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The vanilla latte recipe is warm and cozy, pairing espresso with milk and homemade vanilla syrup! There’s a reason this drink is a coffeeshop staple. Its creamy, sweet flavor and comforting aroma are the perfect pick me up any time of the day!

Vanilla latte

Love a good latte? Here’s a tasty variation to try: the vanilla latte! This spin on the classic features homemade vanilla syrup with the traditional espresso and milk. This delicious, classic latte is like the ones you can get in a cute European-style café, flavored with a lightly sweet, vanilla-scented essence. It’s outrageously cozy, especially in the fall and winter: though of course you can drink it anytime! Or, make it an Iced Vanilla Latte instead.

What’s in a vanilla latte?

A vanilla latte is a coffee drink made with espresso, steamed milk, and vanilla syrup. It’s easy to make vanilla syrup at home: all you’ll need is a few minutes, some sugar, and vanilla extract. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this drink:

  • 1 double shot espresso
  • ½ cup whole milk, or oat milk for vegan
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla simple syrup, made with granulated sugar and vanilla extract
Vanilla Syrup
Vanilla syrup is quick to make at home!

How to make a vanilla latte: basic steps

This vanilla latte recipe is similar to a basic cafe latte, the only difference is that you’ll add vanilla syrup when steaming or frothing the milk. Otherwise, it’s the same basic concept! You’ll need to find a great espresso method and a great steaming or frothing method. Here’s the overview of what to do:

  • Step 1: Make 1 double shot of espresso (see the methods below).
  • Step 2: Steam or froth the milk with the vanilla syrup (see the methods below).
  • Step 3: Pour the steamed vanilla milk into the espresso.
How to make espresso

Making espresso at home

The key to a latte is a great method for homemade espresso. You don’t need a countertop espresso machine, but this tool does make the highest quality espresso! However, you can make a great espresso shot in a manual espresso maker or French press. Here are some methods we recommend:

Vanilla latte

Steaming milk vs frothing

The other thing you need for this vanilla latte recipe? Steamed or frothed milk! If you’ve got an espresso machine you can steam it. Otherwise use one of the frothing methods below. Whole milk makes the best vanilla latte: is has the richest flavor and best frothy foam topping. If you’d like, you can use oat milk for a vegan latte; it’s the best non-dairy milk for frothing. Here’s what to know:

  • Steam the milk with an espresso machineIf you’ve got an espresso machine, this is the way to go! The process requires a little technique, but the result is rich, creamy microfoam. Go to How to Steam Milk.
  • Froth the milk by hand: There are several ways to froth milk. The best method is a hand frother, but you can also use a French press or whisk. Go to How to Froth Milk.

For the vanilla syrup

This vanilla syrup is a variation on a simple syrup: a liquid sweetener made with equal parts sugar and water. It’s popular for its use in Starbucks drinks: you can buy it bottled but it’s also easy to make at home. While vanilla beans make for great flavor, they can be pricey. Save those beans for baking: turns out, you can make a delicious syrup using extract! Here’s how to make vanilla syrup:

  • Combine sugar and water: Place ½ cup each granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on the stove.
  • Heat until dissolved: Heat over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until fully dissolved. Do not simmer!
  • Stir in vanilla extract: Remove from the heat and add 2 teaspoons vanilla. Cool to room temperature before using.
Iced vanilla latte

Variation: iced vanilla latte

A popular variation on this drink? The Iced Vanilla Latte! This drink is even easier because you don’t need to steam or froth the milk. We like to give it a little shake in a ball jar to get it foamy before adding to the espresso and vanilla syrup. It’s ultra delicious: head over to this Iced Vanilla Latte recipe.

More latte recipes

There seems to be a latte recipe for every moment and season! Here are a few of our favorite lattes featuring both coffee and tea:

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Vanilla latte

Vanilla Latte

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The vanilla latte recipe is warm and cozy, pairing espresso with milk and homemade vanilla syrup! There’s a reason this drink is a coffeeshop staple. Its creamy, sweet flavor and comforting aroma are the perfect pick me up any time of the day!


  • 2 espresso shots (2 ounces)
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) fresh whole milk or oat milk* (double for two servings when steaming)
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla syrup


  1. If not made already, make the vanilla syrup.
  2. Make the espresso: Make the espresso using an espresso machine, manual espresso maker, French press, or Moka Pot. Go to How to Make Espresso for instructions.
  3. Steam or froth the milk and vanilla syrup (double batch): Add the vanilla syrup to the milk. Steam the milk with an espresso machine, or heat and then froth the milk using your method of choice (milk frother, French press, whisk or covered jar). It’s easiest to steam or froth 1 cup of milk for 2 drinks, so use 1 tablespoon vanilla syrup. Go to How to Steam Milk or How to Froth Milk for details on each.
  4. Serve: Pour the milk into the center of the espresso, ending with light foam (using half the steamed or frothed milk for 1 drink).


*Whole milk works best; milk that is a few weeks old may not froth. You can also use oat milk for a vegan latte.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Espresso
  • Cuisine: Coffee
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Vanilla latte

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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