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Coffee and creamer go hand in hand. Creamer is the mellow to coffee’s bite, the sweet to coffee’s bitter, the, well, creaminess to coffee’s sharpness. However, you might have found yourself in a position where you need to substitute your regular creamer for something else, and you’re wondering what to put in coffee instead of creamer.
Maybe you’ve used up all your creamer, the supermarket is out of stock, or you’re looking for healthy alternatives to coffee creamer. Whatever the reason, we’ve got your back! Here are some great coffee creamer substitutes for your brew.
What Exactly Is Coffee Creamer?
You might be wondering what sets creamer apart from cream, half and half, and other dairy alternatives.
There are actually quite a few differences, the first being that creamer quite often has no dairy in it. It is a heavily processed liquid, usually made from some sort of vegetable oil, water, and sugar–a lot of sugar.
Whereas cream, half and half, and milk are generally unprocessed dairy products; they are usually unaltered but sometimes have a flavoring added.
So, What Can I Use as a Substitute for Coffee Creamer?
There are actually quite a few reliable substitutes that you can experiment with. Here are some ideas that you can easily try at home!
Dairy-based creamer substitutes
If you don’t mind using dairy in your coffee, you might want to give these a whirl.
That’s right–regular, good ol’ heavy cream in your coffee. A cream alternative for coffee creamer is great because of its high fat content and naturally sweet taste.
As the name implies, heavy cream is very creamy, and it effortlessly mellows out the sometimes bitter taste of coffee.
You don’t need to add much to your coffee. For a regular cup, two teaspoons will do well. If you want your coffee a little sweeter, feel free to add in a sprinkle of sugar, honey, or vanilla extract. This creamer substitute will give you a truly decadent cup of coffee.
Half and half
Half and half is another great substitute, getting its name from its half-milk, half-cream combination. It has a lower fat and calorie content than heavy cream, but it still retains much of its creaminess and sweetness. Just add a splash to your cup of coffee and enjoy!
Milk and sugar
We’re not gonna lie; milk alone doesn’t add the same dramatic effect as heavy cream and half and half do. But, you can make a very good creamer substitute by adding more milk than you would heavy cream and half and half and supplement with a teaspoon of sugar. T
his combination will actually mimic the taste and texture of coffee creamer better than either of the previous two do but without the processing and high sugar and fat content. You can even add a drop of vanilla extract for some extra flavor!
Plus, milk, both whole and low-fat, can be frothed if you’re looking to make a latte or cappuccino.
Non-dairy creamer substitutes
If you’re trying to avoid dairy, here are some of the best dairy-free alternatives to coffee creamer.
Oat milk has recently come under the limelight as the premier dairy-free milk alternative, and for good reason. It is truly creamy and delicious!
Luckily, supermarkets have exploded with different brands, sweetness levels, and flavors of oat milk. Some brands even have extra creamy versions that are great for coffee! As an added bonus, you can froth oat milk almost as perfectly as you can with dairy milk.
Nut milks come in such varieties that it can be overwhelming. Almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hazelnut milk—the possibilities are endless.
Almond milk still comes out victorious as the most popular nut milk because of its perfect creaminess and subtle nutty flavor. But, cashew milk has more recently come into prominence for its even creamier texture and smooth taste.
Tropical, buttery coconut milk has also found its place in most grocery stores. Nut milk blends have also become widely available, such as almond-cashew and cashew-coconut.
There are so many nut milk options, so why not give a few of them a try and find what you like best?
Soy milk is the OG non-dairy milk alternative. It has been around the longest of all other dairy milk alternatives, and it has been perfected over so many years of being on the market.
Where soy milk used to be a rather disgusting, sort of creamy, sort of watery beverage, it is now satisfyingly creamy and has a surprising sweetness to it. Definitely a step up from the unsettling liquid it used to be!
Non-traditional creamer alternatives
Maybe you’re in a pinch, and none of the above are available to you. Or, maybe you’re tired of the usual milk alternatives and are looking for something new. Here are some unique and surprisingly delicious alternatives.
Condensed milk or evaporated milk
These two are both made from milk that has had a portion of the water content evaporated out, which leaves a thick and concentrated milk-based liquid. However, there is one key difference: condensed milk has sugar, while evaporated milk is unsweetened.
Both of these are great substitutes for coffee creamer. Condensed milk will give you an intense creaminess and a similar sweetness to creamer, while evaporated milk is great if you’re looking to control your sugar intake.
Butter or coconut oil
Maybe it’s not the healthiest of alternatives because of all the saturated fat, but butter and/or coconut oil can give you a creamy and satisfying treat if you’re looking for a little more decadence now and again. Think heavy cream, but even richer and silkier.
Although honey was used as the traditional coffee sweetener in ancient times, it has become a mostly forgotten addition to coffee. However, it gives you the sweetness that you get from regular coffee creamer, but without the over-processing and questionable ingredients.
It tastes sweeter than regular sugar, so you won’t need as much of it as you would with table sugar. That means you can enjoy the extra sweetness in coffee without experiencing the unpleasant blood sugar spike afterward.
Other Ways to Replace Your Coffee Creamer
It’s okay to try different things and find what you like best. It’s rare that somebody finds the perfect substitute on the first try, so think of it as an adventure. There are many great options; have fun with them!
Try some combinations
Maybe you’ve tried cream, but it doesn’t give you the sweetness you desire. Or, you try nut milk, but it’s not rich enough. Remember that you can always try a combination of the options above to achieve your desired taste and consistency.
Milk and honey are a great combination, as is nut milk mixed with some coconut oil.
Some additional flavorings to try
Since creamers come in so many different flavor options, here are some additional add-ins you can try mixing with the above creamer substitutes. They’ll add sweetness to your coffee without sugar and the health concerns that come with it.
- Warm vanilla latte: a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract and foamed milk
- Sweet and nutty flavor: a quarter teaspoon of almond or hazelnut extract
- Fall flavors (pumpkin spice latte, anyone?): A dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg with a teaspoon of maple syrup
- Mocha flavor: cocoa powder and honey or sugar
- Caramel latte: a drizzle of caramel and foamed milk
- Peppermint mocha: a quarter teaspoon of peppermint extract and one to two teaspoons of cocoa powder
- Coconut candy (think Almond Joy): coconut oil to taste and one to two teaspoons of cocoa powder
So Many Ways to Enjoy Coffee
Many people rely on their coffee creamer and other flavorings to make their coffee palatable. Remember that good-quality coffee beans will give you a very different and more enjoyable coffee experience than coffee beans of low quality.
Someday, you might even learn to enjoy black coffee. You could always get some premium flavored coffee beans to give it a shot—worst case, they taste great with a bit of cream. And flavored coffees are often carb-free and keto-friendly.