Low-Sugar S'mores Iced Latte
With gooey & decadent black chocolate drizzle and a thick layer of creamy French Vanilla, just one sip of this iced latte will transport you to the campfire.
This article has been written by experts and fact-checked by experts, including licensed nutritionists, dietitians or medical professionals. The information in the article is based on scientific studies and research.
It is designed to be honest, unbiased and objective, and opinions from both sides of an argument are presented wherever there is disagreement.
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What’s the best car? That’s an impossible question to answer.
If by “best” you mean “most reliable brand,” Consumer Reports says it’s Mazda.
If by “best” you mean “best fuel economy,” Car and Driver says it’s the Mitsubishi Mirage.
If by “best” you mean “highest satisfaction rating,” J.D. Power says it’s the Audi A3.
If by “best” you mean “best electric car,” U.S. News says it’s the Tesla Model S.
Clearly, you can’t call a product “the best” until you’ve set some ground rules to judge by. And that’s unquestionably the case when evaluating coffee creamers.
Are you looking for the best-tasting coffee creamer? The healthiest coffee creamer? The best non-dairy creamer, or the best dairy-free creamer? (No, they’re not the same thing.)
And on it goes.
That’s why our list of the best coffee creamers is divided into categories. Whether you just want a yummy creamer, or the healthiest – whether you want a vegan non-dairy creamer, or one that’s keto-friendly – we have you covered.
Let’s explain our categories, and then get to the delicious details.
Here’s the easy answer: it’s a substitute for the milk or cream you might ordinarily add to your coffee.
Here’s the more important answer: it’s an unregulated mixture of ingredients designed to taste and act like milk or cream. It might contain soy, nut milk or pea protein; it might contain oil or corn syrup; it might contain added sugar or sugar substitute; it might even contain milk or cream.
Ingredients like almond or soy milk are understandable. It also makes sense that some companies might include a little milk or cream, or add sweeteners.
But what’s the deal with oil and corn syrup?
Dairy substitutes don’t have the same consistency and “mouth feel” as milk or heavy cream, so they usually won’t be as thick when you add them to coffee, and won’t “feel” the way that coffee drinkers expect. Some won’t even mix into a cup of coffee; they’ll just sit on top. Additives like oil and corn syrup are often used as thickening agents, to make a coffee creamer seem more like a real dairy product. (Some use a different but still problematic thickening agent, carrageenan.)
Those ingredients might make a creamer taste delicious or act more like whole milk. But needless to say, oil and corn syrup aren’t always healthy choices. That’s why we have two different categories of creamer: “best taste” and “healthiest.”
Adding a little milk or cream to a commercial coffee creamer can be an issue, too. Many people regularly use creamers because they’re lactose intolerant, meaning they have a sensitivity to the lactose, or “milk sugar,” that’s in dairy products. A coffee creamer containing milk or cream is simply not an option for them.
People with a milk allergy have a different issue. It’s not the lactose that affects them; instead, their bodies reject the milk proteins (casein and/or whey) naturally contained in dairy products. So they need a dairy-free creamer to be safe. Vegans who avoid all animal products are in the same basic situation, only able to use dairy-free creamers.
(Amazingly, a creamer that’s labeled “non-dairy” isn’t safe for those with milk allergies or vegans, only the lactose-intolerant. That’s because the government says companies can use the term non-dairy even if a product contains casein, whey, or their derivatives. No, we don’t understand the reasoning, either.)
That gives us another category for our list: the “best dairy-free” creamers won’t contain lactose or milk proteins.
We’re going to add a final category. Since low-carb eating is such a big thing, “best keto creamer” will take care of those who are on the keto diet or similar eating plans like paleo or Whole30.
We could come up with even more types of coffee creamers to list separately, but that’s more than enough. Let’s get to the good stuff – most of which can easily be found in your local grocery store and on Amazon.
(Spoiler alert: Our choice for overall best coffee creamer is Super Creamer from Super Coffee. You’ll find it listed in the “Best Keto Creamer” category.)
It probably won’t surprise you that Starbucks coffee creamers, relatively new to the market, make this list. We’ve chosen the hazelnut/mocha creamer, which is inspired by the taste of the chain’s hazelnut mocha macchiato. But they offer a variety of other flavors including white chocolate (inspired by their white chocolate mocha), toffeenut (based on their toffeenut latte), and pumpkin spice (based on you know what).
Starbucks makes a delicious liquid coffee creamer that mixes very well, but since it’s made with milk, sugar, heavy cream, buttermilk, soybean oil, cocoa powder and sugar, its nutrition numbers aren’t great. There are 40 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and a whopping six grams of carbs per tablespoon of creamer. Then again, if you’re buying a creamer based on your love of Starbucks drinks, you probably aren’t overly concerned about how healthy your morning coffee will be. (One piece of good news for the health-conscious: Starbucks creamers are carrageenan-free.)
Well, you can feel a little better about putting a tablespoon of this creamer into your coffee, since the numbers are slightly better than Starbucks’: 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and five grams of carbs, and it’s cholesterol-free. Those aren’t the selling points, of course; this creamer is based on the flavor of Cinnabon’s cinnamon rolls, complete with a hint of the cream cheese frosting.
It’s dairy- and lactose-free since it’s made primarily from palm oil and cane sugar, but it does contain carrageenan and the milk-derivative sodium caseinate, so it’s not a non-dairy product. It is delicious, though. There are many other tasty flavor choices from International Delight, including Irish Crème, amaretto, caramel macchiato and French vanilla, and crazy options like Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream, Almond Joy, Hershey’s chocolate caramel and Fruity Pebbles.
Honorable Mention: Nestlé Coffee-Mate’s Natural Bliss products.
We could just as easily have put these creamers into our dairy-free category, because they’re completely plant-based with no milk proteins (they’re obviously vegan-friendly as well). They’re also non-GMO, gluten-free, carrageenan-free and soy-free, and their unsweetened varieties are sugar-free as well.
We’re partial to the Califia Almondmilk unsweetened creamer, which contains 10 calories, one gram of fat and zero carbs per tablespoon. It’s made primarily from almond milk, coconut cream and natural flavors, with nothing objectionable in there – and it tastes really good. If you’re partial to sweeter tastes, there are a number of good choices like pecan caramel Almondmilk creamer and vanilla flavored Oatmilk creamer.
These aren’t the best-tasting creamers on the market – but they’re the healthiest, and they still do taste pretty good.
If you try to keep your calorie consumption low, there’s a good chance you have Walden Farms salad dressings in your refrigerator. Their coffee creamers are also zero-calorie, with no sugar, carbs or fat, and to us, that says “healthy” – although we do wish they specified exactly what’s in their “cream flavoring.” Walden Farms has had a reputation for creating high-quality products for decades, though, so we trust them. Available flavors include French vanilla, caramel, hazelnut and mocha.
Honorable Mention: Milkadamia Unsweetened Macadamia Milk.
So Delicious is known for making terrific dairy-free products, and their creamers fit nicely into that company mission. We like the organic Coconutmilk creamer, which is made from only (you guessed it) coconut milk, water and a few harmless additives. Obviously, there’s nothing dairy whatsoever in this creamer. There are just 15 calories per tablespoon, along with one gram of fat and no carbs; it’s certified organic, vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free.
Since it’s basically just coconut milk, the So Delicious creamer doesn’t froth up like some of its competitors that contain oil or dairy products. It mimics dairy fairly well in that respect, however, and it tastes really good. Other flavor options include caramel and French vanilla.
This is a tasty dairy-free choice which adds even more health benefits to your cup of joe. The coconut flavor is strong thanks to its coconut oil and coconut sugar base, but it also contains turmeric, a peppery and musky-tasting spice that contributes powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Each tablespoon has 15 calories, about a gram of carbs and less than a gram of fat, so it’s good for you while providing a great change-of-pace flavor for your coffee.
Honorable Mention: Silk Original Dairy-Free Soy Creamer
Those on low-fat diets, particularly the keto diet, don’t just use their coffee as a morning eye-opener or an afternoon pick-me-up. First of all, it’s one of the few beverages that’s acceptable under keto guidelines, since it doesn’t contain enough carbs to kick the dieter out of fat-burning ketosis mode. Just as importantly, it’s a great vehicle for the added fats required by a rigorous ketogenic diet.
The best-known version of keto coffee is called Bulletproof coffee, which is black coffee blended with either ghee or unsalted grass-fed butter, and MCT oil. They each contribute lots of healthy fat, and the MCT oil is a good source of ketones that can keep the body in ketosis.
Keto coffee creamers usually follow that blueprint, containing a decent amount of fat as well as MCT coconut oil and very few carbs. They’re terrific for low-carb dieters, and many are just as good for health-conscious coffee drinkers who are watching their weight.
Super Creamer is our choice as the best overall coffee creamer, but it fits best into our keto section because it’s made with MCT oil, it contains less than a gram of carbs per tablespoon, it’s unusually low in calories (12 calories) for a keto creamer – and it tastes delicious. This is not a non-dairy or dairy-free choice, because it contains both cream and milk protein isolate. That’s not a concern for most low-carb dieters, though.
Super Creamer mixes with coffee almost as well as milk or cream, and there are a number of natural flavors to choose from (including vanilla, hazelnut and sweet cream). One more benefit: even if you’re not worried about dieting, MCT oil is known to boost energy to the body and brain, and has been linked to improved cognitive function.
If you’re willing to sacrifice some taste for a creamer containing zero carbs, NutPods is a good option. Don’t get us wrong, this product has a nutty coconut flavor, but it’s not as tasty as Super Creamer. Its major ingredients are water, almond milk and coconut cream; the latter helps with consistency, but it isn’t as good for keto dieters as MCT coconut oil – and it contributes lots of calories to the mix, nearly 76 calories per tablespoon.
“No carbs” is a tempting quality for a keto creamer, however, and NutPods is definitely worth a long look. There are a number of interesting flavor options, including coconut macaroon, cinnamon swirl and cotton candy.
Honorable Mention: Omega French Vanilla Powercreamer
Published: June 1, 2021
Last Updated: June 1, 2021
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