Taste test – Dairy free chocolate milk

I bought chocolate flavoured Rice Dream milk by mistake a few months ago and it’s been sitting in the fridge feeling neglected ever since. Finally I gave it a go and knocked back a delicious cold glass of the stuff and it’s good; not only is it very tasty, it also contains 120mg of calcium (15% RDA) so it’s great for the skin and bones too. If you have a dairy allergy or intolerance do make sure you buy alternatives with added calcium to ensure you are getting enough in your diet.

Since making this discovery I’ve been buying Rice Dream chocolate flavoured milk regularly and it’s a real treat. I then discovered another dairy free alternative to chocolate milk from Oatly, so I bought that too as a bit of a change. Variety is the spice of life as they say.

Side by side in a glass the Oatly chocolate milk looked slightly paler in colour and much more palatable than the plain oat milk variety which can look a bit greyish and watery. They both look just like normal chocolate milk, and they actually both taste really good.

The Rice Dream had a rich creamy taste, quite sweet but delicious and very tasty. The Oatly was subtly different; it had a tang to it that I couldn’t identify and does taste different to the Rice Dream alternative but it too was smooth, full of flavour, with 15% of your RDA of calcium added.

Provamel and Alpro also make a dairy free soya chocolate milk but I’m not so keen on soya milk. Has anyone tried it? Is it tasty? I don’t really like the taste of soya milk as it is often sweetened, but for a chocolate milk I’m sure it tastes lovely.

Oatley chocolate milk ingredients
Oat base (water, oats 10%), sugar, cacao 1%, rapeseed oil, salt, aroma, calcium, vitamins (D, riboflavin, folic acid and B12).

Rice Dream chocolate milk ingredients
Water, rice (7%), cane sugar, cocoa powder (0.8g), sunflower oil, calcium carbonate, thickening agents: guar gum & xanthan gum;sea salt, natural flavours.

Alpro Soya chocolate flavour
Water, Raw cane sugar, Hulled soya beans (6.3%), Cocoa (2%), Maltodextrin, Tri-calcium phosphate, Sea salt, Natural flavouring, Stabiliser: (Carrageenan), Vitamins (Riboflavin, B12, D2).

Provamel Soya chocolate drink
Water, organic raw cane sugar, hulled organic soya beans (7.2%), organic corn maltodextrin, organic chocolate (1.1%), organic fat reduced cocoa (1%), sea salt, organic vanilla extract, stabiliser: carrageenan

Comparing the ingredients lists above they are pretty basic, but I think the Oatly seems purer, without any thickeners and stabilisers. Do we really need them?

Which is my favourite? I’d be hard pushed to pick one. I think the Rice Dream just pips Oatly to the post but both are really tasty. If you haven’t tried dairy free chocolate milk yet, give it a go. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. I would even go so far as to say that it tastes better than normal milk. If you’ve tried the Soya varieties please let me know what you thought. Perhaps I should give them another go.

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. Hi, I have tried them all too and I prefer the Alpro. Rice Dream is really nice though.
    I only write this comment to highlight something you mentioned: Provamel drinks do not normally have the calcium. They are made by the sam epeople as Alpro and normally have organic ingredients.

    We use Alpro soya milk all the time. I find that their long life milk is the only soya milk which doesn’t taste nutty. I don’t mind that taste on cereals but I don’t like it in tea. Until recently that was also true of their non-long life version but they have changed the ingredients and gotten the nutty taste. Annoyingly they also los the iodine content – as a Vegan it’s good to have iodine as it doesn’t occur naturally in Uk vegetables.

  2. Thanks for your comment Seth. I must try Alpro Soya to see if I like it. I also don’t like the taste of soya milk in tea. It can go really odd too, like it’s gone off and curdled into bits. Like you say, Soya milk can have a very nutty aftertaste but they have improved so much since I first got diagnosed with a dairy allergy. I cried when I tried the soya milk – it was horrid. All much better now and more and more choice. I think you can even get potato milk! Have you tried that?

  3. I just tried the vanilla variety from Rice Dream – Yuk! Not a patch on the chocolate one.

  4. My son’s just been advised to go dairy free this week, he’s 11 years old.

    Decided to do a mystery taste test to try and find a tasty dairy free milk solution for him last night.

    Involved one 11 year old, a 7 year old and me (aged 38). We tried four products, alpro soya light, rice dream, provamel rice milk and asda’s own soya milk.

    We each scored on taste, smell and colour. The rice dream won our little test, second best was provamel, third was the alpro and fourth the asda unsweetened soya milk.

    Think this is going to be an uphill struggle as it tastes very different to cows milk. Going to try the flavoured varieties next.

    • Hi Jan. I’m interested to hear you all preferred the Rice Dream too. It is very different to normal milk, but I’ve grown to love it and don’t miss milk at all now – especially since it makes me very very ill! I think your kids will love the flavoured varieties and would love to hear how you get on. Try some Oat milk too for a comparison. Certainly flavoured it’s very nice, and variety is always good. Not sure you’d ever get kids to eat plain oat milk though – it just looks too much like slightly dirty dish water with a bit of milk in it. Sorry Oatly… and can go a bit gloopy.

  5. Hi Ruth,
    Coming to this post very late but wanted to added my experience of chocolate soya milks. One of my favourite drinks is hot chocolate which I use a frother on. All of the above drinks can be heated to make hot chocolate but I’ve found that the Alpro and Provamel chocolate drinks froth up much better than the rice or oat drinks. They taste really creamy too, and it’s a real treat to curl up in front of the fire on a cold night with a large mug of hot dairy free chocolate!

    • I’ve never thought of using a frother on dairy alternatives. Sounds like a great idea and something to go on my xmas list! Thanks Sue! I also never thought of heating up chocolate dairy milk, I’ve always made it from scratch with safe cocoa powder and plain rice milk or soya etc. Another great idea! The simple ones are the best.

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