Guide to the Best Almond Milk

Written by:

Suzanne Weaver-Goss

Image of the best almond milk. | Gimme The Good Stuff

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Best Almond Milk 

Graphic of the best almond milk guide. | Gimme The Good Stuff
1. Three Trees / 2. Malk / 3. New Barn

Many of you have requested that we research plant-based milks. Because this category is now so broad,  I’m starting with the most popular plant-based milk–almond milk. Market research indicates that almond milk has the greatest share of the alternative-milk market. 

If you’re interested in finding the healthiest non-dairy milk, check out our other plant-based milk guide! I’ve covered the best oat milk to drink, including my opinions on which is better between almond and oat milk.  

Image of Nutr machine. | Gimme The Good Stuff

The Benefits of Plant-Based Milks

Lighter footprint: Any plant-based milk has a lighter impact than dairy with  greenhouse gas emissions.  

Dairy Free : Plant-based milks are a dairy alternative for people with sensitivities to dairy or a vegan diet.   

Taste: Some people simply prefer the taste of milk alternatives,  and there is something for everyone. 

Is Almond Milk More Healthy Than Dairy Milk?

Not necessarily! As you’ll see below, there is a lot of Sneaky Stuff and Bad Stuff among almond milk products on the market. Apart from veganism or dairy sensitivities, people may be better off drinking the best dairy milks (local, organic, and from pasture-raised animals) over poor-quality almond milks. 

Almond Milk: Healthy and Unhealthy Ingredients

What is Almond Milk Made of?Image discussing what the best almond milk is made of.  | Gimme The Good Stuff

All almond milks include at least almonds and water. Many also have sweeteners, thickening agents, emulsifiers and stabilizers, flavorings, preservatives, added protein, and added vitamins and minerals.  

Do I Need to Choose a Fortified Almond Milk?

Some almond milk brands fortify their drinks with calcium and vitamins A, D, and E. This is in order to better mirror the nutritional profile of commercial dairy milk.  

You may prefer fortified almond milk if you’re seeking a nutritional replacement for dairy. However, it is possible for children to consume too much of nutrients such as Vitamin A, zinc, and niacin. This is a good thing to bring up with your health provider. 

What About Added Sugar in Almond Milk?

Thanks to lactose, cow’s milk is naturally sweet.  Some almond milks contain added sugars to mimic the taste profile of cow’s milk.

However, lactose in dairy doesn’t impact blood sugar responses as much as added sugars do. Some sweetened almond milk can have as much as 20 grams of sugar per serving. We do not consider almond milk with added sugar to be Good Stuff.

Why You Should Choose Almond Milk With No Additional Stabilizers and Emulsifiers 

Many commercial almond milks have ingredients that act as thickening agents, emulsifiers,  stabilizers, flavorings, and preservatives.  The most problematic tend to be some of the stabilizers and emulsifiers. They are usually listed as gums, lecithins, and carrageenan.

Some research  suggests that these ingredients may cause  inflammation, leading to mild discomfort or gas.  In the case of carrageenan, symptoms include potential  colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and colon cancer. I definitely recommend avoiding carrageenan. If you want to skip all of these questionable ingredients, choose an almond milk from our Good Stuff category. 

Almond milk with added thickeners usually contains the fewest almonds. Another hack for discerning the almond content in your milk is to look at the fat, protein, and calorie numbers. The higher those are, the more almonds are likely to be in the milk.

Scary Stuff in Almonds

After a few salmonella outbreaks were traced to California-grown almonds in the early 2000’s, the USDA implemented a rule requiring the pasteurization of California almonds. This rule applies to both conventional  and organic almonds. Unfortunately, some of the methods used to pasteurize non-organic almonds involve toxic chemicals. Carcinogenic herbicides like glyphosate also frequently contaminate almonds.

Unfortunately, due to cross-contamination, even organic stuff isn’t necessarily glyphosate free. Therefore, organic almond milk is the only Good Stuff. The Best Stuff is certified glyphosate-residue free by The Detox Project. 

Almond Milk’s Controversial Environmental Impact

Almond production is much more environmentally friendly than dairy production. However, growing almonds uses a lot of water. Some estimates suggest that each single almond represents 1.1 gallons of water!  

Although this is a lot of water, data suggests that almond production is still better than dairy production. Growing almonds uses significantly less land and freshwater than dairy does.  Almond crops produce less than a third of the greenhouse gas emissions of the dairy industry.

Graphic showing almond milk comparisons. | Gimme The Good Stuff

Good Stuff: The Healthiest Almond Milk Brands 

Almond milk is Good Stuff if it’s organic, has no added thickeners or stabilizers, and has only a few necessary, familiar ingredients. 

Malk Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk 

  • My personal favorite—the Best Stuff 
  • Ingredients: filtered water, organic almond butter, Himalayan sea salt (The Vanilla Malk also uses vanilla beans for flavoring) 
  • Certified glyphosate-residue free by The Detox Project 
  • $0.37/fl oz  

Milli Almond Mylk 

  • Made from organic nuts and organic coconut sugar 
  • Ingredients: organic Spanish almonds, organic California almonds, organic tiger nuts, organic almond protein, organic coconut sugar, organic cashews 
  • $0.39/fl oz 

Mooala Organic Simply Almond Milk 

  • Note: choose the Simple almond milk rather than the Orignal; the Orignal contains gellan gum 
  • USDA organic certified 
  • Ingredients: water, organic almonds, salt 
  • $0.18/fl oz 

Three Trees Original Almond Milk 

  • The Best Stuff; USDA certified organic 
  • Ingredients: organic almonds, filtered water 
  • Also available in vanilla, pistachio, and black sesame seed flavors 
  • $0.24/fl oz 

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Bad Stuff: Unclean Almond Milks

Califia Farms is certified glyphosate-residue free by The Detox Project but 

  • Not certified organic 
  • Contains very few almonds 
  • Ingredients include: sunflower lecithin, gellan and locust bean gums (all potentially problematic) 

Almond Breeze Unsweetened (Blue Diamond) 

  • Not certified organic 
  • Ingredients include: sunflower lecithin, gellan gum 

Almond Dream  

  • Not certified organic 
  • Ingredients include: sunflower lecithin, tapioca starch, gellan gum, carrageenan  

So Delicious  

  • Not certified organic 
  • Contains fewer almonds and more fillers than “Good Stuff” almond milks 
  • Ingredients include: sunflower lecithin, gellan and locust bean gums 

Friendly Farms Almond Milk by Aldi  

  • Not certified organic 
  • Contains few almonds and more fillers and additives 
  • Ingredients include: sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin DR and D-alphatocopherol 

Sneaky Stuff

Silk Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk

  • Only contains a few almonds per cup 
  • Fortified with an added vitamin and mineral blend 
  • Contains added “natural” flavor 

Kirkland Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk

  • May have as few as only 5 almonds per cup 
  • Contains added vitamins and thickeners 

Orgain Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk is popular because it’s USDA certified organic and contains added calcium but

  • Contains many thickeners and emulsifiers 
  • Contains protein, a sign that it may contain few almonds per cup 

Pacific Organic Almond Milk is certified organic but 

  • Contains few almonds and more fillers and additives 
  • Ingredients include: sunflower lecithin, rice starch 

Trader Joe’s Organic Unsweetened Almond Beverage is USDA certified organic but 

  • Contains many fillers like gellan and locust bean gum 
  • Is fortified with vitamins 

Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

For the healthiest, most transparent, best almond milk, make it yourself! Although you have to soak the almonds overnight, the milk comes together very quickly. See our favorite recipe here. We’ve also recently become obsessed with the Nutr Machine for the easiest possible way to make plant milk. 

Read more about our choices for the safest products for your family here.  

Be well,

Suzanne, Certified Holistic Health Coach

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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15 responses to “Guide to the Best Almond Milk”

  1. Stephanie Avatar
    Stephanie

    What about the Simply brand?