Looking for a vanilla milk recipe that is perfectly sweet and packed with real vanilla flavor? This milk uses a homemade vanilla syrup and tastes much better and more authentic than using an extract!
Doesn't it feel like chocolate milk gets all the love? You can walk into a grocery store and find brand after brand of chocolate milk or mixes and syrups that will help you make it.
Where's all the love for vanilla milk? These days, it is a bit more common to find vanilla soy milk and almond milk, but regular old vanilla milk just never became a thing like chocolate milk did.
I want to change that! Because even though I love all things chocolate, I also have a very special place in my heart for vanilla. Especially real vanilla. And I'm so excited to share this easy to make vanilla milk recipe with you today!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
From the research I did, most homemade vanilla milk recipes are made my mixing vanilla extract into milk. While this can be a quick fix for turning plain milk into vanilla milk, it's not always the best option.
Most vanilla extracts contain alcohol and while the amount is usually small, many people may not feel comfortable giving it to their kids.
Also, if you use extract for the flavor, you'll still need to add sugar (unless you want a totally unsweetened vanilla milk, which just isn't great). Adding sugar to cold milk is tough since granulated or powdered won't completely dissolve easily and honey and maple syrup both add different flavors.
My solution for making the perfect vanilla milk that's also kid-friendly is to use vanilla syrup for it. I provide my homemade vanilla syrup recipe here, but you can also easily purchase one.
The result is the best tasting vanilla milk with natural flavor that contains no alcohol and is easily customizable to make as sweet and flavorful as you want!
If you're planning to purchase vanilla syrup, you only need two ingredients to make this milk. If you're making your own syrup, you only need a few simple ingredients more!
Here's everything necessary (please see recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full instructions):
- 2% milk: Or the milk/dairy alternative of your choice. You can literally use anything from skim milk to oat milk to almond milk and beyond!
- Vanilla syrup: I'm sharing my recipe below, but you can also buy a bottle of it. I recommend either Starbucks or this Puremade Torani.
I also like to rim my glass with a little vanilla sugar mixture for some extra fun. You can either make your own (I like this vanilla sugar recipe) or use store-bought (this is a great vanilla sugar option!)
If you're making your own vanilla syrup, here's what you need:
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla Bean: Grade B works just find and I recommend these.
👩🍳 How to make vanilla syrup
I have a whole post dedicated to making vanilla syrup, so definitely check it out if you want lots of details... But I'll summarize the essentials here.
First of all, I highly recommend purchasing vanilla beans to make this syrup. Grade B are perfect for making syrup with and are generally less expensive than Grade A.
You'll be splitting the vanilla bean in half and scraping out all the yummy fragrant paste.
If you don't have beans, you can use vanilla paste and can even use pure vanilla extract in a pinch (though I don't think extract is as deliciously flavorful).
To make the syrup, put water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let mixture simmer for about 10 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture has thickened a bit.
This is how you make any general simple syrup.
Pour syrup into a heat-proof jar or container. Scrape out some of the seeds from the sliced open vanilla pod with a sharp knife and add them and the vanilla bean into the syrup.
Now you'll need to let the syrup cool and give it some time for the vanilla flavor to infuse into it.
I recommend keeping it in your fridge for at least 6 hours to let the flavors steep. You can remove the bean after this or keep it in so it continues infusing.
If you're in a rush and don't want to wait 6 hours, let the syrup cool and then shake the jar vigorously. Taste and use as soon as it is vanilla-y enough for you.
This batch of syrup should make about 10 servings of vanilla milk, but check out my post for lots of other uses for it!
🥛 How to make vanilla milk
Now for the easy part... You just need to mix together the vanilla syrup and milk.
I think adding a vanilla sugar rim onto the glass it fun, but you don't have to. If you do, just brush the glass rim with a little syrup and them roll the glass upside down on some vanilla sugar on a small plate.
Pour the milk into the glass. And then stir in vanilla syrup. For me, 2 Tbsp of syrup is the perfect amount to give the milk a sweet taste and lots of natural vanilla flavor, but you can obviously use more or less if you want.
Now you're ready to sip away!
Note that the photos I'm sharing, are showing 2 servings of vanilla milk (my glasses each hold 2 cups of milk plus the syrup).
I promise this vanilla milk tastes so much better than just mixing vanilla extract and some sugar into a glass of milk.
It has REAL vanilla flavor and the since the sugar is already dissolved into syrup, it stirs right in. No artificial flavor here!
And it's perfectly safe for everyone to drink since there isn't a trace amount of alcohol in it!
❓ Can I use other kinds of milk?
You can use absolutely any kind of dairy milk or nondairy alternative you want!
I think 2% milk makes this a bit more of a creamy decadent drink, but you can just as easily use skim, 1% or whole milk.
And if you prefer nondairy milks, anything should work! Coconut milk would be especially delicious, but any alternatives can be used.
Just note that some dairy alternatives aren't pure white in color... Almond milk and oat milk are often more of an off-white color. And some have other flavors that will hide the vanilla flavor a little bit.
🔥 Can I make hot vanilla milk?
Sure! Depending on the time of year, you might want to make a hot vanilla milk (kind of like hot chocolate!) instead of cold milk. You just need to heat the milk in a saucepan on the stovetop or in the microwave.
You'll want to warm milk just until bubbles are forming around the edges and steam starts rising... Don't let it boil.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla syrup.
Warm vanilla milk is delicious on a cold day or for anyone who doesn't like chocolate, but wants to join in on the hot drinks after fun in the snow time.
💡 What other flavors can I make?
Now that you know you can make vanilla milk with a simple syrup, the options are endless for the flavors of milk you can make!
I have recipes for both strawberry milk and blueberry milk. But if you can make a syrup with it, you can make a milk flavored with it!
I love the idea of caramel, lavender, pumpkin spice, or gingerbread.
You'll never feel bored by milk again!
If you have picky kids who don't like plain milk, but you want to get some extra calcium into their daily diet, this is the perfect way.
And if you're just an adult who loves all things vanilla and wants to add some excitement to your daily beverages, it's perfect for you!
Are you more of a vanilla person or a chocolate person?
- Vanilla sugar (optional)
- 1 cup 2% milk (or milk/dairy alternative of your choice)
- 2 Tbsp vanilla syrup (recipe below or store-bought)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Optional: Put vanilla sugar on a small plate. Lightly brush the rim of a glass with syrup and dip upside down in vanilla sugar to coat rim.
- Pour milk into glass and stir in about 2 Tbsp vanilla syrup until combined. Taste and add more syrup if desired.
- Put water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let mixture simmer for about 10 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture has thickened a bit.
- Pour syrup into a heat-proof jar or container. Scrape out some of the seeds from the sliced open vanilla pod with a sharp knife* and add them and the vanilla bean into the syrup.
- Place syrup in fridge and let steep for at least 6 hours* Syrup will thicken more as it cools. If you want a more intense vanilla flavor, you can leave the bean in after 6 hours.
- Feel free to use more or less than 2 Tbsp of syrup to suit your tastes.
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