How To Make Cold Foam: Learn This Coffee Trick With Us
What if I told you that you don’t need to drop big bucks at the cafe to enjoy a delightful foam-topped iced coffee drink? Preparing cold foam at home is easier than you think.
All you need is milk, flavored extract, and syrup to elevate the sweet cream nature of your cold coffee or cold brews just like your local coffee shop! You don’t even need any fancy equipment. No matter what you have on hard, there’s a way to make cold foam. We’ll walk you through them all.
Learn this coffee trick with us as you explore how to make cold foam at home.
What You Need
- 2 tbsps heavy cream or coconut cream
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- A dash of vanilla extract or ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tbsp simple syrup
- Tall glass or narrow resealable mason jar
- Recommended: handheld milk frother or handheld mixer
At A Glance
⅓ cup cold foam for a 12-ounce drink
What Is Cold Foam?
Cold foam is milk or a milk alternative that has been frothed and, usually, flavored with a sweetener and an extract. You might be wondering: can you froth cold milk? Yes, you can! Unlike the regular foam used for hot coffee drinks like lattes or cappuccinos that involves steaming milk to create tiny air bubbles, making cold foam achieves a thick, creamy, and frothy texture without heat. It’s a luxurious way to turn your iced coffee drinks up to 11.
The Best Milk To Use For Cold Foam
Whole milk is the undeniable champion when it comes to the richest frothed milk. Its higher fat content produces a Goldilocks-style just-right creaminess, with small microbubbles and a luscious mouthfeel. Making cold foam with whole milk is an exercise in patience, but one that pays off.
Using low-fat milk, like 1% or 2% milk, yields a result similar to whole milk but with the added bonus of reduced fat. It’s slightly less decadent, but 2% milk is quicker to become frothed milk and retains its air bubbles more steadily.
Skim milk froths with no trouble and produces a stiffer and more long-lasting foam due to its higher ratio of protein to fat. It’s a good option if you’re on a low-calorie diet, but it lacks the creamy appeal of the higher-fat milks.
Non-Dairy Milk Options
Oat milk is the best milk alternative for coffee drinks, in many ways even more suited to being frothed milk than non-fat skim milk. Oat milk creates the most aaesthetically pleasing naturally sweet-tasting, and creamy cold foam for your cold coffee drinks.
Almond milk is a great choice as long as it is initially at room temperature when frothing your milk. Almond milk has the most fat of all the milk alternatives, so your foam will be almost as dense as if it was whole milk. Not only does each milk yield a different texture and flavor, but its nutritional benefits differ (1).
Soy milk and coconut milk are two other splendid options, though they have stronger flavors. However, stay away from rice milk, hemp milk, macadamia milk, and cashew milk. These barely work for frothing, if at all (2).
How To Make Cold Foam For Coffee
Read on as we walk you through exactly how to make thick cold foam at home. You can layer it over a delicious cold brew coffee, iced latte, or nitro coffee. Or use it in one of our Starbucks copycat coffee recipes like the vanilla sweet cream cold brew or salted caramel cream cold brew.
This easy cold foam recipe gives you a few ways to go about this task, depending on what equipment you have on hand. You can use a blender, a milk frother, French Press, or even a Mason jar.
1. Prepare Your Simple Syrup
You can use storebought vanilla syrup or even maple syrup in your cold foam recipe, but it is very easy to make homemade simple syrup.
Combine equal parts granulated white sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Once cool, you can store any leftover simple syrup in the fridge for up to a month.
For a sugar-free cold foam, you can either omit the syrup or use a storebought sugar-free syrup that has been sweetened with an artificial sweetener.
Pro Tip: You can add flavor to your simple syrup by simmering it with flavorful additives. For example, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, and all spice for pumpkin spice syrup. Or add a vanilla bean for vanilla syrup. Just be sure to strain before using it in your foamed milk or other iced drink.
2. Gather The Rest Of Your Ingredients
Combine 2 tbsps of heavy cream or coconut cream, ⅓ cup of whole milk, a dash of vanilla flavor extract, and 1 tbsp of syrup in a tall glass or a narrow resealable mason jar.
This recipe specifies vanilla extract, which is the classic cold foam flavor, but you don’t have to use vanilla as your flavored extract. Feel free to try almond extract, banana extract, coconut extract, lemon extract, or peppermint extract to better pair with the flavor of your drink.
Pro Tip: Heavy cream adds a nice velvety texture to your cold foam, but it can be omitted in exchange for an equal quantity of milk if that’s all you have on hand. It will yield a lighter and lower-fat foam for your iced coffee.
3. Mix It Up
There are different ways of frothing your ingredients. No matter what tools you have available – or even if you don’t have any gear – you can finish this recipe. We’ll cover how to make great cold foam using a milk frother, immersion blender, French press, or by hand.
How To Make Cold Foam Using A Milk Frother
The easiest way to make homemade cold foam is using a milk frother; it was designed for the job.
If you have a handheld milk frother, dip it in the milk mixture until it is completely submerged. Blend on high speed for a minute or until the consistency of the milk begins to thicken and froths up.
Most electric milk frothers have a setting for cold froth as well as settings for heating an steaming milk. Add your milk of choice, simple syrup, and vanilla extract into the electric milk frother, checking your user manual to ensure the syrup is compatible with your milk frother. Follow the directions for your milk frother to start the cold froth process.
Pro tip: When using a handheld milk frother or immersion blender, make sure you froth in a deep and narrow glass or jar. Otherwise – speaking from experience – you’ll end up with cold foam all over your kitchen.
How To Make Cold Foam With A Blender
Add cold milk, vanilla extract or paste, and syrup to a deep glass. Insert the immersion blender. Turn on your blender and start with the lowest setting. Slowly work up to full speed. After one or two minutes, you’ll have a fluffy cold foam.
Pro tip: You can also make cold foam in a regular blender using the same strategy, but you’ll probably need to double or triple the recipe for an average-size blender to work. This can be a good way to make cold froth when you’re serving a crowd.
How To Make Cold Foam Using A French Press
A good French press is an indispensable tool in the home barista’s arsenal; it can do nearly everything, including froth milk!
Clean and dry the French press before use. Pour your milk, syrup, and extract into the beaker. Set the plunger securely on top of your coffee maker and begin rapidly pressing the plunger up and down. Keep this up for a minute or until the milk turns into a creamy foam.
How To Make Cold Foam By Hand
You can still enjoy delicious cold foam without any of the tools above. Adding the ingredients to a chilled mixing bowl and whisking vigorously for several minutes will also get you there, though be prepared for an arm workout.
An even easier method is to pour your ingredients into a chilled mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake vigorously for one or two minutes. Voila!
4. Taste Test, Adjust, And Enjoy Your Cold Foam
Taste your creation and add more sweetener if needed. Spoon your cold foam to top your delicious coffee drinks and favorite cold brew coffee. It’s that easy!
Pro tip: If you’re a sweet-and-salty fan, add a pinch of sea salt to the cold foam atop your favorite iced coffee drinks. It adds a wonderful balance, especially if the coffee is also sweetened.
Can you believe you’ve been paying a barista to make your cold foam? This cold foam recipe is so easy, no matter which method you follow! With just milk, sweetener, and flavor, you’re only a step away from a delicious coffee topping. It’s the perfect way to impress your brunch guests, and you never have to reveal how simple it was. Your iced drinks will be a sight to behold and a delight untold.
Did you try this recipe? Was your cold foam better than the local coffee shop? Did you experiment with an exciting flavor? Let us know!
Cold foam from Starbucks, like the vanilla sweet cream cold foam, is made using frothed nonfat milk to achieve a smooth and creamy texture. When Starbucks cold foam was first released, the top three drinks to try it with were cold foam cascara cold brew coffee, cold foam cascara nitro cold brew coffee, and cold foam Starbucks blonde iced cappuccino (3).
Yes, cold foam is healthier than whipped cream. Cold foam is made by whipping air into milk. It has less fat, sugar, and calories than regular heavy whipping cream. If you’re diet conscious, you can make your cold foam lower-calorie by replacing the cream with milk and using sugar-free syrup.
Yes, you can make cold foam with half and half. It will yield a more decadent cold foam, similar to using heavy cream. However, due to its higher fat-to-protein ratio, the foam will take longer to make and won’t last as long. So drink up!
Yes, you can put cold foam on tea! Adding cold foam to tea drinks is an excellent way to experiment with more fruit-forward cold foam flavors. For example, if you use coconut milk and strawberry or passion fruit syrup, you’ll get a copycat Starbucks pink drink!
- Harvard T. H. Chan. (n.d.). Milk. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/milk/
- Skrincosky, M. (2021, July 23). These are the Best Store-Bought Dairy and Non-Dairy Milks for Frothing. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/packages/food-network-essentials/the-best-milks-for-frothing
- Starbucks Stories & News. (2018, April 17). Introducing Cold Foam at Starbucks. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from https://stories.starbucks.com/press/2018/introducing-cold-foam-at-starbucks/