Learn how to make sweetened and unsweetened homemade rice milk on your stove - you only need a few easy ingredients.
Rice milk is the 'milk' of choice in my family since we are allergic to cow's milk. But I don't buy rice milk since it contains unnecessary ingredients, like processed oils and Carrageenan (carcinogen). So I make rice milk at home with white rice, when needed....like when I want to use it for cereal. It's easy and cheap. And 'clean' since I know exactly what goes in.
Rice and Water! What a concept, eh?
Health Benefits of Rice
Contrary to popular belief, rice is actually good for you - especially brown rice. There are a few different myths and facts about rice that I want to share with you before we get to the recipe.
Rice Glycemic Index
Is rice good for you? Its glycemic index is only 22 (out of 100) for brown rice and low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Although carbohydrate content and glycemic index for UNCOOKED white rice are higher than brown rice, cooked rice is less. And since you will be only using ¼ cup of uncooked rice for this recipe, the glycemic index will be ¼ less than a full cup.
Carbs in Rice
Carbohydrate in rice has gotten a bad rep with the obesity epidemic and all. But I can tell you that eating rice alone will not make you obese or make you go into a diabetic coma. It's all the other types of foods combined that get you in trouble. Carbohydrate from rice has not contributed to illnesses in populations that mostly eat rice, like Asia, like those healthy centenarians in Okinawa. In fact, we need carbohydrates to fuel our body, especially our brain.
Rice Is Easy To Digest
Besides that, rice is soothing and easily digestible. I occasionally make rice porridge for breakfast. I also make it when someone comes down with a stomach virus because rice porridge is one dish anyone with an upset stomach can tolerate.
No wonder my ancestors chose rice as the grain of their choice!
So why do I use white rice to make rice milk?
Arsenic in Rice
Anna Hackman of Green Talk posted here about high levels of Arsenic levels in rice grown in America and how to eliminate it. And what I learned from Anna's article was that brown rice has a higher level of Arsenic!
So that gave me one more reason to switch to white rice. And to lessen the Arsenic level even more, I mix Basmati (grown in India) and Jasmine (grown in Thailand) with my usual white rice. Rice grown in those countries have less Arsenic since their soil is not contaminated like ours.
What is in commercial Rice Milk?
Like I said earlier, store-bought rice milk can contain, unnecessary processed unhealthy oils like Safflower, Sunflower, and Canola oils. And many of them also contain a thickener or an emulsifier called Carrageenan.
A study from the University of Iowa found that degraded Carrageenan is carcinogenic, while undegraded carrageenan is co-carcinogen and both can develop intestinal ulceration. Also, corn syrup is used as a sweetener, and who needs that? And the end-product doesn't even taste like rice!
Brown Rice or White Rice
An ignorant person that I am sometimes, I was eating brown rice because I was 'told', it was more nutritious than white rice. It turns out, the bran - the outer part that has the fiber - has been reported to contain phytic acid that actually prevents you from absorbing all the good minerals that brown rice has. But what's worse - it actually binds with the minerals you already have in your body so it leaches them out of you!
So what's the point of eating brown rice - which also has a high arsenic content (see below) - if you are being robbed of the very nutrients that you are trying to consume? In fact, it's been said that the brown rice can cause inflammation and harm the intestinal lining of the gut with all that extra fiber! D'oh! All that torture I put my family through!
Toast The Rice First
Making homemade rice milk is so easy and so cheap that it makes no sense to buy them in stores. I toast the rice before making rice milk because if you don't, you will taste that 'raw' rice taste and not the nutty and creamy rice milk taste. Make sure you don't burn it though. There is nothing worse than burnt rice. Ok, maybe burnt toast.
Oh, you may wonder, why I don't just cook the rice and water and strain the water as milk? If you cook the rice, the water becomes glue-like and gooey. It's not a clean taste but a muddy and starchy gluey taste. I don't know about you but that's not what I want in a milk. And since this recipe calls for only ¼ cup of uncooked rice, the glycemic index is low.
Don't Burn The Rice
You'll know it's done when you see opaque rice grains and/or the color turns caramel color. Rice can burn very quickly so stir frequently and watch the pan carefully. Lift the pan from the heat if you have to. DON'T BURN THE RICE. It'll make the whole batch taste awful. Trust me.
When most of the rice is either opaque or browned, you willtake the pan off the heat and add about 3 cups of filtered water and let the rice soak for about 2-3 hours. If you don't have time, 30 minutes soak will be ok too. You'll just have to blend longer.
Use filtered water for this step. It won't have any impurities and will be the best result for your rice milk.
After soaking for about 3 hours, rice will be a bit softer. Pour the rice & water mixture and the rest of the water into a blender and blend well, starting at a low speed and gradually increasing to high speed. Blend for about a minute or two.
If you want to make sweetened rice milk, add your favorite sweetener to it after you strain it.
You can add any type of sweetener you like. Most people use 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
Before you add it, strain the milk over strainer or fine cheesecloth.
Personally, I don't like sweetened rice milk so I add a pinch of cinnamon to mine. It's delicious without the added calories. You can store in a glass carafe for about a week in the fridge. Stir or shake well before pouring.
What do you do with the strained rice? Add about ¼ of water and cook it. It makes a delicious Cream of Rice!
Rice milk fits into a well-rounded diet that is full of whole foods. It's a safe alternative if you are lactose intolerant. There are also lots of nutrients in rice that you won't find in other milks.
Thicken rice milk with arrowroot over the stove. Heat ¾ cup of rice milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix ¼ cup of rice milk with 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder and them mix this back in with the rice milk in the saucepan. Stir until it thickens.
Yes, rice milk is completely safe to heat. In fact, it tastes quite delicious when you heat it up and add some cinnamon and sweetener to it.
Yes, rice milk has nutrients that moisturize and cleanse your skin. There are lots of recipes out there for making your own rice milk cleanser creams and they are a lot of fun to use.
Homemade Rice Milk
- Stainless Steel skillet
- Glass Carafe or Jar
- ¼ C of White Rice of your Choice
- 6 C of filtered water
- Pinch of Cinnamon optional
- Sweetener of your choice optional
- On a dry stainless steel or cast iron pan - NO NON-STICK PAN PLEASE! - spread out the rice in a single layer or close to a single layer and roast, stirring occasionally in the beginning and then frequently as they start to get opaque in color.
- You'll know it's done when you see opaque rice grains and/or the color turns caramel color. Rice can burn very quickly so stir frequently and watch the pan carefully. Lift the pan from the heat if you have to. DON'T BURN THE RICE. It'll make the whole batch taste awful. Trust me.
- When most of the rice is either opaque or browned, take the pan off the heat and add about 3 cups of filtered water and let the rice soak for about 2-3 hours. If you don't have time, 30 minutes soak will be ok too. You'll just have to blend longer. After soaking for about 3 hours, rice will be a bit softer. Pour the rice and water mixture and the rest of the water into a blender and blend well, starting at a low speed and gradually increasing to high speed. Blend for about a minute or two.
- Stop the blender and stir the mixture well with a long spatula. Make sure to stir the rice that's settled at the bottom well.
- After it's completely blended, strain the milk over strainer or fine cheesecloth. Add sweetener if you'd like. Personally, I don't like sweetened rice milk so I add a pinch of cinnamon to mine. It's delicious without the added calories. You can store in a glass carafe for about a week in the fridge. Stir or shake well before pouring.
- What do you do with the strained rice? Add about ¼ of water and cook it. It makes a delicious Cream of Rice!
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Donna Cappiella DeForbes says
I think my daughter would love this.
Tiffany Washko says
Deborah Davis says
I love your recipe for homemade rice milk. I have been making my own non-dairy milks in order to avoid the additives and chemicals in most so-called healthy milks. Would this recipe work with brown rice as well?
Libby Mauro says
best part is it doesn't contain carrageenan or other additives and thickeners!
Stephanie Moram says
oh and the picture looks nice
Stephanie Moram says
Looks yummy, Karen!
Lindsay Dahl My bad. I didn't link the study in the post in haste. I updated and added the link to the study. But basically, whether the carrageenan used in foods is one type of another, a study from University of Iowa (there are a plenty more) showed that undegraded carrageenan (the food type) can be co-carcinogenic in animals. And there is no guarantee that degraded carrageenan (the non-food type that is definitely carcinogenic) doesn't contaminate the foods. So this study basically says to avoid it to be cautious. Well, the study says we need more study but why take a chance, ya know?
Anonymous Biochemist says
Phytic acid, like most organic acids, is a chelating agent. This means that it has a high affinity for metallic ions. If anything, this would reduce the absorption of iron and magnesium that is taken immediately with the phytic acid. Although chelating agents are shown to react with some positively charged vitamins, their dissociation constant is high enough that a majority of vitamins taken directly with phytic acid would be absorbed normally as if the phytic acid isn't present. Furthermore, the presence of phytic acid in rice is on the level of micrograms; you would have to eat rice everyday since the day you were born and have no major source of vitamin and mineral uptake to see any adverse effects. Cooking the rice beforehand will also cause the breakdown of phytic acid into inositol phosphates. Conclusion, there is a reason a majority of people think brown rice is better for you than white rice.
Lindsay Dahl says
Karen thank you so much! I'll have to try this recipe. I made the other one last weekend and the rice milk wasn't very good. Thanks for the great info! I've heard that re: carageen, there are two types, the one that is NOT found in food is linked to cancer and the type that is used in food is a digestive irritant. Have you heard differently? Great post, thanks!