5 French Vanilla Latte Inspired Recipes You Can Make at Home!


Making your own lattes at home is the only way to get them exactly the way you want- and the French Vanilla Latte is no exception. While cafes may make similar drinks artificially using mixes and syrups, we wanted to explore 5 different French Vanilla inspired drinks that use more natural ingredients, are relatively easy to make, and are quite delicious!

French Vanilla Latte

Classic French Vanilla Latte

Let’s start with the basics: the classic French vanilla latte. 

The allure of a great French Vanilla Latte lies in its simplicity.  The quality of your French Vanilla Latte will largely turn on the quality of ingredients you use- and this recipe will allow you to make a French Vanilla latte that tastes a bit more natural than the syrupy concoction some cafes might give you. 

The preparation is easy and in terms of quality ingredients, this recipe uses French vanilla syrup made with real vanilla bean and real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup and uses steamed whole milk for richness.

Throughout the process of making this latte, you’ll catch the aroma of fragrant vanilla-infused steam and feel the warmth of the beverage in your hand- a precursor of the rich, creamy first sip.  Check out our video below featuring a step-by-step walkthrough of this recipe:

Total Time: 30 minutes 

Active Prep: 5 minutes

Ingredients

(Serves 1)

To make the Vanilla syrup, you will need:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

To assemble the Latte, you will need:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons of the vanilla syrup above
  • 2 shots espresso

Directions

To make the syrup:

  1. Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  3. Stir and let boil for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. 
  4. Add the vanilla bean and scraped seeds. 
  5. Leave to cool before removing the vanilla bean. 
  6. Transfer to a small bowl or jar.

For the latte: 

  1. Steam the milk and vanilla syrup together. 
  2. Pour 2/3 of the milk into a latte cup while using a spoon to retain the microbubbles. 
  3. Add the espresso. 
  4. Top with the remaining milk and froth.

Lactose-Free, Refined Sugar-Free French Vanilla Latte

French vanilla lattes are amazing but, unfortunately, not exactly healthy. They usually contain refined sugar and whole milk (8 grams of fat and 150 calories per one-cup serving).  Additionally, those who are vegan and/or lactose intolerant are unable to enjoy the classic recipe. 

Much like the classic, this healthier French vanilla latte recipe uses espresso for a premium, robust and complexly flavored result- but uses oat milk instead of dairy milk and maple syrup instead of refined sugar the vanilla syrup. Maple syrup has a mild taste and typically has subtle vanilla notes that further enhance the vanilla flavor of the beverage.  Oat milk’s flavor and texture is very similar to dairy milk and froths beautifully! 

Natural French vanilla latte

Total Time: 30 minutes 

Active Prep: 8 minutes

Ingredients

(Serves 1)

To make the Vanilla syrup, you will need:

  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

To assemble the Latte, you will need:

  • 2 shots espresso
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla syrup
  • 1 cup oat milk

Directions

To make the syrup:

  1. Combine the maple syrup and water in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  3. Stir and let boil for 3-5 minutes or until the maple syrup has fully dissolved.
  4. Add the vanilla bean and scraped seeds. 
  5. Leave to cool before removing the vanilla bean. 
  6. Transfer to a small bowl or jar.

For the latte: 

  1. Pour the espresso and vanilla syrup into a latte cup.
  2. Steam the oat milk.
  3. Pour 2/3 of the milk into the cup while using a spoon to retain any froth. 
  4. Top with the remaining milk and froth.


Coffee-Based French Vanilla Latte 

This lovely French vanilla latte is super easy to make and is such a treat. It is enticingly fragrant, the sweetness level is just right, and features your everyday drip coffee. 

The homemade syrup melds vanilla bean with brown sugar for additional complexity.  As for replacing espresso with drip coffee, the swap means you can use the coffee maker currently sitting in your kitchen. The perfect latte is the one that you can make! And if the weather doesn’t call for a hot coffee beverage (or you’re craving something with a milder coffee flavor) just pour it over ice and add a touch more syrup. 

French vanilla coffee

Total Time: 35 minutes 

Active Prep: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Serves 1

Vanilla syrup

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

Latte

  • ½ cup strong coffee
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla syrup
  • 1 cup whole milk

Directions

To make the syrup:

  1. Heat the water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not boil. 
  2. Stir as you add the brown sugar to the water. Let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the vanilla bean and scraped seeds. 
  4. Leave to cool before removing the vanilla bean. 
  5. Transfer to a small bowl or jar.

For the latte: 

  1. Pour the coffee and vanilla syrup into a latte cup.
  2. Steam the milk.
  3. Pour 2/3 of the milk into the cup while using a spoon to retain any froth. 
  4. Top with the remaining milk and spoon the froth on top of the latte.

Pumpkin French Vanilla Latte

Fall is the season for pumpkin spice lattes.  Pumpkin just seems to synergize with the flavor of a latte- and vanilla only enhances the Fall flavor. Combining the pumpkin spice latte with the warm, French vanilla-infused richness of the French vanilla latte yields a truly epic result!  

To start your day with one of these incredible lattes while ensuring a successful novice barista experience, do yourself a favor and complete your preparation in advance, including making the pumpkin puree (homemade is best), pumpkin pie spice, and French vanilla syrup ahead of time. Then, when it’s time to make it, all you have to do is bring everything together and indulge.

Our video below walks through all of the prep and assembly:

Total Time:  60 minutes 

Active Prep: 15 minutes

Ingredients

(Serves 1)

Vanilla syrup

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

Pumpkin puree

  • 1 (4 lb.) baking pumpkin 

Pumpkin pie spice

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Latte

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 shots espresso

Directions

To make the vanilla syrup: 

  1. Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  3. Stir and let boil for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. 
  4. Add the vanilla bean and scraped seeds. 
  5. Leave to cool before removing the vanilla bean. 
  6. Transfer to a small bowl or jar.

For the pumpkin puree:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Cut off the stem of the pumpkin then halve. 
  3. Remove the seeds and pulp. 
  4. Cut into quarters.
  5. Roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender. 
  6. Remove the skins and discard. 
  7. Process the roasted pumpkin until smooth. 

To make the spice mix:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. 

For the latte:

  1. Add the milk to a small saucepan with the pumpkin puree, vanilla syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. 
  2. Heat over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes or until the milk is hot. 
  3. Vigorously whisk until the milk is foamy.
  4. Pour the espresso into a latte cup. 
  5. Add the foamed milk and dust with pumpkin pie spice if desired. 

Note: Leftover pumpkin puree can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for 5-6 days or frozen for up to 4 months.

Bourbon French Vanilla Latte

Bourbon, vanilla, and espresso play well together. There is something about the sweet, smoky aspect of the charred oak spirit that heightens the complexity of a French vanilla latte. Additionally, the temperature at which a latte is served has a way of drawing out some of the best aspects of bourbon including its vanilla and caramel notes along with its woody back. 

Once you take a sip, your taste buds are graced with the opening vanilla and caramel notes of the bourbon and the sweetness of the vanilla syrup, followed by the bitter decadence of the espresso.   Everything just goes down smooth! And if that isn’t tempting enough, this spiked latte features French vanilla simple syrup made with brown sugar to further highlight the naturally occurring caramel notes of bourbon resulting in a deeper flavor profile. 

Total Time: 30 minutes 

Active Prep: 7 minutes

Ingredients

(Serves 1)

Vanilla syrup

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

Latte

  • 2 shots espresso
  • 1 shot bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla syrup
  • 1 cup whole milk

Directions

To make the syrup:

  1. Heat the water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not boil. 
  2. Stir as you add the brown sugar to the water. Let cook for 3-4 minutes or until all the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the vanilla bean and scraped seeds. 
  4. Leave to cool before removing the vanilla bean. 
  5. Transfer to a small bowl or jar.

For the latte:

  1. Pour the espresso, bourbon, and vanilla syrup into a latte cup.
  2. Steam the milk.
  3. Pour 2/3 of the milk into the cup while using a spoon to retain any froth. 
  4. Top with the remaining milk and spoon the froth on top of the latte.

(Cover photo by Ted Major at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ted_major/6600956129, CC BY-SA 2.0)


2 comments


  • Melissa

    I was mesmerized by the pumpkin vanilla latte video. I would have never even considered using fresh pumpkin to make one! Is the pumpkin flavor still quite prevalent or does it just kind of have a nice hint of pumpkin flavor


  • Elaine W.

    The vanilla one sounds amazing. As a foodie, I can say using the fresh vanilla bean really makes a difference!


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