The dairy-free milk beverage boom is going strong, with numerous brands hitting the market. But pecan milk is still an underappreciated option that’s quite easy to make at home. It’s a boldly-flavored nut that pairs well with breakfast and baked goods, but can also be used to make savory sauces. Below I have included a recipe, adapted from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, plus ample tips and answers to the most common questions.
Easy Homemade Pecan Milk with All the Answers You Need
Homemade milk beverages are actually quite simple, but there are a few common questions that arise. Here is my mini FAQ to help ensure your success with this dairy-free pecan milk recipe!
Do I Have to Soak the Pecans when Making Pecan Milk?
Soaking the nuts has two primary benefits. One is that it softens the nuts so that they more easily and more thoroughly blend into the milk. Two is that many people like to soak nuts to improve their digestibility and nutrient absorption.
If you aren’t concerned about soaking the nuts, you can skip the soak. But you will want to grind them in a food processor or spice grinder before blending with water. This will actually result in less leftover pulp and a richer milk beverage. It will thicken more as it sits, so you might need to re-blend and thin it a little.
Is There a Use for the Leftover Pecan Pulp?
Nut pulp is pretty dry and tasteless. When you soak, blend, and squeeze the milk out, all of the oil and most of the flavor goes into the pecan milk. For extra fiber, you can toss it into homemade granola before baking, or add a little to your oatmeal. But it won’t add much pecan flavor.
I prefer to use it in a homemade scrub for the skin. Since it’s soaked, it’s relatively soft, but is still coarse enough for skincare.
Do I Have to Add Sweetener?
Pecans are more astringent than most other nuts, which can result in a little bitterness and a different mouthfeel. A little sweetener helps to offset this. You can omit the sweetener, but the astringent taste will be more notable. But if you plan to use the pecan milk in a savory recipe, I would omit the maple syrup and vanilla.
Can I Use Another Sweetener?
We like maple syrup because it marries with pecans perfectly. But you can use another sweetener, to taste, if preferred. We haven’t tested this with any sugar-free sweeteners. However, we have made this with 1 to 2 pitted medjool dates in place of the maple syrup. It is tasty, but doesn’t sweeten as much as you might expect.
Do You Have the Nutrition Facts for Homemade Pecan Milk?
Estimating the nutrition is difficult, since there is some pulp left behind. In Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, I provide estimations for the amount of pulp remaining with each type of nut. For pecans, about 50% of the nuts remain as pulp. But that pulp is mostly fiber with just a little bit of the oils. In general, homemade pecan milk will have a little more natural fat and protein than most brands of nut milk, since you get more pecans in each cup!
Do I Have to Add Salt?
Salt helps to round out the flavor and bring the pecan taste to life. You can use just a pinch, if preferred, but 1/8 teaspoon really isn’t much. It adds about 65 milligrams of sodium per 1 cup of pecan milk.
Can I Use Toasted or Salted Pecans?
For the best and most consistent results, use raw, unsalted pecans. Toasted pecans can be used, but they will impart a different flavor. Although I do add a little salt to this pecan milk, salted pecans will usually make the end result too salty.
Is Homemade Dairy-Free Pecan Milk Cheaper than Store-Bought?
If you’re talking apples to apples, then yes, homemade is cheaper. Although pecan milk has yet to flood the market, you might find a low cost brand that uses less pecans and blends in thickeners to achieve a full-bodied, milky consistency. But the pure options, like Malk, boast more pecans and no additives, just like homemade.
A jug of Malk Pecanmilk (3 1/2 cups) has a suggested retail price of $6.99. Homemade uses about 1/4 pound of pecans and results in 4 1/2 cups of pecan milk for about $2.99 to $3.99 (based on raw pecan prices of $12 to $16 and additional ingredients). This means that store-bought is about $8 per quart, while homemade tops out at about $3.50 per quart. It’s a significant savings, even with the high cost of this nut!
Special Diet Notes: Homemade Pecan Milk
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and paleo-friendly.
- 1 cup raw pecans (halves or pieces)
- 4 cups water, plus additional for soaking
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (see post above for Sweetener Options)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Put the nuts in a container and cover with a few inches of water. Cover and place in the refrigerator to soak for 6 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse the nuts.
- Put the soaked nuts in your blender with about 2 cups of the water. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Pour the milky mixture through a nut milk bag or a few layers of cheesecloth lining a sieve to strain. Squeeze the pulp to extract as much milky goodness as possible.
- Return the milk beverage to your blender and blend in the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt, until combined.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Stir before each use; it will separate as it sits.