Fluent In Coffee is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission if you buy via links on our site. Learn more

The 15 Best Substitutes For Milk In Coffee

Quitting milk?

That doesn’t mean you have to drink plain coffee.

Not when there are tons of different substitutes for milk in coffee.

Today, we’ll go over the best options out there. 

Let’s find the one for you.

15 Alternatives For Milk In Coffee

As you can see, there are tons of different milk alternatives you can try. Let’s see how they alter your drink:

Half-and-Half

coffee with milk

This is one of the first things that comes to mind when talking about milk alternatives. 

After all, half-and-half is made of 50% whole milk and 50% heavy cream. So naturally, as far as flavor goes, your coffee will still taste like coffee with milk.

If you ask me, half-and-half is the tastiest milk substitute.

But, the drink will be creamier than usual, which is thanks to the higher fat content. While regular heavy cream has 36% of fat content, half-and-half will have – you guessed it – about half the amount. 

Depending on the product, the exact numbers can range between 10 and 18%, which is very creamy for a cup of coffee. 

NOTE
There are fat-free options available as well. But since they’re typically created by swapping heavy cream with corn syrup, the final result can have a lot of sugar. If you’re watching your caloric intake, this is something to keep in mind.

Creamer

Creamers are intended for adding to coffee, so it’s no wonder they complement the coffee flavor so well. 

Even though it resembles milk in flavor, coffee creamer is dairy free.

It’s made of:

  • water
  • sugar
  • vegetable oil

When added to coffee, it gives it a more velvety, smooth texture and slightly sweeter taste. 

You should know that coffee creamer has quite a heavy amount of sugar. In fact, some types contain as much as a full teaspoon of sugar in a single serving. 

NOTE
There are sugar-free creamers. These use artificial sweeteners instead, such as sucralose and acesulfame potassium. They’re calorie-free and don’t impact your glucose levels. But you should know these artificial sweeteners are known for increasing appetite and weight gain.

Heavy Whipping Cream

coffee with whipped cream

Add heavy whipping cream on top of your coffee, and you turn it into a dessert. But mixing it with coffee gives you a very creamy cup of java.

Heavy whipping cream changes the texture of your coffee quite a bit. Even a spoonful of whipping cream turns your coffee thick and velvety and leaves a heavy mouthfeel.

From this list, whipping cream is the creamiest milk alternative.

As for the flavor, it’s rich but not too sweet. That’s because heavy whipping cream doesn’t contain any sugar. The sweetness comes from a high amount of milk fat, which can be anywhere between 36 and 40%.

Given these numbers, it’s clear that coffee with whipping cream is a caloric bomb. But definitely one of the most delicious ones.

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk, as the name indicates, is created by heating milk until about 60% of the moisture evaporates. What this does is it makes it thicker and creamier than regular milk, almost like syrup.

As far as flavor goes, evaporated milk tastes, well, like milk. The process of evaporating does cause it to be slightly sweeter in flavor, but there are no sweeteners added to it. 

It’s not the healthiest option available, but it’s not very caloric either. If you drink one or two cups of coffee per day, you won’t notice the difference between regular for evaporated milk in terms of nutrients.

Condensed Milk

condensed milk

Condensed milk is created the same way evaporated milk is, but it features added sugar

Speaking in numbers, condensed milk contains about 40 to 45% sugar.

Like evaporated milk, condensed milk is thick and syrupy. But the added sugar makes it extremely rich and creamy.

NOTE
You might feel the hints of vanilla or nuts in the condensed milk, although there are no added flavors to it.

Ice Cream

How can you go wrong with ice cream?

Ice Cream Coffee GIF by Daria Khoroshavina - Find & Share on GIPHY

After all, it consists of milk fat, water, and sugar. So naturally, it will give your coffee a rich and sweet taste, but without overwhelming the actual flavor of your roast.

Of course, you have more options than milk ice cream. You can also add chocolate, vanilla, and even more specific flavors, like almond or hazelnut.

Just remember that ice cream works best with cold coffee drinks. If you add a spoonful of ice cream to a hot coffee, it will melt right away and create a mushy drink.

However, Italians do make something called affogato, which is basically ice cream drowned in coffee. For this, they use a hot espresso shot, which they pour over ice cream.

Coconut Oil

coconut oil

Coconut oil in coffee? Yes, it might sound weird, but it works. It has become rather popular lately among people following the high-fat keto diet. 

Coconut oil gives coffee a mellow flavor with just a hint of sweetness. But while it’s not a flavor bomb, it definitely is a nutritious one. It’s very caloric and can lead to weight gain – especially if you’re not on a keto diet.

PRO TIP
When adding coconut oil to your coffee, remember to whisk it vigorously. Otherwise, the oil won’t blend and will float on top of your drink.

Butter

This is yet another odd combination that works.

This weird mixture of coffee and butter is called Bulletproof coffee. Its popularity is partly thanks to different types of diets, including keto, paleo, and low-carb, which swear by this combination. 

Bulletproof coffee is designated to keep you satisfied and energized for hours, even when you don’t eat a meal. Now I’m not saying that it’s a replacement (although certain diets might), but it can keep you going until lunch break.

As for the flavor, it’s nothing surprising. Bulletproof coffee tastes like a thick, buttery version of a latte. 

NOTE
On a related note, some people tried adding buttermilk to coffee. But I wouldn’t recommend it! Unlike butter, buttermilk will add sourness to your cup of joe, and it won’t be that enjoyable for your taste buds.

Oat Milk

oat milk

Oat milk is a very popular replacement for dairy milk, and that’s not without reason.

You can steam and froth it to get almost the same consistency as with whole milk. Latte art? No problem.

When it comes to flavor, it doesn’t make much of a difference. It’s creamy and slightly sweet, with possible nutty notes. It’s very mild, making it perfect for any type of roast.

PRO TIP
Keep in mind that oat milk curdles when added to coffee, especially when there’s a difference in temperature between the two. For that reason, avoid pouring cold milk into a hot cup of coffee.

Soy Milk

Soy milk has a similar consistency to its dairy counterpart, even though it’s lower in fat.

So whether you’re steaming or frothing it, you can achieve results that aren’t much different than you’d get with regular milk. What’s more, it takes half the time to steam compared to cow milk.

Soy milk is relatively neutral in flavor, with slightly nutty tones. It can be combined with both light and dark-roasted coffee, without overwhelming the initial flavor.

Hemp Seed Milk

hemp seed milk

Hemp seed milk isn’t as creamy as some other milk alternatives, even though it has roughly the same amount of fat and protein. But these nutrients allow you to make a nice froth for a cappuccino. 

The flavor of hemp is very light and slightly nutty, so it won’t overpower the taste of your coffee. 

You’ll be happy to know that this type of milk doesn’t curdle, so you can use it in both hot and cold coffee drinks.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is a popular option for coffee drinks, which isn’t really surprising. 

The distinctive light and nutty notes give your coffee a little bit of flavoring, without overwhelming the overall taste.

Almond milk creates a decent amount of creamy froth, which makes it a great option for a latte.

PRO TIP
Almond milk tends to curdle when added to hot drinks. If you’re doing that, make sure to warm up almond milk first, or use a milk frother that will steam the milk.

Rice Milk

rice milk

Rice milk is the healthiest option on the list, thanks to its low amount of fat.

To give you a better perspective, rice milk is the plant-based equivalent of skimmed dairy milk. It doesn’t have any particular flavor, so it won’t change the taste of your coffee.

Since it doesn’t have a high amount of protein either, rice milk isn’t the greatest option for frothing. The foam you get is nowhere near the one you want for a cappuccino. But if you’re simply adding milk to make your coffee lighter, rice milk will do its job.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk gives a bit of flavoring to your coffee, but nothing too overpowering. It is, however, rather sweet. Drinking a coffee with coconut milk is like a dessert in a cup.

The coconut notes pair well with different roasts, so this is an overall great milk alternative.

The high amount of fat gives quite a bit of richness and creaminess.

But as far as froth goes, don’t expect tremendous results. The low amount of protein makes coconut milk hard to froth, and the foam doesn’t hold for too long.

But simply mixing it with coffee is enough to create a delicious drink.

Booze

I know what you’re thinking – no booze can replace milk. And you’re somewhat right.

But cream liqueurs, like Baileys, come pretty close. They can add both a gentle alcohol boost and a slight creaminess.

If you care about the former more than the latter, consider adding brandy or whiskey to your cup of java. Both pair well with medium to dark roasted coffee.

To Sum Things Up

For whatever reason, you might be giving up milk, there’s no reason why you have to change your coffee.

There are different milk alternatives available, including plant-based milk and milk byproducts.

Some are better for flavoring, others for frothing. Ultimately, it depends on what you want to add to your coffee.

Looking for coffee creamer suggestions? Here’s our article with the best options available.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author
Viktoria Marks
Viktoria is a writer and a journalist who can't imagine sitting by her computer without a large cup of java in her hand. She loves sampling coffee from all over the world as much as writing about it.