Cashew Milk vs Almond Milk: Which Is Healthier?

Last Updated: February 22, 2024

These days it seems like we have an endless amount of plant based milks to choose from. 

Cashew milk and almond milk are some of the more popular options for vegans, people with dairy allergies, or those who just prefer dairy free. If you fall into one of these categories, you may be wondering what the differences are between them.  

In this comprehensive article, we’ll compare these two nut-based milks, both in terms of the nutrition they provide, their health implications, and their uses in recipes, so you can choose the one that suits you best. 

Let’s dive in!

What is Almond Milk? 

Almond milk is a popular and versatile plant-based milk alternative made from almonds. 

To make almond milk, raw almonds are typically soaked, blended with water, and then strained to remove the solids. 

The result is a creamy, slightly nutty-flavored liquid that can be enjoyed as a dairy-free substitute for cow’s milk.

What is Cashew Milk? 

Cashew milk is a dairy-free, plant-based milk alternative made from cashews. 

To produce cashew milk, raw cashews are soaked, blended with water, and then strained to achieve a smooth and creamy liquid. 

The resulting milk has a naturally sweet and mild flavor, with a velvety consistency that makes it a versatile ingredient in various recipes. 

Cashew Milk Versus Almond Milk Nutrition 

Calories

The calorie content of almond and cashew milks are quite similar. 

Most brands of unsweetened almond milk contain 30-40 calories per 1 cup serving. Unsweetened cashew milk typically provides 25 calories per 1 cup serving. 

However, you may find certain varieties with a higher calorie content, likely due to the nut to water ratio. The more nuts and less water, the more calories it will have per serving.

Additives such as oils and sweeteners will also add to the calories. Make sure to check the ingredients if you’re looking to avoid these things in your milk.

Protein

The protein content of both cashew and almond milks are also comparable. Both are lower protein options with 1-2 grams per cup (compared to 8 grams in a cup of cow’s milk). 

Some varieties have more protein than this- up to 5 grams, depending on the brand. Typically these tend to be the more expensive ones. 

If you’re looking for a higher protein milk, then neither option may not be the best for your needs.

Fat

Most varieties of almond and cashew milk are low in fat with 2-3 grams per cup.

You may find ones with up to 10 grams per cup (again depending on whether they have more nuts vs water).

Typically, the higher calorie milks will have a higher fat content. 

If you’re looking for something a little more creamy and less diluted, choose the higher fat versions. 

Carbohydrates

Both milk options are considered low carb, most having less than 5 grams per cup. 

This is because nuts do not naturally contain a high amount of carbs. If sugar is added to the milk, this increases the carb content.

Sugar

Nut milks don’t naturally contain any sugar, but some varieties will have sugar added to them to improve the taste. 

You can always check the ‘added sugars’ on the nutrition label to see if it’s been sweetened. You’ll also find some sort of sweetener in the ingredients lists, and these maybe things like maple syrup or cane sugar.

If you’re looking for a low sugar option, go for one that says ‘unsweetened’ on the front of the package.

Vitamins/Minerals

These milks can be good sources of vitamins and minerals, especially if they have been fortified. 

Fortification simply means the addition of nutrients to a product.

Almond milk can be rich in Vitamin E, providing around 40% of your daily needs in one cup. 

Many are also fortified with calcium and Vitamin D to match the amounts in dairy milk. However, not all brands are equal. Based on our findings, the more expensive brands tend to have lower amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

Almond milk vs cashew milk comparison chart between brands

Which Milk is Healthier?

Choosing which milk is healthier between almond vs cashew depends on how it fits into the context of your diet. Based on the nutritional comparison, both milks are similar in terms of the nutrients they provide. The main difference comes down to the brand you choose, and whether it is sweetened and/or fortified.

If you’re eating a mostly plant based diet, choosing a fortified milk would be a healthy addition to your diet to make sure you’re getting essential vitamins and minerals.

Below we break down some of the health benefits of each of these non-dairy milks.

Health Benefits

Heart Health

When it comes to heart health, both almond milk and cashew milk offer a heart-healthy alternative to cow’s milk. The key to their heart-promoting qualities is their healthy monounsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats are considered beneficial for heart health as they don’t contribute to elevated cholesterol levels or increase the risk of heart disease, unlike saturated fats found in whole dairy milk.

These fats can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, reducing the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries. This can lead to a decreased risk of heart-related issues such as coronary artery disease.

Weight Management

Almond milk and cashew milk are often recommended for people focusing on weight management by helping them reduce their calorie intake. 

When compared to other dairy and non-dairy milk alternatives, they tend to be lower in calories, making them a favorable choice for those aiming to manage their weight.

Bone Health

Many almond and cashew milk brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D to match the nutritional content found in cow’s milk. 

Calcium is crucial for strong bones and teeth, and vitamin D helps your body absorb and utilize calcium effectively. By consuming almond milk fortified with these nutrients, you can ensure that your are supporting your body’s needs.

When to Use Cashew vs Almond Milk

Almond and cashew milk can be used interchangeably in recipes, since neither one has a strong flavor and they have similar consistency. Cashew milk tends to be a bit creamier however, making it suitable for savory dishes.

Below are some of the common uses for each type of milk. 

Almond Milk

  • Baking and desserts
  • Coffee and tea beverages
  • Smoothies
  • Oatmeal, overnight oats 

Cashew Milk

  • Creamy sauces and soups
  • Dairy free cheese and dips
  • Creamer for hot beverages
  • Coffee creamer

Cost Comparison

The pricing of almond milk and cashew milk varies depending on the brand. When comparing both varieties from the same brand (like Silk for example), the cost is fairly equal for both almond and cashew milk. 

Some almond and cashew milk brands can be more expensive (up to 3x the amount) than others, so you can choose options that best suit your budget.

Which Milk Should I Choose?

In terms of cost, nutritional value, and culinary versatility, both almond and cashew milk provide similar profiles. Choosing one vs the other is based on your specific preference for almonds vs cashews, and your personal taste preferences.

If you’re looking to boost your protein intake significantly, it’s worth noting neither almond nor cashew milk is particularly protein-rich. Opting for alternatives like pea, soy, or traditional dairy milk may be more suitable, as they offer more substantial protein content to meet your needs.

Also, when choosing almond and cashew milk products, look out for fortification and added sugar content. Opting for ones fortified with vitamins and minerals can enhance their nutritional value, supporting your overall health.

And lastly, choosing ones with minimal added sugars is a good idea, as this will help you maintain a balanced diet.

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