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Homemade Coffee Creamer

We, like many people, went through a tough time when the economy tanked in 2008.  Since changes in the stock market can affect our income, I’m sure you can imagine just how tight things became around here!  We sought out all sorts of ways to cut costs and a funny thing happened in the process… we really had a lot of fun doing it as a family, and dare I say, we grew even closer as a team!  It makes you really start to think of all the mindless dollars that go out the door each month.  Times were tough, but we wanted to make lemonade out of lemons and still try to enjoy the things we loved, just in a new way!

I began my “homemade odyssey” making my own body scrubs and soaps to give as gifts for the 2008 holiday season.  I did not know how to give “nothing.” At first, I was really embarrassed to give my “piddly” little homemade gifts (if you recall yesterday’s post when I mentioned that the words ‘frugal’ and ‘Heidi’ never appeared in the same sentence, I wasn’t joking.  I love to give gifts and make people happy, but I had a tendency to go overboard in that department!).

I was floored at how well my homemade gifts were received.  It seems as though people liked them BETTER than the high priced body scrubs I used to give my gal pals as gifts!  I had so much fun that first year, that I did it again in 2009, even though I really didn’t have to.  My friends also made me handmade gifts and it felt so good to know that someone cared enough to spend the time making something, just for me.  It has made me really think about how disconnected we have become as a society, in our pursuit of bigger, better, more.  I have been slowly edging myself toward jumping off that runaway train ever since and I cannot say that I have ever been happier, nor my kids for that matter.  I have been guilty in the past of giving them all the latest “it” toys and they never reacted to them (outside of the first 30 minutes before something inevitably broke or disappeared) nearly the way they have reacted when I invite them into the kitchen with me or Mike shows them how to use a drill!

Change is not easy, and I am by no means the “perfect” mother (besides, perfect is boring in my opinion 😀 ), who spends all her time making crafts, doing science experiments, coming up with crazy lunchbox ideas, cooking from scratch… no sirree Bob (so please don’t think I am some “Martha Stewart-Wanna Be” because of a few of the posts I have made, that is just one small slice of my pie, and most of these things I only started doing recently because I was trying to come up with good blog material!). 😉

One small successful change for me, led to another and yet another.  I began my gluten-free journey with an obsession for GF copycat recipes of mainstream processed foods that I grew up on and now I am eating raw Swiss Chard and I even had Broccolini last night!  I went from a shopaholic to a frugal homemade gal.  I went from being a very wasteful person to being a re-user and recyclyer.  I went from putting my kids in 20 different activities and buying them all the name brand clothes and “cool toys,” to spending real time with them. I went from feeling very empty, sad and angry, to being happier than I have ever been in my life, and lost 50 lbs. in the process.  I feel like I finally “get it.”  Had someone told me that even 2 years ago, I would have LAUGHED at them! 😀

So on to the coffee creamer!

This is a recipe that I have been making for about a year now and have received a lot of, “You made that?” comments from unsuspecting guests at my house. My father-in-law, who loves coffee creamer was stunned at how good it was. While I personally like my coffee black, there are times, like after a dinner party, when a flavored coffee hits the spot.  Or during the autumn when I live at Starbucks during Pumpkin Spice Latte season!

I found a recipe on the Frugal Village Forum, posted by “Yankee Mom.” for homemade creamer. I will post a portion of her recipe here so I can give you my side by side tweaks in red, as usual. (I do this because I am NOT an intuitive cook and I need recipes to start with, then I can modify as needed.  So if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!  One just needs to know how.).

Delicious Coffee Creamer
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (I make my own, see below. You can easily make this dairy-free too!).
1 1/2 cups Skim Milk (or dairy substitute).

“Yankee Mom” has a few flavoring combination’s on the Frugal Village Forum that you might be interested in, so click on the above link!

Measure all ingredients into a 32 ounce container (with a cover), seal container and shake vigorously. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Last night, I tried something new to flavor my coffee creamer with… Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia! I added about 5 drops then also added 1/4 tsp. of Cinnamon Extract (see photos below)… yum! Want to know where I first learned about the flavored Liquid Stevia?  From Kelly over at The Spunky Coconut, if you haven’t visited her website… you absolutely must!  You also need to check out Kelly’s post from yesterday (hint: healthy coffee cake!) over at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, as part of the “30 Days to a Food Revolution” series.  I am beyond THRILLED that Diane is doing this series, it is so much fun!!  I encourage you to check it out and get on board for a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk (I found this recipe on Recipezaar)

1/2 cup Cold Water

1 1/3 cups Nonfat Dry Milk Powder (I have also made this using Vance’s Darifree Milk Powder and Better Than Milk Vanilla Rice Milk Powder, since these are sweet milk powders, I reduced or omitted the added sugar below, adjust to your personal taste).

3/4 cup Sugar (I used 10 packets of Truvia for a natural sugar-free version. Technically, I think the conversion from 3/4 cup of sugar to Truvia is 18 packets, but 10 was sweet enough for me).

1 tsp. Vanilla (I omitted the vanilla since I was going to add it to add the flavoring to the coffee creamer)

1 Tbs. Butter, Earth Balance or Smart Balance (optional, but I added this to round out the taste of the Truvia; this is a new product for me so I am adjusting to it).

  • In a saucepan, combine powdered milk and sugar (or sugar substitute). 
  • Slowly add water, while stirring, into the milk powder/sugar mixture. Continue stirring occasionally over medium-low heat (Click here for microwave directions).
  • Add in optional butter or butter substitute, and vanilla if you choose to use it.
  • Heat through for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly (so it doesn’t scorch) until mixture is thickened.
  • Use this in place of the canned Sweetened Condensed Milk in the above Homemade Coffee Creamer recipe!

Add powdered milk to saucepan,

Add 10 packets of Truvia, or sugar,

Add water,

Whisk to combine,

Add optional butter, and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until butter has melted and the milk powder has dissolved.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk!

To make coffee creamer: add 1 1/2 cups milk to the Sweetened Condensed Milk,

Whisk again.

I added about 5 drops of the Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia.

Add 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon Extract (or other flavor extract, to taste).

Pour in a container with lid and refrigerate! Shake before using.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy


  1. I use sweetened condensed milk in my Chai for lattes 🙂 I also use powdered milk for all my recipes since I don't drink enough milk to bother with fresh. It's a wonderful pantry staple!

    • Cocoa: Now you can make your own sweetened condensed milk and save a few bucks a can! 🙂

      Kim: Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze sounds good too… if you want a different flavor, just add some GF flavor extract to it, it would certainly save a few steps, LOL!

  2. Heidi! Heidi! Heidi! I am loving your frugal posts sooooo much! I have been so inspired by what I have been reading here and a few other blogs that I am going to start a "frugal moments" posts to share all these wonderful ideas. It is so funny, I love to get a good deal (lovelovelove me some Savers!), but hwen it has come to more domestic things like making my own yogurt, laundry detergent, etc I have been a little more overwhelmed to say the least. =0) I am going to check out your "homemade homemaking links" but if you have more, I am all ears! Thank you, thank you and my hubby's wallet thanks you too. =0)

    • Kelly:

      I still need to make your yogurt… that one has overwhelmed me, LOL! If you want more links, just Google "Frugal Homemaking," you'll find all sorts of crazy cool stuff! I originally started to read them when I was looking for copycat recipes, like "make your own Hamburger Helper." There are a lot of phenomenal women out there that have already figured this stuff out, so it was easy to just make my own GF tweaks!

      • Girl, that yogurt is seriously unbelievably easy. Don't fool yourself. I have seen what you can do in a kitchen. You can do yogurt. I've made it several times, trust me if I can do it, it is foolproof. =0) I am really excited to do some more home overhauling not just frugally, but in general for our overall health. Just joined the food revolution. =0)
        ps I love to tweak recipes too. =0)

  3. Jenny Manseau says

    Wow…you are brilliant!! This sounds so good. This post makes me want some coffee now.
    (I think next holiday season I'll be making some home made scrubs too!!)

  4. Jenny… I am not the brilliant one, I just spend too much time looking for things like this, LOL! I still need to get the scrub recipes up that I use, but in the meantime, just Google, "Homemade Body Scrubs!"

    Essentially, I just use granulated sugar (the cheap stuff) or salt (it can be drying though), Safflower Oil, Coconut Oil and a few drops of my favorite Essential Oils, like Peppermint, Rosemary, Grapefruit… I mix 'em up then store in my empty Smart balance tubs (which I hide when I have company and pull out the "pretty jars," LOL!

    Here is one of my favorite sites to get soap supplies from:

    You can also watch video tutorials on You Tube!

  5. Here is another one of my favorite websites: Hillbilly Housewife, you can easily tweak her recipes to be GF, she even has a few GF recipes on her site!

  6. Girrrrrllllllllllll, you so crazy!

  7. Would have never even thought to make coffee creamer myself! LOL! I use unsweetened vanilla almond breeze right now, but may give yours a try!

  8. So excited! Can't wait to try! I am a coffee nut 🙂 FUN FUN!! I use unsweetend vanilla almond breeze too w/ a few drop of stevia. I love it this way but I like a more pronounced vanilla flavor. I have at times added cinnamon to my coffee ground and some vanilla in the caraffe prior to brewing…then just some milk and yum! I am seriously making this when I get home tonight! (Olive has an appt. with a nutrionist today!! Hoping they have some great hint to pack on some lbs!).

    As for yogurt, you most certainly can. Simple!! I have made it countless times. Honestly, I have tried several approaches, and in my opinion the crock pot is the EASIEST way!!

  9. Tai:

    Crockpot yogurt??? Do tell! I thought I would have to buy a yogurt machine!

    Still no luck on getting Olive to gain weight? Is she becoming more receptive to eating?

  10. speaking of crockpots….I just found out that all her recipes are gf as her daughter had celiac. go crockpotting!

  11. Kelly,

    I love Stephanie's website! I have been following her site for a couple of years, she inspired me to start making Thanksgiving dinner all in a Crockpot… except for the turkey. I now LOVE Thanksgiving as I get to watch football with everyone else! 🙂

  12. tastyeatsathome says

    So glad you finally "get it"! I feel like that ever since I really got into cooking and blogging, going down a similar path of healthier eating like you did! LOVE that "milk carton"!

  13. I can't find my directions! I made it so many I times I just knew how, but now I haven't made it in so long…ok memory don't fail me! LOL!!

    Turn your crock (I always use a 6-8 qt.) on low. Then in a sauce pan bring 8 cups of milk to 190 degrees. Then cool to 110 degrees. (I would place the whole pan in a shallow ice water bath in the kitchen sink). Place the heated milk in the crock pot. Turn the crock OFF. Add one cup plain yogurt and mix. Put the lid on and leave overnight. Yogurt in the a.m.!!

    Add 1 pkt. unflavored gelatin to the cold milk PRIOR to boiling! This will give your yogurt more texture. I have done both ways and both are fine. Sometimes w/out the gelatin the yogurt is more like "drinkable" yogurt though.
    We like to keep it plain and then "doctor" it up ourselves. But for time sake you could mix some jam and sweetener into the whole batch at once. I did that for a while and then put the yogurt in cups w/ glad press/seal in the fridge. Easy for kids to grab on their own!

    As for Liv, she gained two pounds in the last two months!! Her diet is still very finicky. Her only protein is cheese and eggs. She won't touch a veggie and fruits are extrememly limited. The nutritionist was absolutely no help! In the 1st five minutes she told me she knew nothing about Celiacs. I was very confused as to why my dr. referred me to her! Just goes to show you that there is no substitute for life expeirence, trial and error and being a mom!

    • I had the same problem with my yogurt being too runny, I found out you can also let batches drain in a coffee filter until enough whey is removed. The longer it drains, the thicker it gets-even thicker than Greek yogurt if you'd like! Hope that helps if you want to skip a step or run out of gelatin one day 🙂

  14. Oh and keep stirring the milk when heating…so it doesn't scald on the bottom of the pan!! You don't have stir continuously but don't just leave it alone either!!

  15. Thanks Tai!!

    Do you have any books on Celiac Disease? Shelly Case has an excellent one and there are several others if you would like any recommendations.

    When I was diagnosed 5 years ago, I didn't even get a referral to a dietitian, I got a "Good Luck To Ya!" 🙂 You will get here my friend, I promise.

    Eggs and Cheese huh? I betcha there are a lot of things we can figure out with those! 🙂

  16. Heidi, I loved this post! As usual, your great attitude and money-saving tips inspired me!

  17. Thanks Todd! Every little bit helps when you pay double or more for GF groceries! 🙂

  18. Ooooh! I bet you could veganize this same recipe super easily. Just make thick nut milk, then add it to your recipe! This recipe is quite smart. You can tell you really thought about the ingredients. I can't wait to try it. 🙂

    The one blogger chick up above called herself a wackadoodle! HAHAHAHA!

  19. Thank you on posting a sugar free version. Love the liquid creamer my favorite is of course sugar free vanilla caramel. All the recipes I was finding had the sweetened condensed milk then the rest of the ingredients. Not a diabetic friendly recipe with the scm (sweet cond. milk). I can get sugar free syrup from Torani's and now have a sugar free scm recipe. With using the liquid creamers I found I could pretty much eliminate any added sweetner going in my coffee. Have you ever tried agave in your scm? Wonder how that would come out? Thanks again.


    • Hi Nancy!

      I have not tried this with Agave Nectar…yet. I think it's a great idea though and I am sure it would work just fine. Since Agave is sweeter than sugar, I would suggest you start with 1/2 cup of Agave, taste, then add more if needed. I haven't made this creamer in awhile, nor have I never baked with the homemade sweetened condensed milk (I dont have many non-autumn recipes that call for it), but I will definitely be experimenting with it soon. Come to think of it, I do have a hot fudge sauce recipe (for ice cream) that uses scm, so this weekend might be the perfect time to try it out! I will try agave and my new favorite natural sweetener, SUSTA to see how it works and report back! 😉


  20. JUST found this and cannot wait to try it! Thank you SO much!

  21. Man I wanna try this! I was thinking of making it for Christmas along with other baking and such. 😀 I'm excited to try it. I just need to go grocery shopping…

  22. Hi there,

    Coffee creamer is one of my last guilty pleasures. Just tried my hand at making a simple vegan and sugar free version. I came out YUMMY. I simply put one container of unsweetened plain rice milk in a large saucepan adding 2 cinnamon sticks, a little agave and 1/2 teas of Earth Balance. I let that simmer on the stove for about hour. About 45 minutes in to the simmer I added 1 teas of vanilla (organic). OMG! So good!


  1. […] milk, chilled 1 can condensed milk (see homemade versions—including dairy-free options—in this post from Heidi (Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom)  and here at Alisa’s Go Dairy Free site)  1 cup […]