12 Best Substitutions For Creamer In Your Morning Coffee

Coffee creamer alternatives
Coffee creamer alternatives - Static Media/Shutterstock/Getty

If you find yourself standing in the kitchen, pouring coffee, and staring down at your usual creamer with a growing sense of dissatisfaction — or even ick — it is time to find a tasty alternative. Whether it is the reliance on oil-based ingredients in many traditional creamers that gives you pause or simply the yearning for a new taste each morning, more options than you may realize await.

From syrups that pull double-duty to household staples you probably already have in your pantry or refrigerator, there is more out there. Having spent a lot of time around coffee, I have tried plenty of alternatives to creamer. Some have become our favorite ways to make coffee, and some are more favorable than others. In any case, there is no need to limit yourself to simple creamer from the grocery store. Daring to step beyond the familiar can lead you to a discovery that not only wakes up your morning coffee but becomes a new favorite to rave about with family and friends. Folgers may have been a little shortsighted in saying the best part of waking up is its coffee, but that does not mean you can't look forward to your morning cup.

Read more: 31 Popular Coffee Brands, Ranked

Creamy Syrup

Irish cream in coffee
Irish cream in coffee - Monin / Facebook

When you think about going without creamer but still want the effect, the last thing you'd probably imagine is going with syrup. Coffee syrups tend to be a little on the liquidy side and may not come to mind because they don't create the same creamy factor in terms of texture. But if what you are looking for is more of a taste that feels creamy, opting for a creamy type of syrup could be the ticket.

In a recent tasting of Monin syrup, I discovered that several flavors give the taste of cream without the lactose. To get that real creamy taste without bringing in any cream or creamer, you're going to be aiming for something that in and of itself likely has cream in the name. That is why some of the best ones that come to mind are Crème Caramel and Irish Cream, both offerings from Monin. In addition to adding that creaminess you may be looking for, these syrups handily take care of the sweetener element. There is no need to add an additional element because both cream and sugar get taken care of with one addition.

Of course, other brands have flavors with the same result, but no matter the brand you choose, you will need to be a little picky when selecting a flavor. Not every syrup flavor will do the same thing; for example, vanilla probably does not get the job done, and plain caramel could be a reach, too.

Hot Chocolate Packet

scooping hot cocoa
scooping hot cocoa - Valeri Vatel/Shutterstock

Adding a packet of hot chocolate to your coffee is not only a great way to add chocolate to your coffee but also a way to salvage lousy coffee. It adds that extra flavor, and with many brands, you also get some milk in your packet. If you know you are up against a mediocre coffee situation, get ahead of the game by grabbing a packet of hot cocoa mix that you have on hand. While simple Swiss Miss is great here, opting for a more upscale hot chocolate will only make this combination taste even better. I love going for a higher-end offering to really make the coffee interesting and more exciting.

This method works best if you start with the hot chocolate powder in your mug before adding your coffee. That way, some of the hot chocolate granules have time to dissolve and meld right in with your coffee rather than gathering on top, and you do not end up with a messy mix. If you are preparing the drink at home and have an electric hand whisk available, using it will speed up the process and ensure you have a more homogenous drink. I should note that in terms of flavor, adding hot cocoa mix may make it taste like a coffee shop mocha, so if that is not in your wheelhouse, it may be best to skip this one and try a different creamer alternative to your liking.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk
Sweetened condensed milk - Mizina/Getty Images

One of my favorite additions to coffee has been sweetened condensed milk. Learning of adding sweetened condensed milk to coffee through a café bonbon order, I simply have not looked back since. A café bonbon is quite simple and has only two ingredients: espresso and sweetened condensed milk. Even with the strong espresso, the sweetened condensed milk is enough to act as both milk and sweetener, making for a delicious drink. At home, you will find it works similarly. There's no need to include separate sweetener and creamer. This thick, magical mix does it all.

My typical process involves adding about ½ inch of sweetened condensed milk to the bottom of my cup, pouring hot coffee over it, and then adding a whole bunch of ice to make an iced coffee. I sometimes find this more enjoyable than even some of the fanciest creamers we've used. Not to mention, sweetened condensed milk is inexpensive, quite easy to keep around the house, and even handy to travel with if you can find it in the squeeze packages.

There's one more important note you'll need before falling in love with sweetened condensed milk: You absolutely must stir it very well to ensure everything integrates and you don't end up with an overly thick and goopy liquid. Stir for a longer amount of time than you feel necessary, and mix it into hot coffee before icing to get the full effect.

Whipped Cream

Whipped cream on coffee
Whipped cream on coffee - Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

It's no secret that whipped cream tastes excellent on coffee drinks, but more often than not, I order whipped cream on top of a drink that already has cream or creamer in it, turning it into something of a dessert. However, instead of treating this addition as dessert, you can opt to include whipped cream on top of your coffee in place of creamer.

As the whipped cream dissolves, it mixes in with your coffee. This method works well with both hot and iced coffee options, and it's another item to easily keep in your fridge and simply take out when you want it. If you're looking to replicate a similar effect at Starbucks, you can order a Café con Panna, a super-underrated drink on the coffee giant's menu. This drink is quite simple and includes just espresso and Starbucks' tasty, vanilla-flavored whipped cream.

While you can make your own whipped cream right in your kitchen, there are also plenty of delicious options in your grocery store, making this an easy choice. On your next grocery run, instead of picking up your next bottle of creamer, switch to whipped cream.

Ice Cream

vanilla ice cream scoops
vanilla ice cream scoops - WS-Studio/Shutterstock

You may have heard of an affogato, a delightful combination of gelato and espresso. To make the perfect affogato, you'll use an ounce of espresso for each scoop of gelato, and it is, quite simply, a dessert. However, that's not what the aim is here. Instead, think of it as a coffee float with either your typical amount of coffee poured over a scoop of ice cream or the ice cream placed on top of the coffee. It's a delicious, easy way to start your morning with ice cream, a dream we surely all shared as little ones.

Whether your coffee is hot or iced, the ice cream will begin to melt into the coffee, slowly in the case of iced coffee. As it does, the ice cream will combine with the coffee to sweeten and flavor your drink. Although vanilla is certainly imagined for this mixture, other flavors would be delicious, too, especially those that include ribbons of chocolate or caramel. Even flavors like Rocky Road could make your morning brew that much more interesting. You won't miss creamer with this swap. Take caution, though, with ice creams that have chunks in them, and prepare yourself for the inevitable mystery chocolate chip or runaway marshmallow.


cup of bulletproof coffee
cup of bulletproof coffee - karins/Shutterstock

As is the case with so many food trends, a dish or ingredient already favored by many suddenly becomes something of a smash hit. That's certainly the case with butter, as some have only recently discovered that adding this refrigerator staple to coffee is an option. In doing so, you may be crafting what is now known by some as Bulletproof coffee.

The claim with this name is that it will increase your fat burning while being kind to those mental capacities. The addition of butter supposedly creates a sort of supercharge, enabling coffee to increase your abilities during the day dramatically. For a drink meant to help you wake up and be more alert, it's unclear whether Bulletproof coffee can fulfill its promises about the nutritional benefits of adding butter to coffee. Still, it is an interesting substitute for creamer and one that could become a habit if you can get over the oddity of it all.

To include butter in your coffee, I recommend starting small. Include just a pad of butter and see where that takes you. Adding more butter is easy, but it'll be impossible to remove once it's added. You'll also probably need to experiment with butter brands. My favorite, Kerrygold Irish butter, for example, will no doubt fare better than other brands.

Protein Powder

adding powder to drink
adding powder to drink - Maria Shipakina/Shutterstock

Similar to attempting to give your coffee super strength with butter, adding protein powder to create "proffee" may be the easiest way to inject a protein boost into your diet. Switching out your creamer for protein powder has the potential to add both flavor and creaminess, provided you use the best protein powder for the job. Look for ones with vanilla or chocolate flavors to make the most noticeable difference in your coffee. You may find that while you can't stomach the taste of protein powder on its own, including it in coffee, which already has a strong flavor, may do enough to help you enjoy protein powder more easily.

While selecting a flavor may be top of mind, remember that the most important part to consider when adding some protein is the actual preparation process. To ensure everything gets mixed well, add the protein powder to the bottom of your mug before adding your coffee, just as you would with the hot chocolate mix. Of course, you can add it secondly, but you might need to do more mixing.

Once everything is in place, a hand whisk is helpful here, and many protein powder companies actually sell ones with branding to match the protein powder. If you're making iced coffee, you may find something like a BlenderBottle works best. Clumpy coffee isn't appetizing, no matter the addition.

Chocolate Milk

chocolate milk glasses
chocolate milk glasses - Bhofack2/Getty Images

If straying too far from creamer makes you feel somewhat odd, but you're still looking to switch it up, tap into a bit of a nostalgic twist with chocolate milk. It makes a great addition to hot coffee, especially if you take a few extra minutes to steam it, and may just become your new go-to. Plus, if you're looking for a dairy-free alternative, Silk's chocolate milk is so good that it rivals traditional, dairy-based options.

No matter the route you choose, replace the white milk or creamer with chocolate milk and enjoy a little dose of chocolatey goodness. Like sweetened condensed milk, this addition is widely available and a great alternative to have in mind for occasions that may require it. If you're looking for chocolatey, velvety goodness, be aware that the richest chocolate milk will use a high-fat dairy as its base, so you'll definitely want to be on the lookout for a whole milk option.


jar of yogurt
jar of yogurt - olepeshkina/Shutterstock

If the idea of adding butter was a bit too much, replacing creamer with yogurt in your morning cup of coffee might also feel a tad too unusual, even though some coffee drinkers in Southeast Asia have enjoyed it for a while. Be aware that some yogurts may react oddly to your coffee, so it might be best to enjoy this addition in iced coffee rather than hot.

For a specific way to try this addition, consider a Cambodian coffee. This drink combines yogurt, lemon juice, and another favorite creamer alternative, sweetened condensed milk, for something that is, in all likelihood, quite different from what you're used to. I especially love the idea of using yogurt in lieu of other creamers or kinds of milk for blended coffee drinks, which should perform similarly to smoothies, which often use yogurt as a base. Plus, if you use Greek yogurt, you're in for more of a filling coffee, too.

Cold Foam

Coffee with cold foam
Coffee with cold foam - Dontree_m/Getty Images

Ever since I discovered cold foam, it's been an easy substitute for creamer in my iced coffee. Creating something similar right in your kitchen is pretty straightforward and definitely worth it if you enjoy cold foam from Starbucks.

Although it won't be exactly the same, Coffee with Abbs on TikTok advises mixing ingredients in a 3-2-1 formula, with 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons of milk, and 1 tablespoon of the flavored coffee syrup of your choice. Whisk this well with a hand mixer until you reach the right consistency, and then layer it over your iced coffee or cold brew. Over time, this cold foam will mix beautifully with your drink, with just a little hang time before it begins to blend. The mark of great cold foam is that it lingers just a few minutes to allow for a nice sip of the foam before it really mixes in. These types of drinks are best enjoyed by sipping from the top, so avoid plunging in a straw if you can.

Plant Milk

glass bottle of cashew milk
glass bottle of cashew milk - Rocky89/Getty Images

Milk might seem like an obvious choice when it comes to alternatives to creamer, but many looking for a creamer alternative want a milky option that doesn't use dairy. That's why using plant milk in place of creamer rocks. Plus, many plant-based milks add great texture and creaminess, and even an extra feel to your coffee. For example, adding coconut milk won't just give it a new texture, but it might add a rich creaminess that also feels light and slightly tropical, reminiscent of piña coladas. These types of coffees tend to work best when using a coffee bean with fruity-tasting notes rather than chocolate or caramel.

Not to mention, if you prefer to make your ingredients from home, you can prepare all kinds of plant-based milk right in your kitchen. By learning from the biggest mistakes of others when making their own plant milk, you can ensure the batch of cashew or almond milk you prepare will yield the best possible coffee drink.


frozen banana coffee
frozen banana coffee - Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

If you're looking for something ultra-different that will get you some delicious nutrients, consider a banana coffee. Essentially, this one just has frozen bananas and coffee. Those ingredients are blended together to form a creamy, dairy-free banana coffee. The banana comes through nicely and isn't too overpowered since it already includes the strong flavor of coffee.

To ensure your blended coffee is at an appetizing temperature, chill your coffee before making this one rather than blending it right from the pot. Since you'll need to think ahead in this way as well as freezing your bananas, it may not be a drink you can enjoy at this exact moment, but getting those ingredients to the right temperature will be well worth it. This is also a great way to put to work those too-mushy bananas hanging out on your counter. Simply put them in the freezer, and they'll be absolutely perfect in your banana coffee.

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