One of my favorite drinks when I was pregnant was a vanilla steamer from Starbucks. A vanilla steamer is a drink from Starbucks made from warm milk, vanilla syrup, frothed milk, and whipped cream. It is a great drink if you are caffeine sensitive or for kids since it is a caffeine free drink. I love ordering one of these to warm up with in the winter.
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When I was pregnant with my second child, we lived in a tiny corporate apartment in Calgary. One of our neighbors who was moving back to his home country gifted us a Starbucks gift card since it would only work in Canada.
My husband is not much of a coffee drinker so he gave it to me. It would have been great except that I was pregnant and watching my caffeine intake. Luckily, I discovered I could still take my son on a walk in his stroller and grab a nice warm drink by ordering a caffeine free Starbucks vanilla steamer. It ended up being such a nice treat for me.
I started making these at home when my gift card ran out of money. They are a fun treat but can really hit your wallet hard, especially when they are so easy to make at home. I’m a huge fan of copycat recipes because you enjoy your favorites at home and save a lot of money while doing so.
Steamers are also a great beverage to drink before bed since they don’t have caffeine. They are also great for kids because it is a coffee free drink that looks like a coffee. It is perfect for toddlers who want to be like mom or dad.
What is a vanilla steamer?
A vanilla steamer is a beverage made from warm milk, vanilla syrup, frothed milk, and whipped cream.
What ingredients do I need to make a copycat Starbucks vanilla steamer?
To make a vanilla steamer at home, you will need:
- Milk: I used 1% milk to make mine. You can also use coconut milk or almond milk. I do not recommend using soy milk as it is very hard to get frothy.
- Vanilla syrup: I used Torani vanilla syrup from Amazon. For whatever reason, I think it tastes best if you use their pump.
- Whipped cream: You can use pre-made whipped cream or I’ll also include directions below on how to make your own homemade whipped cream.
What equipment do I need to make a vanilla steamer at home?
To make a vanilla steamer at home, you will need a milk frother or a heat safe jar with a lid (like a mason jar). You can opt for one that warms your milk or grab a small handheld one. Amazon has a ton of options. I love our milk frother. I feel like it makes the steamers, coffees, and teas we make at home so much more special.
If you want to opt for the mason jar method, warm your milk, tighten the lid and then shake it vigorously until it is frothed. It may take a lot of shaking before you get it to your desired consistency.
- Try different flavors if you’d like. Hazelnut, mocha, and caramel are also great flavors for steamers.
- If you want a sweeter drink, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar and mix it in with the warm milk.
- Try making your own whipped cream for an extra fancy at home drink.
- Try adding a small dash of cinnamon on top of your whipped cream.
How to make a copycat vanilla steamer
To make a vanilla steamer at home, first find and then measure out your ingredients. You will need:
- 2 cups milk (I used 1% but you can use non fat, 2% or whole milk. Almond and coconut milk will also work, but soy milk is very difficult to froth).
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup
- Whipped cream for topping
On your stovetop heat the milk until it is warm. Add half of the milk to your milk frother and froth well. Alternatively, you can use a heat safe jar with a lid. You’ll want to shake the jar vigorously until it is frothy. Pour the warm milk in your cup with the vanilla syrup and stir well. Top with the frothed milk and then top with whipped cream.
How to make homemade whipped cream
This is totally optional but if you want to make your vanilla steamer extra special, try adding some homemade whipped cream. To make homemade whipped cream you will need:
- 1 cup heavy cream*
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Combine your ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer on low and then slowly move to the high setting. Beat for 60 to 90 seconds or until stiff peaks start to form. Store any leftovers in your fridge for up to two days.
*Be sure to use heavy cream and not half and half or milk since they do not have enough fat content to make whipped cream.
Copycat Starbucks Vanilla Steamer
- Milk frother or heat safe jar with a lid
- 2 cups milk I used 1% but you can use non fat, 2% or whole milk. Almond and coconut milk will also work, but soy milk is very difficult to froth
- 2 tbsp vanilla syrup
- Whipped cream for topping
- On your stovetop heat the milk until it is warm.
- Add half of the milk to your milk frother and froth well. Alternatively, you can use a heat safe jar with a lid. You'll want to shake the milk vicariously until it is frothy.
- Pour the warm milk in your cup with the vanilla syrup and stir well. Top with the frothed milk and then top with whipped cream.