Learn how to make a latte at home that will rival any coffee shop. Save money, get superior taste and tailor your drink to fit your needs when you make a flavorful Vanilla Latte at home. This Starbucks copycat recipe is quick and easy and can even be made without an espresso maker.
I love sipping on a Starbucks vanilla latte while catching up with friends. It's become a wonderful tradition with several girlfriends but it's also an expensive habit. At nearly six bucks a pop, I thought there had to be a better way. I have a coffee maker and an espresso maker so making a warm, sweet vanilla latte at home should be a cinch.
As it turns out, it's not difficult at all. You can easily prepare a homemade vanilla latte that tastes just like the Starbucks latte recipe in about 5 minutes. Make a few extras to serve your friends and gather around the kitchen table for an intimate chat rather than a crowded coffee shop. It's also a great time to serve some puff pastry roses or Polish butter cookies with your coffee.
What is a Latte?
A latte is a popular coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. It is often served in a clear glass or cup and topped with a thin layer of foam. It can be flavored with beverage syrups and garnished with whipped cream and other toppings. Lattes can be served hot or cold.
Fortunately, making a latte at home isn't difficult at all. Let's get started.
- Milk – Use whole milk, cream, oat milk or any milk of your choice.
- Vanilla Syrup – Used sweetened or sugar free vanilla syrup designed for beverages rather than vanilla extract.
- Espresso – You can use ½ cup of strong brewed coffee if you don't have an espresso machine.
- Whipped Cream – For garnish.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make a Vanilla Latte
- Make espresso or use a strong regular coffee.
- Heat the milk in the microwave for about a minute or until steaming hot. Make sure to use a microwave-safe container. Froth with a milk frother until milk is double in size.
- Pour the coffee and vanilla syrup into each cup then add the hot frothed milk making sure there is some foam on top of each cup.
- Stir gently, then top each cup with whipped cream if desired.
Hint: If you don't have an espresso maker you can use strong brewed coffee instead and top your coffee with frothed milk.
- Skinny Vanilla Latte – Prepare with sugar free syrup, lowfat or non-fat milk and light whipped cream.
- Iced latte – Pour the syrup and coffee over ice and prepare with cold foam.
- Swap the Syrup – Use your favorite coffee syrup such as chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, etc. I highly recommend you try my Cinnamon Nutella Latte.
- Vegan Latte – Use dairy free milk and coconut whipped cream to make this vegan.
- Honey – Instead of syrup, add honey (or maple syrup) and a splash of vanilla extract.
- Garnish – In addition to whipped cream, garnish with cocoa powder, cinnamon or vanilla sugar.
- Espresso Maker or Coffee Machine – A stovetop espresso maker is ideal for the best flavor buy you can use a regular coffee maker or French press to brew strong coffee.
- Milk Frother or Steam Wand – If you have a fancy cappuccino/espresso maker, it will have a steamer that is used to make the foamed milk. You can also use an electric frother or handheld frother to foam warmed milk in a small pitcher.
Tips to making the best latte
- Use high-quality ingredients for a better flavor.
- When using an electric milk frother, start with warm milk. When using a steam wand on an espresso machine, start with cold milk and a cold pitcher.
- Aim for a 1:1 ratio of coffee to milk.
- Serve hot but not scalding or serve over ice.
When dining out, cross contamination is always an issue. When making a latte at home you can ensure that your vanilla latte is gluten free. Always check labels of any products (such as syrup) to ensure that they are gluten free.
Yes! While an espresso machine will give you a stong concentrated cup of coffee you can make a latte at home without one. Simply brew strong coffee using a standard coffee maker or French press.
To make a vegan latte use a plantbased milk such as coconut milk, oat milk or almond milk. If you would like to add whipped cream, use whipped coconut cream. Be sure to verify that any additions such as vanilla syrup are certified vegan.
I'm not sure you really need a reason or an excuse to serve a vanilla latte. I'm happy to sip on one any time I need a pick-me-up but they can be served with breakfast, afternoon tea or even as a dessert.
- Serve for breakfast along with mushroom and bacon quiche or air fryer egg toast.
- Enjoy a latte with afternoon tea along with mini pumpkin donut muffins, a Maraschino cupcake or apple rose puff pastry.
- Follow up a roasted chicken dinner or serve with dessert following a holiday ham meal.
If you like this Vanilla Latte recipe, please leave a 5-star rating.
Homemade Vanilla Latte
- 1 ½ cups milk (of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla syrup
- 2 shots expresso
- whipped cream, for garnish
- Make expresso coffee or use a strong regular coffee. (see notes below)
- Heat the milk in the microwave for about a minute or until steaming hot. make sure to use a microwave safe container. Froth with a milk frother until milk is double in size.
- Pour the coffee and vanilla syrup in each cup. Pour the hot milk in the coffee making sure there is some foam on top od each cup.
- Stir gently and top each cup with whipped cream if desired.
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