Trying to find a way to dress up your coffee while still trying to adhere to a plant-based diet? We’ve got you covered.
Not only do we have the best vegan coffee creamer brands of every type—from coconut cream-based to hemp milk—but we’ll also give you our favorite homemade plant-based creamer recipe.
So grab your favorite mug, warm up the espresso machine, and pull up a chair. It’s time to find your morning zen with the best vegan coffee creamers on the market.
What’s the Difference Between Vegan Milk and Vegan Creamer?
Before we start talking about the best plant-based alternatives to add to your morning cup of Joe, let’s first take a step back and talk about the differences between plant-based milk and vegan creamer.
In the traditional dairy sense, the difference between milk, cream, and creamer is fairly straightforward.
Milk is more or less what comes out of the cow: a mix of fats, sugars, protein, and water. Cream is made from the butterfat that is extracted from milk. And creamer is a product created by mixing evaporated milk powder, sugar, and water together.
Plant-based milks are created by blending plant products, usually nuts, soy, or grains, with water. Plant-based creamers are created by replacing some of the water with oil. These creamers may also contain extra sugar and/or additional flavoring ingredients.
Just as regular milk can be added to coffee, so too can standard plant-based milk. But to get all that creamy flavor without diluting your coffee, creamers are a better choice.
The Best Vegan Coffee Creamers by Type
Nut Milk Creamers
Most nut milk creamers feature similar ingredients to the non-dairy milks you’re already familiar with but with the addition of oil to give it a thicker consistency.
While many brands use palm oil—not the best choice from an environmental standpoint—you can find palm-oil-free brands that use rapeseed, canola, or sunflower oil.
While we like nut milk creamers for their shorter ingredient lists and delicious flavors, they do tend to be on the thin side. If you’re used to heavy dairy creamers, this option isn’t likely to satisfy. But for those looking for a lighter choice, this is a good way to go.
These types of creamers also make a great option for frothing and steaming.
Our favorite nut milk creamer: Califia Farms – Hazelnut Almond Milk Coffee Creamer
We love Califia Farms creamer for its simple ingredients, creamy consistency, and not-too-sweet flavor profile. You can find it in unsweetened, hazelnut, caramel macchiato, and French vanilla.
Coconut Milk Creamers
Compared to true nuts, coconuts have a much higher fat content, which means they can easily be made into thick, tasty creamers. In fact, many nut milk products use coconut cream as an added fat to help thicken them up.
Coconut cream and coconut milk are made the same way—by blending coconut flesh with water. The only difference between the two is how much water is used. This simple production process makes it easy to find coconut creamers with very few added ingredients.
If you like half-and-half or true cream in your coffee, then coconut-based creamer is a good plant-based alternative.
You can find many of these products in a powdered form that offers all the creamy flavor without diluting your coffee.
Our favorite coconut milk creamer: Anthony’s Organic Coconut Creamer
With just three ingredients (two of which are derived from coconuts) you can feel good adding Anthony’s natural and organic coconut creamer to your coffee every morning. It contains a hint of delicious coconut flavor and plenty of healthy medium-chain triglycerides for a superfood super-serving to start your morning.
Oat Milk Creamers
Oat milk, despite its naturally low fat content, actually makes a pretty good coffee creamer. That’s because it contains natural emulsifiers that allow it to mix well with added oil for a better consistency than you get with other grain and nut creamers.
These characteristics are also why most plant-based milks used for steaming and frothing contain oat milk.
While these products do have a good consistency, they are still on the thinner side compared to true cream. If you like your coffee cut to a more neutral flavor or if you’re making lattes, you’ll love this option. But for true cream fans, there are better choices.
Our favorite oat milk creamer: Califia Farms Oat Milk Barista Blend
This is another great Califia Farms product that contains just a handful of familiar ingredients. The oat milk mixes wonderfully with canola oil to form the perfect unsweetened milk base for all your coffee creations.
Soy Milk Creamers
If you are a big fan of soy milk, then soy creamer is an obvious choice. Like the nut milk creamers, this type relies on a mix of soy and oil to create the creaminess needed to flavor coffee.
Unfortunately, finding a good soy-based creamer isn’t easy. Most of these products are thin and watery and don’t mix well with coffee. Like nut milks, you also have to be on the lookout for products that use palm oil instead of sunflower or canola oil as thickeners.
One thing soy creamers do have going for them is that they contain a lot more protein than other options. This can be very helpful for those who are sensitive to the acid content of coffee and those who like to drink coffee on an empty stomach.
Our favorite soy milk creamer: Pacific Natural Foods Barista Series Soy Blenders
This is as thick a soy-based creamer as we’ve found, and it has a pretty pleasing flavor as well. Unfortunately, it does contain carrageenan, but the other handful of ingredients are all easily recognizable and responsibly sourced.
Hemp Milk Creamers
Hemp is another plant product used to create non-dairy milks that has a high amount of natural fats. This means that it can be used to create a natural creamer simply by cutting the amount of water normally used to create hemp milk.
These products are still on the thinner side but do froth up impressively well and create a nice microfoam that makes for super smooth lattes.
Hemp creamer also comes with the added benefit of being loaded with essential fatty acids that fight inflammation. What better way to start your morning?
Our favorite soy milk creamer: Pacific Natural Foods Barista Series Soy Blenders
Another great option in the Pacific Foods Barista Series is their hemp creamer. This one is carrageenan-free and has a mildly sweet flavor and impressively smooth finish.
If you’ve tried mushroom coffee and couldn’t quite make the switch, then using mushroom creamer is the next best option.
These powdered products are made with a base of MCT oil and dried coconut milk. Added to that base to give it a superfood boost are a number of different mushrooms known to support health, mind, and wellness.
Like coconut creamers, these products make for a creamy addition to any cup of coffee. The naturally occurring fats blend well with coffee to make it smoother. And they typically come in a variety of flavors so it’s easy to find exactly what you want.
Our favorite mushroom creamer: Think Functional Creamer by Four Sigmatic
You don’t have to feel bad about overloading your mug with this healthy cream option. With lion’s mane, reishi, cordyceps, and a delightful chocolatey flavor, the more the better!
Pea Protein Milk Creamers
While fat adds a ton of creamy flavor to creamers, protein can also be used to thicken up plant-based milk to better replicate the real thing. Pea protein is one of the most common protein isolates you’ll see used in this way.
Pea protein creamers can contain just pea protein powder and oils, but more often, you’ll find these ingredients mixed in with other vegan milks to create an ultra-smooth coffee mate.
Peas do bring an interesting aftertaste to the table, but they also bring plenty of healthy protein to help you start your day right. And, as long as you choose a flavored variety, the former isn’t so noticeable once you add it to a cup of black coffee.
Our favorite pea protein creamer: Amazing Grass Amazing Protein Creamer
Here’s another creamer you don’t have to feel guilty about going overboard with. The perfect mix of pea protein, MCT oil, coconut, and dark chocolate makes for a rich coffee additive that will keep you going long after the caffeine wears off.
Mixed Vegan Creamers
As you can see, there are a lot of different types of vegan creamers out there. That’s because a lot of base products have different benefits that make them useful for recreating the texture and flavor of dairy cream.
To further build on these benefits, many companies use multiple plant-based bases to create their creamers.
As we already mentioned, coconut cream is one of the most common additives that you’ll see mixed with nut and oat milk. But other high-fat options like hemp and high-protein options like soy and pea powder are also often thrown into the mix.
These mixed creamers tend to combine the best of all worlds for exceptional flavor, texture, and consistency to create a product that will have you saying goodbye to dairy for good.
Our favorite mixed creamer: Nutpods Coffee Creamer
These delightful little cartons combine the best of coconut cream with almond milk for a creamy boost with the right macronutrient profile to emulate the real thing. Nutpods come in a variety of fun flavors as well as sweetened and unsweetened versions.
What Is the Healthiest Plant-Based Coffee Creamer?
The healthiest plant-based coffee creamers combine healthy fats with superfood ingredients to power you through your morning. Some of our favorite examples include Four Sigmatic Functional Creamer, which includes multiple medicinal mushroom powders, and Amazing Grass Protein Creamer, which has a powerful boost of healthy fats and energizing protein.
In addition to added superfoods, healthier creamers will have less sugar and fewer calories than traditional options.
Is Almond or Oat Creamer Better?
Speaking strictly in terms of coffee creamers, oat milk products tend to make a better choice for adding to your morning brew. That’s because oats tend to blend better with oils to create a smoother, more consistent product that won’t separate in your coffee. Our favorite oat milk creamer is Califia Farms Barista Blend Oat Milk.
In terms of your health and the health of the planet, the two are split. Oats take considerably fewer resources to grow and harvest, but almonds are lower in calories and have more antioxidants.
Is Coffee-Mate Creamer Vegan?
While Nestle’s Coffee-Mate creamer is marketed as “non-dairy,” it is not vegan. That is because it contains casein—a protein derived from milk. While this lactose-free option is suitable for people with lactose intolerance, it does contain an animal product and is not suitable for vegans.
If you’re after a vegan coffee creamer that tastes like the real thing, we suggest giving coconut cream creamer a try.
Make Your Own Dairy-Free Coffee Creamer at Home
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to vegan creamers. Most contain added oil or at least added sugar which makes them less healthy. And those that do contain better ingredients are pretty pricey compared to dairy options.
If you want healthy, natural, and affordable, there is only one good choice: Make your own vegan creamer!
We’ve got the simple, creamy, delicious recipe right here.
Vegan Coffee Creamer
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- ¾ cup water filtered
- ½ tbsp maple syrup or 1 medjool date, optional
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- Start by soaking your cashews in water. Whatever container you use, make sure the cashews are fully submerged. Soak for at least 4 hours. Discard the liquid and rinse the cashews.
- Add all ingredients into a blender and process until you have a super-smooth consistency, perfect for coffee.
- Pour into a jar or bottle. Store in the fridge for up to a week. Shake well before use!
- If the creamer consistency is too thick, add some extra water and blend again.
- For the unsweetened vegan coffee creamer, forego the sweetener (dates or maple syrup).
- If your blender isn’t very powerful, you may end up with lumps of cashew. The best course of action is to strain the coffee creamer using some cheesecloth. You may also add a pinch of xanthan gum to thicken it.
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About the Author
Sara Seitz is a freelance writer living with type 1 diabetes. Her search for better health and better control of her blood sugars led her to a plant-based diet. When she isn’t experimenting with new vegan recipes, she’s helping spread the word about how plant-based is better for people and the planet. More articles by Sara.