Are you looking to heat up plant-based milk for a beverage, recipe or meal prep? The safest and easiest way to warm milk is a microwave, and the same applies to the dairy-free beverage alternatives as well.
With adjustable power and timing feature, it can prevent milk from curdling, scorching, and separating.
Can you heat plant milk in a microwave? Yes, there is no harm when you heat plant milk in a microwave. For best results, heat the plant milk in a microwave-safe container.
Cover the container with a folded piece of paper towel, then microwave on low to medium heat with intervals of 15 seconds at a time and frequent stirring to avoid overheating the beverage and causing it to curdle or thicken. In general, plant milks have a heat tolerance between 110 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of grain, nut or seed.
It is safe to heat plant milks such as soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, rice milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and flax milk in a microwave without any harm, provided all the basic principles are followed.
However, there is a possibility that plant milk will react differently in the microwave depending on the type. Some plant milk may change a little bit in consistency when subjected to high heat temperatures.
Others may foam or coagulate on the surface compared to others, especially when you’re making a latte. Nonetheless, it’s true indeed that you can microwave plant milk to warm them up for your intended purpose.
In this article, we are going to learn all about safety for the best way to microwave plant base milk. Answered below are frequently asked questions about warming plant milks in a microwave and how they should be heated.
Is it safe to microwave plant milk?
Yes, it’s safe to microwave plant milk. Heat in a microwave safe container for 15 second intervals at medium heat with frequent stirring after each duration until the desired temperature is reached.
Some plant milk, such as soy milk, cannot hold high temperatures very well, therefore heating until warm is as much as you can expect to accomplish.
Soy based plant milks will curdle at a high temperature, such that it can start forming coagulated proteins that float on the surface of the beverage. Therefore, for best results when microwaving such plant milk, heat them slowly and gradually on a low to medium heat level.
In addition, always microwave plant milk inside a microwave container at low-medium heat in the microwave. The plant milk should be checked and stirred every 15 seconds so that it doesn’t overheat.
Finally, it’s always good to avoid the boiling point of plant milk because the beverage will alter significantly when heated above a certain point.
Why shouldn’t you microwave plant milk?
Most plant milk are safe to microwave, but the safety measure depends on facts like diminished nutritional levels and the change in texture or consistency.
So, heating plant milk in a microwave is never recommended for two reasons:
- Infants consume many types of plant milk because they are a good source of nutrition. Unfortunately, avoid microwaving food or drink taken by an infant, and those kinds of plant milk are no exceptions. Because when the plant milk is heated in the microwave, there is an uneven distribution of heat that creates a hot spots, such that when a baby consumes it can cause burns in the mouth. Plant milks are also transferred into baby bottles that can explode when heated for too long.
- Most plant milk, such as soy and almond milk, have immunological components that lead to anti-infective properties. When this milk is heated at high temperatures, especially in a microwave, these components are destroyed. In case of overheating, the plant milk in question can be denaturalized and inactivated to decrease the percentage of protein, fat and antioxidant contents.
How do you warm plant-based milk in the microwave?
The plant milk gets warmed up by indirect electromagnet radiation in the appliance that makes water molecules in the plant milk vibrate. Thus, the heat is generated through friction, hence the plant milk gets warmed.
The process, however, varies depending on the type of plant milk being warmed up:
- When warming up soy milk in the microwave, the process should be slow and gradual since soy milk is extremely volatile, especially when heated at a high temperature. Once the soy milk is subjected to temperature extremes, it curdles into tofu and starts forming coagulated protein solids floating on the surface.
- For almond milk, when heated on a microwave, the microwave should be at a low-medium program and should be warmed at most 2 minutes. If the warming process is done properly, then the warmed almond milk should fill the room with a nutty roasted aroma.
- When the coconut milk is warmed in a microwave, the programed setting should be at medium mode. Before placing it in the microwave, shake well. As the warming process continues, whisk the coconut milk to stir the liquid. The indicator that the milk is already warmed up is that the coconut milk starts to steam lightly, but don’t let is simmer or boil.
- When warming oat milk with a microwave, you start by heating for 2 minutes, then at intervals of 15 seconds at a time. Stop the microwave to stir the oat milk so it doesn’t settle on the bottom and burn. Oat milk is high is starch, and well thicken significantly as it heats.
- For rice milk, using in the microwave with medium heat setting to run it for 15 seconds intervals. Rice milk is a bit lighter than the other plant-based milks, therefore warm it on low-medium temperature at the microwave. Stirring frequently will help to prevent the formation on top layer of floating solids.
Tips to microwave plant milk
Plant milk is easy to heat up to enhance the naturally sweet flavor and buttery taste. Without caution, plant milk can easily curdle and scorch, so proper microwaving instructions should be followed.
To avoid this from happening, follow these guidelines when microwaving plant milk:
- Never boil the dairy-free milk. When heating the plant milk in the microwave, ensure the milk does not boil because if it does, it will destroy all the nutrients, and more so, the texture can change. When the structure of milk such as nut milk changes, the thickened consistency might not be that appealing.
- Stir frequently. Stirring the plant milk continuously as the warming process continues helps to prevent hotspots from developing and causing pockets to change consistency without warning.
- Never overheat the plant milk. Some types are very aggressive to high-temperature change, leading to superheat explosions or significantly altered taste and texture.
- Use microwave-safe mug or cup. Do not heat in original package, cartoon or container, always transfer to a microwaveable dish made of glass or ceramic unless you are ok with microwaving plastic.
- Adjust the power level. If the microwave does not have power setting adjustment, select defrost setting to heat plant milk on a low power level. High heat is definitely not recommended for microwaving plant milks.
Best way to microwave plant milk
The best way to microwave plant milk is by pouring it into a microwave-safe container, heat on medium power for intervals of 15 seconds. Give it a stir and check the plant milk whether it’s warm so that you avoid boiling or overheating.
Avoid using original package to microwave and always use a microwave safe cup, bowl or container. When microwaving, use parchment paper or paper towel to cover the opening to prevent unnecessary splatter.
Always stir in-between each interval, the frequent stirring can help to evenly distribute the heat and prevent formation on top sediment layer of coagulated solids.
Microwaving Plant Milk: Conclusion
Plant based milks react differently when microwaved. Some are versatile, while other form foams, coagulated proteins and change consistency as the warming process continues.
Microwave is safe way to warm plant milk, however it is not recommended to boil dairy free milk, especially int he microwave. Due to hot pockets forming, it can be dangerous and burn your mouth, face or hands due to the water being superheated inside the liquid.
Also, soy milk and almond milk looses antioxidant properties and decrease in overall nutrition when heated too high. Therefore, warming is appropriate but overheating is ineffective.
Always check the heat tolerance of individual plant milks to apply the proper temperatures to heat up in microwave. As a result, you’ll achieve the best results without getting curdling and scorching that ultimately affects taste and texture.