Homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

By Ann Fulton

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Make your own coffee creamer to rival any store-bought alternative. The taste is more pure, and it’s economical too!


When I first tried coffee my senior year in high school, I decided I would only drink it if I liked it black.  I “learned” to drink tea when I was younger, and from the beginning I drank it with a hefty dose of milk and sugar.  So, for years I drank and enjoyed my coffee black…

Fast forward to being a new mom and getting together with friends and fellow new moms for “play group.”  These get-togethers were clearly for the moms as they began when the babies were too young to play.  But we had lots of fun trading new parenting stories, enjoying a few snacks and, of course, drinking coffee.  It was at these bi-weekly get-togethers where I first sampled flavored creamers.  Until that point, coffee had never tasted so decadent!  First there was French vanilla, then hazelnut, followed by a myriad of other flavors–all of them sweet, creamy, and so good.

So, my habit of drinking coffee black went by the wayside as I, too, started buying these tasty coffee condiments.  Eventually, however, I paid attention to the label on these store-bought creamers and mustered up the willpower to stop buying them.  To avoid the hydrogenated fats but still enjoy the occasional treat, I started experimenting with various ingredients and eventually came up with a copycat version that I liked just as well–maybe even better. Incorporating sweetened condensed milk created the requisite sweetness and thick, velvety texture.  As I tested combinations using everything from non-fat milk to coconut milk and various amounts of vanilla, I’d drop off jarfuls with several of my friends who admitted to draining bottles of store-bought creamers with lightening speed.  When I got the nod from these flavored creamer die-hards, I considered the recipe done….although these friends and helpful recipe testers enjoyed the tasty job so much, they were ready to work on new flavors!

French Vanilla Coffee Creamer
While I most often make this creamer with light coconut milk--which does not lend a strong coconut taste yet provides the same creaminess as half and half or cream--I have used 2% milk quite a few times, too. Whole milk is a delicious option as well.

Yields 2 cups.
  • 1 cup light canned coconut milk (see comments above)
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  1. Mix all ingredients together and store, covered, in the refrigerator. I like to use a container that allows for easy pouring.
  2. Shake well before using, especially if using the vanilla bean paste as the flecks of real vanilla will settle to the bottom of the container.
  • The creamer will stay fresh for approximately two weeks.
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Make your own coffee creamer to rival any store-bought alternative. The taste is more pure, and it's economical too!

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    1. Ann Post author

      That’s a good question, Jen. I haven’t seen nondairy versions of sweetened condensed milk sold commercially, so you’d likely have to make your own. There are recipes available, although I haven’t tried any of them, so I would hate to recommend anything specifically. If anyone happens to read this and have a great option, please feel free to comment. : )

        1. Ann Post author

          Thanks for mentioning, Judy! There are so many more plant-based alternatives available since this recipe was initially published.

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  3. Tina G

    Thanks for sharing this recipe Ann! I’ve been wanting to make a caramel version. Have you tried that yet? If so, would you share that as well?

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  6. Denise

    There are so many coconut milks on the market that I’m confused. Do you have a particular brand that I could try?
    Thank you! Sounds delish and I can’t wait to make my own with just a few ingredients!

    1. Ann

      Great question, Denise. I really like the brand Native Forest. For those looking for BPA-free cans, this brand will also satisfy that desire. If you end up buying a can where the coconut cream has separated from the water and is too firm to shake and easily mix, you can blend the contents. I think there are many great brands available, but I have noticed that the separation issue is more prevalent in certain brands, possibly because the cans have sat a bit longer before hitting the grocery store shelves. I hope that helps!

    1. Ann

      I wouldn’t see why not, Gail. I have not tried the fat free version, but as long as you enjoy the taste, it should be fine.