The short version of this post
To make rice milk, whir 1/2 cup of cooked rice and 2 cups of water in a blender until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Drink.
The long version
Homemade rice milk made with leftover cooked rice prevents both food waste—because you can use up that rice sitting in the back of the refrigerator—and packaging waste, since rice milk comes in Tetra Paks with their plastic-plastic-foil-plastic-paperboard-plastic layered combo from recycling hell. Even the most basic bulk bins will carry rice. Bring your own cloth bag, glass jar or other container to fill up and you can make this drink without tossing out any trash.
Basically, rice milk made from cooked rice is a zero-waste super food.
And it costs so much less to make than store-bought! I buy organic jasmine or organic basmati rice, sometimes white, sometimes brown. On average, it costs about $2 a pound. One pound makes 6 cups cooked and you will need 1 cup cooked to make 32 ounces of homemade rice milk (a standard Tetra Pak size). That works out to 33¢ worth of rice ($2.00 / 6 = 33¢). The other ingredient—water—costs nothing (well, okay I filter mine, so I do pay a little bit…).
Just now, I looked up the price of run-of-the-mill rice milk online. Organic Rice Dream on Amazon costs $2.33 for 32 ounces. I figure that’s a rock bottom price because, in its quest toward world domination, Amazon sells everything dirt cheap in the hopes that consumers will buy everything from the online retailer. Make your own rice milk and you save $2.00 a carton—at least, because your grocery store likely charges more than Amazon.
Not only does the homemade stuff cost less to make, it takes less effort to make than to buy it at the store. By the time you go out to the store and come home, you could have made it. Simply throw cooked rice and water in a blender and blend. No straining. No pulp to deal with. I regularly have leftover rice in the refrigerator since I always cook a little extra when I make it, just so I’ll have some for recipes like this.
Although you do only need cooked rice and water for this drink, I did add a couple of optional ingredients—cinnamon and vanilla extract.
The cinnamon. My boyfriend Chandra grinds cinnamon sticks in his second-hand coffee grinder dedicated just for this purpose. You don’t need to grind you own cinnamon sticks but it certainly does taste totally awesome in everything that calls for cinnamon. I added 1/4 a teaspoon to the rice milk.
The vanilla extract. I make my own. You split vanilla beans nearly all the way to the bottom and dunk them in booze for a couple of months. Read more on that here. Again, this isn’t necessary for the rice milk but if you do regularly use vanilla and can buy vanilla beans in bulk, making your own reduces your packaging waste and saves money. I added half a teaspoon to the rice milk.
The water. No, I did not mix together hydrogen and oxygen gases, add a spark and create water… But I did filter tap water with charcoal bamboo filters from a company called Miyabi. You activate the charcoal by boiling it in water and then simply drop it naked into a jug or pitcher. According to the company website, the charcoal “removes chlorine, chloride, phosphorus, ammonia, toluene (alcohol), nitrogen, chloramine (ammonia and chlorine compound added to water to kill pathogens), and even toxins like pesticides that can seep into tap water.” We’ve been using this filtered water to make various drinks: kombucha, almond milk, tea and coffee. (This is not a paid endorsement or affiliate link. I just like these things. No plastic! And the water does taste better.)
The rice. I used long grain white rice for this post. Almost any rice will do. You can opt for brown, white, basmati, jasmine, long-grain, medium-grain, short-grain… I have some wild rice I’d like to experiment with.
Optional sweetener. I didn’t add any sweetener. We won’t drink this rice milk. Instead, we’ll eat it on homemade granola or oatmeal, which we have sweetened. If you would like to sweeten your milk, before you blend the rice and water, add a couple of dates or maple syrup, honey or sugar to taste.
- 1/2 cup cooked rice, any variety
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
- sweetener to taste, optional
- Whir all ingredients in a blender until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
Click here to read my recipe for no-cook rice milk.
18 Replies to “Rice Milk”
Wow, this looks like a great idea! I’ve made almond milk before and we sometimes make soy milk but both of them take some work and this sounds a lot easier. Will definitely try it out soon 🙂
We make almond milk too and this is definitely less work. I like that I don’t have to deal with the pulp. Enjoy!
Thanks for this very useful tip. I will start making this on a regular basis.
You’re welcome Hilda 🙂
I would love to try this to replace some of the almond milk I use BUT, I went to buy rice the other day, having used little of late tending toward bulgar, and stared in consternation at the choices, trying to remember which have arsenic in them and that organic cannot be trusted to be arsenic free. After several wasted minutes I left with no rice. Would love to figure this out before the grandkids arrive for the summer as I view protecting them a high priority.
The way I understand the rice-arsenic connection is it has to do with where your rice was grown. Regions typical for cotton growing (SE US) which have now started growing rice have higher arsenic levels due to chemicals used to grown coyton. Regions such as found in traditional rice growing countries like Asia and in the US where only rice has been grown (CA) have lower levels or close to none. Air pollution and the resulting water and soil contamination also play a role here so no one comes out 100% clean.
So buy your Brown Basmatti which is grown in India/Pakistan, the Jasmin from Japan, and if you want Organic from America look for the Lund brand. I get my large bagged Basmatti and Jasmin rice at one of the larger Asian stores in town as they have higher sales volume so their rice should be freshest. If I only want a small quantity, I get the version my co-op stocks.
Prep: Before cooking, soak rice several times rinsing in between in a fine mesh strainer until water drains clear, not cloudy.
Hope that helps.
Source: Dr. Greger.
Hi! how long does this stay good for in the fridge? How much would you suggest making at a time?
Hi Emily, I would say drink it within about five days. And I’d also suggest you make a small amount unless you’re feeding a large number of people who will drink it up quickly. This recipe yields a little over 2 cups. I don’t drink rice milk and almond milk straight. I put it on granola or I’ll put almond milk in my tea occasionally, so I don’t go through a ton of it. ~ Anne Marie
[…] über Rice Milk — The Zero-Waste Chef […]
My husband has health conditions which is made worse by some commercial milk products which are enriched with phosphorus or calcium or potassium. I am so glad to have this recipe for rice milk. I already have my rice soaking. One question is do I soak it in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter.
Hi Esther, The kitchen counter works. Just cover it with something. I also have a recipe for almond milk on here, if you’re interested. I hope the rice milk agrees with your husband. Enjoy! ~ Anne Marie
Hi there! I love rice milk and after reading your post I have another reason to quit buying rice milk. I have tried making it at home with cooked rice. Here is where I need advice. The rice milk I made was using leftover sticky rice and when i went to strain it, it was mostly slime. Delicious slime, but it was odd to think about it as a drink. I also had this happen to me with oat milk. Just curious about your thoughts.
Ive been wanting to try making my own milks- I’m not too picky about what they are made of- I love Coconut Milk lattes from my local coffee shop. I would use them for home made lattes and smoothies. Do you know how well rice milk heats? I’ve thought about trying oat milk but I read that it clumps if you try to heat it for a latte
I haven’t heated this so I’m not sure. I also make almond milk. I have put that in my tea so I know it doesn’t clump up. I like it because it’s a bit fatty. Here’s the recipe for it if you’re interested: https://zerowastechef.com/2017/04/05/almond-milk/ Enjoy! ~ Anne Marie
[…] had to go dairy free while nursing, and I recently tried The Zero Waste Chef’s rice milk recipe. While I have never found rice milk delicious enough to drink straight, it works wonderfully in […]
I tried the rice milk, using cooked rice and water, however when I put it in the blender there is some rice at the bottom of blender. I like to use more rice to make it creamy. Maybe the rice was not cooked completely or should I try instant rice?
Hi Jane, the type of rice shouldn’t make much of a difference as long as it’s cooked. Can you get the rice out? If so, could you shake it up in a big jar after you take everything out of the blender? ~ Anne Marie
Thank you for this post, I’m definitely going to try it! I currently make cashew milk and sometimes almond milk, but they’re both so expensive to make. I prefer cashew over almond as I don’t have to strain it so no waste. I think it’s because the cashews are pretty soft to begin with. I use the milks in green smoothies and for overnight oats, so I’m sure the rice milk will be a great one to try!