This Starbucks copycat Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew recipe first appeared on Savory Experiments, where I am a contributor.
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a simple, delicious coffee drink that can easily be made at home. Combine cold brew coffee, homemade vanilla syrup and homemade vanilla sweet cream to enjoy this coffeehouse favorite at home.
Nothing says summer to me like a fancy iced coffee drink, and this Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is the copycat recipe I’ve been longing for.
Instead of waiting in the drive-through line at Starbucks or another coffee shop, make this at home with just a handful of simple ingredients.
Why I love this recipe:
The beauty of this coffee recipe is that you can customize it to your tastebuds. Since I’m not a sweet coffee person, I add less vanilla syrup and more vanilla sweet cream, but you can do whatever satisfies your craving. Play around with it and have some fun!
Additionally, you can serve this cold brew coffee recipe hot or cold.
You can also take a giant shortcut by purchasing pre-made cold brew or a cold brew kit instead of making your own. Just in case you need your cold brew immediately.
What you need to make this coffee recipe:
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- Pitcher—you’re only going to need this if you make cold brew. I recommend using the largest pitcher you have.
- Coffee filters—you’ll need these to strain the cold brew. While you could use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, I like this better. It’s also nice to not have to clean a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth after straining.
- Liquid measuring cup
- Sauce pan (at least 2.5 quarts)
- Mixing bowl
- Mason jar(s)—you’ll need three. Once you make the elements of this recipe in increments, they can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks, though I doubt they’ll last that long. The syrup will last longer.
In addition to these tools, you’re going to need a few ingredients to make this cold brew recipe.
- Coffee beans or grounds—if you make your own cold brew, you’ll need these. However, you can purchase a cold brew kit from the store or cold brew concentrate, which are ready to go.
- Granulated sugar—this is sometimes called “white sugar.”
- Vanilla bean—yes, the real deal. It’s expensive, but this ingredient is worth the splurge. (If you can’t find one, you can add a tablespoon of vanilla extract instead. It will give vanilla flavor, though it won’t be as vibrant as the vanilla bean.)
- Half-and-half—our vanilla sweet cream is going to be decadent and wonderful, which is why it involves half-and-half and heavy whipping cream
- Heavy whipping cream—this is sometimes referred to as heavy cream
How do you make vanilla sweet cream cold brew from scratch?
Step 1. Make cold brew… or purchase pre-made cold brew.
If you want to make your own cold brew, I have instructions for you in the recipe card below!
If you don’t want to take the 12+ hours to steep yours, there are lots of pre-made cold brews on the market. I like these because while they are more expensive than coffee grounds, you can drink your cold brew faster. It’s also less messy.
Chameleon is my favorite cold brew brand, and they sell a refrigerated cold brew concentrate* (affiliate link). Starbucks cold brew kits and concentrate are a thing, too, especially if you want to enjoy their coffee along with the copycat sweet cream!
Step 2. Make the vanilla syrup.
This is essentially a simple syrup. We’re going to combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan, then heat it until the sugar dissolves. Be sure to stir it occasionally, too.
Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat, and toss in the split vanilla bean. (This means that you’ve basically cut it in half, but it’s still attached.)
Let it steep for 2 hours at room temperature, then transfer to a mason jar and refrigerate.
Step 3. Make the vanilla sweet cream.
We want this sweet cream to be both thick and creamy, so please don’t make substitutes in the recipe to make it healthier.
Basically, we’re going to whisk together half-and-half and heavy whipping cream, add a little vanilla syrup and stir until combined.
Store in a mason jar in the fridge.
Pro tip: You can make a smaller amount of the Starbucks sweet cream or a larger amount, depending on if you drink more in your coffee. I suggest making the original recipe size first, then doubling it if you go through it fast.
Step 4. Make the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew.
Add ice to a glass, and pour in the cold brew. Alternately, you could heat up the cold brew in a mug in the microwave if you’d rather.
Pour in the vanilla syrup, and stir. Top with vanilla sweet cream and stir.
Give it a taste and add any additional vanilla syrup or vanilla sweet cream, if necessary, then enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Skip making cold brew at home and purchase cold brew concentrate or pre-made cold brew instead.
It’s creamy and light with just a hint of vanilla.
Sweet cream is simply sweetened cream while vanilla is its own flavor profile. We sweeten ours with homemade vanilla syrup, which transforms it into vanilla sweet cream.
No. To create cold foam, you need to whip sweet cream in with frother that has a cold foam option, handheld frother, a whisk or very quickly the blender. Cold foam adds bubbles and air to the sweet cream. They are not one and the same.
No. Cold brew is different than regular coffee because it’s prepared differently. Instead of water dripping over it, the medium-ground coffee beans are submerged in water for 12 hours.
Quick tips and tricks
- Vanilla sweet cream is NOT meant to be low fat. It’s a decadent coffee creamer! Please don’t use lower fat milk substitutes because yours will not turn out the same.
- How to store: Once made, transfer to an appropriate-sized mason jar, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The syrup will last longer, but the sweet cream will not last as long. Make sure they’re sealed tightly.
- How to make sweet cream cold foam: If you want to make your drink truly a copycat, you need to transform the Starbucks sweet cream into cold foam. To create vanilla sweet cream cold foam you need to whip sweet cream in a frother* (affiliate link) that has a cold foam function, use a handheld frother or a whisk or a blender. A note on the blender: Do not use it for long.
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a simple, delicious coffee drink that can easily be made at home. Make the three elements of this recipe—cold brew coffee, homemade vanilla syrup and homemade vanilla sweet cream—in advance to have the best homemade coffee drink around.
Homemade Cold Brew Coffee*
- 1 cup coffee grounds, medium-coarse consistency
- 6 cups water
Homemade Vanilla Syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 vanilla bean, split
Vanilla Sweet Cream
- ¾ cup half-and-half
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons homemade vanilla syrup (recipe above)
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Coffee (1 serving)
- 6-7 oz. cold brew coffee, warm or cold
- ½ oz. (1 tablespoon) homemade vanilla syrup, or more if you like sweeter coffee
- 1 oz. (2 tablespoon) vanilla sweet cream
- Ice, for serving
Make Cold Brew
- Combine the coffee grounds with cold water in a large pitcher. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let sit overnight (or for 12 hours) on the countertop.
- Line a fine mesh strainer with coffee filter, cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Place directly over a large bowl or another container to pour the cold brew into.
- Slowly, pour the cold brew through the cheesecloth/filter to strain out the coffee grounds. Do this twice. It might take a little while to drain, and that’s OK. You can help it along by gently swirling the liquid with a spoon or a rubber spatula.
- Transfer the cold brew into a sealable container, and transfer to the refrigerator.
Make the vanilla syrup
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water.
- Heat over high heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat, and add the split vanilla bean.
- Let steep for 2 hours before transferring to a mason jar.
Make the vanilla sweet cream
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the half-and-half and heavy whipping cream.
- Pour in the vanilla syrup, and whisk until combined.
- Transfer to a mason jar, and store in the refrigerator until time to make your coffee.
Make the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
- Add ice to a glass, and pour in the cold brew. (Alternately, you could heat up the cold brew in a mug in the microwave if you want it warm.)
- Pour in the vanilla syrup, and stir.
- Pour the vanilla sweet cream on top and stir.
- Give the cold brew a taste. Add additional vanilla syrup and/or vanilla sweet cream if necessary, then enjoy immediately!
How to store: All these elements—the homemade cold brew, the vanilla syrup and the vanilla sweet cream—should be stored in sealable mason jars or other food-safe containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The syrup will last longer than that.
How to make sweet cream cold foam: If you want to make your drink truly a copycat, you need to transform the Starbucks sweet cream into cold foam. To create vanilla sweet cream cold foam you need to whip sweet cream in a frother* (affiliate link) that has a cold foam function, use a handheld frother or a whisk or a blender. If using a blender, just give it a few pulses.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 19gProtein: 1g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.