Soy milk is one of the most common Chinese styles of daily drinking. Many Chinese households love to make homemade fresh soy milk, which provides better flavor and richness than store-bought soy milk.

Soy milk has surged in popularity as a plant-based milk alternative, especially among vegans, lactose intolerant, or health-conscious consumers. But you may wonder what soy milk tastes like and if can it be used as a substitute for dairy milk. We will cover the basic flavor of soy milk, the influencers of the soy milk taste, and some of the comparisons with other common milk.

soy milk|

What’s soy milk

Soy milk is a plant-based milk alternative made from soaked and ground soybeans. With the rise of veganism and plant-based diets, soy milk has become a popular substitute for dairy milk. It is vegan and gluten-free.

You can use soy milk to make your own tofu at home.

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What does soy milk taste like

You may find lots of flavored soy milk from the store, for example, chocolate flavors, red date flavors and so much more. Flavored soy milk represents the flavor of the add-ons mostly.

Plain, original soy milk made from just soybeans and water has the most pure, unadulterated flavor that highlights the taste of the soybeans themselves. You may find the following tastes in regular soy milk.

  • Earthy and grassy from the beans- The dominant taste is a rich, deep earthiness reminiscent of fresh garden peas or snap peas straight from the vine. It has an unmistakable raw legume flavor. Lots of people don’t like this raw taste.
  • Umami savoriness – Once the soy milk is gently cooked, more savory umami flavors emerge.
  • Subtle sweetness – Plain soy milk has low inherent sweetness, but once cooled, the subtle natural sweetness of the beans comes forward. It is far less sweet than dairy milk but has a more sweet character than almond milk.
  • Smooth, creamy texture – The fatty acids and emulsifiers in the soybeans give soy milk a soft, luscious mouthfeel. You will find the tongue coated with its rich viscosity. But soy milk is much thinner than dairy milk.

Soy milk is usually sweetened by sugar or another sweetener, so in order to feel the real taste, you will need to try the most original version. Unflavored soy milk is very popular in China because it can match extremely well with deep-fried Chinese breakfasts like youtiao and sesame balls.

Factors that may influence the taste

Several factors can influence the taste of your soy milk including the soybean condition and how the soy milk is processed.

Usually, new-season soybeans have brighter, more pronounced flavors. Old soybeans lose vibrancy. Organic, non-GMO soybeans have fuller flavor without chemical residuals.

In addition, a longer gentle boiling time can help to remove the raw soybean flavors.

Good-tasting add-ons to soy milk

Sweeteners like sugar, syrup, or honey a almost a must for soy milk, helping to cover the raw taste and enhance the overall taste.

Flavored soy milk can be really good in taste, especially in terms of covering the raw bean tastes. So you can add the following add-ons to your soybeans.

Vanilla Soy Milk is the most common and popular flavored soy milk. Usually, it is sweetened with a vanilla flavor.

Chocolate Soy Milk features the taste of cocoa powder and extra sweetener. It has a taste of chocolate flavor.

Strawberry Soy Milk with either fresh strawberry or frozen strawberry can be fruity and fancy.

When you add matcha powder to soy milk, you get a matcha Soy Milk with a lovely green color and grassy taste.

Flavored soy milk adds complementary flavors like sweet vanilla or chocolate to mask the natural soy taste. Fruity varieties like strawberries provide refreshment. Matcha or chai augment the earthy, savory qualities already present.

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Cook’s Note for homemade soy milk

  1. For rich soy milk, it is quite important to keep the right ratio of the beans and water.
  2. Get a really fine gauze to strain the liquid to remove the pulp completely.
  3. You can add other additions to soy milk for example peanuts to enhance the aroma.
  4. Soy milk should be boiled before eating. Uncooked soy milk is harmful to our health. But watch out for the fire carefully, it overflows quickly.
  5. Stir the soy milk while heating to avoid an overheated bottom.
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How to Make Soy Milk at Home

Soy sauce milk
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Drinks
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Soy Milk
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 177kcal
Author: Elaine


  • 1 cup dried organic soy beans , pre-soaked until softened
  • 3 cups water
  • Sugar as needed


  • Soak the soy beans overnight or until double in size. Rinse the soy beans a few times and try to remove the skins.
    how to make tofu at home|
  • Add the soaked soy beans in a blender with water. Blend well.
    how to make tofu at home|
  • Strain the mixture with a fine gauze to remove the pulp.
  • Bring the soy milk to a boiling and continue cooking for 20 minutes over slowest fire. Watch out, the soy milk overflow very easily. Add sugar to taste before serving.
    how to make soy milk at home|


If you use a soy milk maker, you can make soy milk from dried soy beans. And the machine helps to cook the soy milk, just strain the soy milk with a tool attached. 


Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 442mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 4.4mg

Is there a way to remove the beany taste from soy milk?

Yes, extended soaking, boiling, and filtration help strip out bitter constituents that lend the bean flavor. However, removing too much character negates the very essence of soy milk. Finding the right balance is key for optimum taste.

What is the white powder or sediment in soy milk?

The white sediment consists of soybean particles that escape filtration. Insufficient straining or older soy milk allows more solids through, leading to chalkiness and powder. Using very finely ground beans and thorough straining prevents residue.

Why is homemade soy milk superior tasting?

Greater control over variables like bean quality, grind size, boiling time, and filtering leads to a fresher, brighter flavor for homemade soy milk. Commercial methods cut corners that degrade taste.

Does soy milk taste good in coffee and lattes?

It comes down to the variety used. Barista-style soy milk with a milder flavor and creamy texture blends best into coffee drinks. Bolder plain or unsweetened kinds clash with coffee’s roast profile. Vanilla soy milk also pairs well by echoing dairy’s sweetness.

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The flavor of soy milk stems from the taste qualities inherent in the soybeans themselves – earthy, grassy, nutty, and savory. Removing the context of dairy milk allows soy milk’s flavor to be appreciated on its own merits. As a pure and plain plant-based milk, soy milk can match well with most of the savory dishes.

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  1. Wow, that seems really easy with the machine. I’m not a soy milk fan myself (but I love almost all Chinese tofu except stinky tofu) but a special lady in my house drinks it all the time 🙂 This seems like it would make a perfect birthday present. I noticed you put up the American product (Amazon). Can I buy something like this at Suning or will I have to buy it on taobao? And do they really cost 900RMB here? That seems like it would be a lot for China.

    1. Hi Zhou,
      You are such a caring husband. If you would love to buy one in China, I guess Suning is a great place. Quick delivery and cheap price. Not so expensive. I got mine around 400 rmb around 2 years ago and it is still in use now.

    1. Hi Mirjam,
      I never tried to fridge fresh soy milk. But I don’t recommended storing it over 24 hours. Soy milk lose flavor quickly without preservatives.

      1. Thank you for your quick reply. Your answer surprised me. It actually made me aware of my ‘western’ thinking. It has gotten so normal for me to just put everything in the fridge to make it last longer. It never occurred to me that it doesn’t always work like that, with for instance this homemade soy milk. So thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I tried both methods.
    The soyamilk machine version seems a bit more watery. So I tried blender method as well.
    However no matter how long I boil it. It still have grassy taste. Also alot of foam and it gets burn so easily.

    I saw other ways for blender method.
    Boil or steam the beans then blend and filter
    Blend and boil all mixture then filter.

    Have u tried these? And which you preferred?
    Have you heard about the soyamilk strainer -a stainless steel French press look alike

    1. Hi,
      The beans have a unique taste itself and no matter how long you boil the liquid, it cannot be removed. We usually get a strainer when purchasing a soy milk machine. The most important function of the strainer(or gauze) is to remove the bean pulp, which can greatly weaken the taste.

    1. Erin,
      The bean solids have lots of usages. Sometimes, we add some seasonings and starch or add some flour and form them into pancakes.

      1. Hi Elaine,
        Your blog has so many lovely recipes; thank you so much for kindly sharing! For the leftover bean solids, do you have a recipe that you can share that uses the leftover bean curds from making the soy milk?

        Thank you very much!

        1. Kristal,
          I get several request about the soy pulp, I will post a collection of how to use it just after the instruction about how to make soy skin at home soon.