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The 12 Best Substitutes For Milk In Coffee

If you are either out of or avoiding milk as a coffee creamer, there are several good options listed in this article from which to choose. The best substitutes fall into two categories, dairy and non-dairy.

The best dairy substitutes for milk in coffee are Cream, Half-and-Half, and Evaporated Milk. The best non-dairy substitutes for milk in coffee are Cashew Milk, Coconut Milk, Hemp Milk, Macadamia Nut Milk, Oat Milk, Pea Milk, Rice Milk, and Soy Milk.

In the following paragraphs, I will also discuss the pros and cons of using these milk substitutes as coffee creamer.

The 12 best substitutes for milk as coffee creamer are:

1. Cream


Heavy cream is one of the best-tasting coffee creamers you could use. It has 38% fat and can really enhance the flavor of your cup of coffee. Having said that, you may now be thinking, “Do I really want to put that much fat into my coffee?” 

In the past, it was believed that the high fat content of cream would lead to obesity and heart disease. But, recent studies have shown that the opposite is true and that individuals with a higher intake of cream have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Heavy cream with its natural fat content also contains health-boosting vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, D, E, and K. As a matter of fact, the full-fat heavy whipping cream is healthier for you than the low-fat substitutes such as coffee creamers and whipped topping. We are talking about natural ingredients vs. man-made ingredients. I’ll take the natural ingredients every time!

2. Half-and-Half

Half and Half Container

Half-and-half is a combination of 50% whole milk and 50% cream and contains 10 to 18 percent fat as compared to the 36 percent found in cream. Half-and-half tastes as good as cream in your coffee but is lower in calories and is less processed and contains healthier fats than coffee creamers.

3. Evaporated Milk

Hand Holding Evaporated Milk

Evaporated Milk is thicker and richer than whole milk since it is whole milk that has been evaporated or condensed, and it does contain saturated fat. But, for those people who are not heavy coffee drinkers, evaporated milk makes a cup of coffee taste really good. This is my own personal favorite, and I use it for my one or two cups of coffee a day. 

I would not, however, recommend using evaporated milk as a coffee creamer if you are a heavy coffee drinker who drinks multiple cups a day because of the amount of saturated fat in evaporated milk.

Pro Tip: I always keep a few extra cans of evaporated milk on hand because it is such a good substitute for milk in almost every recipe and because it is easy to store long-term.

4. Goat Milk


Goat Milk and Cow’s Milk have a very similar taste and texture, and the two kinds can more or less be used interchangeably. Goat Milk, however, has less lactose and is a little easier on the stomach than cow’s milk.

Goat Milk is high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and beneficial fatty acids and can reduce cholesterol levels in persons with high cholesterol.

Goat Milk is quite rich and is a very good substitute for milk in coffee.

5. Cashew Milk

Cashew milk has a creamy texture that makes it popular as a coffee creamer. It is the creamiest of the nut milks with a naturally light and sweet taste and a very subtle nut flavor.

Cashew milk is also slightly thicker than cow’s milk.

Related The 14 Best Instant Coffee Substitutes in Baking.

6. Coconut Milk


Coconut milk has a thick creamy texture and has become a favorite as a non-dairy coffee creamer because of its rich, creamy, and sweet coconut taste, but beware of the high fat and calorie content. 

Pro Tip: Be sure to get the coconut milk that is packaged in cartons rather than cans, as the milk from cans is thicker and has a more pronounced coconut flavor.

7. Hemp Seed Milk

Hemp Seed Milk is a popular coffee creamer for its high protein content and slightly nutty taste.

Hemp Seed Milk provides one of the few plant-based complete proteins, containing all of the essential amino acids that humans need from food while providing about the same amount of fat that can be found in cow’s milk. These nutrients are found in even higher concentrations in hemp seed milk than in almond and rice milk.

Hemp seed milk is Vegan friendly and usable by those allergic to soy, lactose, and gluten.

The one downside to using Hemp Seed Milk as coffee creamer is that some people find the taste a little unpleasant.  

8. Macadamia Nut Milk

The macadamia nut is high in antioxidants, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, monounsaturated fat, vitamin B1, magnesium, and manganese, making Macadamia Nut Milk a healthy and delicious Vegan-friendly dairy substitute to add to your diet.

Because of its high fat content, Macadamia Nut Milk makes an excellent coffee creamer and will whip into a nice foam that will make an excellent latte or cappuccino.

9. Oat Milk

Oat Milk is so rich it has almost the same texture as cow’s milk and has a creamy taste that is similar to full-fat dairy milk. And since it is loaded with fiber, Oat Milk is an excellent choice for people with digestive issues. 

Oat milk is naturally sweet, contains five grams of protein per cup, and has become a favorite with the Vegan community.

10. Pea Milk

Pea milk, which is made from pea protein extract taken from yellow peas, is high in protein but lower in calories than cow’s milk, has a rich and creamy texture, a mild flavor, and foams well, making it popular as a coffee creamer. 

Pea Milk is soy, nut, dairy, gluten free, Vegan friendly, and low in sugar and carbs, making it appealing to people on low-carb diets and those with diabetes.

11. Rice Milk

Rice milk is becoming more popular with coffee drinkers as a coffee creamer because it is nut- and soy-free, which makes it a good choice for people with allergies and lactose intolerance.

Rice Milk is one of the most hypoallergenic of all the milk substitutes and provides balanced nutrition.

But, although Rice Milk provides the lowest amount of fat of all the milk substitutes and is cholesterol-free, it is high in starch and cannot be used by persons with diabetes.

12. Soy Milk

Soy milk is the only dairy substitute with a similar amount of protein as cow’s milk having 7 grams of protein per cup, while two percent cow’s milk provides 8 grams of protein. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, soy protein can help lower LDL, or bad cholesterol.

It has a smooth and creamy texture with a relatively neutral flavor making it a popular choice as a non-dairy coffee creamer. In addition, many coffee houses are using soy milk as a creamer because it is easily accessible and low in cost.

Keep in mind that soy milk comes in sweetened and unsweetened versions, so choose the one for your coffee creamer that will give you the taste you prefer in your coffee.

What Are Non-Dairy Coffee Creamers Made From?

The main ingredients in non-dairy coffee creamers such as Coffee-Mate are sugar, primarily in the form of corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, and a thickener or thickeners to bind all the ingredients together.

Not only do these non-dairy coffee creamers contain no nutritional benefits, but there is scientific evidence that shows trans fat found in products like partially hydrogenated oil can have such health consequences as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Brief History Of the Non-Dairy Industry

Were you ever interested in how the non-dairy industry got started? Well, I was curious and did a little research on the subject and was amazed to find that back in the late 1800s, when ice was used for refrigeration, milk was considered safe only for those people fortunate enough to have it fresh on the farms, and there was interest in non–dairy options for those who did not have a supply of fresh milk.

One of the many people interested in the non-dairy industry was also one of the early automobile manufacturers, Henry Ford. By the early 1930s, Henry Ford had discovered how to make milk from soybeans and had built a manufacturing plant in Dearborn, Michigan, where he was quite successful in selling a lot of soymilk for use in whipped toppings, baked goods, and frostings.

Then, in 1942, Mr. Ford built the George Washington Carver (who first made peanut milk) Laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan, where he assembled a team of scientists to continue his research on non-dairy products. Henry Ford offered to give away his research findings to anyone interested and Bob Rich was the first person to take him up on his offer.

Bob Rich took Henry Ford’s research on non-dairy products, developed his own products, and marketed his own whipped topping and the first non-dairy coffee creamer called Coffee Rich.

Final Thoughts

Over the years, I have changed my favorite go-to coffee creamer numerous times. I suppose my first coffee creamer was milk because that was all we had. Next came Coffee-Mate coffee creamer, which was introduced in the United States in 1961. But my current favorite is, and has been for many years, evaporated milk straight from the can. I just can’t imagine anything being better.

But, no matter whether you are simply trying to avoid dairy completely or whether you have started using non-dairy milk, you are sure to find an option that will work for you and your family at breakfast or any time.

In the past, I have avoided using coffee creamers because I considered them unsafe to use since they contained no natural ingredients. But, in recent years, some of the companies that make coffee creamers have begun to market products advertised as all-natural. In fact, Coffee Mate now makes a coffee creamer called Natural Bliss Sweet Cream flavored coffee creamer that is made with farm-fresh milk and cream, pure cane sugar, and a natural sweet cream flavor. I think I’m gonna check it out and look at their ingredients label to make sure the ingredients are, in fact, all-natural!

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss The 32 Best Milk Substitutes for Recipes (Dairy & Non-Dairy).