Ever wondered how to make soy milk? Making your own soy milk is super easy and super cheap! All you need is some soybeans, water, a blender, a pot to cook it in and something to strain the milk like a nut milk bag, a jelly bag, or a few layers of cheesecloth. You can flavour it with your choice of sweetener or use this plain soy milk to make your own tofu or cultured cheese.
Keep in mind that this soy milk tastes very different from most commercial brands which usually have a dozen ingredients or more. But this is so easy and super cheap to make, I hope you’ll try it.
Click here for the printable recipe or scroll below for an in-depth guide on making the best soy milk.
Video Tutorial for DIY Easy Soy Milk
Why Choose This Method to Make Soy Milk
It’s simple, straight-forward method and works every time to make creamy, delicious soy milk. Over the last decade, I’ve tried varying ways to make soy milk but this is the one I always come back to for simplicity and taste. And it’s the method I recommend if you’re planning to make tofu with your homemade soy milk. This is not only based on my experience but readers of this blog and viewers on YouTube report good results when using this soy milk recipe to make tofu (like the silken tofu pictured below).
Ingredients to Make the Best Soy Milk
This soy milk recipe contains only soybeans and water so it’s important that the ingredients going in are good quality! Then, you can add flavourings and sweeteners if you like.
How to pick good soybeans
Picking good soybeans is important for getting a good yield of soy milk that is high in protein and fat. Plus, good beans taste good and good tasting beans make good tasting soy milk. And good-tasting soy milk makes great tasting tofu.
To make sure you take home good soybeans, examine them. They should be pale yellow, round and fairly smooth; not cracked or wrinkly like a raisin. Plus, smell them to make sure they are fresh and not rancid.
Finally, there is some debate about GMO soybeans, most of those are actually grown for animal feed rather than human consumption. When shopping for soybeans, you will find that most retailers will sell non-GMO soybeans. And organic soybeans, which are non-GMO by default, are also widely available.
Where to buy soybeans
Dry soybeans are often very affordable and can be found in some grocery stores, health food stores and online. Usually, I buy them from Superstore here in Western Canada in the bulk foods section (very convenient and affordable) or Bulk Barn where you can also choose organic soybeans.
Does your water matter?
I use regular tap water to make soy milk since I live in Calgary and our tap water generally taste nice. I use to let my water stand in the fridge for a while before using it to make soy milk since it’s chlorinated. However, over the years I have discovered that it makes no difference to my finished soy milk or my homemade tofu.
If you’re not so lucky to have great tasting tap water, try to use bottled water for both soaking the dry beans and for later when you blend the soaked beans.
Equipment to Make Soy Milk
Other than your ingredients, you will need:
- a nut milk bag (or some other similar thing to strain the soy milk)
- a blender; either a regular blender or a high-powered blender
- a large pot with a lid for cooking 5 cups of soy milk (with lots of room to allow for bubbles)
- a wooden spoon or spatula
Step-by-Step: How to Make Soy Milk
To make soy milk, the basic steps are:
- Soak dry soybeans
- Blend the beans
- Extract the soy milk from the soy pulp
- Cook the raw soy milk
Scroll below for the in-depth step by step guide with photos.
Step 1: Soak Dry Soybeans
First, pick through your dry soybeans and get rid of any that are ugly; discoloured or overly dried out and wrinkly. You can rinse them too if they look a little dusty. Put them in a container with at least 3x the room to expand and fill the rest up with water. Over the next hours, the dry soybeans will swell and more than double in size. This can take between 4 hours (on a hot summer’s day on the countertop) to overnight (especially in a cold fridge). While I have been known to keep my soaking beans on the counter, I try to remember to do this in the fridge for food safety reasons. Better safe than sorry, right?
Next, I used to remove the skins from the soybeans after they have rehydrated. This was to reduce the beany flavour of the finished milk and reduce the fiber in the soy pulp (which can be used in recipes). However, nowadays I don’t bother. I’m not sure if the reduction of beany flavour was really real or imagined tbh.
Step 2: Blend the Beans
Now your beans should be between double and tripled in size. Again, pick through to remove ugly discoloured or deformed beans. Then you can transfer the beans to your blender with some water. You want to grind the beans down in water until the pulp is very fine (but not too fine).
The ratio for creamy soy milk (that is also ideal for making tofu) is 1-1/4 cups dry beans to 5 cups water.
Since my current blender container is not that big, I divided the beans in two batches and also split the amount of water into two batches to keep the ratio consistent.
In my high-powered blender (Vitamix E310), takes only about 25 – 30 seconds on the highest setting to break the beans down into the consistency we’re going for. Stop immediately at that point because you don’t want to overblend.
Previously, I had a Ninja Professional Blender which could fit the whole batch and took about a minute on the highest setting.
On the other hand, my regular conventional blender (Oster 12 speed), takes about a minute and a half on the highest setting for each half batch.
Step 3: Extract the Soy Milk from Soy Pulp
I use a nut milk bag for this job; they’re the best! Place the empty nut milk bag in your large pot, pour the soybean puree into the nut milk bag, and secure the top. Then you can squeeze the milk gently through the bag.
Be careful that you don’t squeeze so hard that you break your bag and get pulp in your milk. I’ve done that before; it’s not fun. Instead, move the pulp around in there so you can squeeze different sections.
The milk should feel creamy as it flows over your hands. Is it an Ancient spa treatment of some kind? Maybe. Kind of feels like it. If the milk feels watery and looks thin, that’s a sign that the beans were not blended enough.
After straining, you should have 5 cups of creamy raw soy milk. It may be foamy on top and you can use a skimmer to remove that. Typically, I just leave it though.
About the Leftover Soy Pulp
When you’re done, the pulp, also known as okara, soy lees, tofu dregs, or dòuzhā or dou jai should be fairly dry. And it should have the consistency of play-doh; it’ll stick together and be mouldable. If it falls apart easily, you may want to return the pulp to the blender with some of the soy milk to keep blending some more. This is especially important if you were planning to make tofu from this soy milk. If your soy milk is just for drinking, this is not so important.
More about the soy pulp:
- Wrap well and it can be store for up to 3 to 5 days in the fridge
- Edible but must be cooked first
- Can be used in stir-fries, to thicken soups/stews, made into patties and fried (like my Okara Sea Burgers), added to bread recipes, and more
- A batch of soy milk made using 1-1/4 US cups (200g) dry soybeans yields about 210g of soy pulp.
Step 4: Cook the Raw Soy Milk
Finally, you must cook the soy milk before it becomes edible. Transfer it to a large pot. If you have a mesh strainer, you can run the soy milk through it first to get rid of any soy pulp that might have fallen in.
Then heat the raw milk slowly over medium to medium-high heat until it reaches the boiling point, then quickly lower the heat so it doesn’t bubble over. Simmer for about 10 minutes and it will be ready to drink. You can also continue to simmer it and reduce the volume to make thicker milk. Some people also find they enjoy the flavour more if the soy milk has been simmered for a longer time (up to an hour!)
Some tips for cooking soy milk:
- Please be patient. Try to use less heat to prevent the soy milk from burning on the bottom. It loves to form a skin on the bottom and burn which can ruin the whole batch and waste your hard work.
- Stir the soy milk as it cooks. This prevents the skin from forming on the bottom as well as the surface. You can also keep an eye on it better to prevent boiling over.
- If a skin does form on the top, you can just stir it back into the milk and it should dissolve.
Soy milk just LOVES to bubble over and will do so really quickly so if this happens to you, take the pot off of the heat immediately and fan it or stir to reduce the heat quickly. Then, you can use a damp cloth to wipe up any messes.
And that’s basically it. Fresh soy milk is traditionally enjoyed both hot or cold, plain or with added flavourings. Personally, I usually just add a bit of maple syrup as it’s my favourite sweetener.
Keep your soy milk plain if you plan to make tofu with it. You can make regular tofu or silken tofu with it. You’ll just need a coagulant. I love to use food-grade gypsum (calcium sulfate) but if you don’t want to go hunting for it, you can also make tofu using lemon juice. Check out my homemade tofu using just soy milk and lemon juice here. For smooth delicate tofu, check out my silken tofu recipe as well. That post is newer and goes into more detail about soybeans and what happens when you try using store-bought soy milk instead of making your own soy milk from soybeans.
Storing and Using your Homemade Soy Milk
Use sterile jars or bottles to store your fresh homemade soy milk and extend its shelf life. But tbh, without any additional preservations, homemade soy milk will only stay fresh in the fridge for 3 days up to a maximum of 5 days if your fridge is particularly cold. I like to keep it in the coldest part of the fridge; so way in the back, not in the door!
Separation can also occur. Since there are no gums or other binding agents, the soy milk can form two layers while it sits in the fridge. You can simply shake it up.
However, if its clearly chunky and doesn’t smell good, this is a sign that the soy milk has gone off. So consume your homemade soy milk quickly! Or store it in the freezer for up to a month.
Printable Soy Milk Recipe
IMPORTANT: If you are making tofu with this soy milk, at Step 9, only simmer for ten minutes to fully cook the soy milk. Then go on to your tofu making recipe. No need to cool the milk first.
- 1 1/4 cups dry soybeans (200g)
- 5 cups water (1200ml), plus more for soaking beans
- optional sweetener to taste
Soak Dry Soybeans
- Soak the beans in fresh water until doubled (almost tripled) in size; about 8 - 12 hours in the fridge or faster at room temperature. Make sure there is enough room in your container for the beans to expand to triple their size. Add water if the water level drops below the top of the beans.
- Drain and rinse the hydrated beans and discard any discoloured or deformed beans.
Blend Hydrated Soybeans
- Blend the beans with 5 cups of water until the beans well pureed. You may split the batch in half to fit in your blender.
- This took about 1.5 minutes with my regular 12-speed Oster Blender on the Liquefy setting. In my Vitamix, it took 30 seconds on the highest setting.
- Check that the soy pulp particles are very fine.
Extract the Soy Milk from the Soy Pulp
- Strain the liquid into a large pot using a nut milk bag, jelly bag or a several layers of cheesecloth over a colander or sieve. The liquid will be your soy milk. The pulp, known as okara, can be discarded or used in other recipes.
- Squeeze the pulp until it is as dry as you can make it. The fine soy pulp will stick together like play-doh; this indicates that you blended enough.
Cook the Raw Soy Milk
- Heat the milk on medium to medium-high heat until it just comes to a boil while stirring regularly. The milk tends to form a skin at the bottom of the pot so resist the urge to use high heat. And the stirring is necessary to keep this from building up. During this process, a skin may form at the top; this is normal and known as yuba. The yuba can be stirred back into the milk or skimmed off.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat immediately. Continue to simmer over low to medium low heat. At this point, it's a good idea to taste the milk. It may be a bit beany tasting and bitter. As the milk is cooked, the beany and bitter taste will be reduced. Simmer for 10 minutes for it to become fully cooked.
- Optionally simmer for a longer time to concentrate the creaminess of the soy milk and (some say) to improve the flavour; up to one hour.
- When ready, strain the milk into a container. Serve the milk hot or cold. Add sweetener to taste. I use about 1 or 2 teaspoons of maple syrup per cup.
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 184mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 9g
Nutritional Information automatically calculated by a plugin and may not be correct.