Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

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.

Love homemade coffee drinks? You’ve got to try Homemade Irish Coffee and Cranberry Pumpkin Cold Brew Coffee Drink!

Vanilla sweet cream swirls into cold brew coffee

Nothing says summer to me like a fancy iced coffee drink. This Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a Starbucks copycat recipe that hits the spot.

Instead of waiting in the drive-through line at your fave coffee shop, make this at home.

All you need are a handful of simple ingredients.

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    Why I love this recipe:

    Who doesn’t want to make their favorite coffee treat at home? This is a homemade Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew.

    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. HOWEVER, you can do whatever satisfies your tastebuds. Play around with it and have some fun!

    Additionally, you can serve this cold brew coffee recipe hot or cold.

    You can also purchase pre-made cold brew or a cold brew kit instead of making your own. Just in case you need your cold brew immediately. 😉

    Other coffee drinks you should try: Cold Brew with Homemade Vanilla Mint Creamer | Gingerbread Coffee Creamer | The Boyfriend Irish Coffee | Baileys Coffee | The Melty Cold Brew Shake

    Ingredients to make a copycat Starbucks cold brew coffee drink

    What you need to make this coffee recipe:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    • Pitcher — you’re only going to need this if you make cold brew. Use 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
    • Small saucepan
    • Mixing bowl
    • Whisk
    • Mason jar(s) — you’ll need three to store the elements of this recipe.

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you need:

    • 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.)
    • Cold water
    • Half-and-half — our vanilla sweet cream is going to be decadent, which is why it involves both half-and-half and heavy whipping cream
    • Heavy whipping cream — this is sometimes referred to as heavy cream

    I do not recommend swapping out the dairy with a nondairy milk, like oat milk, coconut milk or almond milk, because their textures and flavors will be different.

    Ingredients to make cold brew with vanilla sweet 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 make your own, there are lots of pre-made cold brews available for purchase. I like these because while they are more expensive than coffee grounds, you can enjoy 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).

    You can also use your favorite hot coffee, but then this won’t technically be a cold brew drink.

    Collage showing how to make vanilla syrup

    Step 2. Make the vanilla syrup.

    This is a simple syrup. We’re going to combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan, then heat it until the sugar dissolves. It might boil, and that’s OK. 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.

    Collage showing how to make vanilla sweet cream

    Step 3. Make the vanilla sweet cream.

    Please don’t make substitutes to make this recipe healthier. We want this sweet cream to be both thick and creamy. It’s meant to be decadent.

    To make this, we whisk half-and-half and heavy whipping cream together. Then just 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 this copycat sweet cream or a larger amount. I suggest making the original recipe size first, then doubling it if you go through it fast.

    Collage showing how to make a Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

    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!

    How to make sweet vanilla cream cold foam

    If you want to make your drink truly a copycat, you need to transform the Starbucks sweet cream into cold foam.

    Whip sweet cream in a milk frother* (affiliate link) that has a cold foam function. You could also use a handheld frother, immersion blender, whisk or blender.

    If you use a blender, do not blend for long.

    Whip the cream until nice and bubbly, then pour over your cold brew.

    Homemade vanilla sweet cream pours into a glass of cold brew

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How can I make this cold brew recipe faster?

    Skip making cold brew at home and purchase cold brew concentrate or pre-made cold brew instead.

    What does vanilla sweet cream taste like?

    It’s creamy and light with just a hint of vanilla.

    What is the difference between sweet cream and 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.

    Is cold foam the same as sweet cream?

    No. To create cold foam, you need to whip sweet cream in a frother that has a cold foam option. Cold foam adds bubbles and air to the sweet cream. They are not the same thing.

    Is cold brew the same thing as regular coffee?

    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. 

    Two glasses of Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

    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: Store in the refrigerator in a sealed mason jar for up to 2 weeks. The syrup will last longer, but the sweet cream will not last as long.

    Need more coffee drinks in your life?

    My friends and family adore Cold Brew with Homemade Vanilla Mint Creamer, as well as Cranberry Pumpkin Cold Brew Coffee Drink.

    This Girl Scouts-inspired Samoas Icee Coffee is an amazing treat, too!

    Want this recipe? Scroll on down to learn how to make it…

    Vanilla sweet cream swirls into cold brew coffee

    Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    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.
    5 from 63 votes
    Servings 15 servings
    Calories 105 kcal
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Steep Time 12 hours
    Total Time 12 hours 40 minutes


    Homemade Cold Brew Coffee*

    • 1 cup coffee grounds medium-coarse consistency
    • 6 cups water

    Homemade Vanilla Syrup

    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

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


    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 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.


    Serving: 1servingCalories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 20mgSugar: 19g
    Keyword at home brunch, Breakfast, Brunch, brunch drink, brunch recipe, coffee, coffee drink, cold brew recipe, Easter brunch, homemade coffee creamer, mocktail, mocktail recipe, Mother’s Day brunch, vanilla sweet cream
    Course Drinks & Cocktails
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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