Some, but not all oat milk is gluten free. It depends on the manufacturing method, the risk of cross contamination, and whether the oats themselves are certified gluten free.
Yes, for many of us, oats are an important part of the gluten free diet, but oat milk is not aimed at gluten free dieters and celiacs. It's aimed at those on a non-dairy diet, so many brands don't bother sourcing certified gluten free oats.
And, did you know, that if you're struggling to source gluten free oat milk, you can make your own with just gluten free oats and water?
In a nutshell: Is oat milk gluten free?
Is oat milk gluten free? In a nutshell, yes, some oat milk is gluten free. But don't get excited – not all oat milk is gluten free.
Is oat milk safe for celiacs?
Because oats are naturally gluten free, then yes, in theory, oat milk is safe for celiacs and those on a strict gluten free diet. As long as you're using certified gluten free products.
However, a small percentage of people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are also sensitive to avenin, the protein in oats that is similar to gluten. But the percentage is small, with studies indicating only 1 to 5 percent of people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance are also sensitive to avenin.
What is oat milk made from?
Unsurprisingly, oat milk is made from oats and water. And, in its purest form, that's it. However, many oat milk drinks have added preservatives, coloring, sweeteners. or flavorings. And some are fortified with extra calcium, vitamins, and minerals.
I personally prefer fewer, simpler ingredients where possible. Of course, if you're following a dairy free diet, then added calcium and vitamins might be a welcome and much-needed addition to your diet.
How to find gluten free oat milk
The only sure-fire way to find gluten free oat milk is to look at the packaging and check for a gluten free certification from an organization you trust, like the Certified Gluten Free logo from the Gluten Intolerance Group, founded in 1968. If you find it, that means that the brand uses certified gluten free oats on a dedicated gluten free production line. So you can consume the milk without concern.
If they don't specify, it's likely that their oat milk doesn't use certified gluten free oats or that there's a risk of cross-contamination from a shared production space or storage facility.
How to make gluten free oat milk
If you[re struggling to source certified gluten free oat milk but you can get your hands on certified gluten free oats, you can easily make your own oat milk that's naturally gluten free. It's ridiculously easy.
Put one cup of rolled oats in a high-speed blender along with four cups of water and blend on high speed for between 45 and 60 seconds. If you don't have a high speed blender you can still make oat milk, but you won't be able to extract as much flavor from your oats, and will have to strain out more pulp.
Then, strain out the remaining pieces through a flat-weave tea towel, heavy-gauge mesh nut milk bag, or something similar. Just note that you want to get rid of as much pulp as possible, and standard mesh strainers aren't really fine enough to capture the tiny pieces of oat pulp.
Once strained, your homemade oat milk is ready to replace dairy milk in any recipe, as it can be used as a 1-for-1 milk substitute.
Are all brands of oat milk gluten free?
While oats are not one of the gluten containing grains, they're often contaminated by gluten, so not all brands of oat milk are suitable for those on a gluten free diet.
Is Oatly gluten free?
Yes, Oatly brand oat milk is certified gluten free (in the US only, NOT in the UK). They use certified gluten free oats and product a range of oat milk products including milk, yogurt, and cream, as well as flavored milk.
Oatly comes close to simulating whole cow's milk. In fact, for coffee lovers, Oatly does a barista edition that's perfect for all your coffee drinks.
Is Planet Oat gluten free?
Yes, Planet Oat brand oat milk is considered gluten free. They offer a wide range of flavored milk, and their base milk is enough like cow's milk that it isn't overly oaty or thick. Planet Oat is a popular choice because it is free from many common allergens and doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives.
Is Califia Farms gluten free?
Yes, Califia Farms brand oat milk is gluten free. This California-based company produce a range of gluten free, dairy free, vegan, kosher, and non-GMO milk drinks. And their oat milks don't contain any stabilizers, gums, or thickening agents.
Is Elmhurst gluten free?
Yes, Elmhurst brand oat milk is gluten free. It offers plan, chocolate, and unsweetened gluten free oat milk. Their milks contain only five natural ingredients, and there's no gums, emulsifiers, or other artificial components.
What brands of oat milk are not gluten free?
- Pacific Foods
- Thrive Market
Is Oat Milk in coffee houses gluten free?
It depends on what brand they use. Often, coffee houses buy in specialty milk from any of the big brands listed above. However, the only way to know for sure is to ask the barista before you order.
It's always better to be safe than sorry. And you can do what I tend to do when I'm following what I consider to be the basic rules of a gluten free diet when dining out: if my server hesitates before answering the question when asked if something is gluten free, and then says “yes,” I either ask to speak to someone who is in charge, or just say thank you and avoid the food entirely.
Like all oat products, oat milk is at high risk for cross contamination. During processing, the whole grain oats may some into contact with glutinous grains and so become contaminated. This can occur during harvest, during intake at the processing plant, or if the factory doesn't have a dedicated facility or at least a single gluten free production line.
This is why it's so important to only choose a brand that's certified gluten free. Whether you have celiac disease or are non-celiac gluten sensitive, consuming oat milk products that aren't gluten free can make you extremely unwell, so it's just not worth the risk.
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