Many people see milk and coffee as inseparable: lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, and cafe con leche are classic milk and coffee drinks that so many coffee drinkers cherish.
However, though many people take their coffee with milk, there are plenty of milk substitutes, both dairy and non-dairy, that you can add to your morning cup of joe.
What are the best substitutes for milk in coffee? The replacements that most resemble milk are Half-and-Half and heavy cream, but not all milk replacements have to include dairy. Oat milk, soy milk, and almond milk are also great options for someone who prefers a dairy-free beverage.
If you read on, we’ll outline our definitive list for the 7 best substitutes for milk in coffee, both dairy and non-dairy options, and explain their best and worst qualities. We’ll also address some questions that you may have when it comes to choosing a substitute for milk in coffee.
The Best Milk Alternatives In Coffee
Below are our top picks for substituting milk in coffee. We’ll start with the most similar dairy options, then we’ll move on to plant-based milk for coffee.
Half-and-Half is the closest that you’ll get to milk without actually using milk.
It is a mixture of equal parts whole milk and equal parts heavy cream, which is why it so closely resembles milk when you put it in your coffee.
Half-and-Half is an incredibly convenient and delicious option if you have to replace the milk in your coffee. If you happen to run out at home or can’t find any at the store, it’s also incredibly simple to make.
To make Half-and-Half yourself, just combine equal parts milk and heavy cream in a jar and shake it so that it mixes together well. And voila! Half-and-Half, ready be added to your morning cup of coffee.
2. Heavy Cream
After Half-and-Half, the next closest option that you have to milk is heavy cream.
Heavy cream also comes from cows milk, but there are a couple of ways in which the two differ. To begin with, heavy cream is significantly thicker than milk.
Additionally, heavy cream contains a higher fat content than milk does. That’s because cream comes from the butterfat in milk. In the milk-making process, heavy cream naturally separates from milk due to its high-fat content.
Though heavy cream is much more calorie-dense and has a much higher fat content than milk, it can be a delicious replacement in your coffee due to its richness.
Plus, you use it in such small amounts in coffee that there is no need to worry too much about its high levels of fat.
3. Oat Milk
Our first non-dairy milk replacement option, oat milk takes this third-place position thanks to its similar texture and taste.
It is a great option for health-conscious coffee drinkers, vegans and non-vegans alike, due to the fact that it has lower fat content than dairy milk substitutes like Half-and-Half or heavy cream.
Califa Farms makes a special barista oat milk designed for coffee drinks.
It steams perfectly, so it’s a great replacement for milk in your latte or cappuccino. Additionally, it contains no gums or stabilizers, enhancing your coffee drink naturally.
The popular oat beverage brand Oatly also makes a barista edition of their beloved oat milk.
It is thick and creamy, perfect for adding to coffee, and contains no added sugar, so you’re sure to start your morning the healthy way.
4. Coffee Creamer
Coffee creamer is another alternative to milk that is, in most cases, dairy-free.
Most commonly, coffee creamer is a combination of sugar, oil, and thickener, so if you like your coffee sweeter, it can be a good option for you.
Coffee creamer comes in liquid and powder form, the latter of which can be convenient if you aren’t able to store your creamer in a refrigerator.
Both the liquid and solid forms come in a variety of flavors.
One of the most popular brands of coffee creamer, Coffee Mate, offers a plethora of both liquid and powder creamer flavors: hazelnut, french vanilla, vanilla caramel, and more!
If you’re looking for a flavor that most resembles plain milk, go for the original flavor.
Just keep in mind that coffee creamer is much more processed and contains more sugar than the options listed above, so it’s not the best choice for the health-conscious coffee drinkers.
If you love sweet coffee, you’ll want to read this article: The Best Sweeteners For Coffee
5. Bulletproof Coffee
Bulletproof coffee is a high-fat Keto coffee option especially fit for those following the Keto diet. It consists of freshly brewed coffee, grass-fed unsalted butter, and MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) coconut oil.
Though the combination may sound strange, blending these three ingredients together creates a foamy, latte-like consistency and the perfect Keto-friendly morning drink.
The idea behind Bulletproof coffee is to kickstart your metabolism first thing in the morning, which is where the butter and MCT oil comes into play.
The creators of Bulletproof coffee sell their own MCT oil, Brain Octane, which is triple distilled and comes from 100% pure coconut oil.
You can also purchase premixed Bulletproof cold brew coffee in a variety of flavors, such as vanilla and mocha.
While many ketogenic diet followers swear by Bulletproof coffee, it may not be the best choice for everyone.
Though it is great fuel for people following the low-fat, high-carbohydrate Ketogenic diet, it is extremely high in saturated fats, so if you plan on consuming it while following a normal diet, you may experience adverse health effects.
6. Soy Milk
Thanks to its silky texture, soy milk is another excellent non-dairy alternative to milk in coffee.
It naturally has a sweeter flavor, so you may be able to omit the sugar in your coffee when using soy milk in lieu of traditional milk.
A number of brands make soy milk barista blends that are specially designed for coffee drinks.
Pacific Natural Foods has an all-natural barista soy blend that withstands the high heat of steaming required for making a variety of coffee drinks, ensuring a smooth and consistent frothy foam.
This soy milk is also our top choice in our article: The Best Soy Milk For Lattes
7. Almond Milk
Finally, almond milk, another dairy-free beverage, wraps up our milk substitutes.
Like soy milk, it has a natural sweetness, making it a great addition to a cup of coffee with a pastry.
Almond milk is a great alternative for vegans or people who are lactose intolerant, especially if they are looking to minimize carbohydrate or soy intake.
There are a number of almond milk barista blends on the market that will make you forget you ever drank real milk in your coffee.
Califa Farms offers a couple of coffee-specific almond milk options, such as their Barista Blend Almond Milk Creamer.
Below are the most commonly asked questions when it comes to replacing milk in coffee. We hope you find this as helpful as the rest of this article!
What is the creamiest replacement for milk in coffee?
As you can probably guess, the creamiest replacement for milk in coffee is heavy cream.
Its high-fat content and thick texture certainly give it its richness, making it a great addition to coffee if you’re going for creaminess.
However, if you’re looking for a creamy non-dairy milk replacement, we would recommend turning to soy milk, in particular soy milk that is designed for coffee.
Soy milk tends to be thicker than other non-dairy milk, which will lend to a creamier coffee.
Which milk replacement tastes most like milk?
If your priority is finding a milk substitute for coffee that’s similar in taste, you should turn to Half-and-Half.
Because it consists 50% of milk, it will have the most similar taste to milk that you can get without actually using milk.
If you’re looking to stay dairy-free, oat milk has one of the closest tastes to milk that you can get while avoiding milk.
It’s naturally sweet, just like almond milk and soy milk, so it will add a dairy-like texture that is friendly for vegan and lactose intolerant coffee drinkers.
Which is the healthiest replacement for milk in coffee?
Choosing what the healthiest replacement for milk in coffee is depends on your parameters.
If you’re trying to avoid high levels of fat, cream and Bulletproof coffee are not your best options.
If you’re staying away from products with added sugar, coffee creamer is off the table.
As long as they don’t have added sugar or chemical additives, all three plant-based milk substitutes listed above (oat milk, soy milk, and almond milk) are very healthy options.
Aside from these, Half-and-Half, due to the fact that it has less fat and less sugar than other options listed, is also a very healthy milk replacement for coffee.
Are there any other substitutes for milk in coffee?
We’ve rounded up the 7 best substitutes for milk in coffee, but that doesn’t mean that they are your only options when replacing milk in coffee. There are a variety of other options, especially in the plant milk department.
There are a wide variety of nut milks out there, such as hazelnut milk and cashew milk. When it comes to grain-based milk, rice milk and help milk are other great options.
Additionally, you can even use canned coconut milk in your coffee, though it will result in a very unique texture and flavor.
If you’d like to replace your milk with a dairy option, consider using goat’s milk. It will create a slightly sour flavor, but it has a number of health benefits, such as higher levels of calcium than cow’s milk and high concentrations of healthy probiotics.
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