The best and worst almond milks you can buy at the grocery store

If the word "milk" makes you think of cows, then the concept of almond milk has to seem a little nutty. But this alternative to dairy is a billion dollar business, according to CNBC. Grocery sales of the most popular brand, Blue Diamond, hit almost $500 million in 2019 (via Statista). As more people gravitate away from dairy because of health reasons and concern about the treatment of animals, options for non-dairy alternatives are expanding. You can now find cashew milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and of course standbys like soy milk at your corner store. However, almond milk continues to dominate non-dairy milk sales, comprising 64 percent of this industry, Mintel reports.

So which almond milk should you be blending in your smoothie or pouring over your morning granola? Almond milk taste, texture, and nutritional content can vary significantly, with some offering a boost of protein with half the calories of cow's milk, while others are chock-full of sugar and other additives. Here are the refrigerated almond milks that foodies are going nuts over — and the one that doesn't deserve a spot in your shopping cart.

Silk and Almond Breeze are the best grocery store almond milks

Health enthusiasts gave top scores to Silk Almond Milk, which is dairy, gluten, and soy-free, and packs in a ton of vitamins in a lean 30-calorie serving (via Body Nutrition). Reviewers also said this brand's taste was top-rate. "Tastes full. Also so fresh and so clean! I like you," commented one participant in a Food52 taste test.

If your grocery is out of Silk, you'll probably be just as happy with Almond Breeze, which also got rave reviews for both taste and nutritional value, and has the same calories per serving as Silk. Taste testers say the taste and texture is actually closer to regular milk, and it makes a frothy splash in your coffee cup. Some almond milk enthusiasts also noted that this brand works well in baking and cooking (via Go Dairy Free). 

In either case, both brands of almond milk boast 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk, and are carrageenan free.

Balk before buying Malk at the grocery store

A newer-to-the-market option is Malk, which contains three very simple, healthy ingredients: filtered water, organic almonds, and Himalayan sea salt. This wholesome formulation made reviewers like blogger Ally's Vegan Vibes want to love Malk. Her video taste test shows her struggling between wanting to say something positive about the drink as she grimaces after the first swig: "It tastes... fine," she says. But in her blog review, she adds, "I hope that MALK does well, because I definitely stand with them and their efforts to bring wholesome, organic nut milk to the masses."

Food52 reviewers also balked at the taste of Malk, saying that despite the lack of additives, it actually had a "fake flavor." If you can get past the taste, nutrition experts had high praise for Malk, though; nutritionist Elizabeth Ann Shaw noted that a single serving contains 5 grams of protein and no added sugar (via Eat This, Not That). However, if you're counting, a 1-cup serving comes complete with 100 calories — 70 more than Silk and Almond Breeze.

In addition, Malk is also one of the pricier almond milks at the store, with a 32-ounce bottle at Target costing over $1 more than those units twice the size of Silk and Almond Breeze.