How to Sweeten Coffee Without Sugar: 7 Deliciously Healthy Ideas

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According to recent surveys, more than half of coffee drinkers in the U.S. take sugar in their coffee. However, we are bombarded every day with more and more information on why we should cut as much sugar out of our diets as possible.

So, the question is: How can we sweeten coffee without sugar?

How Can I Make My Coffee Taste Better Without Sugar?

Luckily, there are several common pantry items that can naturally help us sweeten our coffee without giving us a blood sugar spike. Some of them can even deliciously enhance the natural flavor of coffee while tuning down the bitterness. Here are some of my favorite sugar alternatives for coffee!

Try some vanilla

Vanilla extract is perhaps the easiest way to give your coffee a subtle sweetness without adding sugar. Try adding half a teaspoon to your hot coffee; you might find that it does the trick!

Cinnamon, the sweet spice

This common pantry item not only is sweet but also adds a beautiful depth of flavor to coffee. Plus, some studies have shown that it can actually help to control blood sugar if taken regularly in conjunction with a healthy diet.

Try starting with a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup of coffee, and add more if you like the flavor.

Unsweetened vanilla milk

As with vanilla extract, unsweetened vanilla milk can give your coffee a sweetness boost, while also lending its creaminess to the drink.

Most plant-based milks come in a vanilla flavor, as do some dairy-based milks. Plus, the extra creaminess can also soften the bite of an overly robust coffee blend.

You can even froth your milk and turn your morning cup of joe into a vanilla latte (or really a vanilla café au lait).

Cocoa powder

Adding a little unsweetened cocoa powder to coffee will give you a smooth, rich mocha flavor, while also adding the desired sweetness.

You can even try this alongside vanilla milk or vanilla extract to help pull out the depth of flavor even further.

Add some fruit

This is a great reason to break out your blender. Although it takes a little extra work, it’s totally worth it. Blend up your hot coffee with some dates, a banana, or another fruit that you enjoy with coffee. Or, to do an iced coffee, add in some ice cubes for that thick, slushy goodness!

Another great reason to try this out is that it adds another splash of nutrients to your coffee.

And, weirdly, salt

No, salt is not known for its sweet flavor. But, it does tamp down the bitterness and bring out the natural sweetness in other foods and beverages.

Try a pinch of salt in your coffee—it might just bring out enough sweetness from the coffee itself that you don’t need to add anything else!

In case you’re OK with using other sweeteners…

There are plenty of other natural types of sweeteners that are not sugar that you can try out. Honey and agave are two liquid sweeteners that have been historically used to sweeten coffee, even before granulated sugar became popular.

Maple syrup is, maybe surprisingly, one of the healthiest sweeteners for your coffee. It has even fewer calories and more minerals per serving. Date syrup is another option that has gained popularity recently, especially for those looking for a diabetes-compatible sweetener.

Try Different Flavor Combinations

Many of the options above are great to try together. Here are some ideas for fun and delicious coffee drinks that you can make at home:


Mix all of these ingredients together for a delicious cup of mocha.

  • Regular cup of coffee
  • Two teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • A quarter teaspoon vanilla extract

Mexican hot chocolate mocha

Combine these ingredients for a creamy cup of Mexican hot chocolate-flavored mocha.

  • Regular cup of coffee
  • Two teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • Either a splash of milk with a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract OR a splash of vanilla-flavored milk

Fall-spiced coffee

Who doesn’t love the warm, sweet spices of fall?

  • A regular cup of coffee
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • (Optional) a splash of milk or cream

Morning coffee smoothie

In case you want to start your day with something a little more substantial, blend these ingredients in a blender.

  • A regular cup of coffee (cold is best–you can prepare this ahead of time)
  • Half a banana
  • A spoonful of peanut butter
  • A handful of ice cubes

Or Try Better-Quality Coffee

Learning to enjoy black coffee is all about finding the right beans for your taste buds and how to make less bitter coffee.

The number one reason people prefer to sweeten their coffee is because of the bitterness. However, if you opt for a light roast, you’ll find that the bitterness is naturally lower. So, you’ll get more of the pure coffee bean flavor. 

Also, keep in mind that Arabica coffee naturally has less bitterness. It can be more expensive than Robusta coffee, but it’s worth it for the smooth flavor. In fact, many people find that light roasted Arabica coffee doesn’t have any bitterness at all.

What’s Next?

There are plenty of ways to make a healthy, delicious cup of coffee without sugar. Some people opt for naturally-flavored coffees while others opt for the convenience of a Nespresso machine and some delicious Nespresso pods for lattes

Looking for tasty sugar alternatives shouldn’t be painful or boring. All of the above suggestions are fun to try, so enjoy your adventure in finding your perfect cup of coffee.