A homemade vanilla latte is dusted with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Vanilla lattes have to be one of my favorite coffee drinks. They’re smooth, slightly sweet, and super delicious. Unfortunately, they can also cost a fortune when you get them at the coffee shop. That’s where this vanilla latte recipe comes in. It’s easy to make, contains only a few ingredients, and tastes just as yummy as the kind you can get from your local barista.

Steamed milk and foam pours into a glass mug with a shot of espresso.

What does a vanilla latte taste like?

Lattes are drinks made with espresso and steamed foamed milk. A vanilla latte is a latte that has been flavored with vanilla—you can drink them hot or cold.  The homemade vanilla syrup adds a yummy sweetness, while the milk makes the whole thing super creamy.

What is a vanilla latte made of?

This vanilla latte recipe has surprisingly few ingredients. All you need is:

  • Espresso or black coffee
  • Whole milk
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract

That’s it! Although you can make this recipe with regular black coffee from a drip coffee maker, it’s way better with a shot of espresso. If you don’t have an espresso machine, I recommend picking up the Moka Express by Bialetti. A moka pot is less expensive than a fancy espresso maker, but it brews a delicious cup of espresso every time. This is why it made our list of the best gifts for coffee lovers!

Wholefully Protip

This recipe calls for whole milk because it’s easier to whip into a froth. If you don’t care so much about frothiness, you certainly can use another kind of milk, whether that’s low-fat milk or a dairy-free milk such as almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk.

A hand holds a milk frother into a small saucepan of steamed milk.

What kind of coffee do I need?

You can use any type of coffee you want—but espresso or dark roasts work best for making a latte. Their rich coffee flavor allows the coffee to shine through and not get lost in the vanilla, milk, and sugar of the latte.

For the richest coffee experience, it’s best to grind your own beans using a coffee grinder. Coffee grinders allow you to purchase your choice of fresh coffee bean, then grind it as you need it. This keeps your coffee super fresh. You’ll really be able to taste the difference between a cup brewed with ground coffee and one that was made with freshly ground coffee beans!

How to make a vanilla latte

This vanilla latte recipe is incredibly simple, and it only involves a few easy steps.

  1. Create your sugar mixture by heating the milk on the stove in a small saucepan until it boils.
  2. Add in the sugar and vanilla and whisk until all the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Use a milk frother or immersion blender to froth up the mixture once it’s been removed from the heat.
  4. Brew your coffee or espresso into a large mug.
  5. Top the coffee with the frothed milk to give it that creamy layer of foam. Pour into your favorite coffee mug. You can serve it as is or sprinkle on some additional toppings, such as cinnamon or a dollop of whipped cream.

Wholefully Protip

If you’re in the mood for an extra special treat, try making a salted caramel mocha! This sweet and salty drink is like a latte with chocolate mixed in, making it the perfect warm winter beverage.

Close view of a homemade vanilla latte in a glass mug with a handle.

How can I steam milk at home?

It’s actually fairly simple to steam milk at home. You can do it in the microwave or on the stovetop, but we prefer the stove because it’s easier to key an eye on the temperature. To steam your milk:

  1. Add the milk to a pot on the stove and warm it over low to medium heat.
  2. Keep an eye on the milk the entire time, and stir gently, so it doesn’t scald or burn.
  3. The milk is done when bubbles are just starting to form around the edges and steam is rising from the surface.
  4. At this point, add your sugar and vanilla and stir until they are completely dissolved.


A homemade vanilla latte is dusted with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Vanilla Latte

Yield: 1 latte
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Tired of paying more than $4 for your favorite vanilla latte? We'll show you how to make a DIY version that may be better than the original!


  • 2 ounces espresso or 1 cup (8 ounces) brewed black coffee
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk until boiling. Add the sugar and vanilla, and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat and whip the milk mixture with a milk frother or immersion blender.
  3. Brew your espresso or coffee into a mug, and top with the milk mixture. Serve as is, dust with cinnamon, or top with whipped cream!


  • Whole milk was used in this recipe because it’s easier to froth than other lower-fat milks. If froth is not a priority, any milk will work in this recipe!
  • This recipe can be easily doubled for 2 lattes!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 92mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 0gSugar: 35gProtein: 6g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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