Oat milk has become an increasingly popular dairy-free milk alternative in recent years. With more and more people adding it to their daily routine, many have wondered, is oat milk gluten-free? In this article, I review how to tell if oat milk is suitable for you to drink if you follow a gluten-free diet.
Over the years, oat milk has become increasingly popular. You can easily find it on grocery store shelves, restaurants, and coffee shops. However, those that suffer from gluten sensitivity, may wonder if they can enjoy this dairy-free milk. Is oat milk gluten-free? In short, some oat milk is gluten-free, but not all oat milk is gluten-free. Read on to learn more.
What is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a non dairy milk made with blended oats, and filtered water. Unlike soy milk, and almond milk, which contain common allergens, oat milk is usually a safe dairy-free option for those that are lactose free, or vegan. This plant-based milk comes in many varieties and flavors. There are barista blends that act as a creamer in coffee, and also flavored milks such as chocolate and vanilla. You can make your own oat milk at home using a high speed blender or Nut Milk Machine, or you can choose from a wide range of store-bought options.
Is Oat Milk Gluten-Free?
Oats are naturally gluten-free, which logically means that oat milk should also be gluten-free. The challenge is that oats run a risk of cross-contamination. Either the oats that are used to prepare the oat milk have cross-contamination, or the cross-contamination occurs during the milk-making process. What is cross-contamination? This occurs when oats or oat milk are produced in a facility that also makes foods that contain foods with gluten such as grains that contain wheat, barley, or rye. During production process gluten can unintentionally cross paths with the oats. This isn’t to say that all oats or all types of oat milk are not acceptable for those with gluten sensitivity, it just means that you have to look at the packaging for both the oats and oat milk that you purchase from the store.
How to Identify Gluten-Free Oat Milk?
When buying oat milk look to see if it is labeled gluten-free. Often brands will advertise on the front of the packaging. But if you do not see it on the front, take a look at the back of the packaging which provides a list of known allergens. It might say something like, “made in a facility that contains gluten.” Even if it doesn’t say that it is made in a facility that contains gluten, your best bet is to ensure that the package contains the certified gluten-free symbol.
Are Oats Gluten-Free?
Oats are naturally gluten-free because they do not contain wheat, barley, or rye. However, not all brands of oats are gluten-free because they may be processed in a facility that also processes foods that contain gluten. As with oat milk, you always want to check the packaging of your oats to ensure you are buying certified gluten-free oats.
What Oat Milk Brands Are Gluten-Free?
While oats and oat milk are naturally gluten-free, it is important to only use products that are certified gluten-free, especially if you are on a strick diet. The following brands are certified gluten-free.
Oatly: The original Oatly oat milk is certified gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and vegan. This brand has a wide range of products and is easy to find in most grocery stores. It doesn’t contain emulsifiers or gums. However, some of their prodcuts do contain grape seed oil, which can be inflammatory. To avoid the added oil, buy the low-fat version.
Califia Farms: Another common and easy-to-find brand, Califia has barista blends that are perfect to froth and use in your coffee. In addition, they have other blends that are also certified gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and nut free. It is important to note that many of their blends contain stabilizers, preservatives, and sunflower oil which adds fat to the drink, while also being an inflammatory oil.
Elmhurst: Elmhurst is certified vegan and gluten-free. It uses simple wholesome ingredients. Rather than added emulsifiers it only contains, oats, filtered water, and salt. Longtime purchasers say it is creamy and wholesome! It is also a good source of protein and fiber.
Planet Oat: This brand comes in a variety of flavors from regular, extra creamy, chocolate, and vanilla. Unlike Elmhurst, it does contain added emulsifiers and thickeners such as guar gum.
Chobani Oat: This brand highlights that it is gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. However, it does contain grape seed oil and emulsifiers.
Happy Planet: You can find this brand in both the refrigerated section, and the shelf-stable section of the grocery store. All of their oat milk varieties are gluten-free.
Trader Joe’s: The oat milk in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s is gluten-free. However, it does contain emulsifiers and sunflower oil.
Mooala: This brand makes delicious oat milk that is certified gluten-free, non-GMO, and has no added sugar. It combines coconut milk and oat milk to achieve a creamy texture without adding artificial ingredients.
What Oat Milk Brands Are Not Gluten-Free?
While there are many brands to choose from that are gluten-free, the list below is not certified gluten-free at the time this article was written. This is not an exclusive list, rather a list of the more popular brands that are not gluten-free.
- Silk-Not all of their varities are gluten-free.
- Planet Oat
- Pacific Foods
- Thrive Market
Best Ways to Use Oat Milk
You can use oat milk as a substitite for dairy in a variety of ways. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy oat milk.
- Oat Milk Lattes-Oat milk creates a beautiful foam for lattes and other coffee drinks.
- Coffee Creamer
- Oat Milk Hot Chocolate
- Pour Over Cereal
- Smoothies-Add creaminess to your favorite smoothie recipes.
- Chocolate Oat Milk-Whip up a homemade chocolate milk.
- Homemade Ice Cream-Naturally creamy, oat milk an excellent subsitute for cream.
- Baking Recipes: Any recipe that calls for milk, can be substituted with oat milk.
Yes, oat milk is safe to drink for people with celiac if the oat milk is certified gluten-free. If it is not certified gluten-free, then it is not safe to drink.
While it is difficult to know exactly what type of oat milk Starbucks uses, according to recent allergen information, their oat milk is not certified gluten-free. It is best to avoid oat milk from Starbucks if you have a gluten sensitivity.
Not all oat milk is gluten-free. Your best bet, to ensure you only consume gluten-free oat milk is to check the labels for the certified gluten-free symbol on the back of the packaging of the product before you purchase. If you choose to make homemade oat milk, be sure that the oats you use are certified gluten-free.