How To Make Starbucks-Style Sweet Cream at Home

How To Make Starbucks-Style Sweet Cream at Home

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Meghan Splawn
May 2, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Have you had the vanilla sweet cream in your iced coffee at Starbucks? They rolled out this cold brew creamer two summers ago and I immediately fell in love. This vanilla-flavored creamer has more body than half-and-half and makes for the creamiest cold coffee. Not to be too hyperbolic, but this creamer is obsession-worthy.

After my first sip of Starbucks' cold brew coffee with sweet cream, I knew I had to recreate both at home, because my coffee budget and my schedule don't have room for daily coffee runs.

This three-ingredient coffee creamer is going to change your coffee game this summer, plus it is super simple to make.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

What Is Starbucks-Style Sweet Cream?

There are plenty of sweet, vanilla-flavored creamers in the dairy case at the grocery store, so what is the deal with the Starbucks' version? Starbucks batch mixes this creamer so there are no gums or thickeners, and yet the resulting sweet cream is still velvety.

A short internet search will quickly give you Starbucks' recipe for sweet cream at home: heavy cream, 2% milk, and their vanilla syrup. While heavy cream and 2% milk are easy enough to grab at the grocery store, and making simple syrup at home is pretty easy (this is our favorite recipe), when I mixed up a version of the heavy cream-based version at home I found it lacking. What aren't you telling us, Starbucks? The cream clumped up a bit in the icy cold coffee and the vanilla flavor fell flat.

I experimented with a few versions before landing on this recipe that's flavored and sweetened with sweetened condensed milk! This somewhat surprising addition was worth the trial and error, because the sweetened condensed milk makes this creamer as easy as opening a pantry-ready can (no waiting for simple syrup to cool) and the condensed milk's thick texture gives the creamer the extra body that Starbucks gets from their vanilla syrup.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Key Steps for Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer at Home

  • Buy the right ingredients for the job. Creamer might imply that there is cream in it, but mixing up this creamer with half-and-half blends better than cream in cold coffee (no fat clumping). And the sweetened condensed milk gives the creamer an extra-milky flavor you'd expect from heavy cream.
  • Whisk to emulsify. This recipe is pretty much dump, stir, and store, but it does help the flavor and the texture of the final sweet cream if you whisk in the sweetened condensed milk as you add the half-and-half.
  • Store it well. Dairy tends to take on other flavors if left uncovered in the fridge, so make sure to store it in a sealed jar for long-term storage. A jar that you can give a quick shake before each use is best. The cream keeps well for five days in the fridge, if it lasts that long.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

How to Serve Starbucks-Style Sweet Cream

This sweet cream is most often paired with cold brewed coffee over ice. To mimic the green-strawed cup, float the sweet cream on top. Admittedly, this sweet cream is also an incredible addition to hot coffee, chai, and even for topping oatmeal for serving!

How To Make Starbucks-Style Sweet Cream at Home

Makes 2 1/2 cups (20 ounces)

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    (1 pint) half-and-half

  • 1/2 cup

    sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • Equipment
  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Pitcher or jar

Instructions

  1. Combine the half-and-half, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Pour the half-and-half into a large liquid measuring cup or bowl. Slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk — it will sink to the bottom of the cup. Add the vanilla.

  2. Whisk to combine. Whisk to combine and break up the sweetened condensed milk until the mixture is homogenous, about 1 minute.

  3. Transfer to a jar for long-term storage. Use the sweet cream right away or transfer to a jar or airtight container for longer-term storage in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The sweet cream can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Shake or whisk to recombine before each use.

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