If you love your coffee light and sweet (or just light), then having a creamer or milk to put in is essential. If you're transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, or want to cut back on your dairy products, you might be asking yourself: "Will I still be able to enjoy a good cup of coffee"?
Luckily, there are plenty of non dairy coffee creamers available today. For convenience, there are plenty of great brands to be found online or in your local store. There are also plenty of ways to make your own at home and customize it to your heart's content.
When we say traditional in this context we simply are referring to products that are thicker and creamier than regular nut milks. Kind of like half and half or heavy cream. If you are a person that prefers 1% or 2% milk, then skip to our section on using nut milks in coffee.
Quick Note: It is important to consider that even though many of these products are designed for frothing, there's a few caveats. You may not be able to replicate the exact timing and steps that you use if you were to froth regular dairy milk. Your experience is going to vary based on the type of frother you have as well as the temperature of your milk.
The video above does a good job of explaining some of the mechanics behind the frothing process when using nondairy milk.
Now onto the non-dairy coffee creamers...
First, here are some shelf-stable creamers. Even though they are shelf-stable, they should still be refrigerated after opening.
Nutpods are a completely vegan and gluten free coffee creamer option. The formula has a base of coconut cream and almonds with thickeners and emulsifiers (this isn't a bad thing). The brand makes a variety of flavors such as:
All of the flavors at this point and time contain no added sugar - just creamy goodness. The cartons that it comes in are shelf-stable, so you can keep them outside the fridge until you open them. Once yoou start using it, you'll have to keep them cool.
One of the coolest things about Nutpods is that they can also be used for cooking! You can use the original pods as a cream replacer in savory dishes such as plant-based mac and cheese, butternut squash soup, and gravies. The other flavors can be used in sweet baking recipes. They're a great brand to check out!
If you weren't able to guess by the name, Milkadamia Latte De Barista is made from macadamia nuts. Their formula was designed specifically for coffee, hence why they put "latte" and "barista" right into the name. It's designed to froth well and have a subtle flavor creamy mouth-feel.
Unlike Nutpods, there is some added sugar in this product, 6g per 8oz serving, which isn't too much. But hey, there is sugar in regular dairy milk, so you may want to consider that if you've been using regular dairy milk up until this point. There'a also an unsweetened variety if you don't want the added sugar.
Designed for cold brew and hot coffee, Some of the flavors that they make are:
Some of the flavors are fortified with B12 which is awesome for vegans! Even though you should likely be supplementing, you don't necessarily have to if you're consuming products that are already pre-fortified.
So Delicious has their own line of coconut milk creamers. They make a shelf-stable variety which is linked below as well as one that's easy to find in most refrigerator sections by the dairy-based coffee creamers. According to their website, they've removed the carrageenan and titanium dioxide which many customers complained about.
It's also free of gluten, soy, and all of the other major food allergens. The only allergen it contains is coconut (at the time of writing this), but that should be pretty clear from the packaging!
The original and French Vanilla variety of the Barista Style both contain added sugar in the form of dried cane syrup, but it only comes out to 1g per tablespoon.
If you're into frothing, you may want to check this one out as it froths really nicely based on what we've seen!
Califia Farms offers a shelf-stable and refrigerated variety. The company seems to be getting more and more distribution to the big box stores and we're started to notice them in our local Weiss markets. The bulk of their products are coconut and almond milk creamers.
The shelf-stable varieties are made in the following flavors:
Both their refrigerated products and shelf-stable products are rich and creamy milk alternatives.
If you're looking to make latte art, the Barista Blend is probably your best bet. It's got a higher fat content and is designed to be ideal for steaming and foaming.
Additionally, they offer yet another product called Better Half. As the name implies, Better Half is designed to be a vegan alternative to half and half. We haven’t seen it in our local stores yet, but it is available on Amazon. It’s also made in some of the same flavors as the creamer: Hazlenut, Original, Vanilla, and Unsweetened
Laird Superfood creamer powder is the only dairy alternative on this list that's not actually a liquid. Rather than pouring it into your coffee, you simply take it out of the pouch by the teaspoon (2 is recommended for a regular sized cup of Joe).
They even make an instant coffee plus creamer, which is something we’ve never seen before! Rather than making your coffee an adding the powdered creamer to it, you just add the powder to 6oz of hot water, mix and voila! You’ve got a cup of creamed coffee ready to drink! This product is aptly named Instafuel.
Although coconut cream isn't exactly designed to be a coffee creamer, you can still absolutely try it! Unlike the specially formulated products, you're likely to notice more of a coconut cream taste in your coffee. This could be a good or a bad thing depending on your preferences.
Pure coconut cream is also going to have a high fat content. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to lightening your coffee. This product we featured by AROY-D comes in a carton rather than a can (typical of other coconut creams) which makes it ideal for pouring it into a cup.
If you're adding it to coffee, you may need to mix rapidly to get things emulsified because it is so dense.
When you're the refrigerator section of your grocery store, head over to the case where they have the regular creamers. Odds are, you're going to find a bunch of non-dairy ones as well. Here are some of the brands to keep an eye out for...
Available in the dairy section at trader Joe's you should be able to find their own brand of coconut creamer. Listed on their website, they have the original coconut creamer in their archive. Last time we were at Trade Joe's we did notice a coconut creamer, but it may have been in a different packaging. Because they're always changing up their selection, we hope that it is still available, but its likely that they still have one or more creamer options.
Wildwood Organics, who specializes in soy-based products makes a very popular soymilk creamer. It's formulated to blend smoothly into coffee with a texture as thick and rich as regular half and half. If you check the "Where to Buy" section on their website (linked above), you'll see that its quite limited in its distribution. However, if you happen to have one of those stores near you, it's worth giving it a try!
As we mentioned earlier, So Delicious has a shelf-stable as well as a refrigerated version of their vegan coffee creamers. They are likely one of the brands that you'll see in the big box grocery stores. If our memory serves us correctly, we've even spotted their non-dairy creamers in certain Walmart stores.
As you might expect from possibly the biggest nut milk company, they also have a line of refrigerated coffee creamers. Personally, we think their unsweetened soy milk works just as well as the creamers. However, if you're into flavored coffee or light and sweet, then you might like the caramel almond or the pumpkin spice almond.
Everyone has heard of Coffee-Mate. They've been at the forefront of coffee creamers before many of us were even drinking coffee. Well, they've recognized the demand in the non-dairy market and have finally put out their very own. Branded under their Natural Bliss product line, you can find their almond-based and coconut-based creamers.
My favorite thing to put in coffee is plain unsweetened soy milk. I find that it is the closest thing to 2% milk which is what I preferred in my coffee before being vegan. If I'm going to make something extra special, I might opt for one of the creamers above. Most likely the nut pods as I don't really like sweet coffee.
When you're looking at the mainstream nut milk brands there are a few guidelines that we've created:
If you look at the protein and fat content of regular silk unsweetened soy milk, you'll see that it has quite a bit of both when compared to most mainstream almond milks. This is because those almond milks tend to be more watered down than soy milk. In other words, you're getting less almonds per carton of liquid compared to the amount of soybeans.
That's why we recommend using soy milk to replace higher fat dairy milks in coffee. Note, that if you're moving more towards whole milk, you might be better off with one of the creamers we listed above.
In our experience, regular store bought cashew milk is still pretty creamy in coffee, just not as much as soy milk. It about the same amount of fat as almond milk, but we've found it to be slightly creamier when used in coffee.
Being that unsweetened almond milks tend to have the lightest texture and flavor profile of other nut milks, we think that it's the most similar to using skim.
If you're DIY inclined then it's only natural that you'll want to make your own vegan coffee creamers in the comfort of your own home. It comes with the advantage of having the ability to fully customize what you're doing and will probably save you some money if you get your ingredients in bulk.
In this video, one of our favorite vegan YouTubers, Candice from the EdgyVeg shows you how to make vegan coffee creamer. You'll need a blender with some power behind it as well as a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer.
We've personally tried this one and it's great, which is why we wanted to give her props! Her other recipes are great too!
In this next recipe, Kim Constable makes a vegan coffee creamer that's almond based. It's a bit less whole food based than the one above, but has very positive feedback. We haven't tried this one yet but thought it was worth including for you to check out.
She also gives some valuable tips that apply any time you're making a nut milk at home. That is, more nuts and less water gives you a thicker cream and vice-versa.
By this time, you've probably realized that there are a ton of options for those who don't want to consume dairy. In fact, all the options might make dairy milk seem a bit boring!
Cooking healthy, delicious, plant-based meals has been Joey’s true passion since he went vegan in 2015. He has a masters in Nutrition and Food Science and is committed to making the internet a place of education and knowledge rather than misinformation and clickbait. He currently lives in Delaware with his wife.