I take my coffee seriously. I’m the type of person that settles down for bed dreaming about my morning coffee. After my second son was born, a college friend gifted me 10 pounds of coffee—it’s my favorite gift to date. I felt seen—she knows what’s essential when you have a newborn.
Usually, I take my coffee simply with whole milk, no sugar—I’m still a full-fat dairy girly and proud of it. But as warmer days roll in, I crave a little afternoon “coffee cocktail” as I lovingly refer to them to my family. Something a little sweet, a little creamy, and special-tasting—like a cold brew with vanilla coffee creamer—to get through the hardest part of the day. (Mom of two little boys here!)
Getting to a local coffee shop is not always possible and is a habit that is not appreciated by my bank account. There are some amazing coffee creamers at the grocery store these days, but like almost everything we consume, those prices are rising. So lately I’ve been making a homemade version of vanilla coffee creamer to combat this craving. It uses ingredients I always have on hand; I can batch it, so it waits for me in the fridge; and I can adapt it each time with new flavors. Plus, there are no additives or preservatives like popular store-bought brands.
My Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer Recipe
Here’s how I make about 3 3/4 cups of vanilla-flavored coffee creamer:
- 4 cups whole milk, divided (or your milk of choice)
- 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar (or your sweetener of choice)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
Combine 2 cups of milk and the brown sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set it over low heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture come to a simmer slowly over low heat for about 30 to 35 minutes, until reduced by about 1/2 cup. Do not stir it while it simmers. It will take on a light golden brown color.
While the milk simmers, foam or film may form on the surface. Gently scrape it off with a spoon, and discard it.
Remove the milk syrup away from the heat and let it cool until warm to the touch. Pour it into a quart-sized lidded container. This is like sweetened milk that I liken to a milky simple syrup.
Add the remaining 2 cups of milk and vanilla, and stir to combine. Store the creamer in the fridge tightly covered. Refer to the expiration date on the dairy you used for how long the creamer will last in the fridge.
4 Easy Tips For Making My Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer
- I use brown sugar because I like the nuanced molasses note, but you could use granulated sugar, honey, or even maple syrup. I only use 1/2 cup of sugar for the whole batch, but if you like things very sweet, bump it up to 3/4 cup.
- Once that milky syrup cools down, add in your preferred “base milk.” I like to use whole milk, but anything from 1% to half-and-half works.
- Flavor it to your taste. I like using pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. If you want to spice things up, toss a few cinnamon sticks or cardamom pods into the milk while it simmers, then strain and let cool before using.
- This creamer will only last as long as the dairy you used to make it with. Label your container with the expiration date marked on the milk you used before placing it in the fridge.