We had a family gathering a few months back to celebrate my mother’s birthday. She’s trying to lose some weight, so my brother and I used half-and-half for her macaroni soup and Alfredo sauce (her recipe, of course).
Yes, you guessed it, we ran out of half-and-half, and I couldn’t find any sort of creamer in the house for my usual afternoon Breve coffee. My brother, ever the genius, gave coconut milk as an alternative. Suffice to say; it was a revelation.
Thus, my search for the best alternatives to half-and-half began. I won’t be able to live with myself if I don’t share my findings.
1. Evaporated Milk
This has to be the most common substitute for half-and-half. People from the old days used this as the alternative back when creamer wasn’t a widespread concept yet as it’s often available in every household. You can just make one yourself if you don’t have it yourself, although the process will take time.
You might find this too plain for your taste, but you’d be surprised how it works with coffee. It tastes more concentrated than bland old milk and refreshing to the palette. It still gives your beverage that desired thick and creamy texture.
2. Oat Milk
Want to go even healthier? How about going for oat milk? Given that it’s whole-grain and contains fiber, it’s an alternative packed with protein and calcium and promotes a healthy digestive system to boot.
Most brands offer additional nutrients to their oat milk, such as vitamin A, B, and B-12. It has a natural thickness that will complement your coffee well!
I can sense that you’re squirming already, but hear me out first! Yogurt is a dairy product in the first place, so this idea should not be weird at all. I like this one because it gives your coffee a bit of a twist in terms of flavor; it’s a bit tangy but surprisingly pleasant to your tongue.
Plain yogurt can be bland, but it perfectly complements the bitterness of the coffee, and it still provides that creaminess that half-and-half offers. There’s a thick aftertaste that, based on experience, prolongs that coffee taste in your mouth. Understandably, you’ll have mixed feelings about this, but I suggest you try it for yourself before coming up with a conclusion.
There will be times that some residues will float, so I suggest you have a sizable mug to mix this with your coffee thoroughly.
4. Coconut Milk
The coconut tree is called the Tree of Life for a reason, and I’m convinced it’s because of the milky-white liquid extracted from its fruit. This creamy and rich beverage is, in itself, a tasty and refreshing beverage. Adding it to coffee infuses that tropical and rejuvenating taste that no creamer or half-and-half can provide.
What’s better about this substitute is that since it’s also from a plant, it’s naturally lactose-free and dairy-free, a suitable alternative for coffee lovers who are lactose-intolerant and allergic to milk. I recommend trying So Delicious’ Coconut Milk and checking if it suits your taste for first-timers.
A word of caution – try to heat the coconut milk first for around three to five minutes before putting it in your hot coffee, as there are instances it will curdle. And please, don’t microwave your carton of coconut milk. Put it in a container or mug that’s microwave-safe.
- Organic Coconutmilk Beverage
- 32 oz (Pack of 6)
5. Cornstarch & Milk
We often use these two to thicken our soups and sauces; it’s a substitute for heavy cream. So, I wondered why not try it in coffee? I can honestly say the results were a bit surprising.
It’s bland since it’s just milk and starch, so I may suggest adding a sweetener (honey or sugar substitutes). What’s great about this is its flexibility. You can gauge how thick you want your milk to be by just adding more cornstarch.
It will require work, though. You have to heat the milk in a pan on medium-low and slowly incorporate the cornstarch while mixing. I do away with the cooking, and just a bit of cornstarch with leftover milk will do the trick.