For the 2nd edition of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, I tested 25 (yes, twenty five) different types of milk alternative recipes. This included some unique options, but also classics, like homemade soymilk. After several batches, I settled on a slightly different recipe from the one I originally posted online, fifteen years ago. The new version made it into the book, and will now be our staple homemade soymilk recipe online!
Homemade Soymilk made Pure, Simple, Plant Based, and Cheap!
After decades of being villainized, soymilk is slowly making a comeback. But in many cases, food manufacturers are using soy protein isolates. Whole, organic soybeans are very nutritious non-GMO foods, which are supported as healthy in many studies. It’s high quantities of isolates and concentrates that are the problem. Which is one of the reasons why I like to make my own soymilk with whole organic soybeans.
That said, homemade soymilk is a little different from store-bought. In many ways it’s better, and in some ways, it’s a little trickier. For guidance, I’m including the soymilk notes from the milk alternatives section in my book.
About Homemade Soymilk from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook
- Tasting Notes: Creamy, rich, very smooth, a bit beany, bitter (see Summary below)
- Cost per Quart: $1.25 (based on $6/pound for organic soybeans; as low as .60 cents per quart with non-GMO, non-organic soybeans)
- Preparation Method: Soybeans are soaked overnight, blended with water, strained, and boiled
- Yield: 4 cups milk beverage per 1 cup organic dried soybeans
- Ingredient Usage: Expect 50 percent of leftover okara, which feels a bit like playdough. Some people save the pulp, and use it in recipes like okara patties or okara hummus.
- Nutrition Merits: Complete plant protein, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, manganese
- Summary: Pure soymilk actually takes some tricks to tame. It’s very bitter, and benefits from relatively long cooking times and adding sweetener. Once balanced, it’s still a little beany, but has a very smooth and creamy consistency. Soymilk producers use patented processes to remove the natural bitterness (from saponins), which is why they can produce unsweetened versions that are appealing.
- Best Uses: We like our homemade soymilk in smoothies, cereals, and other sweet and hearty applications. If left unsweetened, it can be used to enrich savories. Both store-bought and homemade soymilk beverages tend to curdle, so I don’t recommend them for hot beverages or where separation is a big concern.
- Warning: Please note that soybeans must be cooked before consumption. See the recipe below for how-to guidance!
Special Diet Notes: Homemade Soymilk
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan, plant-based and vegetarian.
- 1 cup organic dry soybeans
- 8 cups hot water, as needed, plus additional for soaking
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar, or to taste (you can substitute your favorite sweetener)
- Pinch salt
- Put the soybeans in a container and cover with a few inches of water. Cover and place in the refrigerator to soak for about 24 hours.
- Drain and rinse the soaked soybeans. Remove any remaining hard soybeans (those can be cooked and tossed into a meal for extra protein).
- Put 2 cups of the slightly softened soybeans in your blender with 2 cups hot water. Blend until relatively smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the milky mixture into a medium saucepan, 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 remaining soybean pulp to your blender. Add 2 cups hot water and blend until creamy, about 1 minute. Pour the milky mixture through the nut milk bag or cheesecloth again, and squeeze to extract more of the milky goodness. Repeat this step 2 more times, using up the rest of the water and fully extracting as much richness from the beans as possible.
- Place the pan over medium heat and bring the soymilk beverage to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 35 minutes, whisking often. If a skin develops (this can happen several times), simply whisk it in or remove it, if preferred.
- Whisk in the sugar and salt and cook, whisking often, for another 5 minutes.
- Pour the thickened soybean milk beverage into a large glass measuring cup and add enough fresh water to make 4 cups. Whisk to combine.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Stir before each use; it might separate a little as it sits.
Taste Enhancing Options: If you don’t like the beaniness of soymilk, add 1 pandan leaf or a slice of fresh ginger to the soymilk before boiling. Remove it once cooked. Or adding ½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract after cooking will also help influence the flavor.
Nutrition Notes: The nutrition facts are based on about 50% loss from soybean solids. It's an estimate. the actual nutrition will vary.