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Love Whipped Cream But Trying To Slim? Cold Foam Could Be Your New Best Friend

All it takes to re-create this Starbucks staple is non-fat milk, a mason jar and 90 seconds!

It’s the coolest, creamiest trend to hit coffee shops like Starbucks: topping drinks with cold foam. The delicious treat is pillowy like whipped cream but has half the calories and none of the fat. So you get maximum mmm without the fattening ugh. And you don’t need to part with $5 at your local coffee shop to take advantage of the trend. You can easily make it at home for pennies. The best part? You don’t need any fancy gizmo or exotic ingredient: All it takes is non-fat milk, a mason jar and 90 seconds to whip up cold foam.

What is cold foam?

Cold foam is a frothy topping that’s poured over iced drinks — most often over coffee drinks. It’s texture is more velvety than that of whipped cream and is traditionally made using nonfat milk rather than cream. This is key because lower fat milk has a higher protein-to-fat ratio. “When you froth milk, the goal is to create a stable network of air bubbles surrounded by a thin film of water and protein,” explains food scientist and registered dietitian Jennifer Pallian, BSc RD, creator of “Nonfat milk generally creates more foam, and it’s more stable than the foam produced by higher-fat milk options.”

The higher protein-to-fat ratio of non-fat milk as part of a coffee drink works nicely for women who are trying to lose weight by getting more protein in the morning by opting for protein coffee or “proffee.” Click through for a complete plan using morning protein to help lose over 50 belly fat.

What’s the difference between cold foam & whipped cream?

Whipped cream is generally made by literally whipping up heavy cream while cold foam is made by whipping up non-fat milk. Taking Starbucks as an example, they add a little vanilla syrup to both their cold foam and whipped cream toppers. A serving of Starbucks cold foam has 35 calories and zero grams a fat. Compare that to a serving of Starbucks whipped cream, which has 60 calories, 1 gram of sugar and 6 grams of fat. So opting for cold foam over whipped cream will save you 25 calories, a gram of sugar and 6 grams of fat — nice, right?

What whipped cream does better: Transmit flavor. Fat concentrates flavors and helps our senses perceive them more powerfully. (Click through for more information on how to make the most delicious whipped cream.) That said, flavored cold foam isn’t quite as flavorful as flavored whipped cream. Cold foam also has a lighter, less creamy mouth feel. But the fat and calorie savings still make it an appealing option.

What tools do you need to make cold foam?

There are four different tools you can use to turn nonfat milk into cold foam. Here are Pallian’s top picks and how to use them to achieve a foamy consistency in minutes:

  1. Mason jar with lid: This method might require a little more elbow grease than the ones below, but it’s a great option if you’re unsure you want to spring for a gizmo. Simply pour non-fat milk into a mason jar, making sure it’s only half full to leave enough room for the foam. Secure the lid tightly, and shake the jar vigorously until the milk froths up and doubles in volume. 
  2. Milk frother: This is the most straightforward and convenient tool for making cold foam as it’s designed specifically to add air into dairy. They come in handheld versions, which are generally more affordable, and countertop versions, which are often more efficient and sometimes offer additional features. Many frothers have the option to froth milk either hot or cold. 
  3. French press: If you already have a French press for making coffee, it can double as a milk frother. Pour your milk into the French press, secure the lid and rapidly plunge the filter up and down. The mesh of the filter helps incorporate air into the milk, creating foam. 
  4. Hand blender: You can also use a hand blender, though it tends to incorporate larger air bubbles and can result in a less delicate foam.

How to make cold foam at home

Ready to make your own cold foam? We asked Pallian to share her best basic recipe, plus a couple fun flavor options. They’re so easy, you can be enjoying a sweet sip in just 90 seconds. Prefer something dairy-free? Keep scrolling for a vegan cold foam recipe.

Basic Cold Foam


  • ½ cup cold nonfat milk


  1. Pour milk into preferred frothing tool.
  2. If using frother, froth milk until it’s thick and frothy (about 30 seconds). If using French press, repeatedly plunge milk until frothy. If using mason jar, make sure lid is secured and then shake it vigorously until milk is frothy. 
  3. Once frothed, let foam sit for 1 minute to thicken up. 
  4. Spoon thick foam over drink. 

Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam


  • ½ cup cold nonfat milk 
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. vanilla syrup (to taste) 
  • ¼ cup heavy cream 


  1. Mix nonfat milk and heavy cream in frother or French press. 
  2. Add vanilla syrup and mix it well. 
  3. Froth mixture until it’s thick and creamy. 
  4. Let foam sit for 1 minute to thicken up. 
  5. Spoon sweet cream foam over drink. 

Caramel Cold Foam


  • ½ cup cold nonfat milk 
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. caramel syrup (to taste) 


  1. Pour milk into frother or French press. 
  2. Add caramel syrup and mix it well. 
  3. Froth mixture until it’s thick and frothy. 
  4. Let foam sit for 1 minute to thicken up. 
  5. Spoon caramel foam over drink. 

For a dairy-free option, try this recipe courtesy of Califia Farms: Mix 2 Tbs. Califia Farms Heavy Whip (Find near you at and 1 Tbs. Califia Farms Oat Barista Blend (Buy from Walmart, $4.28). Froth until foamy, then spoon over drink.

Can you store cold foam to use later?

Cold foam loses its airy texture the longer it sits, so it’s not ideal for storing in the fridge. Luckily, you can make this fluffy topping in minutes whenever you want to add a creamy touch to homemade drinks.

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