14 Ways To Use Coffee Creamer That Don't Involve Coffee

adding creamer to coffee
adding creamer to coffee - grandbrothers/Shutterstock

Coffee creamer adds flavor and creaminess to any cup of morning Joe -- but there's more to it than you think. Despite its name, coffee creamer can be used for far more than just coffee. A huge number of recipes out there incorporate coffee creamer and utilize its ability to add richness and extra flavor to foods. In some of these cases, like when making cocktails or smoothies, liquid coffee creamer can be used as a straight swap for milk or cream. In others, like with mashed potatoes or soups, powdered coffee creamer can give your food unexpected body and a whole lotta taste.

Coffee creamer is particularly useful as a substitute for milk, half-and-half, or cream, thanks to its unique composition. These thick, unctuous liquids have a far longer shelf life than milk, and many of them are sugar-free or low-fat. Coffee creamer is also frequently dairy-free, and so gives folks following a plant-based or dairy-free diet an opportunity to have all of that creamy goodness without any animal products. As coffee creamers come in liquid or powdered form and generally have a much longer shelf life than regular milk and cream, they're also pretty easy to stash away for whenever you need them next, making them the perfect substitute in a pinch.

Read more: 14 Liquids To Add To Scrambled Eggs (And What They Do)

Put It Into Your Waffle Batter

waffles in waffle making machine
waffles in waffle making machine - Inna Vlasova/Shutterstock

Waffle batter recipes often contain milk, and while the dairy ingredient does a great job of adding creaminess to the batter, it's not ideal for some folks. For dairy-free individuals, however, coffee creamer can be an awesome substitute. Coffee creamers add that same richness to waffle batter, without any need for complicated calculations: It's usually just a straight swap between creamer and milk.

As a bonus, coffee creamer can add some much-appreciated flavor to your waffles. Although you can use plain creamer, a French vanilla version can give your waffles a burst of sweetness and a strong vanilla scent. A caramel-scented creamer, meanwhile, can give your waffles additional depth and deep sweetness, while chocolate-flavored creamers can provide a cocoa infusion that works excellently with chocolate syrups. Just bear in mind that adding creamer instead of regular milk will likely add some extra sweetness (unless you're using an unsweetened version). As such, you may need to adjust your batter recipe and reduce the amount of sugar you're adding.

Add Creamer To Your Soups

bowl of pumpkin soup
bowl of pumpkin soup - Elena Eryomenko/Shutterstock

If you want to add a little body to your soups, there are lots of ways to do it -- but few are as simple as using coffee creamer. A splash or two of coffee creamer can have pretty much the same effect as regular cream on soups, adding smoothness and helping to balance flavors. If you're looking for versatility, unflavored and unsweetened creamer is usually the best choice here, as it won't distract from your soup's flavor profile. However, certain coffee creamers, like pumpkin spice flavored products, can imbue root vegetable-based soups with a huge taste boost.

It's usually easiest to use liquid creamers in your soup, but don't be afraid of using powdered ones too. Powdered creamers can be stirred directly into your pot, without any need to dilute them, and they give your soup a creaminess without watering it down. You'll generally want to use an 8:1 ratio of water or broth to powdered creamer. Avoid adding too much, though, as it can make your soup taste a bit chalky, and may have difficulty dissolving properly.

Pour It Into A Protein Smoothie

chocolate protein drink with powder
chocolate protein drink with powder - Erhan Inga/Shutterstock

Making creamy protein smoothies can be trickier than you think. Although plenty of protein powders give your smoothie thickness, others need a bit more help -- and if you don't have any milk to hand (or can't consume dairy), you can end up with a slightly gritty, fibrous drink. That's where coffee creamer comes in. Creamer thickens your smoothies delightfully and helps to bring all of your ingredients' flavors together, making your smoothie feel balanced.

Additionally, coffee creamers can give smoothies a boost of sweetness, and flavored options can add a delicious undertone to your drink. For a hint of nuttiness that cuts through the sugary notes that smoothies can often develop, use a hazelnut creamer. If you want something a bit more mellow, go for a chocolate flavor. Strawberry-flavored creamers can be an excellent choice if you're making a berry smoothie, and they're especially useful for tempering any overly acidic flavors that these drinks can have. If you don't have any liquid creamer at hand, a spoonful or two of powdered creamer will give your smoothie those dairy-like notes instantly.

Level Up Your Mashed Potatoes With It

bowl of mashed potatoes
bowl of mashed potatoes - DronG/Shutterstock

Putting coffee creamer in mashed potatoes may sound like a pretty weird move, but trust us when we say it's worth it. Mashed potatoes often need a boost of creaminess, typically provided by dairy products like cream or milk. Coffee creamer provides that creaminess in spades and instantly boosts your mashed potatoes. Creamer is also a great choice if you avoid or can't eat butter, as it shares some of the same smooth, flavorful notes that butter provides. It also gives your mashed potatoes added fat content, adding to their smoothness and stability.

While you can use both liquid and powdered creamer for mashed potatoes, we'd recommend using the powdered kind. Powdered creamer will boost your potatoes' flavor while simultaneously thickening them up, instead of watering them down, which can occur if you're using the liquid kind. It's also important to avoid any flavored creamers or any with added sugar or sweeteners, as these can seriously unbalance your dish and make your mashed potatoes taste like pudding.

Mix It Into Your Cake Recipes

slice of red velvet cake
slice of red velvet cake - harexape/Shutterstock

Cake can have a surprising knack for being fairly flavorless, and one of the best ways to avoid this is with coffee creamer. A flavored creamer can boost any cake immediately, and make your baked goods into something everyone's talking about. Vanilla creamers are the best for many cakes, as they give an unintrusive hint of vanilla to the batter which helps to highlight its other flavors. The truth, though, is that you can use pretty much any creamer you like, from Cinnabon to Sweet Italian Biscotti flavors.

When using coffee creamer, it's best to avoid adding too much: You don't want to overpower your cake with flavor, and nor do you want to make the batter too wet, as this will ruin its ability to set. If your recipe calls for milk, simply substitute the creamer in its place; if not, sub out a little of your liquid fats and use creamer instead. The best part is that you can also use creamer as part of your glaze to give your cake even more flavor. Just mix your chosen creamer with some icing sugar, and pour it over the cake.

Make Store-Quality Ice Cream With Creamer

bowl of vanilla ice cream
bowl of vanilla ice cream - WS-Studio/Shutterstock

Have you ever wanted to make ice cream at home? Using creamer is the way to do it. You can make a delicious and easy ice cream with coffee creamer, and you only need a few other ingredients and a little time to do it. All you need to do is place your favorite creamer in a plastic bag, and then place that plastic bag inside a bag filled with ice, combined with some kosher salt. Adding salt to the ice helps keep its melting point low, giving it more time to bring the creamer's temperature down.

Then, you just shake the two bags together vigorously for a few minutes, until the creamer thickens into an ice cream consistency. Once it's thickened up, you simply remove the ice cream, scoop it into a bowl (making sure not to take any excess salt with you), and enjoy. Although it might be tempting to try this trick with low-fat creamers, bear in mind that they won't give the same result as the full-fat versions.

Whip Up An Italian Soda With It

strawberry italian soda
strawberry italian soda - gowithstock/Shutterstock

The Italian soda is one of the most underrated drinks out there, in our opinion. Making this delightful beverage (which is often confused with an egg cream, even though they are not the same thing) is as simple as combining syrup, club soda, and crushed ice. Real aficionados, though, know that a small splash of cream or half-and-half makes all the difference.

So what happens if you don't have either of these in the house? You reach for your coffee creamer. Creamers give Italian sodas a smoother texture and a luscious taste, and additionally, they can give your drink an extra flavor dimension that complements your syrup. If you're using strawberry syrup, adding a glug of strawberry cheesecake creamer can boost the taste even further. Try using a coconut creamer with pineapple syrup, to make a piña colada-inspired soda. If you're running short on ideas, but simply want to inject your drink with excitement, use a vanilla creamer. You don't even have to use a flavored one at all -- unflavored coffee creamers will still boost your Italian soda's mouthfeel.

Use Creamer In Your Favorite Cocktails

white russian cocktail
white russian cocktail - Ekaterina_molchanova/Getty Images

If you like your cocktails on the creamier side, coffee creamer is your best friend. Using coffee creamer in cocktails allows you to dispense with the need to keep fresh dairy in the fridge for whenever you want a White Russian or Grasshopper. Instead, you can just crack open a shelf-stable bottle and pour it in.

Coffee creamer White Russians are spectacularly easy to make, and are a match made in flavor heaven, with the creamer's taste profile engineered to match your coffee liqueur. There's no need to fiddle with ratios, either: Just use the same amount of creamer as you would cream. A French Vanilla creamer works best here, as it gives your White Russian a gorgeous hint of sweetness and slight spiciness that pairs effortlessly with the coffee notes. To make it even more interesting, use hazelnut creamer and imbue your drink with a nutty edge.

To make a Grasshopper with coffee creamer, simply swap out the cream for creamer. You can use either an unflavored or flavored creamer here, and both will give great results. If you want to boost the minty flavor in your drink, try opting for a peppermint mocha creamer.

Splash It Into Your Morning Oatmeal

bowl of oatmeal with spoon
bowl of oatmeal with spoon - John Shepherd/Getty Images

There's no denying that oatmeal can be incredibly boring. So, if you're sick of staring at the same bowl of food every morning, give your breakfast some oomph and add coffee creamer to your oats. Coffee creamer in oatmeal may sound strange, but it's a surefire way to give your breakfast extra texture and flavor. The thickness of coffee creamer can help bulk up your oats and give them a smooth, creamy consistency, and the flavor of your chosen creamer will fill it with extra taste and help you avoid having to add sugar or sweeteners.

Coffee creamer is also useful when you've made oatmeal that's too thick. Rather than reaching for water or milk, and risking diluting the flavor of your oats and making them too thin, you can use creamer instead. Doing this keeps your oats thick while loosening them slightly, and simultaneously injects them with loads of flavor. You can use pretty much any creamer you like in oatmeal, but we'd recommend you keep things simple. Chocolate and vanilla creamers are our top choice, as they combine well with other flavors and ingredients, and improve your breakfast without being distracting.

Throw It Into Your Favorite Brownie Recipe

chocolate brownie squares
chocolate brownie squares - aaduds/Shutterstock

We don't know how we've gone this long without using coffee creamer in our brownies, but now we know how good it can make them, we're never looking back. Coffee creamer can give your brownies extra fudginess and a deeper flavor. It's especially useful with brownie mixes that just require you to add water: Use creamer instead, and you'll quickly find that your brownies are denser, thicker, and tastier.

You can also add creamer to your regular brownie recipe. To do this, simply add a little to your standard mix (perhaps reducing the amount of butter or fat you add elsewhere if your creamer is the full-fat kind). Nothing is off-limits flavor-wise when it comes to using coffee creamer in brownies. While chocolate-flavored creamer is a natural choice, adding extra dimensions to the already-chocolatey taste, vanilla or caramel flavors can also boost brownies enormously. Vanilla, in particular, gives brownies a dose of contrasting flavor without being overpowering and in fact helps to highlight the richness of the chocolate.

Amp Up Your French Toast With Creamer

brioche french toast with bacon
brioche french toast with bacon - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

We're big fans of anything French toast, and we're always on the hunt for extra ingredients to use in our recipes. So when we found out that coffee creamer is one of the most unexpected ingredients for unbeatable French toast, we had to give it a try. It couldn't be simpler, too: Instead of beating together milk and eggs, you combine your eggs with coffee creamer before dipping your bread in.

Doing this gives your French toast significant structural advantages. Coffee creamer is thicker than milk, so it's less likely to soak into your bread and make it too soft and soggy. Instead, your bread's coating will remain thick and juicy. Additionally, using coffee creamer will give your French toast way more flavor. This is the case even if you use unflavored creamer, which has a creaminess that milk can't quite achieve. Using flavored creamers, on the other hand, can boost your French toast enormously. We like to keep things simple, using French Vanilla coffee creamer. This allows us not to worry about adding any vanilla extract, too, so it's a win-win.

Use It To Make Ultra-Quick Icing

cinnamon roll being iced
cinnamon roll being iced - Debbismirnoff/Getty Images

Making icing with coffee creamer couldn't be simpler, and gives you a smooth, creamy, super-sweet topping nearly instantly. To do so, you need two ingredients: liquid creamer, and powdered sugar. Mix the two with a whisk to avoid any lumps forming, and you're good to go. This ultra-simple icing can then be drizzled onto cakes, cookies, muffins, donuts, or buttery cinnamon rolls.

The best thing about using a coffee creamer to make icing is how versatile you can be with your flavors. If you want to make a simple icing, just use regular creamer and some icing sugar. To give it a hint of extra flavor, use vanilla creamer, or go all-out with an extravagantly-flavored option to make your icing the star of the show. Don't forget that you can add extra ingredients to your icing to augment it, too. Some grated orange or lemon peel will give your icing a citrusy boost, whereas a few drops of peppermint will infuse it with festive flavors. We would advise steering clear of any extra sugary ingredients, though, as this icing is already pretty sweet, and doing so could push it over the edge.

Pour It Into Your Morning Tea

cup of tea being poured
cup of tea being poured - Wiroklyngz/Getty Images

If you've been reserving your coffee creamer solely for your coffee, you've been missing out on its potential. Creamer is well-suited to other hot beverages, including tea, where it can be used in place of milk. It's a straight swap between the two, and using creamer instead of milk can give your tea a little extra body, and make your drink feel and taste more substantial.

For the best results, you'll need to choose your creamer carefully. An unflavored liquid creamer is ideal, as it emulates milk most naturally while being easy to incorporate into the drink. While you can use a flavored creamer, be careful about which type you go for -- more often than not, flavors like chocolate or peppermint will just be distracting. Powdered creamers, meanwhile, are easy to use, but they can coagulate when they hit the hot tea, so make sure to give it some time to cool before stirring it in. If you're using an almond or soy-based creamer, it's important to warm them slightly before pouring them in. Adding cold plant-based creamers to hot tea can make them curdle, leaving you with tiny, unpleasant, gritty pieces in your drink.

Give Your Milkshake Extra Thickness With Creamer

strawberry milkshake with strawberries
strawberry milkshake with strawberries - Katarzyna Hurova/Shutterstock

Milkshakes don't usually struggle with thickness, but if yours is on the thin side, we've got the solution. Coffee creamer is a surprisingly effective ingredient in milkshakes, thanks to its thickening and textural qualities, and its ultra-sweet flavor. Coffee creamers usually contain stabilizers, and these ingredients are what give it its smooth, velvety consistency. When blended into a milkshake, these stabilizers lend the drink this quality, giving your shake a more pleasant mouthfeel and added thickness.

Coffee creamers can also imbue your milkshakes with a healthy dose of sweetness and added flavors that allow you to avoid using extracts, oils, or other flavor additives. You can either pick a creamer that boosts the dominant taste of the milkshake (like a chocolate coffee creamer in a chocolate shake), or one that balances the other flavors with a contrasting note, like coconut creamer in a berry-flavored milkshake. One thing to watch out for, however, is how sweet things can get. Coffee creamer and ice cream are both sweet, and if you're not careful you'll end up with a milkshake that's undrinkable. If in doubt, use an unsweetened creamer -- you'll still get all of its textural benefits, and a delicious, creamy taste.

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