We’ve all read the calorie count or the ingredient list in some of our favorite creamers and considered going without.
Maybe you’ve simply run out of creamer and are desperate to still get your smooth caffeine hit the way you like it.
Fortunately, there are many delicious options and DIY creamer methods that will keep you from missing out on deliciously smooth coffee! Let’s face it, some of us just can’t drink it black!
Generally, creamier coffee can be achieved by using other obvious ingredients like cream, half & half, and various types of milk. Frothing, heating, and whipping these ingredients can make for a smooth, barista-grade cup.
But are dairy products your only solution?
Luckily, there are healthier options even with non-dairy alternatives, but to help you decide whether you would prefer dairy or non-dairy, let’s explore them both and the best ways to incorporate them into your morning brew.
Top 10 Ways to Make Creamy Coffee Without Creamer!
1. Whip the Coffee
Trending and hot! Whipped coffee may be new to social media, but India, Greece, and Korea have been long known to make it. For this version, you need instant coffee, sugar, and hot water. Whisk until peaks have formed or when you can see you have your desired thickness. Pour over hot milk, cold milk, ice water – your choice!
2. Make Indian Espresso
Similar to whipped coffee, this is an indulgent, hot cup of caffeinated goodness – so delectably creamy! Instant coffee (1Tbsp), sugar (1-2 Tbsp), hot milk (1 cup), and water (1 tsp) is all that is needed. You can also sprinkle cocoa on the finished product to finish the look and to its fancy flair. Add all ingredients but the milk to the cup. Whip, whisk, mix, and beat to create a paste. When it’s whipped, creamy, and light-colored, pour hot milk to create your Indian espresso.
3. Froth Milk with Frother
Frothing milk is very easy, and the $10 tool may prove to be a jitters-saver when you’ve run out of cream. You can use heated, cold, dairy, and non-dairy milk although dairy, high-fat, fresh milk foams best. The frother creates those airy, foamy bubbles that we love on lattes, but it’s no rule that it doesn’t belong on a regular cup of Joe to spruce it up.
4. Foam Milk with French Press
Didn’t know you could do it? You can! You must heat the milk first to scalding and pour into your French Press. Pump the plunger to form bubbles and froth. It works best with dairy milk and oat milk, although you can accidentally deflate the oat milk if you overdo it. Non-dairy milk can work but it may take some practice to get it right. Bubbles and foam equals creamy coffee.
5. Whisk the Milk
It’s going to be easier to use a hand mixer, but you can do it by hand if you’re subbing it for your arm workout. It won’t create as much foam as you may expect but it’s better than nothing when you don’t want to pour in plain, old milk.
Heat the milk, add to bowl, and whisk away. Your lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos may not be as impressive as using a frother, but who is going to complain when it’s prettier and creamier than just dumping in milk?
6. Thicken Whole Milk
Go stove-top style and reduce milk to thicken it. Basically, you’re making your own condensed cream. Add sugar and double the milk as you’ll end up with half the amount in the pot. Use a bottom-heavy stainless steel, cast-iron, or aluminum pan without the lid. Heat milk on low while stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer until the milk has reduced, thickened, and darkened in color. Creamy and sweet coffee made from scratch!
7. Pour Plant Milk First
If you plant-based milks are your creamer of choice, you may have run into a curdling problem rather than a creamy solution. One simple way to temper your plant-based milk of choice to your cup of coffee and avoid lumps is to pour the milk in the cup first. Add coffee next. Voila and you’re welcome.
8. Use Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is a versatile liquid as a coffee creamer. The most popular ways to use heavy cream, aka whipping cream, instead of coffee creamer is to simply pour it into your cup of coffee, and of course, whip it. It can also be whipped with butter, Greek yogurt, or cornstarch for extra thick creaminess.
Cream also works well with ordinary pantry additives such as sugar, spices (think cinnamon, pumpkin spice, etc.), flavored extracts, colored flavoring (think holiday colors for indulgent holiday coffee). Some may be added directly to the cup of coffee or mixed in or dashed on the cream.
9. Grind Your Nuts
If you don’t have any dairy or any types of milk in the fridge, you may have to turn to the pantry. Got a handful of nuts? Put ‘em to use and grind ‘em. Really popular with almonds, you can use this method for cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts, and most other nuts.
The time it takes to soak them will change with each type of nut but generally, you soak them in water, blend them with fresh water, and strain! Tada, you have fresh nut milk that may have the touch of creaminess you’re after. For an added flavor twist, you could also roast the nuts before soaking.
10. Combine Ingredients
Sometimes, all it takes to get a fast creamy fix is to combine your creamer alternatives. A small handful of popular combos are:
- Almond milk, dates, milk, water
- Coconut oil, nut milk, vanilla extract
- Coconut cream, nut milk, coconut sugar heated on stove
- Coconut oil, butter
- Condensed milk, coconut milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup
- Protein powder, collagen, MCT oil, vanilla extract
- Honey, vanilla milk (any type), lavender oil (safe for ingestion)
- Heavy cream, half & half, stevia, vanilla extract
- Heavy cream, milk (any type), stevia, flavored extract, egg yolks
- Cashew milk, coconut cream
6 Coffee Creamer Substitutes for Creamy Coffee
1. Heavy Cream
Heavy whipping cream by itself or “frothed” adds a great texture and flavor. Cream is over 90% made of fats and contains about 51 calories per serving. However, it’s very low carb with 0.42g per serving and may be a viable option for those on a Keto diet.
Cream also gives you trace amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals such as A, B12, C, D, E, K, folate and niacin. Cream is also naturally sweet, and you may find yourself not needing as much sweetener.
2. Half & Half
Half-and-half is a mixture of cream and milk and is probably the most popular substitute for traditional sugared creamer. Compared to heavy cream, half-and-half contains (you guessed it) about half the fat content.
It is still very low carb (0.39g) with 20 calories per serving and has trace amounts of protein, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A, B12, E and C.
Manufacturers have also created fat-free varieties, which boast only 9 calories per serving. The drawback on half-and-half is the heavy processing they are subject to along with the addition of ingredients such as corn syrup and carrageenan that is used as a thickener. It is important to note that carrageenan is a controversial ingredient that has possible links to inflammation and even some serious digestive problems.
Flavored half and half varieties abound as well. The calories and carbohydrates in these options are significantly higher; often more than double. Check the labels. All too often, there is a litany of other additions to these options than just calories.
Plain milk is another lighter dairy option you can add to your coffee. Whole milk, 2%, 1%, and fat-free options are everyday substitutes for creamer and will affect the overall taste quality and creamy smoothness. Use various methods to make it creamier depending on your personal taste preferences.
4. Unsweetened Evaporated Milk
Through a heating process, half the water is removed making evaporated milk very thick and creamy. The nutrients are not lost in this process, so you will get all the health benefits contained in regular cream and milk. One ounce contains 25 calories, 0.5g of fat, and approximately 25 calories.
Adding a tablespoon of unsalted, or salted if your coffee is bitter, grass-fed butter can add a smooth texture to your cup. This is also another option for those on a Keto diet as a butter is high in fats. Tip: Put coffee and butter in a blender for a few seconds for a little froth.
6. Other Sweet Substitutes
If you can tolerate it, there are multiple dairy options for a very rich and creamy taste. You can experiment with sweetened condensed cream, heavy cream powder, whipped cream, and even egg nog. If you’re not worried about the calories but want a sweet, creamy, hot cup of coffee, it may just replace dessert!
5 Coffee Creamer Non-Dairy Substitutes for Creamy Coffee
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk is probably the most widely used milk as a substitute for when dairy milk is often used as a creamer. It has a rich, creamy texture and flavor that does not overpower the palate. Of note, homemade almond milk does taste nuttier than its store-bought cousins.
2. Cashew Milk
Cashews contain more fat than almonds and that extra fat content provides a thicker, creamier texture to the nut milk. A dash of cashew milk may be just enough to give the creamy boost you need to your cup.
3. Macadamia Milk
Macadamia milk has an almost fruity flavor but is often a milk of choice as a cow’s milk substitute due to its creamy and smooth texture. Macadamia nuts are not as easy to come by as almonds or cashews and this is often reflected in the cost.
Honestly though, it’s not any more expensive than buying a 32oz of dairy creamer. It can come sweetened and unsweetened, and those who are on a vegan and Keto diet may enjoy the plant-based creaminess.
4. Hazelnut Milk
Hazelnut milk is less common than almond, cashew milk, or even macadamia milk. Hazelnut has a pleasant flavor that pairs well with coffee. In fact, hazelnut is a popular flavor in most commercial coffee creamers, both dairy and non-dairy, but this is mostly from artificial flavor sources.
5. Coconut Milks & Creams
Coconut milk is the liquid extracted from shredded mature coconut meat that has been soaked in water and strained. Coconut cream is basically the same, although with a lower water content. Both of these can be frothed to a creamy consistency very easily.
Are Non-Dairy Creamers Healthy?
Plant-based milks in their purest form consist only of the nut or grain, water and sometimes a pinch of salt. Store-bought options are also easily available and convenient, but have added ingredients, including gelatins, sugars and preservatives along with some added vitamins and minerals.
Flavored versions almost always contain preservatives, artificial flavorings, and sugars of various kinds, not to mention double or even triple the calorie-count.
Non-dairy creamers are becoming extremely popular especially with more people turning to plant-based diets. According to trend analyses and forecasts, speculated sales and demand for these creamier alternatives are expected to increase over the next five years.
Unfortunately, many commercial brands do contain added sugars and oils and all too often, carrageenan (mentioned earlier) to add thickness. I recommend you always watch the labels and make choices based on your health-consciousness and personal taste preferences.
4 Healthy Coffee Creamer Alternatives for Creamy Coffee
Oats are naturally sweet and are quite high in fiber. The soluble fiber in oat milk makes it creamier than other grain milks including nut milks because it absorbs water easily. It makes for a very organic, creamy texture that may soon be a favorite creamer replacement.
The fiber in oats also aids digestion and can give you a sense of fullness for a longer period of time. There are also health claims including helping to stabilize sugar levels and improve cholesterol levels.
2. Soy Milk
Soy milk has a very mild taste that won’t cover up the natural coffee flavor. To get soy milk even creamier than its carton version, cook it down to reduce it to a desired thickness. You can also add your choice of flavorings if desired.
Soy milk is closest to cow’s milk as far as nutrition. However, because soy crops have been heavily modified genetically and have been heavily treated with pesticides, the nutritional value of soy has become controversial. There are some brands of organic soymilk that do claim to be non-GMO and free from conventional pesticides and herbicides. Again, watch your labels and do your research if this is a concern to you.
3. Superfood Creamer Powders
Superfood powder ingredients vary between manufacturers and diet needs. Some may incorporate nuts, grains, powdered oils, and spices. Designed to be a coffee creamer alternative, they are marketed to be creamy, flavorful, and easy to use.
Superfood powders have become popular with the rise in plant-based and organic diets, and apparently, it’s also become a coffee creamer alternative. You can also lump protein powders in with this category. With plant-based ingredients, it’s naturally better for you than most other processed and chemically added alternatives.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a slightly nutty taste if you like that flavor profile, but as for making coffee creamy, it lends to be a smoother texture. Best paired with a milk alternative can help provide that creamy consistency.
While available in powdered form, the liquid or melted down form can be poured straight into a cup of coffee. MCT Oil is another form that is popular with Keto diets and has no taste.
Who Says You Need Creamer for Creamy Coffee?
When most of us think coffee creamer, Coffee Mate and International Delight comes to mind. Yum!
So, running out of creamer can be a downright mood killer at six am. You don’t need to leave the house with black coffee or without your caffeine hit.
If you’ve simply run out, looking for creamier substitutes, or you need to use whatever it is that you have in the pantry, these are the best ways to get that coffee creamer-like texture.
Who says you need coffee creamer to make creamy coffee?