Looking for a sweet, frosty coffee drink you can make at home with only 3 ingredients? This copycat Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew recipe is your answer. It’s got all the bold buzz of cold brew topped with luscious vanilla sweet cream cold foam for a café-style beverage that’s spectacularly slurp-worthy!
Summer may be on its way out, but my love of iced coffee drinks is here to stay all year long. Don’t get me wrong — there’s definitely a time and a place for a cozy white mocha or caramel brûlée latte. Typically speaking, those warm bevvies are my favorite way to wake up on a chilly morning.
But, for this new member of the Mommy Carpool Brigade (I seriously can’t believe my baby girl is already in kindergarten!!! 🤯), refreshing iced coffee is the fuel that carries me over the 3 o’clock slump. And I’m not talking about any plain cold brew, either.
Rather than treat it as a chore, I’ve decided to turn my wait in the car line into an indulgent moment of Mommy Bliss. This homemade rendition of a Starbucks sweet cream cold brew is the perfect midday treat to give myself a little reset, all at a fraction of the price you’d pay at the café.
- What is Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew?
- What does it taste like?
- Why You’ll Love This Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- How To Make Homemade Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
- Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Success Tips
- Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Nutrition
- Other Starbucks Copycat Recipes
- Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew (Starbucks Copycat)
What is Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew?
At it’s core, this Starbucks drink is a cold brew coffee topped with a sweet cream foam that has been sweetened with vanilla syrup. All in, my homemade version requires just 3 basic ingredients, can be made entirely from scratch, and is so dang dreamy! 🤩
Even if you count the various ingredients needed to make your homemade vanilla syrup and cold brew coffee, you’re still only looking at 5 measly ingredients: coffee beans, sugar, water, vanilla extract (or paste or bean), and the cream of your choice.
The resulting döppelganger Starbucks vanilla cream cold brew is both rich and bold, but sweet and refreshing at the same time. It’s a testament to simplicity meeting indulgence — a handcrafted masterpiece created right in your own kitchen.
What does it taste like?
Imagine a glass glistening with a rich, dark elixir – that's your frosty homemade cold brew coffee, carefully steeped to perfection. The result is a bold yet smooth flavor profile that's as invigorating as it is comforting.
But what truly elevates this cold brew is the vanilla sweet cream foam. Picture a luxurious pour of half n' half, frothed to perfection. Watch as it cascades into the coffee, adding a luscious, velvety topping that's both indulgent and satisfying.
And let's not forget the homemade vanilla syrup – a simple yet transformative addition that takes this beverage to the next level. The warmth of the vanilla weaves its way through the coffee, infusing it with a subtle sweetness.
The emulsified cloud of sweet cream cold foam slowly melting into the glass with an ombre effect helps to mellow the robustness of the coffee, creating a flavor reminiscent of melted coffee ice cream. It's heavenly!
Why You’ll Love This Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Recipe
- It’s a Better-For-You Choice. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll forever love Starbucks for being a beacon of hope on long road trips or when I’m out and about on errands. But, the truth is, all of their syrups contain preservatives or artificially processed ingredients of some kind. For the scale of their operation, it totally makes sense!
- But, when you make your own small-batch recreation of Starbucks vanilla sweet cream cold foam at home, you are in complete control of the ingredients. For Starbucks’ 10+ ingredients, my at-home version has just 5 — and one of them is water.
- It’s completely customizable! When you make your own vanilla sweet cream cold brew with cold foam (or without cold foam!), you’re the boss. Steep the coffee to your exact specifications with your favorite beans. Swap in vegan half n’ half if you’re dairy-free. Make the vanilla syrup sugar-free if you’re watching your calorie intake. You do YOU, boo. 😉
- Oh, and when you customize this vanilla sweet cream cold foam recipe to your exact preferences, you don’t have to pay any dumb surcharges! Honestly, what’s not to love here?
As promised, you only need a handful of ingredients to make this vanilla cream cold brew. Here’s what to grab:
- Cold Brew Coffee - Making it at home requires just water, coffee beans, and patience. (And you are 99.99% likely to have the kitchen tools on hand you need to make it — I offer 4 easy ways in my tutorial!)
- Half n Half - I personally think a 50/50 blend of whole milk and heavy cream has the perfect viscosity for this sweet vanilla cream cold brew. If you opt to froth it, the bubbles are roughly the same as what you’d find in a perfectly steamed hot latte. If you opt to forego the frothing step, it adds a lovely richness that melds seamlessly into the cold brew.
- Vanilla Syrup - Whoever calls vanilla boring? It’s so rich and warm, aromatic and inviting. Infusing it into a simple syrup ensures that the flavor is evenly distributed. Feel free to use store-bought, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it!
- Cold Brew Coffee - You can 100% swap in store-bought cold brew for convenience. Alternatively, try using espresso or regular hot-brewed coffee that has been chilled in a Hyperchiller. You can also use instant coffee if you like!
- Half n Half - Feel free to swap in any creamer you prefer.
- Vanilla Syrup - You’re welcome to use this method with the homemade or store-bought coffee syrup of your choosing!
How To Make Homemade Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
Step 1: Add ice to a glass, then top with the cold brew coffee.
Step 2: Make Vanilla Sweet Cream. In a separate glass or container, stir together the half-n-half and vanilla syrup.
Step 3, Optional: Froth Sweet Cream Lightly with a milk frother for a little homemade replica of Starbucks sweet cream cold foam on top!
Step 4: Layer. Pour the sweetened half-n-half (or vanilla sweet cream foam) over the cold brew and drink up!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
Want to know how to make an at-home version of Starbucks vanilla sweet cream with cold brew that’s a little different? No worries! Half the fun of playing barista is you get to experiment. Here are some of my favorite ideas to try:
- Vegan/Dairy-Free - Opt for the plant-based half-n-half alternative of your choice to ensure that this sweet cream cold brew recipe is dairy and lactose-free. You can also opt to use organic cane sugar to make a vegan-friendly vanilla syrup.
- Decaf - Swap in decaf cold brew for a minimal buzz, or go completely caffeine-free by using a cold-brewed chicory or barley coffee alternative.
- Swap Flavors - While vanilla is by no means boring, you can easily adapt the sweet cream cold foam recipe to whatever syrup you prefer.
- High Octane - Add a shot of espresso for a red eye (or two for a black eye 😱) version of this vanilla cold brew recipe.
I find it hard to imagine a time I wouldn’t want one of these vanilla sweet cream cold brew Starbucks dupes. If you’re struggling on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve got you covered.
Let's take your enjoyment of this cold brew with vanilla sweet cream to the next level with these fun and delicious pairings:
- Morning Pick-Me-Up Combo: Enjoy your homemade Starbucks vanilla cold foam-topped cold brew alongside a flaky, buttery croissant. The contrast of the creamy sweetness and the crispy croissant is a match made in breakfast heaven. Next time you want a little mini stay-cation? 10/10 highly recommend.
- Dessert Duo: Turn your vanilla sweet cream cold brew into an indulgent dessert experience by pairing it with a slice of creamy cheesecake, a slice of buttery pound cake, or a couple of molasses cookies. The cold brew's coffee notes helps cut through the rich sweetness of the desserts, providing a lovely contrast.
- Picnic Perfect: Pack your cold brew with vanilla cream cold foam in a thermos and head out for a picnic. Pair it with a charcuterie selection of artisanal cheeses, crunchy crackers, and some dark chocolate for a sophisticated outdoor treat.
- Movie Night Magic: Create a cozy movie night with a bowl of buttery popcorn and your cold brew served in a chilled mason jar. The sweet creaminess of the cold brew complements the salty goodness of the popcorn.
- Summer Delight: On a warm day, freeze your vanilla sweet cold foam coffee into ice cubes. Use these cubes to chill your brew without diluting the flavor. Feel free to add a scoop of your favorite ice cream if you're feeling extra indulgent, then blend it into a vanilla cold brew frappe. YUM.
- Brunch Extravaganza: Elevate your brunch spread by serving your cold brew alongside a stack of fluffy pancakes drizzled with maple syrup, huevos rancheros, or a plate of scrambled eggs with bacon. Is there even a breakfast food out there that doesn't pair with coffee?? I don't think I've met it yet.
- Vanilla Chocolate Harmony: Indulge in a chocolate pairing by enjoying your cold brew with a piece of chocolate-covered biscotti, a square of extra dark chocolate, or a chocolatey energy ball. The vanilla and coffee's boldness enhances the chocolate's flavors for a decadent experience.
Recipe Success Tips
- Start with high-quality ingredients. Use freshly brewed, well-balanced cold brew coffee made with filtered water. Ensure your vanilla syrup is made using real vanilla extract or vanilla beans, and make sure your creamer is still fresh and naturally sweet.
- Froth like a pro. Gently submerge the handheld milk frother into the mixture at an angle and avoid touching the bottom of the container to create a creamy froth without excessive air bubbles.
- Mind your temperature. Cold brew is typically served over ice, so ensure your vanilla sweet cream mixture is chilled before pouring it over the cold brew to prevent excessive dilution. On that note, make sure you're using ice made from filtered water (or even frozen cold brew or leftover lattes!).
- Waste not, want not. Freeze any leftovers into ice cubes for future frosty adventures! Or, remove the ice from the leftovers and freeze into a popsicle for future you. ❄️
Sweet, but not cloyingly so. At least, in my opinion. Taste is subjective! That’s why I love making these Starbucks copycat drinks at home — I can make them exactly the way my tastebuds like. Feel free to do the same for yourself!
While I can’t speak to Starbucks’ exact specifications (their syrup is made in a factory, after all!), my cold brew with vanilla sweet cream is made very simply. Mix half n’ half with vanilla syrup, froth it if you like, then pour it on top of iced cold brew coffee. For greater detail on what goes into making cold brew or vanilla syrup, click on over to those posts for all the tea.
When you order one from Starbucks, the vanilla sweet cream cold brew is neither vegan nor dairy-free. It is, however, gluten-free. It will have caffeine, unless you customize it to be decaf. (Even then, though, it will be mildly caffeinated.)
However, when you make your own homemade vanilla sweet cream cold brew, you’re totally in charge of the results. I have listed plenty of variations including how to make it vegan and dairy-free in the post above!
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Nutrition
Looking for the nutritional lowdown on your homemade Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew? First, you'll be happy to know that it is no calorie bomb – it's only packing around 159 calories. That's not too shabby for a treat that's both refreshing and dreamy.
This baby's got about 7 grams of fat, thanks to the half and half. That's where the creamy goodness comes from and is what gives your drink that velvety texture you love. Protein's in the mix too, but it's no powerhouse with only 2 grams to show. Feel free to up the ante by adding a scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder.
Now, let's talk carbs – about 22 grams. Here's where things get a bit sweet – 19 of those grams of carbs are from added sugar, while the other three are naturally occurring in the half and half. That's a fair bit, but it's not unexpected, given the fact that "sweet cream" is literally in the name. Just be aware of the added sugars in there, and adjust accordingly with a sugar-free syrup alternative if needed.
Overall, the fat and sugar content isn't sky-high, but just remember to keep things balanced. If you're looking to add some fiber to the mix, maybe pair your drink with a snack that's got a bit of roughage – like a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 159 calories
- Total Fat: 7 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Sodium: 47 mg
- Carbohydrates: 22 grams
- Sugar: 19 grams
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
Other Starbucks Copycat Recipes
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew (Starbucks Copycat)
- 1 milk frother optional
- Add ice to a glass, then top with the cold brew coffee.
- In a separate glass or container, stir together the half-n-half and vanilla syrup. Optional: froth lightly with a milk frother for a little foam on top!
- Pour the sweetened half-n-half over the cold brew and drink up!