DIY cold foam recipe

For decades, steamed and frothed milk has been used to top lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and more. Starting in 2018, Starbucks introduced a similar but new concept nationwide: cold foam. Similar to those two light-as-air toppings, Starbucks’ signature cold foam has since been recreated by competitors like Dunkin’ and Jamba Juice, and by creative coffee baristas at home.

Ideal for garnishing a wide variety of coffee favorites, our DIY cold froth can hold its own on your coffee drink or tea; slowly seeping in to infuse it with just enough richness and vanilla flavor.

Get ready to save time and money by skipping the drive-thru or coffee line. Ahead, we reveal all the details on how to make DIY cold foam right in your own kitchen.

What is DIY cold foam?

Cold foam is frothed milk (or a non-dairy milk alternative) that is often flavored with sweetener and extract. It’s similar to the steamed milk that tops lattes and cappuccinos, just at a cool temperature.

Since it won’t melt into your hot drink, a dollop of cold froth creates a light layer of sweet cream that gently settles into the drink as you sip it. For an additional 50 cents, you can add cold foam to many Starbucks beverages. Plus, it’s already included in some menu items like cold brews, iced mochas, iced espressos, iced matcha tea lattes, and the trendy “pink drink.”

Ingredients for DIY cold foam

You only need three ingredients to make our Test Kitchen DIY cold foam recipe.

  • Milk (or alternative “milk”): Skimmed milk works great. Since it contains a higher percentage of protein per ounce than whole milk or 2%, it comes in a thick, sturdy style. Of course, those other fat percentages work too, as does heavy cream or half and half if you want something even more decadent. Coconut cream, almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk work well as plant-based swaps.
  • Sweetener: Simple syrup offers sweetness without any lingering flavor, so it’s our top choice for DIY cold foam. To do this, in a small saucepan over medium heat, add equal amounts of sugar and water. Stir and cook until sugar is dissolved, then transfer to a mason jar or other airtight storage container. Use within 1 month. If you want, you can use an equal amount of maple syrup, honey, or a store-bought flavored coffee syrup to sweeten your cold froth instead.
  • Extract or Spice: Optional, but highly recommended, part of our DIY cold foam formula, we like to jazz up our cold foam with vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Feel free to get creative and flavor your cold foam with something else. A sprinkle of matcha tea powder is stellar for topping tea lattes, or try a sprinkle of pumpkin spice to top your café latte. You can even mix in a small spoonful of fruit puree. Or try another extract flavor like almond or maple.

How to make DIY cold foam

Homemade cold foam looks impressive, but it’s actually child’s play to make. Before we dive into making DIY cold foam, gather the aforementioned ingredients and your foaming tool of choice. You have a few options.

  • milk frother: This is the easiest, fastest, and smallest option to store; and costs less than $20 at most major retailers.
  • Hand blender: Basically like a larger version of the frother (which can also do many other tasks, like making soups and sauces).
  • french press: Pour the ingredients into the pitcher, then use short pumps of the press until the milk begins to froth.
  • Regular mixer: For large batches of DIY cold froth, feel free to use your large countertop blender or a smaller smoothie blender. Add all the ingredients to the pitcher or cup and stir until the milk is frothy and full of volume.
  • mason jar: For an arm workout and a serving of DIY cold foam all in one go, add the ingredients to a mason jar. Close with a lid and shake vigorously until the milk is frothy.

To make DIY cold foam, here are the ingredient ratios you will need.

  • ¼ cup milk (or milk substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (or spice, extract, or flavor enhancer of your choice)

  1. Add the milk, syrup and extract to a tall glass, pitcher or jar. Place the milk frother in the container, allowing the whisk part to submerge completely.
  2. Turn on the milk frother and blend until the milk begins to thicken and stabilize, about 20 seconds. Slowly lift the wand up out of the milk, then out of the glass.
  3. Carefully use a spoon to transfer the DIY cold froth onto the top of your beverage of choice.

If you have extra foam, transfer it to a mason jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Before serving, use a milk frother to revive it or simply give the jug a few vigorous shakes until frothy again.

This DIY cold foam recipe can be used instead of milk or cream in your usual coffee or tea drink, or in addition to it. Feel free to let it float on top or stir it into the drink; either way, you’ll experience the smooth, rich flavor with every sip. To add a special touch to happy hour, you can use this DIY cold foam to top mixed drinks or mocktails like eggnog, hot chocolate, or milk punch.