Making Soy Milk

#VeganMoFo18 Day 25 – Making Soy Milk

Last summer I picked up The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine by John Paino and Lisa Messinger that was a leftover from my friend’s mom’s garage sale (again, love free!). It has all kinds of tofu recipes, which is cool, but the most awesome thing about this book is that it teaches you how to make soy milk and tofu! I’ve made nut and oak milks, but had never tried making soy milk before.

The book suggests that the hilum variety of soybeans is a better quality of soybean to use when making milk or tofu, and that it is best to use organic beans as well. I always buy organic soy products as non-organic soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified to be Roundup Ready, that is, they can withstand being sprayed with Roundup to kill competitive weeds in the fields without dying themselves; thus can be covered in the glyphosate herbicide, something I don’t want to eat! I have a quart of organic soybeans that I bought from Whole Foods a couple months ago in anticipation of making soy milk and tofu. I’m not sure what variety they are, however, I did buy a 25 pound sack of organic hylium soybeans from Azure Standard, and they look identical.

The first step is to soak the soybeans overnight in water, no longer than 15 hours. The water should not become foamy, nor should the beans sprout.

Soaking soy beans.

Soaking Soybeans

Next, drain and rinse the beans. Add them in batches to a blender with some water and blend for two minutes. Pour the blended mixture into a large saucepan and repeat with the remaining beans.

Soaked soybeans in water in a Vitamix blender.

Soaked beans in Vitamix

More water is added to the pureed beans in the saucepan and is then brought to a boil. I make sure to use a pot that is much bigger than needed and to heat on my burner that has a simmer option because this mixture is foamy (like the best foamed latte you’ve ever seen!) and will suddenly bubble up and over the sides of the pot in an instant! Don’t take your eyes off of this pot until it comes to a boil and be ready to turn off the heat and stir to keep it from boiling over! Lower the heat to simmer and keep it simmering for 15 minutes.

Simmering the blended soybeans.

Simmering Blended Beans

Oddly enough, once this mixture boils, the foam starts to break down and dissipate. What replaces that foam is a skin, called yuba, that starts to form on the top of the simmering milk. Run a chopstick around the edges of the pan to loosen the skin and then run the chopstick under the surface to collect the yuba. You can transfer it onto a baking sheet and unroll it so that it is the circle that came off the surface of the soy milk. Yuba can be used as noodles or as a faux poultry skin if you make a seitan chicken or turkey substitute.

Removing tofu skin (yuba) from surface with a chopstick.

Removing the Tofu Skin (Yuba) from the Surface with a Chopstick


Yuba on baking sheet.

Yes, it does look kinda like a condom, but I wouldn’t suggest that as a zero waste option!!

After the mixture has simmered for 15 minutes, it is now called gô. Either line a colander with cheesecloth or have a nut milk bag ready in a bowl to strain the soybean solids (okara) from the gô. I tried both methods and prefer using the nut milk bag because it is a reusable option.

Straining the okara from the go through cheesecloth.

Straining the Gô through Cheesecloth

Straining the okara from the go through a nut milk bag.

Straining the Gô through a Nut Milk Bag

Let the milk drain through the cheesecloth or nut milk bag, then gather the cloth or bag up and drag it through a bowl of cold water to cool it down. Put the cloth or bag back into the colander and then pour that water through the okara in the bag. Pick up the bag and twist the cloth to squeeze out as much water as you can from the okara.
Cooling the okara in a bowl of water.

Cooling the Okara in Water

This is the okara, cooked soy pulp that you squeezed the soy milk from. It has the consistency of mashed potatoes and tastes pretty similar to it as well. Don’t toss this! You can form it into patties and cook up as a meat replacer or add it to veggie burger recipes to stretch the recipe out. It can also be used in baked goods, like pancakes or waffles, to make them flakier.

Okara strained from the go.


If you’re not ready to use the okara right away, you can refrigerate it for up to a week, or freeze it up to a year! I’ve frozen my okara and will try it in some recipes soon and report back.

Now you have your finished soy milk! Pour it into your container and chill it (unless you’re going onto the next step to make tofu, which will be covered in the next post).

Half Gallon container of soy milk.

Resulting Soy Milk in a Half Gallon Milk Jar

Another Method for Making Soy Milk

Miyoko Schinner has a slightly different method for making soy milk in her book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples. She suggests that by not soaking the soybeans before cooking them, you get a less “beany” tasting soy milk, more like a commercially made soy milk you buy in the store. So I gave it a try!

With this method, you add unsoaked soybeans to already boiling water and boil them for 1 minute only. Then you take the pot off the heat and the beans sit in this water for 30 minutes, allowing the water to slowly cool.

Pouring unsoaked soybeans into boiling water.

Unsoaked Beans into Boiling Water

Next you drain and rinse the soaked beans and blend them in batches with fresh water into a thick slurry, but only blend them 10-20 seconds. This slurry was significantly chunkier than the previous method.

The slurry is then poured into a cheesecloth-lined colander or nut milk bag. I used a nut milk bag only this time as I prefer using it over cheesecloth. You don’t have to wait for this to cool as it’s already cooled down from boiling while it sat for 30 minutes.

Straining blended soybeans and water through a nut milk bag.

Straining in Nut Milk Bag

The okara from this batch was much chunkier and it was difficult to squeeze all of the milk from it. It is much more fluid, kind of chunky, and not flaky at all. It is more like sloppy mashed potatoes! And it made twice as much waste product than the first method.

Okara left from straining.


The strained soy milk is poured back into the pot, brought to a simmer over medium heat and held there for 5-10 minutes, taking care that it doesn’t boil over.

Simmering the soy milk.

Simmering Soy Milk

You then pour your hot soy milk into jars and let it cool before using. Miyoko says it will keep in your refrigerator, unopened, for up to 3 weeks, but only 3-4 days after opening.

My Thoughts After Making and Tasting Both Methods

Soy milk from first method (left) and second method (right).

First Method on Left, Second Method on Right

The soy milk using Miyoko’s method was more yellow in color than in Paino and Messinger’s method.

They smelled the same.

Miyoko’s soy milk did taste a bit more mild, but it was really hard to discern between the two.

Using Miyoko’s method, soy milk solids stuck to the bottom of the pot when simmering and really cooked on. This did not happen with the first method.

The okara from the first method is flaky and tasty. The okara from Miyoko’s method is chunky, difficult to strain, and tastes like raw beans.

I wanted to love Miyoko’s method for making soy milk because I thought it’d be easier to strain the gô being that it was not boiling hot when you did it. However, the resulting okara tastes raw and is difficult to completely strain. I’m not sure I even want to use that okara. The okara from the first method is light, fluffy, easy to strain, and tastes delicious! The slight difference in the taste of the resulting soy milk is not discernible enough to me to use her method. I prefer soaking the beans and blending them thoroughly before boiling the mixture. The first method is my preferred method.

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  1. Dee on March 21, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    What is the name of your nutmilk bag and we’re can I purchase it? The new one are not as good and my old one is starting to come apart.

    • Cindy Thompson, Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching on March 21, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      I use the Earthwise reusable mesh produce shopping bags as a nutmilk bag, believe it or not! When I went to buy a nutmilk bag, it looked very similar to my produce bags, so I tried it, and it works great! Here’s the link for the bags.

  2. Nisha on March 24, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    I tried making soymilk but it tasted way too beany for my taste. While checking out what I did wrong I came to your post about making soymilk.

    I contacted Azure Standard but their soybeans don’t say what kind they are. Is the 5 lb bag on their site the hylium soybeans or are they separate?

    Thanks a lot for your help.

    • Cindy Thompson, Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching on March 24, 2020 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Nisha, the soybeans Azure Standard sells are organic white hylium, even though they aren’t marked as such.

      Definitely try both methods and see which one tastes more what you’re looking for. Let me know how it goes!

  3. B Epperson on October 29, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    If I wanted to use the soy milk to make yogurt, would there be any issues with leaving the okara in the milk? It seems like it might be a lovely thickening agent.

    • Cindy Thompson, Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching on October 30, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Okara is very grainy, so the only detriment to leaving it in your soy milk when making yogurt is that it would give a thinned “mash potato”-like texture to your yogurt. It may not bother you, so try it and see!

  4. L James on April 27, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    Great blog and great details on each method. I prefer the first method, foo, because I utilize the okara for small patties to eat with rice and veggies. I’ve also noticed that the more you simmer the slurry, the less bean flavor you get. So, I’ve simmered it for about 40 minutes for the desired result.

  5. Judi Sweat on September 29, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Vitamix recipe book says to soak the beans then steam them for 15 minutes before blending. I assume that takes the place of cooking the milk after blending?

    • Cindy Thompson, Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching on September 29, 2022 at 1:02 pm

      That sounds like a great option! How has this worked for you?

  6. Asuvas on December 1, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks for all this great info! One thing I will add is that okara makes delicious, fluffy tempeh. It saves the trouble of peeling and mashing beans. I get my okara from a tofu producer who uses a machine to squeeze it, so it’s not too wet. Home-squeezed okara might need to be dried in the oven for a short time.

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