a common flavor added to many types of plant-based milks, but it can also be added to regular milk, e.g. Vanilla Nesquik.
- Vanilla-flavored milk is higher in sugar due to the added sugar for the flavor.
- Walnut milk
- Similar to other nut-milks, though walnuts are higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids than many other nuts.
- Much higher in fat compared to other nut milks, though it is primarily from unsaturated fats.
- Whole milk
- The highest fat content of cow milk (not counting cream) with 3.5% milkfat.
- Fortified with vitamin D like other types of cow milk, yet it’s often called “vitamin D milk”.
- Yak milk
- Very high in fat compared to cow milk (about twice as much fat), making it ideal for making cheese.
- While it’s not available in the United States, yak milk is consumed in South Central Asia and the Tibetan Plateau.
Nutritional comparison of 52 types of milk
- ? = reliable information not available (e.g. commercial versions not available, incomplete information, etc.)
- Fiber is not included in nutritional information since milk typically isn’t a significant source of fiber
- Unsweetened varieties used unless specified
- Nutrition information can vary by brand and type.
|Per cup (237 ml/8 oz.)||Calories||Total fat (sat. fat)||Total carbs||Total sugars (incl. added)||Protein||Calcium||Vit D|
|A2 milk (2%)||120||5 g (3 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||15% DV|
|1% milk||110||2.5 g (1.4 g)||13 g||12 g (0g)||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|
|Acidophilus milk (sweet, 1%)||100||2.5 g (1.5 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|Almond-coconut milk||40||3.5 g (1 g)||1 g||0 g||1 g||35% DV||25% DV|
|Almond milk||30||2.5 g (0 g)||1 g||0 g||1 g||45% DV||25% DV|
|Banana milk||60||3 g (0 g)||9 g||4 g (0 g)||1 g||25% DV||0% DV|
|Barley milk||140||3 g (0 g)||26 g||6 g (3 g)||4 g||50% DV||50% DV|
|Brazil nut milk||219||22 g (?)||4 g||?||5 g||?||?|
|Buffalo milk||237||17 g (? g)||12 g||?||9 g||32% DV||?|
|Buttermilk (lowfat/1%)||120||2.5 g (2 g)||15 g||11 g (0 g)||10 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|Camel milk||110||4.5 g (3 g)||11 g||8 g (0 g)||6 g||35% DV||6% DV|
|Cashew milk (unfortified)||130||10 g (1.5 g)||7 g||1 g (0 g)||4 g||2% DV||0% DV|
|Chocolate milk (2%)||220||5 g (3.5 g)||33 g||31 g (16 g)||11 g||30% DV||15% DV|
|Coconut milk||40||4 g (3.5 g)||2 g||<1 g (0 g)||0 g||45% DV||25% DV|
|Condensed milk (2 tbsp.)||130||3 g (1.5 g)||22 g||21 g (18 g)||3 g||8% DV||0% DV|
|Donkey milk||100||0.25 g (0 g)||18.5 g||18.5 g (0 g)||4.6 g||18% DV||0% DV|
|Evaporated milk (2 tbsp.)||40||2 g (1.5 g)||3 g||3 g (0 g)||2 g||4% DV||4% DV|
|Flavored milk||Varies among types (flavor, type of milk, etc.)|
|Flax milk||70||3.5 g (0 g)||2 g||0 g||8 g||30% DV||25% DV|
|Goat milk||140||7 g (4 g)||11 g||11 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||15% DV|
|Hazelnut milk||90||9 g (0.5 g)||1 g||1 g (0 g)||2 g||2% DV||0% DV|
|Hemp milk||60||4.5 g (0 g)||0 g||0 g||3 g||20% DV||10% DV|
|Human milk||Varies among lactating mothers and age of nursing child.|
|Lactose-free milk (2%)||130||5 g (3 g)||13 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||15% DV|
|Macadamia milk||50||5 g (1 g)||1 g||0 g||1 g||30% DV||25% DV|
|Oat milk||45||0.5 g (0 g)||8 g||0 g||1 g||25% DV||20% DV|
|Pea milk||80||4.5 g (0.5 g)||1 g||0 g||8 g||30% DV||25% DV|
|Pistachio milk||80||3.5 g (0 g)||9 g||7 g (6 g)||2 g||2% DV||0% DV|
|Potato milk (~0.8 cup)||62||3 g (0.2 g)||6.2 g||5 g (?)||2.6 g||30% DV||30% DV|
|Powdered milk (nonfat) – equivalent of one cup liquid milk||80||0 g||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||20% DV||15% DV|
|Pumpkin seed milk||89||8 g (1 g)||2 g||1 g (0 g)||5 g||1% DV||0% DV|
|Quinoa milk||72||1 g (0 g)||13 g||1 g (0 g)||3 g||?||?|
|Raw cow milk (whole)||150||8 g (5 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||30% DV||0% DV|
|Rice milk||70||2.5 g (0 g)||13 g||<1 g (0 g)||0 g||20% DV||25% DV|
|Sesame milk||90||5 g (0.5 g)||2 g||0 g||8 g||30% DV||25% DV|
|Sheep milk (per USDA)||264||17 g (11 g)||13 g||?||15 g||47% DV||?|
|Skim milk (nonfat milk)||90||0 g||13 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||30% DV||25% DV|
|Soy milk||80||4.5 g (0.5 g)||4 g||<1 g (0 g)||7 g||20% DV||15% DV|
|Spelt milk||132||3.5 g (0 g)||24 g||10 g (0g)||2 g||?||?|
|Strawberry milk (whole)||210||8 g (5 g)||27 g||25 g (14 g)||8 g||20% DV||10% DV|
|Sunflower seed milk||50||4.5 g (0 g)||2 g||0 g||2 g||20% DV||6% DV|
|Tiger Nut Milk||60||3 g (?)||4 g||1 g (0 g)||2 g||?||?|
|Ultra-filtered milk (Fairlife) – 2%||120||4.5 g (3 g)||6 g||6 g (0 g)||13 g||30% DV||25% DV|
|UHT milk (ultra-high temperature)||Varies; UHT can be any type of milk.|
|Vanilla milk||Varies; vanilla is a flavoring in many plant-based milks.|
|Walnut milk||120||11 g (1 g)||1 g||0 g||3 g||2% DV||0% DV|
|Whole milk||160||8 g (4.5 g)||11 g||10 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
Special diets & allergens for 52 types of milk
- Special diets:
- V= vegan-friendly
- K=keto=keto friendly with <2 grams carbs per serving (assuming milk is unsweetened)
- X = not V, P, or K
- Major allergens listed: Milk (cow milk protein), soy, sesame, tree nuts; X = no major allergens
|A2 milk (1%)||X||Milk|
|Acidophilus milk (sweet, 1%)||X||Milk|
|Almond-coconut milk||V, P, K||Tree nuts|
|Almond milk||V, P, K||Tree nuts|
|Banana milk||V, P||X|
|Brazil nut milk||V; likely can be P and K depending on how it’s made||Tree nuts|
|Buffalo milk||Likely P||Milk*|
|Camel milk||P (brand we researched is certified Paleo, but some may debate this)||Milk*|
|Cashew milk (unfortified)||V, P||Tree nuts|
|Chocolate milk (2%)||X||Milk|
|Coconut milk||V, P, K||Tree nuts (though most people with tree nut allergies can consume coconut products)|
|Condensed milk (2 tbsp.)||X||Milk|
|Donkey milk||Unknown if it’s K or P||Milk*|
|Evaporated milk (2 tbsp.)||X||Milk|
|Flavored milk||V if it’s plant-based; P if it contains Paleo-approved ingredients; K if it’s low in carbs (<2 g)||Milk|
|Flax milk||V, P, K||X|
|Hazelnut milk||V, P, K||Tree nut|
|Hemp milk||V, P, K||X|
|Human milk||V, P; likely not K||Milk*|
|Lactose-free milk (2%)||X||Milk|
|Macadamia milk||V, K, P||Tree nut|
|Mare milk||Likely not P/K (definitely not V)||Milk*|
|Pea milk||V, K||X|
|Pistachio milk||V, P; could be K if made with keto-friendly sweetener (the sole commercial brand we found nutrition info for is sweetened)||Tree nut|
|Potato milk (~0.8 cup)||V; possibly P if homemade with Paleo-friendly ingredients||X|
|Powdered milk (nonfat) – equivalent of one cup liquid milk||X||Milk|
|Pumpkin seed milk||V; likely P and K if homemade with diet-friendly ingredients||X|
|Quinoa milk||V; ? if P or K||X|
|Raw cow milk (whole)||X||Milk|
|Reindeer milk||? possibly P||Milk*|
|Sesame milk||V, P, K||Sesame|
|Skim milk (nonfat milk)||X||Milk|
|Spelt milk||V; likely not K||Wheat|
|Strawberry milk (whole)||X||Milk|
|Sunflower seed milk||V; likely P and K if homemade with diet-compatible ingredients||X|
|Tiger Nut Milk||V; likely P if homemade with diet-compatible ingredients||X|
|Ultra-filtered milk (Fairlife) – 2%||X||Milk|
|UHT milk (ultra-high temperature)||Varies||Milk|
|Walnut milk||V, P, K||Tree nut|
|Yak milk||? if keto (high-fat; carbs are unknown)||Milk*|
Sheep milk is likely the highest protein milk with 15 grams per cup (compared to 8 grams per cup of cow milk). However, since it’s so high in fat, sheep milk is primarily used for making cheese, not for drinking.
Coconut milk and rice milk are the lowest in protein with 0 grams per cup.
Chocolate milk is the highest in carbs thanks to the added sugar. The total carb content is 33 grams, 16 of which come from added sugar.
Hemp milk is the lowest in carbs with 0 grams per serving. Many other dairy-free milks are low in carbs (1 gram per serving) such as almond milk, hazelnut milk, macadamia milk, pea milk, and walnut milk.
Fortified barley milk is a good choice for vegans due to its calcium, vitamin D, and iron content, while soy milk, flax milk, pea milk, and sesame milk are good vegan choices due to their higher protein content (similar to cow milk).
Hemp milk is a great keto-friendly choice since it’s free of carbs, as well as walnut milk, which is very high in fat (11 grams per cup) while being low in carbs.
Some of the most popular Paleo-friendly milks are coconut milk and almond milk, but any non-dairy milk made from Paleo-friendly sources (no legumes, grains, etc.) will suffice!
Almond milk, coconut milk, almond-coconut milk, flax milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, sesame milk, and walnut milks are all suitable for vegan, keto, AND Paleo diets.
Fortified barley milk (Golden Wing brand) is the highest in calcium, with one cup providing 50% of your daily calcium needs.
Chocolate milk is the highest in sugar – it contains 31 grams per cup, 16 of which come from added sugar.
Many unsweetened non-dairy milks are free of sugar, such as almond milk, almond-coconut milk, flax milk, hemp milk, macadamia milk, oat milk, pea milk, sesame milk, and walnut milk, with soy milk coming in with <1 gram of sugar per serving.
Sheep milk is the highest in fat with 17 grams per cup. Walnut milk comes in second with 11 grams of fat per cup, most of which are unsaturated compared to the high saturated fat content of sheep milk.
Nonfat milk (liquid and powdered) is the lowest in fat with 0 grams per serving. Donkey milk and oat milk are also low in fat with less than one gram per serving.
Animal-based milks contain the most saturated fat, such as whole cow milk, camel milk, goat milk, and sheep milk. Coconut milk is the highest in saturated fat for a plant-based milk with 3.5 grams of saturated fat per cup.
Any milk that comes from animals contains cholesterol, such as cow milk, goat milk, and camel milk, to name a few. The lower the fat content the lower the cholesterol count tends to be, though.
Fortified barley milk (Golden Wing brand) is the highest in vitamin D, with one cup providing 50% of your daily requirement for vitamin D.
Skim milk contains 0% milkfat, 1% milk contains 1% milkfat, 2% contains 2% milkfat, and whole milk contains 3.5% milkfat.
Goat milk isn’t lactose-free, but it’s lower in lactose compared to cow milk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), raw milk might contain harmful bacteria that could make you sick, so it’s not recommended to cons
Plant-based milk isn’t necessarily better than animal-based milk (they come with their own pros and cons); it comes down to your personal health goals and dietary preferences. Plant-based milk can be a better choice if you have lactose intolerance or a cow milk allergy, though!
Organic milk is lower in things like pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. compared to non-organic milk. However, the level of these components is low enough in non-organic milk that it’s considered safe.
Whether organic milk is worth the extra cost comes down to your preferences and budget. Some people find it’s worth the extra cost, while others don’t.
Goat milk is a good animal-based alternative to cow milk, while higher-protein plant-based milks like soy milk and flax are also good alternatives.
Higher-fat milk is ideal for coffee because it provides a creamy texture. Hazelnut milk, whole milk, and cashew milk are a few examples of higher-fat milk – but you can use any milk you want for coffee!
You can drink any milk straight, but you might find that milk with some sweetness is ideal for drinking straight, such as cow milk, flavored non-dairy milk, and of course – flavored milk like chocolate milk!
You can use any milk you want for smoothies, so choose one that fits your health and nutrition goals, as well as any dietary restrictions you have.
Protein powder can be mixed with any liquid, so you can use any type of milk that you want. If you want an even higher-protein shake, choose higher-protein milk like cow milk, goat milk, ultra-filtered milk, soy milk, flax milk, pea milk, or sesame milk.
Muscle Milk is considered a protein shake, not milk. It does contain milk ingredients in the form of milk protein isolate, but it’s not a type of milk.
Moose milk (not the alcoholic beverage!) is commercially farmed in Russia, but you won’t likely find it easily in the United States. Moose milk is what it sounds like – the milk from a lactating moose! It’s apparently high in butterfat (10%) and higher in some nutrients (iron, zinc, etc.) than cow milk.
Meanwhile, the traditional Canadian cocktail is basically a spiked milkshake somewhat akin to eggnog.
Carrageenan is an additive derived from seaweed used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods and drinks, including many types of plant-based milks.
Sunflower lecithin is a natural emulsifier made from sunflower seeds. Sunflower lecithin helps keep the fat globules evenly mixed in liquids without separating, such as in plant-based milks.
Guar gum is a thickener used in foods and drinks, including non-dairy milks. Guar gum is made from the seeds of a plant called Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, which is typically grown in tropical countries.
Similar to carrageenan and guar gum, gellan gum is a food additive used to stabilize and bind processed foods. Gellan gum is made from bacteria found in nature through the fermentation process.
The term “regular milk” typically refers to cow’s milk, which is the most widely-consumed milk in the world.