What Is Cold Foam?

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Iced coffee has become one of the most popular drinks on the market. It seems like everybody likes iced coffee.

Whether you like to take a trip to Starbucks or perhaps Dunkin Donuts or maybe you visit a local coffee shop that you love, they all have iced coffee flavors and options. 

Some of these iced drinks like cold brew now come with cold foam. While creamer and milk have always been popular in this type of drink, cold foam reinvents the wheel and gives you that delightfully creamy foam on a cold drink.

It’s so delicious! 

What is cold foam? Cold foam is cream or milk that has been frothed while cold to add a creamy, foamy texture on top of cold drinks like coffee. It is sometimes sweetened or flavored.

Sometimes people will advertise cold foam that has been blended to perfection, which is delicious, but not technically the real thing.

Either way, cold foam is the perfect creamy and velvety blend for cold drinks that need some foam topping.

In this guide, we will journey through everything that is cold foam. We will discuss what’s in it, talk about the taste and texture, and even cover recipes for making cold foam as well.

There is a lot to uncover here so let’s get started.  

What Is Cold Foam? A Complete Guide

Cold foam is basically milk that has been frothed until it becomes textured and almost stiff in nature. Just like it sounds, it’s a foamed milk that stays cold, unlike the hot coffees you get at cafes.

There are special tools called cold foam makers or milk frothers that will make this texture without using heat, like this one from Zulay.

Think of cold foam like a specially made topping for your drink. It’s basically the same texture as a latte, but made cold. It adds a foamy texture to your iced drink.

Cold foam is almost always made with milk, especially cream (half and half) or skim milk. Many shops like Starbucks just have one dairy option, but some shops will make cold foam with nondairy milks if you ask.

Of course, a similar effect can be accomplished with a frother too so if you’re making it at home, keep that in mind!

Many like to make it at home with low-fat milk, because it makes a stiffer foam when the milk is cold. This is the opposite of hot coffee, but for some reason, the higher protein content in low-fat milk makes better cold foam.

What Is In Cold Foam?

Now, let’s talk about what is used in making cold foam. We mentioned earlier that low-fat milk is pretty popular, but you can add other other ingredients if you like.

A lot of cold foam will have some kind of sweetener added. At shops, this will usually be vanilla or another flavored syrup.

One of the great things about cold foam is that it can be flavored with any flavor. It can have syrups and other additions to it that make it more flavorful than just a traditional foam. 

As we said before, low-fat milk is best for getting foamier results. But you can always use traditional cream or non-dairy milks if you like.

When you are making cold foam, the key is to get as much air in there as possible, so you will want to either tip your milk jug to the side if you’re using a frothing wand or you will have to work as quickly as possible if you’re using a plunger-style frother.

Milk is the primary ingredient you’ll need. You’ll want at least 3 ounces of milk or cream for your drink. You don’t need any more sweetener than you would normally add to your coffee.

Some of the chain coffee shops add various syrups and sweeteners to try to create a specific drink, so just know that the specific ingredients can vary, but basic cold foam is really just milk. 

What Does Cold Foam Taste Like? 

Not everyone will like cold foam but if you do tend to like things like lattes, cappuccinos, and all of those fancy hot and foamy coffee drinks out there, you will probably like cold foam, too. 

Since cold foam is primarily just milk, it doesn’t have a strong flavor unless it has a syrup added. It’s just a creamy, milky flavor. You’re really just adding some cream to your coffee, only with a way better texture.

Of course, if you choose to sweeten cold foam or add a syrup of some sort to it, this will most definitely alter the flavor!

So whatever you add to the cold foam will make up most of the flavor. If you add vanilla syrup to the cold foam, you will mostly taste vanilla and sugar!

The Texture of Cold Foam

If you’ve ever looked at a whipped pie of any sort, the best way to explain the texture of cold foam is to compare it to this. 

Pies like lemon meringue are the perfect example. You get that thick, foamy whipping that is meringue. Cold foam is very similar to this as far as looks and texture goes., but it isn’t grainy or spongey like meringue.

It’s foamy and thick and even a little stiff like that but it is made with just milk so it doesn’t taste the same. 

Really the best example is a hot latte texture, because the texture is almost exactly the same. Plus, the ingredients are basically the same.

How To Make Cold Foam

Now, let’s talk about making cold foam. We’re going to share a couple of different recipes with you. We are also going to walk through how to make cold foam and even share a couple of different ways to make it as well. 

Once we get through just basic cold foam we will also share a recipe for making sweet cream cold foam as well. This type of cold foam is just sweet and has more flavor to it. 

There are several different methods you can refer to for making cold foam. You can use a blender, a handheld mixer, a frother, or even a French press. We’re going to walk through several of these for you. 

How To Make Cold Foam — The easy Way

The frother is the easiest way to make cold foam. The frother was ultimately designed for just such a process and it’s how most coffee shops make cold foam.

You can use a handheld milk frother or a plunger-style frother. Just don’t use the steam wand on your coffee machine! That’s for hot coffee only.

Whatever frother you use, the process is super quick and easy. 

Here are the steps to making cold foam cream with a frothing tool:

  1. Grab 2-4 ounces of milk per serving, a small cup or milk pitcher (unless you have a plunger-style frother) and your frother. 
  2. If the frother is a handheld wand, follow the steps as normal without heating your milk.
  3. If your frother is a plunger, start pumping the plunger up and down, submerging only partway below the milk line. Go quickly or you won’t get good results.
  4. If your frother is automatic, pour the milk in below the line and let the machine do its thing.

Some frothers are more manual or automatic in nature. Follow the instructions as usual, but of course, don’t heat up your milk first!

You don’t need more than 2-3 ounces of milk for your drink, but it isn’t always possible to make small amounts of foam.

If your milk pitcher or the cup you’re using is too wide, you will need to add more milk to have room for steaming. It will need to be at least an inch high.

We also want to point out that if you have a frother that doesn’t have a cold cream setting, it may be better to use one of the other methods that we have shared here to get better results.

How To Make Cold Foam With A Blender

The next option is to use a blender to make your cold foam. Starbucks uses a special blender to make their cold foam.

It might be hard to mimic since they have their special blender but you should be able to produce something similar or at least acceptable! 

Here are some instructions for making cold foam with a blender:

  1. Grab your low-fat milk and a blender. 
  2. Use approximately 1/2 cup of low fat milk. You will get much more than one serving. Pour the cold milk into the blender. Add syrup or sugar as desired.
  3. Set blender to whip if you have it. Start blending at low speed and slowly speed up to full speed. 
  4. Blend until the mixture becomes fluffy and smooth.

From here, the foam is ready for you to remove it from the blender and put it atop your drink. 

How To Make Cold Foam with a Handheld Mixer

If you don’t want to mess with the blender, you might just try a handheld mixer to get your foam on.

It works similarly, but isn’t as bulky and overwhelming as a blender when you’re just making a little bit of foam. The handheld mixer literally just holds in your hand and cleanup is usually pretty easy also.

You just need the handheld mixer, some low fat milk, and a bowl to do the mixing in! 

Here is how to make cold foam with a handheld mixer:

  1. Pour about 1/2 to 1 cup of cold low-fat milk into a small bowl. 
  2. Grab your handheld mixer and place the mixing portion into the bowl. 
  3. Power on the mixer at the lowest speed. Be mindful here not to splash milk everywhere. 
  4. Slowly bump up the speed of the mixer until you reach maximum speed. 
  5. The cold foam is ready when the milk becomes fully foamed to your liking. 

You need to be careful with this one, since milk can splash everywhere. It will also be hard to make small amounts of cold foam this way unless you have a really small mixer and bowl to use.

Once the milk becomes fully foamed you are ready to top your iced coffee or drink of choice and get on with sipping and enjoying that blend of coffee and cold foam. 

How To Make Sweet Cream Cold Foam

If you want your cold foam to be sweet, you can use something besides just low-fat milk to really make it sweet and creamy. 

Some people recommend using flavored whipping cream and sugar instead of milk to help you make your cold foam sweet. You can also add whipped cream and some vanilla and get a really great sweet mixture. 

Flavored syrups are probably the easiest option. Just add a 1-2 teaspoons to your milk before frothing.

We’re not going to walk you through a step-by-step tutorial on this one. You can use the exact same steps we shared above for original cold foam. 

What you really need to know is how you can adjust your ingredients to make it a sweet cold foam instead. 

For example, if you want to give your cold foam some vanilla flavor and make it sweet, try using low-fat milk paired with a little bit of heavy cream and a little bit of vanilla syrup.

When you do it this way, use more whipping cream than milk and just a little vanilla per serving.

Instead of heavy cream, you could also use sweetened whipping cream paired with milk. You will use it in probably equal portions but you may need slightly more whipping cream to really get the textures and creation right. 

Related Questions

We hope that you find this guide to cold foam to be a valuable resource for understanding just what cold foam is and all of the details about it. It’s a unique foam that is fairly new but is super popular with cold coffee beverages.

It’s so good! 

We invite you to take a look at the following question and answer section for some additional information that may be useful to you. 

Is Cold Foam Only At Starbucks? 

Starbucks probably deserves the credit for making cold foam popular. They debuted the use of cold foam back in 2014, but it has become increasingly popular over the years.

It continues to be more and more desired for cold coffees. The nice thing is that it isn’t exclusive to Starbucks. You can find cold foam at other coffee locales and you can make your own pretty easily too. 

What is Used in Cold Foam Cream?

The trick to making the best cold foam is to use low-fat milk for a stiff foam with a blender or mixer or high-fat milk for creamier, thicker results.

Starbucks uses a non-fat milk but you can use anything to make cold foam with a milk frother.

How Do You Drink Cold Foam? 

Cold foam mixes down into your drink like a whipped topping would. For a while it maintains its texture and sits on top but slowly the foam fades and the milk settles in little by little.

Drinks that are served with cold foam are typically best served in a cup with a lid and not a straw. Just sip from the top like you would with a latte.

This way the coffee comes up through the foam. So you get a little bit of foam and a little bit of coffee with every sip that you take! 

Cold Foam

Cold Foam

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 1 minute
Additional Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes

If you're obsessed with iced coffee, this easy cold foam recipe will make your favorite drink even more perfect!


  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk (or any milk as desired)
  • Sugar, flavored syrup, or sweetener (optional)
  • Vanilla (optional)


Using a Milk Frother:

1.  Grab 1/2 cup of milk, any sweeteners as desired, and your milk frother.

2. Pour into frother cup OR small milk pitcher OR small cup. Your milk should reach at least an inch high on the cup to be able to foam.

3. Use frother as intended. If using a plunger-style frother, be sure to plunge up and down quickly, and don't submerge more than halfway down into the milk. Handheld frother wands also should only be about halfway down and don't need to be brough to the surface as often.

Using a Blender:

1.  Grab your low-fat milk and a blender.
2. Pour the cold milk into the blender. Add syrup or sugar as desired.
3. Set blender to whip if you have it. Start blending at low speed and slowly speed up to full speed.
4. Blend until the mixture becomes fluffy and smooth.
1/2 cup of milk, any sweet

Using a Mixer:

1.  Pour milk into a small bowl.
2. Grab your handheld mixer and place the mixing portion into the bowl.
3. Power on the mixer at the lowest speed. Be mindful here not to splash milk everywhere.
4. Slowly bump up the speed of the mixer until you reach maximum speed.
5. The cold foam is ready when the milk becomes fully foamed to your liking.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 69Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 33mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g

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