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17 Different Types of Milk Explained

The milk aisle at the grocery store seems to have expanded over the years. 

With so many types of milk, it can be overwhelming.

17 Different Types of Milk Explained featuring Different Types of Milk Including Coconut, Oat, and Almond Milk in Glass Jars

Delicious Types of Milk 

Each type of milk tastes unique, with unique health benefits. And some even have positive environmental impacts. 

So maybe you need a different milk for dietary restrictions? Or you want to pick a more eco-friendly choice? Or you only want to switch things up? 

Whatever brings you here, I have you covered. 

Check out these 17 types of milk. And you can choose the one worthy of your bowl of cereal!

1. Whole Milk

Glass Bottle of White Whole Milk on a Burlap Cloth with a Bowl of Granola, a Wooden Spoon, and a Ceramic Bowl with a Lid in the background, on a Wooden Table

Whole milk, aka regular old milk, is for the milk purists. 

Now, it is pasteurized for food safety. But whole milk isn’t fortified or processed to remove (or add) any fat. 

It’s cow’s milk in its almost purest form. 

It has a higher fat content than diet-friendly cow milk (more on that later). And it has a thick, rich milk flavor. 

This milk tastes fantastic on cereal and works well in recipes like cookies or cakes. 

2. Skimmed Milk (Fat-Free Milk) 

Jar of Skimmed Milk Poured into a Drinking Glass

Everyone recognized skimmed milk from its pink lid! Skimmed milk is whole milk that goes on a diet. 

Skimmed milk removes all the fat for a thinner, almost watery type of milk. 

It’s less thick and creamy than whole milk. Also, skim milk is pale, a little watery, and has a muted milky essence. 

This may not be the prime choice for milk connoisseurs. However, it’s a great choice when you want to keep calories low. 

3. 2% Milk (Reduced Fat Milk) 

Pitcher and Glass of Reduced Fat Milk

Can’t stand the watery flavors of skimmed milk? But whole milk is not doing you any favors on your diet? Enter 2% milk. 

2% milk is the Baby Bear of milk. It’s not overly thick or watery. It’s just right for folks who want something delicious but lower in fat. 

Whole milk has a fat content of about 3.5 percent. You may have already guessed that 2% milk has a fat content of… well, 2%. 

4. Raw Milk

Pitcher of Raw Milk

When you pasteurize milk, you heat it to kill all harmful bacteria. But, some claim that pasteurization also kills off beneficial nutrients. 

Raw milk is what it sounds like- milk that comes straight from the utter. The FDA isn’t a fan of raw milk. It outlaws it in almost every state. 

Most states (except for 13) ban raw milk. So, it’s not something you can pick up at your local grocery store. 

Want to get your hands on raw milk? You need to go straight to the source: your local dairy farm. 

5. Lactose-Free Milk

Pitcher Pouring Lactose-Free Milk Into a Glass on a Wooden Plank with Wooden Spoons to the Side

Lactose-free milk still comes from a cow. But producers remove the lactose by adding an enzyme called lactase. I know it’s a little confusing. 

Adding lactase to milk kills lactose, so lactose-intolerant people can still enjoy milk. All without those uncomfortable side effects. 

The best part about lactose-free milk? It has all of the flavors and benefits of milk sans lactose. 

6. Oat Milk

Oat Milk in a Glass on a Wooden Tray with Raw Oats and A Wooden Spoon, Pitcher of Milk and Jars of Oats in the Background

Oat milk is one of the more environmentally friendly milks on the market. Oats are a more sustainable product, and they help replenish the soil. 

And groundwater.  

Some oat milk brands (like Chobani) are as thick and creamy as whole milk. Oat milk has a mild, milky flavor. And it is much sweeter than whole milk. 

The best part? You can make oat milk at home by straining oats through a mesh sieve!

7. Rice Milk 

Glass of Rice Milk with a Metal Straw on a Slate Board with Rice Grains and Blueberries, Bowl of Rice in the Background

Are you hunting for plant-based milk that tastes almost like the real thing? Rice milk is one of your best options. 

Rice milk has a milky flavor similar to whole milk. However, it has a naturally sweeter flavor profile. 

The downside to rice milk? It doesn’t pack in any added nutrition.

Rice milk is high in carbohydrates and lower in protein. So, it doesn’t add much nutrition to your morning cereal. 

8. Almond Milk

Almond Nuts, Wooden Spoon and Glass of Almond Milk

Almond milk has the texture of whole milk but lacks the nutrition.

 It’s lower in calories, which makes it an excellent option for those counting calories. 

What’s impressive about almond milk is its sweet, nutty flavor. It tastes delicious in your morning bowl of cereal. 

You can even use it as a milk alternative in recipes. Almond milk adds nuttiness to cakes, cookies, and more. 

9. Soy Milk

Soybeans in a Wooden Bowl and Spoon in the Background, Glass of Soy Milk

Soy milk is one of the best all-around alternatives to dairy milk. 

It has a low ecological impact, is high in nutrition, and low in calories. Plus, soy milk has a flavor and texture similar to milk. 

Soy milk carries all the essential vitamins and nutrients in dairy milk. 

But it’s safe for lactose intolerant or those who enjoy a plant-based diet. 

It’s also one of the more popular dairy alternatives. There are tons of different flavors and varieties of soy milk available. 

10. Coconut Milk

Coconut Sliced in Half, a Glass of Coconut Milk on a Wooden Table

Coconut milk may not taste much like dairy milk, but many find it tastes better!

Many brands of coconut milk are ultra-thick (like whole milk). But it has the patented coconut sweetness and a gentle kiss of nutty flavors. 

Coconut milk goes excellent in cereal. But it’s exceptional in Indian dishes like curry or sweet rice pudding. 

And while it tastes great, its health benefits are even better! It contains essential vitamins and nutrients like fiber, potassium, and calcium. 

11. Hemp Milk

Mini Glass Pitcher of Hemp Milk on a Wooden Board on a Wooden Table with Hemp Seeds Spilled on the Board and Two Wooden Spoons full of Hemp Seeds

Hemp milk is the dark horse of the plant-based milk family. It doesn’t get the notoriety of oat or soy milk, but it should!

The texture of hemp milk is exceedingly creamy. It has a unique earthy and nutty flavor that puts other plant-based alternatives to shame. 

Hemp milk packs a wallop of a nutritional punch. 

It’s a great source of vitamins A, B12, D, and essential amino acids. 

12. Cashew Milk

Cashew Nuts in a Glass Jar on a Wooden Cutting Board and Glass Jar of Cashew Milk in Foreground with Another Glass of Almond Milk in the Background

Cashew milk is a great dairy alternative. Especially if you love the creamy consistency of cow’s milk. 

It has a light sweetness with a hint of nuttiness. Many prefer it to the flavor of almond milk. 

Cashew milk is highly nutritious, containing vitamins A, D, E, iron, and calcium. 

This is the way to go if you are trying to keep calories low. It has fewer calories than almond milk. 

13. Buttermilk

Buttermilk Poured Into Two Tall Drinking Glasses on a Wooden Cutting Board with Gingham Towel in Background

Buttermilk isn’t the milk you want to pour over your cereal. And contrary to its name, it has nothing to do with butter. Well, not anymore. 

Buttermilk was originally the liquid left over from butter making. 

Today, it is made by incorporating sugar, salt, and enzymes into whole milk. Then, it has to ferment. 

The fermentation process gives buttermilk its patented tang. 

While it’s not ideal for cereal, it’s often the secret ingredient in recipes. I love it in cakes, cookies, and fried chicken.

14. Toned Milk

Toned Milk Pored in a Glass from a Pitcher

If you have never heard of toned milk before, it’s not what you think!

Toned milk is popular in South Asia and India. It infuses buffalo milk with skimmed milk. 

Adding skimmed milk tones down the fat of the buffalo milk. This gives it a light, creamy consistency. 

While you might want to avoid drinking Toned milk straight-up, it’s a fantastic cooking ingredient. It is popular in curries and savory dishes. 

15. Buffalo Milk

Glass Bottle of Buffalo Milk on a Wooden Table

Think milk can’t get any richer than whole milk? Enter buffalo milk. 

Buffalo milk tastes like whole milk with a uniquely sweet, earthy, and creamy flavor. 

Buffalo milk is ultra-rich, with 50% more protein, 40% more calories, and 40% more calcium. It is also deliciously creamy. 

This stuff is a nutritional powerhouse with decadent milky flavors. But it may not be the healthiest option because it has twice as much fat!

16. Goat Milk 

Fresh Goat Milk in a Glass Pitcher and Three Drinking Glasses on a Wooden Table

You may have to go to the Farmer’s Market for this one! Goat milk is not very common in the grocery store. 

Unlike cow or buffalo milk, goat’s milk has a unique tang and sweetness. It’s a distinctive flavor!

The best part of goat milk is its nutritional punch. 

It has more protein than cow’s milk. And goat milk hosts beneficial nutrients like Vitamin A, potassium, and calcium. 

17. Flavored Milk

Three Glasses of Flavored Milk in Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla on a Wooden Table

Everyone knows that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Just kidding! 

Flavored milk, like chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry, uses cow’s milk infused with sugars and flavoring. 

The type of milk used in the production of flavored milk depends on the brand. But most use whole milk. 

And although flavored milk tastes great, it’s high in sugar. So, drink responsibly! 

17 Different Types of Milk Explained

There are many types of milk out there, both dairy and plant-based. From oat milk to hemp milk to good old-fashioned cow milk, come learn about them all!


  • Whole Milk

  • Skimmed Milk (Fat-Free Milk)

  • 2 % Milk (Reduced Fat Milk)

  • Raw Milk

  • Lactose-Free Milk

  • Oat Milk

  • Rice Milk

  • Almond Milk

  • Soy Milk

  • Coconut Milk

  • Hemp Milk

  • Cashew Milk

  • Buttermilk

  • Toned Milk

  • Buffalo Milk

  • Goat Milk

  • Flavored Milk


  • Select your favorite milk variety.
  • Or try a new one today!
Types of Milk

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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