11 Nut Milk Bag Substitutes That You Can Use for Straining

As more and more people have turned to vegan or vegetarian diets, nut and plant kinds of milk have become more popular. With that, more and more people are making nut milk at home with a nut milk bag. 

What happens if you do not have a nut milk bag? Can you still make nut milk? Yes! You can easily substitute a nut milk bag for multiple other fabrics, such as pudding clothes, cheesecloths, muslin cloth, or even a homemade nut milk bag! 

What is a Nut Milk Bag?

A nut milk bag, commonly made from a fine mesh strainer and 100% unbleached cotton cheesecloth, is a cooking utensil used to make nut milk; hence the name. The nut milk bag allows you to strain and separate milk from any nut, like almonds, peanuts, almonds, and more, to strain from the nuts to make nut milk. 

The nuts of your choice are first ground up and then strained through the bag by squeezing the bag by hand or letting the bag hang from a hook or even your cupboard knob. A pitcher or bowl placed directly underneath the nut milk bag will collect your nut milk. 

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There are many different things you can make at home utilizing a nut milk bag, such as:  

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew cheese. 
  • Peanut milk.
  • Coffee or tea. 
  • Walnut milk. 
  • Yogurt. 
  • Macadamia milk. 
  • Spice pouch. 
  • Coconut milk.
  • Different kinds of cheeses. 
  • Sprout your seeds. 
  • Hazlenut milk. 
  • Fresh juice. 

What Material is Nut Milk Bags Made Of?

You have a wide variety of clothes available for making nut milk bags, commonly unbleached cotton but sometimes nylon or hemp. Cotton would be your best material for a nut milk bag as it is durable, absorbent, and drains well. 

What Does a Nut Milk Bag Do?

A nut milk bag, as stated in the name, is used to make nut milk. You can make plenty of nut milk varieties using a nut milk bag.  

The most common nut milks include but are not limited to: 

  • Almond milk. 
  • Peanut milk.
  • Walnut milk. 
  • Macadamia milk. 
  • Hazlenut milk. 

As well as being used to make nut milk, you can use a nut milk bag in many other ways in cooking. 

There are many different things you can make at home utilizing a nut milk bag, such as:  

  • Cashew cheese. 
  • Coffee or tea. 
  • Yogurt. 
  • Spice pouch. 
  • Coconut milk.
  • Different kinds of cheeses. 
  • Sprout your seeds.
  • Fresh juice. 
  • Paint strainer. 
  • Colander for pasta. 
  • Make your baby food from scratch. 
  • Strainer for fruits and vegetables. 

It doesn’t stop there, though! You can utilize your nut milk bag in a few other ways around the house that doesn’t involve food! Ensure that you pick the right size and material for why you need it. 

Things around the house you could use a nut milk bag for can include: 

  • Dust mask. 
  • Cleaning cloth. 
  • Bandana. 

What Can I Use Instead of a Nut Milk Bag?

1. Cheesecloth

A cheesecloth is essentially the same thing as a nut milk bag as they are both made from the same material, but they do differ in ways like size, shape, weave, etc. 

Cheesecloth can range in variety in relativity to grades, which is the thickness of the material and the weave of the cloth. 

Cheesecloth is one of the finest weaves of cloth there is! A cheesecloth is thin and made from cotton; this fabric has tiny holes with a gorgeous weave. You may hear the holes referred to as an extra fine weave mesh of 56×41 density. 

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One of your best reusable and fairly cheap alternatives is the cheesecloth, usually used to wrap food, make cheese, or strain liquids from solids! You can use a cheesecloth for many other things around the house as well, such as using it as a bandage or sling for an injury. Cheesecloths make for ideal cleaning rags! 

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2. Cotton Handkerchief

You may refer to a cotton handkerchief as a napkin to wipe your face and hands. Sometimes cotton handkerchiefs can be used in cooking, like holding food while you cook your food. Cotton handkerchiefs are almost always cheap and easy to find, making this an outstanding substitute. 

Handkerchiefs, commonly made out of cotton or from a cotton blend, are great if you need an alternative for straining food! Most cotton handkerchiefs have a thinner weave than a nut milk bag, making them ideal for making softer cheeses. 

If you need a last-minute substitute for a nut milk bag, a cotton handkerchief that you have lying around will suffice for most tasks! 

3. Fine Mesh Bag

A fine mesh bag made from thin and delicate material would be another suitable replacement for your nut milk bag. The varieties of fine mesh bags are endless. 

Some types of fine mesh bags would include: 

  • Laundry bag. 
  • Mesh bags, commonly used for the production of alcohol. 
  • Paint strainer bag, found in most hardware stores. 

As well as being practical for their intended use, fine mesh bags can be an ideal alternative to nut milk bags in a pinch. Your perfect use of a fine mesh bag would be straining liquids or sifting flour and other dry elements. 

A fine mesh bag could also aid you in filtering and clearing little particles from a component or fluid. Try using a fine mesh bag the next time you want to remove the pulp from your smoothie or juice. 

4. Coffee Filter

If necessary, you can use coffee filters as a replacement for nut milk bags. However, this method is a lot slower and not to mention more expensive. You may want to try other substitutes for a nut milk bag before going for coffee filters, as many other substitutes are way more ideal. 

That said, it is not impossible to use coffee filters as a replacement for nut milk bags. You may have to change the filter out more than you would a nut milk bag. Doing smaller batches at a time would be more beneficial since the coffee filters can prolong the process, especially with larger particles. 

Using coffee filters as a replacement for nut milk bags is relatively easy. 

You can follow the following steps to use coffee filters as a replacement for a nut milk bag. 

  1. Place your coffee filter on the top of a jar. 
  2. Pour a small amount of the ground nuts of your choice into the coffee filter. 
  3. Let the milk strain from the nuts of your choice. 
  4. Once strained thoroughly, you can squeeze the rest of the milk from the nuts and throw away the filter. You can use the ground nuts in another recipe! 
  5. Replace the filter on top of the jar and repeat the process. 
  6. Repeat this process until you have strained all of your milk from your ground nuts. 

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5. Muslin Cloth

A muslin cloth, commonly used for dressmaking, surgery, art, and home decor, could be a replacement for a nut milk bag if you need it to be. This thin, sheer, loosely woven fabric known as muslin cloth is available at most fabric stores, making it relatively easy to find. 

You can use a muslin cloth just as you would use a cheesecloth. You can either hang and let your ground nuts strain from your muslin cloth. 

For a faster method, you can follow these steps to achieve nut milk in a shorter time: 

  1. Place your muslin cloth in a strainer on top of a pitcher or bowl. 
  2. Pour the liquid into the filter. 
  3. Bring the edges of the muslin cloth together, resembling a nut milk bag. Ensure you tightly gather the ends of the muslin cloth, so you force the liquid to the bottom. 
  4. Squeeze! 
  5. Once the muslin cloth cannot squeeze any more milk from it, the nut milk is finished. You can discard the muslin cloth at this point. 
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You can wash and reuse your muslin cloth, although it is a delicate fabric, so it will not hold up forever.

6. Fine Wire Sieve

A fine wire sieve could be an ideal alternative for a nut milk bag. A fine wire sieve, also known as a chinois, is commonly used for straining pasta or other ingredients. 

The holes in your fine wire sieve are small enough to let the milk strain but will not let the chunks of nuts through into the nut milk. Although, ensure that you do not press too hard on the sieve while straining, as this could cause you to end with nut butter rather than nut milk. 

Using a fine wire sieve in a recipe for broths, sifting flour or other dry ingredients, and cheese-making are all ideal for substituting a nut milk bag for your fine wire sieve. However, your fine wire sieve cannot catch as many small particles as your nut milk bag. 

7. Pudding Cloth

Another more affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to using a nut milk bag is a pudding cloth. If you choose to use a pudding cloth, commonly used to make Christmas pudding or even jam, ensure that you use the pudding cloth the same as you would use a cheesecloth. 

Using a pudding cloth instead of a nut milk bag to make nut milk is super easy to do. Simply follow these steps: 

  1. Place your ground nuts in the pudding cloth. 
  2. Tie off the pudding cloth so no liquid or substance can come from the top.
  3. Hang from a hook or even your cupboard door! 
  4. Place a bowl directly underneath your hanging pudding cloth. 
  5. Let your milk drain from the ground nuts slowly. 

Pudding clothes and cheesecloths are nearly identical in weave, fabric, and usage. That said, a perfect use for substituting a pudding cloth for your nut milk bag is making cheese or, of course, puddings. 

8. Kitchen Towel

Your kitchen towel is something you most likely already have in your kitchen that could be suitable as a substitute for a nut milk bag! You may not think of your kitchen towel as the first thing you would use in place of a nut milk bag, but your kitchen towel can most certainly be suitable for making nut milk and more! 

Using your kitchen towel is very similar to using a cheesecloth or pudding cloth. 

Using your kitchen towel in place of your nut milk bag can be done quickly by following these steps: 

  1. Wet your kitchen towel thoroughly. 
  2. Ring out most of the water from your kitchen towel. 
  3. Place ground nuts in the middle of your kitchen towel. 
  4. Wrap your kitchen towel as you would with cheesecloth or pudding cloth.
  5. Squeeze all of the nut milk out of the ground nuts. 
  6. Alternatively, you can hang the kitchen towel as you would a cheesecloth. 

That said, your kitchen towel could be very handy for most recipes that involve a nut milk bag. 

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9. Homemade Nut Milk Bag

With all these options, you can also easily make a homemade nut milk bag at home! Essentially the only thing you have to do is create a simple drawstring bag from scraps of muslin or cotton fabric. 

You can read more about making a nut milk bag at home later on. 

Ensure when picking out the material for your homemade nut milk bag, you choose a fabric that will quickly absorb and release; cotton is ideal for this. 

To use your homemade nut milk bag: 

  1. Simply fill the bag with the nuts of your choice and water. 
  2. Seal the top of the bag shut. 
  3. Give the nut milk bag a good shake to incorporate. 
  4. Hang the bag for 12 hours to let the nut milk strain out.

10. Cotton Fabric

You can use plenty of things around your house as a nut milk bag substitute. You may think that your shirt or a towel may not suffice as a nut milk bag, but you would think wrong! Loads of things on this list of household items will serve as a substitute. 

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Household items you could use as a nut milk bag replacement: 

  • Flour sack. 
  • Jelly bag. 
  • Laundry bag. 
  • Cloth napkins. 
  • Pillowcases. 
  • Towels. 
  • Sheets. 
  • Sheer curtains. 

Ensure that before you use any of these items, they are thoroughly clean and will not cause a health issue. 

11. Pantyhose 

Last but not least, as they are slowly fading out of style, pantyhose. Though they are sort of going out of style, that does not mean you can’t put them to good use as a substitute for your nut milk bag. Using a pair of pantyhose can be an excellent substitute for your nut milk bag. 

To use a pair of pantyhose to replace your nut milk bag, you need to stretch a neat tandem of pantyhose, or stockings, over a big mixing bowl. Then, place ground nuts in the pantyhose as you would with a nut milk bag. 

You can use pantyhose as a spice pouch and a nut milk bag. Snip off one of the feet, stick your herbs inside and tie it shut. Boom! You have a nifty spice pouch. The best part of using pantyhose as a nut milk bag is that they are reusable; no need to buy more! 

How Do You Make a Nut Milk Bag at Home?

Making a nut milk bag at home is easier than you would think! You can easily make your own nut milk bag at home with a few straightforward steps! As stated earlier, you would read more about making your nut milk bag at home. 

Follow these specific steps to make the perfect nut milk bag. 

  1. Cut your fabric to 36 inches wide by 36 inches long.
    1. You can use cotton, muslin, nylon, or even polyester! Cotton is your best option. 
  2. Fold your fabric of your choice in half so that both edges line up with each other. 
  3. Sew the sides together, leaving a 2-3 inch opening on one side, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. 
  4. Turn your nut milk bag inside out, using the opening you left earlier. 
  5. Iron your nut milk bag flat. 
  6. Sew a 1/4 inch seam around the bag and close the gap you left earlier. 
  7. Done! You now have a nut milk bag! 

After making and using your nut milk bag the first time, ensure that you toss it in the washing machine with your upcoming load of laundry, as most fabrics have the ability to be reused for a long time! 

FAQs

How long do nut milk bags last?

How long your nut milk bag lasts is really based on quality, durability, storage, and handling. There is no set period on how long your nut milk bag will last. 

However, the stitches on the seams will deteriorate the fastest on your nut milk bag. If you would like to elongate the life of your nut milk bag, try not to squeeze your nut milk bag too hard, as pressing too hard puts pressure on the seams. 

Can you boil a nut milk bag?

Yes, for the most part. However, prolonged time in high temperatures does not do a nut milk bag justice. Cotton decomposes rather than melts like other materials, such as nylon. After temperatures reach above 300°F, the cotton fibers will begin to deteriorate. 

That said, prolonged exposure to heat, like boiling a nut milk bag, does not do nut milk bags any good and can cause deterioration of your nut milk bag. As a result, you should not boil nut milk bags. 

Can you put the nut milk bag in the dishwasher?

Washing your nut milk bag in the dishwasher is heavily not recommended. Temperatures of the dishwasher can be scorching, causing your nut milk bag to deteriorate, as stated above. No one wants a melted nut milk bag. 

To clean your nut milk bag properly, you should rinse your nut milk bag under some warm water. Then, gently scrub your nut milk bag with some mild soap. Let it air dry. Alternatively, you could place it in the washing machine in a cold setting. 

Final Thoughts

To finalize, you can easily substitute nut milk bags for numerous alternatives. Whether you choose to use a fine wire sieve, a cotton T-shirt, a kitchen towel, or even a coffee filter, there is hope for an alternative to your nut milk bag.