How to Buy the Best Almond Milk (Hint: Avoid Carrageenan)

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Almond milk is one of the most delicious and versatile dairy alternatives you can have in a healthy diet. People in the health world go ga-ga over this stuff for good reason.

What’s so great about it? It contains vitamin E, calcium, protein, B vitamins, and fiber. It’s also low glycemic, vegan, and lactose-free, so it will benefit your body with essential nutrients without causing blood sugar spikes or allergy irritation. Plus, it just tastes good.

As with all food homemade is best, but in reality, we don’t always have the time to make everything from scratch. In those situations it’s ok to buy it in packaged form, but…

Watch out for carrageenan, added sugar, and other mystery ingredients.

When I don’t have time to make my own, Silk is my almond milk brand of choice because it’s verified non-GMO, is free from soy, gluten, and harmful preservatives, and they have an unsweetened option, which is the one I always get. Stick with the unsweetened versions to limit unnecessary added sugar in your diet.

Why should you avoid carrageenan in almond milk?

If you buy your almond milk, make sure to read the label and avoid any brands that contain carrageenan. This common ingredient, derived from seaweed, is frequently found in almond milk and other dairy or faux-dairy products and is used as a stabilizer and thickening agent. There are probably other brands out there that have removed it as well, Silk is just the brand that I get at my local store.

The reason I consider it questionable is because it has not been adequately tested, and some studies show that it can be harmful to the GI tract and even promotes tumor-growth.^ You should always avoid anything that has not undergone thorough testing and is proven to be safe. I don’t even understand how dubious things like this are allowed to be added to our food!

When you DO have the time to make your own almond milk, here’s how to do it:

Remember to soak overnight (or at least four hours) and the rest of the process just takes 5 minutes. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.


  • 2 cups of raw or pre-soaked almonds
  • 4 cups of filtered water, plus more for soaking
  • 1 teaspoon of real maple syrup OR raw honey
  • optional: ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: ¼. teaspoon cinnamon

You will also need:

  • a high-speed blender
  • nut milk bag (or fine mesh strainer, or cheesecloth)
  • funnel
  • blender
  • medium/large mason jar


  1. Soak the almonds in enough water to cover by 1 inch for at least 8 hours at room temperature. If you purchase pre-soaked almonds, then still give them a quick soak to soften them.
  1. Place the soaked almonds in a high-speed blender with the water, and blend on high for 2 minutes or until you can no longer make out any almond chunks, about 90 seconds.
  1. Place the funnel on your mason jar, and the nut milk bag in the funnel so the center of the nut milk bag is above the funnel opening and upper portions of the nut milk bag are draped over the rim of the funnel. Now pour the blended almond milk into the nut milk lined funnel so the pulp is caught at the top and the pure almond milk collects in the mason jar. If you don’t have a funnel, put the nut milk bag in a bowl and collect the milk there. Then, pour the milk into a rinsed blender container for easy pouring into your mason jar.
  1. When there is a good amount of pulp collected at the top, take a pause from pouring to squeeze the pulp and extract all the liquid. Transfer the remaining dry pulp out of the funnel and then continue pouring the rest of the pulp-mixed almond milk and squeezing the pulp until you have transferred all the blended almond milk.
  1. Optional: Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and maple syrup and blend another 10 seconds until incorporated.

If you don’t have a nut milk bag, try my cashew milk recipe as an alternative to almond milk.

^ Source

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  1. Deborah Anne Gormley says:

    Carrageen is not derived from seaweed, it is seaweed. In Ireland we eat it dried and it is frequently used in place of gelatin for vegan and vegetarian foods. It’s grows naturally and can only ever be organic. There are huge amount of studies completed on edible seaweed including carrageen, as the people who snack on it live healthy lives beyond 90 years of age. Please research properly before making strange claims regarding tumours as it’s not helpful

  2. Annette McEachin says:

    I have a severe reaction to carrageenan. It first happened several years ago. I purchased the same brand of almond milk I always used. I’m dairy and gluten intolerant. I used about 1-1/2″ in my cup of coffee. The urge struck pretty soon after. I ran from my kitchen, through my den and barely made it to my hallway before diarrhea was running down my legs. By the time I got to the commode, it was disaster. The stench was awful. It looks odd at first before it becomes colored stinky water. Looks like poop colored cottage cheese. After that I was careful to read ingredients in products that might use this product. After that I started using almond milk that I purchased at Trader Joe’s. About this time of year they have what they call Triple Ginger brew. It has been really great to ward off any scratchy sore throats or other cold symptoms. It is strong so I usually cut it, 3 parts water to 1 part brew. They had it yesterday when I purchased my groceries. This morning I was scheduled to be around kids and adults who might not be totally healthy. About 9 pm last night I decided to fortify myself for today. I prepared about 3/4 of a glass of the mixture. Within about 15 minutes the urgent need struck me. I barely got out of my chair and only took about 10 steps before the diarrhea started pouring out, down my legs, and over my shoes onto my hardwood floor in my hallway. Thank goodness I only got a little on my den rug. Stinking piles were down my hallway and through my bathroom to the commode. By the time I pulled down my pants there was lots in the pants legs. It kept coming out until it was just colored water. The odd thing was that it looked just like before when I had the reaction to carrageenan all those years ago. It took me a long time to get it all cleaned up. I had episodes in between. I had to take a bath. Had to spray a deodorizer on the areas after I cleaned up the poop because the smell was still on the floor and commode. That went on off and on all night. Finally early this morning I ate some dry toasted gluten free bead with a little honey on it. It started all over again. I had to call and cancel my volunteer work. Except for the toast I haven’t eaten anything since about 6 pm yesterday. Oddly I am not hungry. The fear is that if food hits my gut it will start again. Last time it lasted 2-3 days. I am going to slam Trader Joe’s for adding that ingredient to a wonder product that helps so much during the winter months. I know they have some other products that contain carrageenan but I stay away from them. Unlike other brands of vanilla ice cream I can eat their brand and not have a reaction so they get some things right.
    Sorry for having to be so graphic but I want to spread the news about how damaging this product is. And they are putting it in some baby formulas. I cannot imagine that with all the evidence that is allowed.

  3. dietista abby says:

    Almond milk is actually low in protein, so i wouldnt tout that as one of its benefits. It is 1 g per serving. Soy or hemp milk are other dairy free alternatives with higher protein content,

  4. Olga says:

    Interesting! Do you peel the almonds skins or not? And secondly, what do you do with the pulp?
    I’ve tried twice and it is ok, but I cannot heat this homemade milk ;-(

    • Nanci says:

      HI Olga–it looks like noone has answered your question, and although you may have the answer by now, perhaps it can help someone else. When you soak the almonds, the skins will loosen and you can easily remove, and discard them. Yes, save the pulp, lay it out on a cookie sheet and let it dry for as long as it takes to become flaky! Voila! Almond flour!

  5. LC says:

    is it better to buy the ones you keep in the fridge or the Tetra Pak ones?

  6. Richelle Koffman says:

    This was a very easy recipe to make!

    • Mya says:

      Does the homemade almond milk taste different from the store bought almond milk? If so, in what way? Also what kind of almonds should I use to make the almond milk?

      • Just Sayin says:

        Yes. 100% different. So aware of this going in. I’m not saying bad. But if you are used to and like the store bought version then understand that this will not taste like that.

  7. Rambette says:

    Love this! I didn’t sweeten it, just almonds and water, and I love the flavor and feel of it. Thank you!

Hi, I'm Elizabeth

I'm a strong believer that life is too short to settle for anything less than living your best life. 

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