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In this post: For those who love the taste of iced coffee, you might want to consider making your iced lattes at home. Instead of going to Starbucks, all you need is a few ingredients and a few minutes.
Iced lattes and iced coffees are easy enough to whip up at home. Plus you can customize them to suit your tastes, diet and save money while doing so! Here are easy iced latte and iced coffee recipes you can make yourself.
What’s the difference between an iced coffee and an iced latte?
Depending on how much of a coffee connoisseur you are, you may prefer an iced coffee over an iced latte or vice versa. But what is the difference? Well…
- Iced coffee is cooled regular coffee poured over ice. You can add milk and sweetener as desired.
- An iced latte is espresso and a larger amount of milk poured over ice, with or without added flavorings or syrups.
Which is stronger: iced coffee or iced latte?
Ounce for ounce espresso contains more caffeine than coffee:
- One ounce of espresso contains 63 mg of caffeine
- One ounce of coffee contains 12-16 mg of caffeine
But almost no one stops at one ounce of coffee! And depending on the size of the drink, an iced coffee will likely be stronger than an iced latte. [source]
As you’ll see, there’s a lot of wiggle room when you’re making your iced coffee recipe at home. So you can make either as strong as you like.
How do you make iced coffee at home?
You can skip the coffee shop and make a simple “no muss, no fuss” iced coffee at home by simply pouring regular coffee over ice.
Which is fine if you want a simple drink. But if you’re wanting something a little more fancy – but still easy to make – read on!
What type of coffee should I use?
You can make iced coffee in about a thousand different ways.
Okay, maybe not that many. But there really are many variations and options to an iced coffee recipe!
Tip: Cut back on the amount of water when brewing the coffee because the melting ice will dilute the coffee.
If you’re in a hurry, you can make an iced coffee with instant coffee.
Sure, it may not be for the coffee snob. But it will do just fine for everyone else!
To do so, simply mix 1 tablespoon instant coffee with 1-2 tablespoons of boiled/hot water in a shatter-proof tall glass or mug. Add 2-3 tbsp cold water and then your milk and sweetener of choice. Stir gently and enjoy!
Espresso vs coffee
As mentioned above, using espresso makes your cold drink an iced latte, and using coffee makes it an iced coffee. So which you use is up to you.
If you’re going to use coffee, choose a strong coffee like a dark roast for a more robust, less-watered-down flavor.
What about cold brew coffee?
While I’ve never taken the time to do it, you can use cold brew coffee, for sure.
Not sure what cold brew is? Essentially you mix coarse ground coffee beans in water, place them in the fridge overnight (or for 12-18 hours) and then strain. (There’s a simple-to-follow recipe for cold brew here.)
Can you make iced coffee with hot coffee?
Technically you can. But the coffee won’t get cold enough and the ice cubes will water it down quickly.
It’s best to cool your coffee first.
What type of ice is best for iced coffee?
You can use whichever type of ice is your preference. The options are:
- Large cubes
- Small cubes
I like to use large cubes from our ice maker so they don’t melt and dilute the coffee as quickly. But you could also grab some fun ice cube trays and make ice cubes that way too!
Substitutions & variations
As I mentioned, there are many ways to make an iced latte or an iced coffee at home.
I’ve been told that whole milk works best in a traditional iced latte or iced coffee recipe. But since I don’t drink dairy, I always use an alternative.
- soy milk
- almond milk
- coconut milk
- almond creamer
- flavored almond creamer (Silk has vanilla and hazelnut, and occasionally special flavors like peppermint mocha or Canadian maple)
You could also try:
- oat milk
- cashew milk
- or any other plant-based milk you’d like
If you want to sweeten your iced coffee or iced latte, I suggest using a liquid sweetener as granulated sugars won’t dissolve very well in cold liquids.
You could try:
- store-bought coffee syrups, like Torani
- stevia drops
- maple syrup
- plain or flavored simple syrup (simple syrup can be made from 1 part sugar dissolved in 1 part water)
If you choose to use a coffee syrup like Torani, your sweetener and flavoring are combined. Like French Vanilla, Caramel or Hazelnut.
But you can also add flavor to your iced latte or iced coffee in many other ways:
- vanilla extract
- almond extract
- coconut extract
- mint extract
- chocolate syrup
- chocolate milk
- condensed milk (or condensed coconut milk)
- ice cream
- coffee ice cubes
The options are practically endless!
Can you store leftover iced coffee in the fridge?
Yes, and no. Again this comes down to how much of a coffee snob you are.
There’s nothing wrong with coffee that’s been in the fridge for a few days. But it will lose that robust coffee flavor after a while.
I wouldn’t suggest keeping it in the fridge for more than 24 hours. But you can let your tastebuds be the judge.
How to make the espresso
Espresso is typically made with an espresso machine and is an art in itself. If you have one, follow its instructions for making the perfect espresso.
What do you do when you don’t have an espresso machine?
Or you could buy a couple of shots of espresso from the coffee shop and make your latte at home. Although that sort of defeats the purpose of making it at home and I’d just use strong coffee instead. 😉
Do you froth milk for an iced latte?
You don’t have to, but you can if you want to.
If you want to froth the milk, make sure you make cold foam, not hot. Here are a few ways to do that…
The Mason Jar Method
To froth your milk this way, simply place it in a mason jar with the lid screwed on tightly and shake until it’s frothy.
French Press Method
You can also foam your milk by putting it in a French press and then pumping the handle up and down to add bubbles.
Handheld Milk Frother
This is my favorite. We’ve had a handheld milk frother for years. I even use it in my regular coffee to give a little froth to the top.
You could use a blender to froth your milk as well.
How to make an iced latte or iced coffee (step-by-step)
For the full recipe and printable instructions, see the recipe card below.
- coffee or espresso
- milk of choice
- ice cubes
- sweetener of choice
01| Brew your espresso or coffee. Let it cool.
02| Pour your brewed coffee of choice over a large amount of ice in a tall glass.
03| Mix in the amount of milk you’d like and your sweetener of choice. Enjoy!
What to serve with this drink
There are lots of yummy things to serve with an iced latte or iced coffee. Here are a few desserts that would pair well with an iced latte or iced coffee:
So that’s how to make the perfect iced coffee recipe. What’s your favorite way to enjoy a coffee? Or are you more like my little sis who prefers tea?
- 1 cup strong black coffee or 2 ounces/shots espresso
- 1/2 to 1 cup milk of choice
- Brew your espresso or coffee. Let it cool.
- Pour your brewed coffee of choice over a large amount of ice in a tall glass.
- Mix in the amount of milk you'd like and your sweetener of choice. Enjoy!