There was once a time (not that awfully long ago) that a trip to the grocery store to pick up plant-based milk was limited to rice milk. And then, of course, there was the rise of the popular plant-powered milk champ — soy.

Now, that is hardly the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. While soy remains a viable substitute and a go-to for many, be it for sipping or cooking, there are many more plant-based milks that are equal (if not greater) and shouldn’t be overlooked. Since it can almost be overwhelming to walk down a grocery store aisle nowadays, if you aren’t sure what you’re looking at (or looking for), here is a brief look at the best choices for plant-based milk substitutes for many different purposes.

The Best Milks to Pour In Your Coffee

Although some mega coffee companies remain a bit behind, coconut milk and almond milk have made their way into many local coffee shops. Naturally, when it comes to selecting the right milk for your coffee, taste is key. While almond milk provides a thinner and less creamy addition, depending on whether or not it’s sweetened, it can certainly add a bit of zest to your cup. Here’s a closer look at almond milk with product picks.

If richer creaminess is what you’re looking for, leave it to coconut milk. Coconut milk provides a sweeter taste to counteract any bitterness in the coffee, which comes as no surprise as it’s the richest and creamiest in the plant-based milk world. Here’s a closer look at coconut milk with product picks.

For even more creaminess, plant-based creamers (including those of the coconut milk variety) have also made their way to the shelves. Here are 5 amazing dairy free creamers worth checking out.

The Best Milks to Blend In Your Smoothie

Use almond milk as your smoothie base for a nutrient-rich boost, and you won’t even notice its subtle nutty taste. However, if subtly is not what you’re after, and you are looking for a milk that is slightly stronger in nuttiness, try hazelnut milk. Although less popular than almond milk, hazelnut milk is increasingly catching on as an alternative, and offers many of the same health benefits as almond milk. Here’s a closer look at hazelnut milk with product picks.

The Best Milk to Simmer in Your Soup, Curry or Sauce

This is where cans of coconut milk come in very handy. A can of coconut milk (or that of the light variety) readily and simply makes a delightful base for any and all of your curry needs. In the case of sauces, although any of the more neutral tasting plant-based milks can be stirred into whatever sauce you are whisking up, here is a look at how to make creamy sauces without dairy.

The Best Milk to Bake in Your Muffins or Sweets

Although many still prefer rushing to soy for vegan baking, whether morning muffins or late night sweets, baking is a great opportunity to test out hemp milk. Hemp milk is a prime substitute for those with soy, or nut aversions. It’s creamier and thicker than almond and most other nut milks and high in Omega 3 content. Here’s a closer look at hemp milk with product picks.

The Best Milk of All? Make Your Own!

Of course, the versions you find on store shelves all remain processed and if sweetened, carry more sugar than most of us probably desire. That said, once you’ve narrowed down your plant-based milk tastes and preferences, you can always make your own milk at home. Here’s a little help to get you started: “How to Make Plant-Based Milks.”

But Wait, There’s More… 

If you’re looking for a more in depth guide and a side by side comparison of the plant-based milks mentioned here, along with others to consider, check out this “Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Milks.”

Image source: Celebrate National Milk Day