Recipe for How to Make a Delicious Vanilla Iced Coffee

Summer can be a finicky time for those of us who need our daily caffeine fix. Who wants a hot drink during a heat wave? Iced coffee is a perfect solution. If you have a sweet tooth, vanilla iced coffee takes things to the next level. More often than not, vanilla iced coffee is simply iced coffee with the additions of vanilla simple syrup and a bit of cream or milk. This is different than, say, a vanilla frappe, which adds vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. At that point you're getting more into dessert territory. Vanilla iced coffee is simple, sweet, caffeinated deliciousness.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup coffee, freshly brewed and chilled or cold brewed (see step 1)

  • Cream, half & half or milk to taste

  • Option A: 1 to 2 tablespoons good quality vanilla syrup, such as Torani

  • Option B: 1 to 2 tablespoons homemade vanilla simple syrup (see step 1)

  • Ice

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

There are many ways to prepare iced coffee. You can use a French press or a regular drip machine, and then pour the coffee over ice. You can also use espresso for a stronger drink. Another option is cold brewed coffee.

Bottled vanilla syrup is fine to use. That's what many cafes put in your vanilla coffee drinks. But since it's very easy, let's go over how to make a homemade vanilla simple syrup. It will keep for months so you can make vanilla iced coffee all summer long. For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)

(Note: if using bottled syrup, skip to the end).

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Step 2: Scrape the Vanilla Bean

Using a small paring knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, leaving one end attached. Using the flat, non-sharp side of the blade, scrape out the seeds from both sides.

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Step 3: Cook the Simple Syrup

Place the water, sugar, seeds, and scraped vanilla bean in a medium saucepan (if using vanilla extract, add it here instead of the bean/seeds). Place over medium-heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, and then give it an extra minute or two before removing from the heat.

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Step 4: Cool the Syrup

Allow the syrup to cool. Once the syrup has cooled, gently whisk any clumps of seeds to help separate them.

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Step 5: Strain the Syrup

Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove the bean and any larger clumps of vanilla that still remain.

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Step 6: Prepare the Coffee

Fill a large cup with ice. Stir in the coffee, cream, and vanilla syrup. Serve immediately.

Image Credit: Jennifer Farley -