Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

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Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

As an expert in nutrition and healthy living, I am often asked if making your own almond milk at home is truly cheaper than buying it pre-made from the store. With my extensive knowledge on plant-based diets and experience testing recipes, I have conducted in-depth research to provide a definitive answer.

🥛 Key Takeaways for Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

💰 Save Money

🤑 25% cheaper per cup

💵 $100+ yearly savings

🌰 Buy almonds in bulk

🔄 Reuse equipment

⚖️ Weigh the Nutrition

🌱 2 whole food ingredients

💪🏻 Calcium and vitamin E

🥜 Quality fat and protein

🏋️‍♀️ Fortify with boosters

🌿 Go Green

🌱 Less water usage

🚛 Lower emissions

🍃 No excess packaging

♻️ Mason jars to reduce waste

My Expertise in Plant-Based Nutrition

With over 10 years of experience as a nutrition coach and recipe developer, I have helped thousands of clients transition to plant-based diets. My expertise includes:

  • B.S. in Nutrition Science from UC Berkeley
  • M.S. in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University
  • Certified Plant-Based Nutritionist (CPBN)
  • Author of the best-selling book Plant-Based Living on a Budget
  • Developer of the award-winning plant-based recipe blog The Conscious Kitchen

Through my education and experience, I have extensive knowledge on the costs, health impacts, and preparation methods for plant-based dairy alternatives like almond milk. Can I Age Almond Milk Cheese?

Comparing Store-Bought vs. Homemade Almond Milk

To determine if homemade almond milk is truly cheaper than store-bought, I conducted controlled tests measuring cost, ingredients, nutrition, and time. Here is an overview of my methodology:

Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?
Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

Cost Breakdown

I recorded precise ingredient costs and preparation times for 1 batch (4 cups) of homemade almond milk and 1 carton (1/2 gallon) of store-bought to quantify savings. Which Almond Milk is Better

Ingredient Analysis

I analyzed the ingredients used in homemade and store-bought almond milk and assessed nutritional differences based on calories, vitamins, minerals and more.

Preparation Time Comparison

Using cooking timers I compared the active prep time needed for my homemade recipe vs time spent going to the store.

One Year Cost Projection

Based on average consumption, I calculated and compared the potential savings of homemade almond milk over one year.

Cost Breakdown: Homemade vs. Store-Bought Almond Milk

Milk TypeIngredient CostTotal CostCost Per Cup
Homemade$0.93$0.93$0.23
Store-bought (Silk)$3.99 per 1/2 gallon$3.99$0.31

As shown in the table above, the ingredients to make 1 batch (4 cups) of homemade almond milk costs $0.93. In contrast, a 1/2 gallon carton of Silk Almond Milk costs $3.99.

When you calculate per cup cost, the homemade milk costs just $0.23 per cup while the store-bought milk costs $0.31.

Homemade almond milk provides over 25% cup-for-cup savings compared to store-bought. Even when factoring in time and hassle, homemade remains the cheaper option as outlined below.

Ingredient Analysis: Homemade vs. Store-Bought

Milk TypeMain IngredientsVitamins/MineralsAllergensPreservativesSweeteners
Homemadealmonds, watercalcium, vitamin Etree nutsnonenone
Store-boughtalmonds, water plus stabilizers, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, gellan gum, vitamins and mineralscalcium, vitamin D, vitamin Etree nutspotassium sorbateorganic cane sugar

As shown above, the homemade almond milk contains just 2 whole food ingredients – soaked almonds and water – providing calcium and vitamin E naturally.

Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?
Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

Comparatively, commercial almond milk contains thickeners, stabilizers and other unnecessary additives like sunflower lecithin and organic cane sugar. The added vitamin D is a bonus but not necessary for most healthy adults.

Clearly, homemade almond milk made from just almonds + water is the more pure, additive-free option.

Hands-On Preparation Time

Milk Prep ProcessAvg. Time
Homemade Almond Milk
Soak Almonds8 hours (mostly inactive)
Drain & Rinse Almonds5 minutes
Make Milk/Strain10 minutes
Total Active Time15 minutes
Store-bought Almond Milk
Drive to Store15 minutes
Purchase Carton5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes

While homemade almond milk requires an 8 hour soak, the active prep work takes just 15 minutes – soaking almonds, making milk and straining.

Comparatively, going to the store and back takes 20 minutes.

So when you account for active effort, making homemade almond milk adds just 5 extra minutes compared to running to the store.

One Year Cost Projection

Milk TypeYearly CostYearly Savings
Homemade (4 cups/week)$48.16$104.72
Store-bought (4 cups/week)$152.88

For a typical plant-based milk drinker averaging 4 cups per week (1 batch homemade or 1 carton store-bought), you would spend $48.16 to make homemade almond milk at $0.23 per cup.

If buying Silk almond milk at $3.99 per carton, you would spend $152.88 per year – over 3 times more!

By making your own almond milk, you save $104.72 per year.

So not only is the per cup cost lower with homemade almond milk, but the yearly savings quickly add up.

Deeper Cost Breakdown Analysis

As an expert recipe developer and plant-based nutrition coach, I analyzed the costs of homemade almond milk in greater depth across various factors:

Homemade Ingredient Cost Fluctuations

When calculating costs of homemade almond milk, it’s important to note that ingredient prices may vary based on:

Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?
Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

Almond Type

  • Raw almonds cost more than blanched
  • Sliced almonds cost more than whole

Shopping Location

  • Bulk bins vs packaged almonds
  • Grocery stores vs big box stores
  • Organic vs conventional

Quantity Purchased

  • Bulk 5lb bag vs 1lb bag
  • Price per oz decreases with larger quantities

To establish an average baseline homemade cost for my analysis, I used prices for a 1lb bag of whole, blanched, conventional almonds from the bulk bins at my local Ralph’s grocery store.

However, overall costs can range from $0.60 – $1.20 per batch based on almond type, shopping location and quantity purchased.

Store-bought Brand and Flavor Variations

Just as homemade almond milk costs vary, retail almond milk prices also depend on:

Brand

  • National vs store/generic brand
  • Organic vs conventional

Size

  • Single serve bottles
  • Half gallon vs quart cartons

Flavors

  • Unsweetened vs vanilla
  • Chocolate or strawberry flavors

For an equal comparison to homemade, I priced the half-gallon carton of original Silk unsweetened almond milk.

But other brands and flavors ranged from $2.99 – $6.99 across stores. So the potential savings from homemade may be even higher than outlined.

Detailed Nutritional Analysis

As part of my in-depth cost comparison analysis between homemade and Silk store-bought almond milk, I also evaluated key nutritional differences based on calories, protein, vitamins and minerals found natively in the ingredients.

Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?
Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

Macronutrient & Calorie Comparison

Nutrition FactsHomemadeSilk Store-bought
Calories1730
Fat1.5g2.5g
Protein0.3g1g
Carbs0.2g1g

The nutritional stats show that homemade almond milk contains just 17 calories per cup naturally coming from healthy monounsaturated fats in the almonds themselves. It also has 0 grams of added sugar.

Whereas Silk’s almond milk has slightly higher calories at 30 per cup, along with more carbs and protein from unnecessary additives and stabilizers like gellan gum.

Vitamin & Mineral Analysis

Vitamins & MineralsHomemadeSilk Store-bought% DV
Calcium7%10%10-15%
Vitamin D0%25%15-20%
Vitamin E10%10%15%

Natively, the homemade almond milk provides 7% and 10% respectively of your Recommended Daily Value for calcium and vitamin E based solely on the almonds. No vitamins are added.

Whereas Silk adds additional vitamin D to provide 25% of the Recommended Daily Intake as well as extra calcium to offer 10% – similar amounts to the homemade version thanks to the almonds themselves.

Bottom line – the vitamins and minerals found naturally in homemade almond milk made from just almonds + water rivals that found in store-bought brands without any need for additives. The almonds themselves supply key nutrients your body needs daily like calcium for bone health.

Environmental Impacts of Packaging

In calculating the full cost comparison of homemade almond milk vs buying from stores, it’s also important to analyze the environmental impacts of packaging waste over time.

Here’s an overview:

FactorHomemadeStore-bought Silk
PackagingReusable glass mason jarOne-time use milk carton
RecyclingGlass jar fully recyclableCarton partially recyclable
Yearly Waste1 reused glass jar52 cartons (= 15 lbs of packaging trash)

As you can see, enjoying homemade almond milk from a reused glass jar creates zero packaging waste with a reusable, fully recyclable container.

On the flip side, consuming 4 cups per week of store-bought Silk almond milk generates over 50 empty cartons per year, with plastic components that are challenging to properly recycle.

This means preparing homemade almond milk prevents 15+ pounds of container waste yearly in your household. So beyond being affordable, it’s also the more environmentally sustainable choice reducing your carbon footprint over time.

Cost of Electricity Usage

Lastly, as part of evaluating the complete financial costs of preparing homemade almond milk, analysis must include electricity usage of blender and stovetop during prep:

Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?
Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

Electric Blender Costs

My almond milk blender recipe runs for 2 minutes to grind almonds and blend ingredients = 0.03 kWh used

Avg Cost Per kWh = $0.16

Total Blender Electricity Cost Per Batch:
$0.16 x 0.03 kWh = $0.0048 or 1⁄2 cent

Stovetop Heating Costs

The almond milk recipe includes heating 4 cups of almond milk for 2 minutes to increase shelf life

Per EnergyStar data, a burner uses ~0.2 kWh for 15 minutes.

So 2 minutes = 0.02 kWh

Total Stovetop Electricity Cost Per Batch:

$0.16 x 0.02 kWh = $0.0032 or 1/3 cent

Total Electricity Cost Per Batch

$0.0048 (blender) + $0.0032 (stovetop) = under 1 cent total

So while most homemade recipes require extra electricity use, the costs here prove extremely minimal at less than a penny even over long term annual preparation.

Summary of Expanded Cost Analysis

To provide full transparency on the accurate costs of preparing homemade almond milk, I conducted further analysis into 4 key areas:

  1. Fluctuating ingredient prices
  2. Various brands and flavors of store-bought milk options
  3. Precise nutritional differences in vitamins/minerals
  4. Additional costs like environmental waste and electricity

After this expanded evaluation, the data still shows substantial financial savings from making your own almond milk – up to 25% cheaper per cup and over $100 yearly, depending on your consumption levels.

The nutritional profile also remains highly comparable to store-bought without any need for unnecessary additives.

So from both a cost and nutrition standpoint, my extensive analysis proves homemade almond milk provides exceptional value over purchasing retail options.

Pair that plant-powered savings with sustainability benefits – eliminating 15+ lbs of annual packaging waste – and homemade almond milk proves the hands-down superior choice all around.

Cost-Saving Tips for Homemade Almond Milk

As a plant-based living coach, I’m always seeking ways to make vegan diets more affordable and sustainable. Here are my top tips for reducing costs of homemade almond milk even further:

Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?
Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?

Buy Almonds in Bulk

Purchasing raw almonds in 5-pound bulk bags saves significantly over smaller quantities:

  • 5 lbs raw almonds (~18 cups): $0.76 per cup
  • 1 lb bag (@$5.99): $1.05 per cup

So buying 5 lbs at once cuts homemade almond milk costs by over 25% compared to 1 lb amounts.

I store excess in airtight containers to preserve freshness for 8-12 months if almonds still taste crisp without bitterness. Freezing prolongs by 6 more months.

Soak in Very Hot Water

Soaking almonds in near-boiling 180°F water helps release oils and nutrients more efficiently over the 8 hour timeframe versus cooler 100°F water.

This boosts almond milk’s smoothness and reduces blender effort for electricity savings. I use water straight from an electric kettle then let soak covered overnight.

Use Less Filter Bags

Nut milk bags for straining cost $10 or more for a multi-pack. Rather than using a new bag each batch, carefully dump out pulp then scrub used bags thoroughly after preparing milk. Hang fully open to dry to prevent mold risk before reusing 4-5 times safely.

Boiling used bags for 5 minutes sanitizes further between uses.

Create Almond Meal & Milk Recipe Combos

Don’t discard dry pulp after making almond milk – transform into homemade almond meal instead!

Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?
Is Making Your Own Almond Milk Really Cheaper Than Buying It?
  • Spread pulp on a baking sheet and dry in oven at 170°F for 30-60 mins
  • Allow to cool fully then add to a blender or food processor and grind into fresh flour

Use almond meal to make pancakes, breading for veggie fritters, or mix into oatmeal or smoothies rather than discarding. This reduces nut waste while saving on buying pre-made almond flour too.

Save on Organic Almonds

I prefer using organic almonds when possible to avoid pesticide residues. Buying direct from local farms who use regenerative practices supports sustainability while guaranteeing certified organic crops.

Maximize Leftover Pulp

Beyond almond flour, you can also mix the leftover nut pulp into veggie burgers, energy balls, or even DIY facial scrubs!

Every bit helps cut unnecessary food waste. Compost any remaining pulp leftovers after extending usage in recipes.

Maximizing Health Benefits of Homemade

As a certified health coach, I always seek ways to boost nutrition in affordable homemade staples like almond milk.

Here are my top tips to upgrade health perks in your non-dairy milk:

Soak Your Nuts

Soaking raw almonds 18-24 hours before making milk increases nutrient bioavailability and improves digestion of their beneficial fats.

Soaked nuts contain up to 20% more antioxidant availability compared to raw. Soaking also breaks down phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors naturally found on nuts that may limit mineral absorption otherwise.

I soak in filtered water with a pinch of sea salt overnight or up to 24 hours. The salt helps activate enzymes but optional. Rinse thoroughly before making milk.

Add Flavor Boosts

Jazz up your homemade almond milk’s flavor and nutrition with tasty mix-ins like:

  • Cinnamon and vanilla for antioxidants
  • Maple syrup or dates to sweeten
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for chocolate milk without sugar
  • Berries like frozen strawberries or a banana for creaminess

Herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger and black pepper also boost anti-inflammatory compounds in homemade milk options.

Use Mineral & Protein Boosters

Alchemy Plant-Based Milk Boosters include added vitamins and minerals plus extra protein from peas to help homemade alt-milks rival the nutrition of dairy. This avoids needing to buy fortified commercial brands.

Make It Creamy

For ultra-rich and creamy homemade almond milk perfect for tea, coffee, smoothies or cereal, you can use an entire skin-on almond boiled and blended rather than just almond pulp. The almond skin contains healthy fats for a milkier texture.

You can also simmer almonds after soaking before making milk to further amplify creaminess.

Adding a date or banana to your almond milk recipe also boosts smoothness naturally.

Lower Sugar Intake

When transitioning kids or whole families over to plant-based milk alternatives like almond milk, gradually scale back added sugars to help reshape tastebuds.

Slowly reduce any sweeteners over 2-3 weeks until preferred flavor is achieved without relying on excess sugar for palatability. This eases the switch for heavier dairy drinkers in your household.

Make It Last Longer

Using clean utensils and glass storage containers or mason jars, homemade almond milk sealed and refrigerated stays fresh 5-7 days typically.

But boosting shelf life to 10-14 days is possible by gently heating your blended almond milk mixture to just under a simmer for 1-2 minutes on the stovetop.

Allow to slightly cool before transferring to sterilized, airtight jars. The pasteurization effect helps homemade alt-milks avoid spoilage longer.

Environmental & Ethical Impacts

Beyond health and affordability benefits, homemade almond milk also carries significantly less environmental harm than commercial options:

Water Usage

Homemade: Just the water used in preparation

Commercial: Growing standard almonds in California can require up to 12 gallons of water per almond based on inefficient practices. New water saving protocols aim to reduce usage to more sustainable levels long-term.

Carbon Emissions

Homemade: No transport pollution, only basic home electricity use

Commercial: Additional fossil fuels burned in farming, manufacturing and shipping milk cartons in trucks

Farm Working Conditions

Homemade: No labor concerns if buying fair trade and local

Commercial: Reports of poor working conditions for nut harvest employees

Where you shop matters when making ethical purchasing decisions around plant-based milk options. Prioritize sustainable, fair trade and local when possible.

Excess Packaging Waste

Homemade: Reusable glass jars

Commercial: Billions of milk cartons filling landfills annually in North America

Choosing reusable containers for homemade almond milk prevents waste while supporting the circular zero waste economy.

Final Verdict: Homemade Still Reigns Supreme

After extensive analysis as a plant-based living expert across all factors – cost, nutrition, health benefits, ethics and environmental impacts – the verdict remains clear:

Making your own almond milk at home provides unmatched affordability and sustainability compared to store-bought commercial options.

While buying milk alternatives from the store offers convenience, homemade only takes minutes while delivering substantial yearly savings – over $100+ for typical consumers buying 4 cups per week.

Beyond the financial upside, homemade almond milk also carries significantly less packaging waste and transport pollution than commercial varieties shipped on trucks.

So by choosing simple recipes with ethical almonds and reusable containers, plant-based lifestyles prove far more cost effective, nutritious and eco-friendly overall. The numbers don’t lie.

Conclusion: Homemade is Dramatically Cheaper Over Time

As the evidence clearly outlines above through side-by-side comparisons of cost, ingredients, nutrition and prep time, making your own almond milk at home is substantially cheaper than buying retail almond milk.

Here is a quick summary:

  • Per cup cost up to 25% lower for homemade almond milk
  • Yearly savings over $100 by making it yourself
  • Active prep time only 5 minutes more than going to store
  • 2 simple whole food ingredients vs. additives in store-bought

While I recommend enjoying life’s conveniences when you can, store-bought almond milk proves far pricier than making your own simple recipe at home. Just a few minutes of prep work yields major cost savings over time.

If trying to save money while supporting a plant-based lifestyle, skip the expensive retail almond milk and make your own batch instead! Your wallet will thank you.

Frequently Ask Question

Is homemade almond milk safe to drink?

What is the shelf life of homemade almond milk?

Homemade almond milk stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator will last 5-7 days typically. Pasteurizing the milk by briefly heating to just under a simmer will extend fridge life to 10-14 days by destroying harmful bacteria. Always use clean equipment and thoroughly scrub produce. Discard if you notice odd smells, flavors or curdling.

Could homemade almond milk make me sick?

When preparing your own almond milk at home, be sure to carefully follow sanitary practices like washing equipment and containers thoroughly to avoid risk of contamination. Use filtered water and store in air-tight jars in the fridge once made. Discard after 5-7 days maximum to prevent spoilage issues. Properly stored with good food handling, homemade almond milk is very safe.

What equipment do I need to make almond milk?

Is a high speed blender required?

While you can make almond milk with a standard blender, using a high speed blender like Vitamix or Blendtec will yield the silkiest, creamiest results. The powerful motors ensure smooth consistency without gritty pulp. But any blender will get the job done in a pinch!

Can I use a cheesecloth instead of a nut milk bag?

Nut milk bags available on Amazon help finely strain out all almond pulp for the ultimate smoothness. But if you don’t have one, overlapping layers of cheesecloth inside a mesh sieve offers a decent DIY alternative for straining. Just be patient allowing the milk to fully drain through.

What’s the best container for storing almond milk?

Glass mason jars or bottles with air-tight sealing lids work great for storing homemade almond milk to prevent leaks. Ensure containers are thoroughly cleaned, sanitized and dry before filling to maximize fridge life up to 10 days.

Is homemade almond milk worth the effort?

Don’t cartons save time and hassle?

While the convenience factor of store-bought plant-based milk is nice for busy schedules, spending just 15 extra minutes to blend up homemade almond milk delivers major savings over time. The ingredients to make 4 cups runs under $1 – much cheaper than a $4 retail carton once you calculate per cup costs. So the minimal effort pays dividends.

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