Rice Milk

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 22. Jun. 2020

While nut milks have exploded in recent years, rice milk has also become an increasingly popular substitute for cow's milk with its mild, sweet flavor. Read up on this milk alternative below.

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Rice milk...

  • ...can contain calcium.
    While rice milk doesn’t naturally contain calcium, many varieties now come enriched with this valuable bone-strengthening mineral. In general, calcium-enriched rice milks contain an average of 120 milligrams of the mineral per 100 milliliter serving, roughly the same amount as cow’s milk.
  • ...is good for irritable bowel syndrome.
    People with irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive problems may consume rice milk without hesitation, as it’s free of so-called fodmaps (irritants), making it particularly easy to digest.
  • ...is naturally sweet.
    Rice milk is naturally sweet, making it particularly well-suited for desserts and sweet breakfasts like ice cream, rice pudding, pancakes and fruity oatmeal.
  • ...doesn't contain lactose.
    Those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy rice milk without any issues, as rice milk is made from vegetable products.
  • ...is completely vegan.
    If you don’t eat animal products, rice milk is for you. It’s made only from whole grain rice, water and vegetable oil, making it 100% vegan.
  • ...doesn't contain protein.
    Compared to conventional cow's milk, rice milk has a decisive disadvantage - it contains practically no protein.
  • ...should be consumed in moderation.
    Studies have shown that rice milk may contain small traces of certain toxins such as arsenic. The levels are so low they won’t have an effect after a glass or two, however it’s best not to drink rice milk in large quantities every day.
  • ...isn't for kids.
    The negligible traces of arsenic and other toxins in rice means it shouldn’t be consumed by young children.

What You Should Know About Rice Milk

Rice milk has a sweet, mild taste and a texture similar to cow's milk, albeit a bit thinner. This is not surprising if you know that rice milk is made only of rice starch, water, some vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. This means that it contains little fat and is mainly made of water. 

Origins

It's unknown who first started producing rice milk, although it has been mass produced from as far back as 1921.

Season

Rice milk doesn't have a specific season.

Flavor

Rice milk tastes largely neutral to slightly sweet. The sweet taste is due to the fermentation process, which converts starch from the rice into sugar. This process is also called mashing.

How Healthy is Rice Milk?

Rice milk certainly offers health benefits. It contains fewer calories than cow's milk and is particularly suitable for people with lactose intolerances, irritable bowl syndrome or other stomach issues. 

However, it also lacks the ingredients that make cow's milk healthy. Rice milk contains practically no protein. Calcium, the bone-strengthening mineral, is also normally missing, however many varieties in the store are now enriched with calcium.

Unfortunately, rice milk - like rice itself - can also contain arsenic, sometimes quite a lot. If you generally prefer vegetable milk alternatives instead of milk, you should therefore not consume rice milk exclusively, but alternate with other milks such as oat, almond, soya, hazelnut and coconut drinks.

Because of the exposure to arsenic and  missing nutrients such as protein and calcium, rice milk is not a great option for children, and is completely unsuitable for infants and babies.

RICE MILK NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 ML)  
Calories 50
Protein 0 g
Fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 10 g
Fiber 0 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Whether unsweetened or sweetened, with or without added calcium: rice milk is mostly organic and can now even be found in drugstores. The largest selection is available in organic shops, so you can try different brands until you find your favourite.

Storage

Since rice milk is generally preserved by heating, it can be kept for a long time in an unopened carton pack even without refrigeration. However, once opened, rice milk should be kept in the refrigerator, where it stays good for about a week.

Preparation

With rice milk there is nothing special to prepare, except a vigorous shake before opening to distribute any sediment on the bottom. 

What to Make With Rice Milk

In general, you can use rice milk as a subsitute for cow's milk in virtually any recipe. Its naturally sweet flavor makes it particuarly suited for desserts such as rice pudding, ice creams and creams, or sweet breakfasts like creamy outmeal, overnight oats or pancakes. 

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