Types of Milk: 20 Animal and Plant-Based Milk Varieties Explained

Do you consume dairy every day or with your morning cereals? So, how much do you understand about the white liquid that is a staple of your diet? We don’t know much about the history, types, or unique qualities of milk, except that it comes from animals. To help you appreciate every drop of this nourishing liquid food more than ever before, we’ve compiled all of the information for you in this article.

What is Milk and its History?

Milk, as we all realize, comes from domesticated animals’ mammary glands. Goats, cows, and buffaloes are among the species that have them. It’s a white liquid loaded with nine essential amino acids, protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and other important nutrients. Milk is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, with a particularly high nutritional profile that is beneficial to bones and teeth.

According to experts, the practice of domesticating animals began as early as 10000 BC, when the Agricultural Revolution truly started. Humans began to eat meat and other by-products because of the demand for diverse types of food. Milk has slowly earned the position of staple food in every home, after being originally reserved for the elite.

Milk from various animals, including Camels and Donkeys, as well as plants like nut milk (also known as Vegan milk), were gradually introduced into the market.

What are the Different Types of Milk and Their Characteristics?

The fat content, flavor profile, and health benefits of milk vary depending on the type of animal or plant from where it is derived. The majority of the milk comes from these two origins and is processed at the factory into various kinds such as skim, powder, etc., to meet varied nutritional needs and culinary objectives.

Let’s explore the many forms of milk and their health advantages now:

Types of Milk from Animals (Dairy Milk):

1. Raw Milk:

Raw milk is a liquid that comes from an animal and has not been pasteurized. Around 8% fat and 8g of protein are found in one cup of raw cow milk. Due to the absence of nutrients, this milk is recognized to have superior health advantages than other types of milk. Drinking unpasteurized milk, according to medical researchers, boosts the chance of illness and allergies in humans because it heats milk to kill germs.

2. Whole Milk:

Pasteurized and homogenized milk is the same as whole or regular milk in terms of appearance and consistency. This milk has a thick, creamy consistency and a rich flavor. Whole milk is really just 3.5% fat-free, despite the fact that many individuals think it is full-fat milk. Despite this, an 8-ounce glass of milk has around 150 calories, making it a high-calorie option. In addition, compared to other kinds of milk, whole milk has a higher quantity of proteins, calcium, and vitamins.

3. Skim Milk (Fat-Free Milk):

Skim milk is made by removing all of the fat from whole milk. The fat content in a glass of skim milk is around 0.1%, which is very little. The goal of producing this fat-free milk was to lower the calories in a given serving. Heart health and a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases may benefit from lesser milk fat. Skim milk, on the other hand, has very little nutrients that are beneficial to the body.

4. Lowfat Milk:

For individuals who want to reduce fat in their diet, lowfat milk is considered a benefit. Low-fat milk contains just 1% fat and is therefore referred to as such. The remaining liquid appears watery and pale white after the excess fat is removed using a centrifuge process. Due to the reduced fat amount, weightwatchers and calorie-conscious individuals choose this milk.

5. 2% Milk:

2% Milk has a total fat level of 2%, as the name implies. It’s also known as low-fat milk, since it contains less fat than whole milk and skim milk but is neither too thick nor creamy. The fat content of 2% milk is restored to the whey (the residual liquid) after a fat-removal process. With the extra bonus of less fat, this sort of milk is recognized to provide a superior balance of nutrients and minerals.

6. Cow Milk:

Many cow breeds produce milk that is rich in nutrients. It’s a high-quality protein, calcium, and vitamin milk that’s one of the most common kinds consumed in the world. Each glass of cow milk contains 3-4% fat. Those who have lactose intolerance, on the other hand, should avoid this milk because of its high levels of lactose.

7. Goat Milk:

Domesticated goats produce goat milk, which is very nutritious. Calcium, phosphorous, iodine, Vitamin B5, and other nutrients are found in this milk, which supports a healthy body. For every 100 grams of food, 6% of total fat is present. Goat milk is also particularly suited for individuals with dairy allergies since it has somewhat lower concentration of lactose than cow milk.

8. Buffalo Milk:

Buffalo milk is a luscious and creamy variety created from buffaloes. As compared to cow milk, it has a fat content of around 7-8%. It also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iodine, and vitamin A, which gives the milk a pearly white color. Buffalo milk is used in a variety of cuisines to create a variety of foods, such as cheese, desserts, ghee, and paneer.

9. Lactose-Free Milk:

The majority of dairy-based milk contains lactose, a type of sugar. Yet, a significant percentage of the human race is lactose-intolerant due to a lack of digestive enzymes. As a result, lactose-free milk powder was developed, which contains no lactose. Lactase is added to ordinary cow milk, allowing the lactose to be broken down. In terms of taste, flavor, texture, and consistency, this kind of milk bears little resemblance to ordinary milk.

10. Evaporated Milk:

The shelf-life of ordinary cow or buffalo milk is increased by evaporated milk, which is a dairy product. It’s made by boiling fresh milk until it becomes thick and sweet, with the help of 60% of its water. This milk is utilized for making desserts and toppings because of its creamy texture. You may simply add the required amount of water to use it as conventional milk.

11. Sweet Condensed Milk:

The 60% of water lost in the evaporation process is the same as condensed milk. Condensed milk, on the other hand, has added sugar and is thus a delicious treat. Sweet condensed milk is commonly used in preparing various sorts of desserts, sweetmeats, and toppings, despite not being a nutritious milk option.

12. Buttermilk:

People think about buttermilk as if it is milk with a lot of butter, however this is not the case. Because of the addition of cultures to milk, it develops a mildly tangy and acidic flavor. In nations such as India, buttermilk is traditionally made by churning curd or yoghurt (a solidified form of cultured milk) with water and separating the cream. As a consequence, we have a watery solution that is thought to be very good for our digestive health.

13. Flavoured Milk:

Flavored milk is a well-liked dairy beverage that includes ingredients, colors, and sugar to the milk. Bottled or tetra pack beverages are sold commercially as variants of the product. Flavored milk is a popular choice for an evening snack or quick refreshment for many people, especially kids. The added sugar and artificial ingredients may not be beneficial to our health in the long term, despite having the same nutritional profile as ordinary milk.

Types of Milk from Plants (Non-Dairy Milk):

14. Almond Milk:

Almond milk is the world’s most popular plant-based milk. It has a sweet and nutty flavor that comes from extracting it from sopped almonds. This vegan milk is perfect for weight watchers since it has just 39 calories per cup. It’s high in Vitamin E and low in fat. Almond milk is fortified with Vitamin D and calcium to help support bone health when it is commercially sold. While homemade almond milk has a stronger flavor, it lacks these two important nutrients.

15. Oat Milk:

Oat milk is another popular plant-based milk. It has a creamy texture and a characteristic oats flavor and is derived from a blend of oat grains and water. Commercially available oat milk is supplemented with calcium, vitamin A, D, B1 and B2 in order to satisfy the nutritional needs. Since oat milk can blend properly with practically any type of flavor, it is a fantastic option for vegan smoothies and beverages.

16. Soy Milk:

In the global vegan milk market, soy milk takes a significant portion. The soybeans are soaked, ground, and the resulting liquid is filtered out by boiling it. This bean-based drink, which is produced as a byproduct of tofu in China, is its origin. Soy milk provides 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein in one cup. To boost the nutritional value of branded soy milk, it is supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

17. Cashew Milk:

Another nut-based milk is cashew milk, which is made by soaking Cashews. Cashew milk is creamy and flavorful, unlike almond milk. As a result, many Vegans prefer this milk for baking sweets and desserts over others. Since there is less liquid straining, homemade cashew milk has a higher amount of fiber and calories per serving. One that has been storebought goes through a lot of filtering and is supplemented with extra nutrients and minerals.

18. Coconut Milk:

The juice of mature coconuts is extracted and turned into coconut milk, which is a delicious white opaque liquid. The large quantity of saturated fat in this dish gives it a distinct flavor. Thick, thin, and skim coconut milk are the three varieties available. Thicker coconut milk has a fat content of 15-20%, while thin coconut milk has a fat content of just 1%. Skim coconut milk has only 1% fat. Traditional recipes like curries and gravies are often made with coconut milk, while processed products are used as alternatives for regular milk.

19. Rice Milk:

Rice milk is made by crushing rice grains with water, filtering the liquid and then blending it. It has a rich, earthy taste and is watery in texture. Rice milk has a lot of carbohydrates, but it is deficient in nutrients and minerals. As a result, calcium, Vitamin B12, B13, and iron are added to commercially sold rice milk. Due to its low-allergen profile, it is gradually gaining popularity among vegans.

20. Hemp Milk:

While hemp milk isn’t as well-known as other plant-based milks, it has a strong reputation among consumers for its health benefits. Crushing soaked hemp seeds and filtering out the liquid produces this type of milk. Hemp milk is devoid of mind altering properties and may be consumed without fear. Each serving of this nutty and earthy milk contains 83 calories. The various sorts of milk on the current market are listed above. Remember that each of these milk types has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Before making your decision, it’s important to understand your nutritional needs and preferences.


Q1. What Is Homogenized Milk?

Ans: The milk is pushed through tiny apertures at high pressure to distribute the fat globules evenly, which is known as homogenization. As a result, compared to unhomogenized milk, homogenized milk has a consistent and creamy texture.

Q2. What Is Half and Half Milk?

In nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States, half-and-half milk is a common type of milk. To achieve a thick consistency, it contains one-half cream and one-half whole milk. This milk’s fat concentration might vary from 10.5% to 18%.

Q3. Is It Ok To Drink Raw Milk?

Pasteurization is a process that heats milk to kill dangerous bacteria. Raw milk does not go through this process. Various sorts of bacteria in raw milk may pose a danger to people who consume it, increasing the risk of deadly illnesses and allergies. As a result, drinking raw and unpasteurized milk is preferable.

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