Coffee & Tea
March 10, 2023

How to Make Really Good Coffee Without Milk

Milk is used in coffee not only to add flavor but also to improve the texture of coffee. If you don't want or like dairy milk, you can use soy milk, coconut milk, or butter and still make a really good cup of coffee.

Joana Regulacion
Table of Contents:

Coffee and milk: the “A team.” the thing is, not everyone wants, likes, or can have milk in their coffee. 

Some might be lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products —or maybe just hate milk or refuse to consume animal products. 

Let’s find out how to still drink a banging coffee with no milk.

Milk is used in coffee not only to add flavor but also to improve the texture of coffee. If you don't want or like dairy milk, you can use soy milk, coconut milk, or butter and still make a really good cup of coffee.

How to Make Coffee Without Milk (Using Milk Substitutes)

Milk doesn’t only improve the taste of your coffee but also takes the texture to another level. This means using milk substitutes like soy milk to make your coffee creamy or almond milk as a low-calorie option.

Not everyone wants or can have milk. So what are the options? We need to know what to put in coffee instead of milk since this particular dairy product is out of the question.

It’s not that hard to find alternatives to milk for good coffee. There is a substitute available for everyone depending on their circumstances and preferences. You’d be surprised how you can use a lot of the things in the kitchen.

To coffee fans who also are lactose intolerant, plant-based milk is the go-to option. Here are some vegan options for making coffee for lactose-intolerant individuals.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a non-dairy drink that is made from soybeans. It is a popular substitute for cow's milk.


Most soy products are promoted to improve health. This includes improving menopausal symptoms, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. It also helps enhance memory and bone health.

With dairy milk being the prime source of calcium for everyone’s diet, lactose intolerant individuals might miss out on that calcium when they forego dairy additives for their coffee.

Good thing calcium-fortified soy milk that’s usually available in most grocery stores can help achieve the daily calcium requirement for the average healthy adult.

Now some of the milk alternatives out there may lighten the color of our coffee or maybe provide us with healthier options, but what about all the other aspects? What about froth?

I’d love a latte any day, but it won’t be a latte without the pretty cloud on top.


Another great thing about soy milk is that it has enough proteins present that allow it to froth as much as dairy milk does when heated.

Most coffee recipes love the smooth foamy texture of steamed dairy milk, which makes soy milk one of, if not the best, options for dairy milk substitutes. Soy milk has a mild and creamy flavor that varies depending on the brand. 

Soy has long been thought to interfere with the body's ability to absorb synthetic thyroid hormone, which is commonly used to treat hypothyroidism. There is no evidence, however, that people with hypothyroidism should avoid soy entirely.

One thing is for sure, it is typically sweeter than other milk substitutes.

Almond Milk

Almond milk has a nutty flavor and like cow's milk, has a creamy texture which could give you a smooth coffee drink.

There are so many different kinds of almond milk such as unsweetened, vanilla, or chocolate which can definitely deliver variety to your morning coffee.

Its calcium content is also quite decent at 482mg. This can cover up to 45% of the average recommended calcium intake for healthy adults.

Almond milk is also catching up to soy milk’s popularity which is also rich in protein. This means heating it for your coffee can also deliver a delicious satiny cup. It is a solution on how to froth coffee without milk.

You can make an almond coffee latte with unsweetened almond milk. A lot of grocery stores even carry a barista blend of almond milk already. It won’t be too much trouble to complete your coffee recipes without milk.


Here’s a simple recipe:

  1. Start with pouring your almond milk into a metallic bowl or milk frothing jug.

  1. You can make either one full shot of espresso or two teaspoons of instant coffee mixed with two tablespoons of boiling water.

  1. Next, use the coffee machine's steamer attachment to steam your almond milk. You can remove it from the heat when it has about an inch of froth on top.

  1. Then you can pour the warm milk over the espresso until it is 3/4 full, then spoon the foam on top.

A barista blend would work best for your coffee recipe. If you can, use a barista blend of almond milk. Standard almond milk has a tendency to separate, particularly when made without a coffee machine.

Just remember that when using the steamer, you should use a thermometer to ensure you don’t burn the almond milk.

The ideal temperature is 60°C/140°F. Any hotter, and your coffee will be at risk of having a burnt flavor. 

For a mocha latte, you can use unsweetened chocolate almond milk to add a hint of chocolate.

Although, almond milk in general offers a nutty layer of flavor when added to coffee. The bitter aftertaste for some may make it less appealing as a viable milk substitute.

Now there is a downside to the first two options on my list. The problem with soy and almond is that they’re common allergens.

Here are some of the other non-dairy and vegan milk alternatives for coffee.

Oat Milk

In terms of flavor, oat milk tastes pretty much like dairy milk, albeit sweeter. It is another popular plant-based alternative to dairy milk.

It’s considered one of the healthiest options as it doesn’t contain any saturated fats, but is rich in both protein and fiber. You might also find that it has a richer and creamier texture.

Some people might be put off by the aftertaste of oats though. But I personally don’t mind. 

Oat milk has numerous health benefits. It also contains beta-glucans that are good for lowering cholesterol which promotes heart health. As a bonus, it has a natural sweetness that works well with coffee. 

Now the malty layer of flavor this milk substitute gives is incredible. Not to mention, the buttery and creamy texture it offers is level over the other milk substitutes.

Like the two previous alternatives, oat milk also has enough proteins in it to stretch well and make nice foam for coffee.

In making coffee, this makes it arguably the closest rival for cow’s milk. 

Coconut Creamer

Coconut creamer for coffee is a vegan, keto, and lactose-free option you can use to make coffee recipes without milk.

Unlike the other milk alternatives for coffee in this list, foaming up coconut milk is more of a hit-or-miss. If you don’t do it right, the foam could disintegrate pretty quickly.

Being naturally creamy and dense due to its high-fat content makes up for it though. Not to mention, the exotic taste it brings can be pretty phenomenal.

But it is definitely enough to make your cappuccino. You can make your coconut cappuccino in 4 simple steps. 👇

  1. First, you need to make the necessary amount of espresso.
  2. Next, pour some hot coconut milk into the espresso while holding back the foam with a spoon or spatula.
  3. When the cup is half full, spoon the froth on top.
  4. You can finish the drink off with a dusting of cocoa powder or cinnamon.

On the other end of the spectrum, your coconut milk or creamer can be too bubbly and thick. Which is going to make the consistency of your coffee pretty weird. It’s important to choose a less acidic roast profile.

It is going to be perfect if you happen to be using a medium to dark roast. It won’t be too acidic and result in your coconut creamer curdling.

For some people, however, the distinct taste of coconut milk could be too overpowering in coffee. 

Rice Milk

Rice milk has a mild flavor that allows the flavor of your coffee to stand out.

Rice milk is a pretty good option if you have nut and soy allergies. You still have the opportunity to be healthier or just continue with a plant-based alternative for cow’s milk.

However, I’m not a fan of the thin and watery texture. I don’t know, I guess I prefer my coffee with a creamy consistency.


Rice milk is not as creamy and is difficult to stretch because of its high sugar content and lack of protein.

The rather watery texture of coffee and rice milk together might take a while to get used to for some people. This is especially if you’re used to the foamy effect of cow’s milk.

Compared to most substitutes, rice milk can be a lighter and more refreshing option. This can deliver a coffee that is actually great for diluting bitterness.

But this doesn’t completely eradicate the coffee taste you know and love. It is a simple way to make coffee with no milk.

Coffee can be too bitter for some people. Luckily, it can be taken to the next level with a little milk. But what if you’ve run out of milk? 

You might not be vegan or lactose-intolerant, but no one is immune to forgetting to stop at the grocery. If you don’t have cow’s milk available in your pantry, chances are you also do not have any of the plant-based alternatives I’ve mentioned either.

Don’t worry though, here are a few other alternatives you most likely have in your kitchen already. Let’s list down some options you can work with if you simply ran out of milk for coffee.

Ice cream

Creamy? Check. Sweet? Check. Both of these requirements are met with a simple scoop of ice cream. 

can you put ice cream in coffee? HECK YEAH!

Affogato is an example of a coffee recipe where ice cream is submerged into the coffee. It’s one of the more fun ways to make coffee drinks without milk.

Here’s how to make this delicious goodness:

  1. First, put a scoop of ice cream in a small glass or mug.
  2. Next, pour half a cup of hot coffee over the ice cream. 
  3. Gently stir the ice cream into the hot coffee to melt it slightly.

So if you happen to have ice cream in your freezer, a scoop (or two) of ice cream can go a long way if you don’t have any milk or creamer at home.

If you’re doubting the ice cream + coffee duo…why? Milkshakes: ring a bell?

Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is technically a puffed-up version of your usual cream. And it is actually a really good add-on to your beloved caffeine fix.

Can you put whipped cream in coffee? Well, why not? You might even already have this around ready to squeeze onto some waffles for breakfast.

Fresh cream contains approximately 25% fat, whereas whipping cream contains approximately 30-35% fat. Fresh cream cannot be used as whipping cream because it contains only 18-25% milk fat.

On the other hand, whipping cream contains nearly 35% milk fat. By the way, so don't get confused, heavy cream and whipping cream are essentially the same.

Can you use heavy cream in coffee? Yes, you can.

You will end up with a thick and fluffy coffee drink when you completely stir it into your coffee concoction. However, using whipped cream is going to be a bad idea if you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy.

You can either pour it into hot coffee like half and half or whip it into a denser whipped cream that will float on top of your coffee.

The majority of people who drink coffee with whipped cream or heavy cream do so for the flavor and mouthfeel. So if you just wanted something creamy, this is a great choice.


Since we’re already talking about other dairy products you can use instead of milk, I should go ahead and mention butter.

Hold your horses! You might think adding butter to coffee sounds gross at first, but it has its charm. It’s been popularized as “Bulletproof Coffee” in recent years.

All you need is the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp. to 2 tbsp MCT oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Coffee drinkers who swear by bulletproof coffee favor it for being a filling high-calorie drink. They say it is a good replacement for a carb-heavy meal, especially in the mornings.

You’ll feel full for longer so it helps curb cravings.

Check out the Reddit thread below 👇

Do take note, however, that this recipe could have a lot of saturated fat in it.


Consumer so much saturated fat can lead to cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels. Saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol levels which are the bad kind of cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol raises your chances of developing heart disease and stroke.

A banging cup of coffee doesn’t always have to be creamy or heavy you know. What might you put in your coffee? Well, there are tons of other stuff you can put in your coffee that is enough to wake up not only your mind but your taste buds!


Syrups can improve your coffee by adding sweetness and even flavor. You can even make a traditional simple syrup at home.

You can make simple syrup from one part water and one part sugar. You can use this to sweeten a lot of things from drinks to desserts. 

You can make blueberry coffee with the recipe below: 👇

Let’s make the blueberry syrup first:

  1. First, combine blueberries, water, and granulated sugar in a saucepan‍
  2. Afterward, turn the heat to medium.
  3. Allow everything to simmer for 10 minutes and stir it occasionally. This is to keep your mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Next, combine cornstarch and water while your blueberry mixture is simmering. Make sure there are no clumps in your cornstarch mixture.
  5. When finished, combine it with the remaining blueberry mixture in the saucepan.
  6. After 10 minutes of simmering, remove from the heat.

If you notice the mixture drying up or starting to burn, reduce the heat much sooner.‍ Stir your mixture after you turn off the heat.

  1. ‍Begin mashing the blueberries to release more flavor. You can also use an immersion blender. Just make sure the blender is completely submerged in the mixture.
  2. Strain the mixture and remove the solid leftover berries from the syrup and throw them.
  3. When you’re done with the syrup, you can now mix it into your coffee.

This can already bring your coffee to a whole different level. You can also try other syrups such as salted caramel, white chocolate, and even lavender,

Alcoholic Drinks

Coffee and liquor are a perfect combo and some distilled spirits work better with coffee than others. There are many tasty coffee cocktail recipes to explore 

There is a reason why Irish coffee is a popular drink, and even the French have a tradition of adding alcoholic drinks to their coffee.

Here are the 3 steps to make Irish coffee at home:

  1. First, preheat your glass by pouring hot water all the way to the top. 
  2. Brew coffee from your french press or Moka pot.
  3. While waiting for your coffee, you can dispose of the water used for preheating your glass.
  4. Add sugar to the bottom of your glass.
  5. Next, add a little bit of coffee to the glass. Just enough to dissolve the sugar.
  6. When the sugar is dissolved, you can now pour your whiskey into the glass.
  7. After this, pour in the rest of the coffee but leave a bit of space at the top.
  8. Pour in some cream on top.

If you’re quite determined to have a creamy coffee drink but don’t have milk around, a bottle of whisky such as Baileys Irish Cream can be a great addition.

How to froth coffee without milk

Sometimes. the key to froth coffee without milk is using xanthan gum.

Coffee drinks like latte are known for the frothy top that just tickles your lips before that much-awaited sip of coffee. But what happens when you dislike milk and don’t want or simply can’t add any of it to your coffee?

Well, don’t worry too much as it is still possible to get that foamy coffee drink you so crave with the help of a specific ingredient.

Xanthan gum is a widely-used thickener for various recipes. It makes water behave like milk when added to coffee. Some non-dairy milk like almond milk even has this as an ingredient.

You don’t have to add a lot because a gram of gum is already enough.

How to make iced coffee without milk

Iced Coffee without milk is actually pretty common. Although iced coffee has almost turned into a dessert of its own nowadays, it is definitely possible to make iced coffee without milk.

Sometimes, all you have to do is to directly add ice to a container of brewed coffee and you’re all set.

You can also go through a bit of a fuss with preparing cold brew coffee by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for at least 12 hours before straining the mixture and pouring it over ice.

Here’s a recipe for an iced Americano:

Can you put buttermilk in coffee

You can put buttermilk in your coffee, but I advise against it.

In fact, you can put anything in your coffee —but it's not worth it.

Buttermilk is higher in nutrients and lower in calories than regular milk. However, when buttermilk is added to hot coffee, it curdles and becomes sour. 

So it’s a “no” for me.

Is delicious coffee with no milk possible?

It is definitely possible to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee with no milk. 

Coffee and milk are almost inseparable for some people. You just need to know how to make coffee without milk or creamer. There are people with circumstances that require them to stay away from adding the usual dairy milk into their coffee drinks.

Some have lactose intolerance, others have nut or soy allergy, while some just dislike adding any kind of milk into their coffee.

But this does not in any way mean that you have to endure bad-tasting coffee. As I have shown you in this article, there are still a ton of ways to make an amazing cup of joe. You just need to know how to make coffee without milk.

About the author
Joana Regulacion
Joana is an engaging content writer and dynamic virtual assistant. ✍️ She helps business owners and entrepreneurs deliver a clear message to everyone and attract and engage the perfect audience. She is a proud wife, mom, and animal lover.‍ She believes that her love for learning new things is her key to writing engaging content.

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