14 Pantry Ingredients You Should Add To Your Coffee

If you drink coffee daily like us, you may follow the same recipe habitually. Unfortunately, this can lead to a coffee rut, which may send us running to a high-priced coffee stop to get that tasty drink. After all, the biggest coffee shops offer some undeniably delicious and tempting treats with seasonal offerings and even secret menu options to make drinks personalized to your tastes.

Before grabbing your keys, battling rush hour traffic, and making that hurried jaunt, take a few moments to explore the eclectic mix of flavorful treasures lurking within your pantry. Opening those doors and looking alongside your canned goods and chip bags, you're going to see some pretty obvious ones, but there are also a few lesser-known pantry staples that will make your coffee feel extra special. Plus, these additions can pull you right out of that coffee rut and make your kitchen into your new favorite coffee spot. While some may seem a little out of the ordinary, try not to be afraid to try new flavors in your daily cup of joe. This is one of the few places you can easily try new things and dispose of a cup if it doesn't quite work out. The loss is minimal, but the potential gain is substantial.

Brown sugar

When sweetening your coffee, one of the most obvious choices is sugar. Many people opt for white granulated sugar, but we have a particular fondness for brown sugar. We find that it imparts more depth and a nuanced flavor compared to its white counterpart.

In fact, one of our preferred methods to incorporate brown sugar is by shaking it up with espresso. This concoction reminds us of the brown sugar shaken espresso we often find ourselves ordering at Starbucks throughout the week. If you don't own an espresso machine, fret not. You can still experience the rich blend of brown sugar with regular coffee. For an extra unique and delicious twist, consider integrating it directly with your coffee in either a French press or AeroPress. This method allows the brown sugar to infuse directly with the beans, giving the liquid and beans a chance to intermingle more intimately rather than merely flavoring the liquid.


Honey is another excellent sweetener likely sitting in your pantry. It's a more natural option, offering a simpler and less processed alternative for those who prefer it. You may have considered honey a sweetener for tea, but it's equally delightful in other warm beverages. Of course, if you adhere to a vegan diet, you might want to skip this pantry staple. However, for those who enjoy the taste of honey and its versatile uses, we highly recommend this addition.

If you're searching for the ideal honey recipe, consider melding it with vanilla syrup. The union of honey and vanilla yields a sweet experience from the honey, balanced by the smooth, aromatic notes from the vanilla, creating a harmonious blend for your palate. Honey's subtle sweetness and distinctive flavor make it a favorite for many, infusing unique flavors into beverages and adding a touch of sweetness to diverse culinary creations.

Sweetened condensed milk

One of our absolute favorite luxuriously layered Spanish coffees employs a likely pantry staple: sweetened condensed milk. This drink is quite straightforward, consisting mainly of two components. First, add a thick layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of an espresso shot glass or mug, and then add an equal amount of espresso on top. Before mixing, take a moment to admire the beverage in all of its layered glory; it's a fun and delightful way to enjoy coffee. However, you'll want to be sure to stir thoroughly before sipping. If you don't, you might end up with just a shot of espresso, leaving the sweetened condensed milk hanging out alone at the bottom of your glass.

Another method to incorporate sweetened condensed milk harmoniously with coffee is by creating your own coffee creamer. Sometimes, despite our appreciation for the store-bought varieties — owing to their availability and diverse flavors — we crave something homemade. Sweetened condensed milk plays a pivotal role in crafting a scrumptious coffee creamer, allowing the combo of delightful flavors within the confines of your kitchen.


Integrating various spices can significantly elevate a regular cup of coffee. In fact, it's common to find shakers of cinnamon or nutmeg at coffee shop condiment stations. We have a particular love for blending cinnamon with the earlier-mentioned honey and vanilla combination. This dreamy flavor, infused with honey, vanilla, and cinnamon, crafts a drink so delightful it invites a cozy retreat with your favorite book and blanket immediately. Pressing it along with brown sugar can enrich your coffee with more intense flavor as it brews in an AeroPress or French press.

For those with a deep for pumpkin spice, incorporating a shake of pumpkin spice directly into the coffee can nail those seasonal cravings. However, a word of caution: Excessive amounts can lead to a somewhat grainy feel. So be sure to sprinkle just enough to infuse flavor while still maintaining the integrity and smoothness of your coffee. Experimenting with these spices can open up a world of flavors, turning your coffee experience into a culinary adventure.

Hot cocoa mix

For hot chocolate fans looking to elevate this comforting beverage with a hint of caffeine, incorporating coffee is a perfect option. There are several ways to meld these two, but one of our favorite methods uses warm milk, cocoa mix, and coffee. Begin by stirring together warm milk and cocoa, then combining equal parts hot chocolate and coffee. Adding espresso directly to your hot chocolate can also serve as a more sophisticated rendition of this childhood classic, introducing a richer depth.

Don't confine your pantry to merely chocolate coffee grounds flavors. Various brands, such as Land O Lakes, offer an array of flavors that pair divinely with hot chocolate, allowing for diverse taste experiences. Exploring the fusion of different flavors can lead to the discovery of unexpectedly delightful combinations, enriching your hot beverage experience. From the intermingling of different cocoa mixes to the infusion of varied coffee blends, the possibilities are many for creating unique coffees.

Maple syrup

If honey doesn't suit your sweetening preference, maple syrup might be your favored pantry staple. You would sweeten your beverages with it much in the same manner as with honey. The robust flavor of maple offers a subtle sweetness and distinctive taste that complements any breakfast coffee seamlessly. Additionally, it serves as an excellent substitute for sugar in your homemade creamer recipes.

In fact, maple syrup stands out as one of our cherished ingredients when concocting some homemade pumpkin spice creamer. To create this delight, simply amalgamate maple syrup, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin spice seasoning, pumpkin purée, vanilla extract, and your preferred caramel drizzle in a saucepan. Stir and warm the mixture until all the ingredients meld harmoniously and emit a tantalizing aroma. Maple syrup bestows just the right amount of gentle sweetness that is neither overpowering nor intrusive, merging wonderfully with the other flavors.

We also enjoy utilizing maple syrup as a sweetener in our homemade cold foam. It integrates effortlessly with the milk and is ideal for whipping with a little hand blender, offering a splendidly sweet and flavorful twist to your beverages.


If you have a lemon on hand, you're closer than you think to a delicious coffee drink that is quite different than your typical cup. If you have an espresso machine, combine a shot of espresso, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and just a little lemon juice will make an espresso romano, an espresso served with lemon. For something a little more aesthetically interesting, you can also use a slice of lemon rather than just lemon juice. You can also combine the two methods together for something tart, balanced, and quite pretty. This drink is sweet and just a little bit tart and offers a fascinating balance of flavors if you're looking for something out of the ordinary.

Plus, if you're at a restaurant and looking for a way to save that subpar after-dinner espresso, adding a squeeze of lemon can sometimes take care of that issue, as well. The best part is that asking for lemons to be brought to your table is an easy request.


There's so much to love about Alton Brown. We love the way he blends science with food, and when it comes to coffee, he unveils another innovative approach to enhance its flavor. To alleviate the stale taste that occasionally emerges from tank-stored water in your coffee and to counteract the unwelcome bitterness, he proposes the addition of salt. Brown suggests ¼ teaspoon of salt per 6 tablespoons of ground coffee. The modification occurs subtly, allowing you to reap the benefits of salt without any discernible salty taste.

This technique is effective as the sodium interacts with the coffee to neutralize the inherent bitterness, proving particularly beneficial for improving the taste of lower-end coffee. It's a thoughtful adjustment for those seeking a smoother, more balanced cup of coffee. By implementing Alton Brown's method, you can experience a refined and pleasant coffee flavor, even when using less premium beans, enhancing the overall coffee-drinking experience.

Olive oil

If you're tuned into Starbucks news, you've probably seen that the brand has had some olive oil drinks hit the menu. It's an intriguing concept, and while we're still deliberating our stance on these beverages, you cannot overlook the potential benefits of incorporating olive oil into coffee. If the prospect entices you, you can easily experiment by adding a minimal amount of olive oil from your pantry to your daily coffee. However, proceed cautiously; excessive olive oil can significantly alter the coffee's flavor, so a teaspoon should suffice.

If you experience any adverse effects after consuming coffee with olive oil, consider reducing the amount even further. While the combination might seem unconventional, experimenting with ingredients like olive oil allows you the chance to continuously explore flavors and textures that open new avenues for unique and beneficial brews. Keep a balanced approach, and you might discover a delightful new layer to your coffee experience, all from your pantry.

Cocoa cereal

At both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, you can embark on an adventure into a galaxy far, far away by visiting Batuu in Galaxy's Edge. Here, you can encounter some of your favorite characters and indulge in particularly intriguing foods and innovative drinks. One of our preferred beverages to savor is the Cold Brew Black Caf from Kat Sakas Kettle. This chocolaty cold coffee comes adorned with a crunchy topping, typically cocoa puffs, although you may occasionally encounter Cocoa Pebbles. You can also get this one with some alcohol for something a little extra special.

And if Disney can craft such a concoction, there's absolutely no reason you can't recreate this whimsical beverage at home by sprinkling some cereal atop your homemade cold brew and adding in your own coffee liquor. Plus, if you consume all of the crunchy toppings, you have the convenience of reaching back into your pantry to add more — a luxury you definitely won't have at Disney. This fun and playful drink is a small way to bring a piece of the Disney magic into your everyday routine, and it's a delightful twist on your conventional coffee preparation that may even utilize that extra cereal you have hanging around in your pantry.

Cookie butter

Your pantry houses a plethora of delightful options you might never have considered adding to your coffee. Cookie butter spread is unquestionably one of those hidden gems; many brands are out there, but we love the Biscoff variety. This delightful spread imparts a rich and decadent flavor and feel to your coffee. Integrating it into your next iced coffee is as straightforward as brewing hot coffee, incorporating a scoop of cookie butter, stirring thoroughly, and then pouring it over an ample amount of ice.

It is crucial to note, especially when using spreads, the importance of starting with hot coffee to ensure you can thoroughly blend everything together. Utilizing cold coffee will likely result in an unpalatable, chunky drink. So, with this creative addition, always initiate the process with hot coffee for a smooth, well-mixed beverage, allowing you to savor a uniquely flavored iced coffee with ease. This mixture elevates the flavor profile of your coffee but also brings an innovative twist, transforming your regular brew into a gourmet delight.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is another pantry staple that harmonizes wonderfully with coffee. For optimal blending, warm up your peanut butter slightly before integrating it with your coffee. You can achieve this by microwaving it briefly or by placing it over hot water. Following this, unite your coffee and peanut butter using a shaking method or a hand blender, as these techniques are more effective than mere stirring, especially compared to the ease with which cookie butter blends. Be sure to stay away from more natural brands of nut butter for this one. Although it may be very tempting to use these, the separation that happens will not help you in any way with your coffee preparations.

While experimenting, consider introducing some jelly into the mix, creating a playful peanut butter and jelly coffee drink. It might seem unconventional, but considering the popularity of raspberry syrup in lattes, this quirky blend just might ascend to your favorites list. The combination of creamy peanut butter and the tartness of jelly can create a unique, balanced flavor profile, making your coffee experience more adventurous and personalized.


Aside from peanut butter, Nutella is another spread we almost always have in our pantry. There's so much to love about its chocolatey goodness, and given our affinity for Ferrero Rocher chocolates, it's no surprise that Nutella ranks high on our list of favorites. What's more, like cookie butter, Nutella can bring a tasty twist to your home-brewed coffee, and the blending method resembles that used for cookie butter and is actually pretty simple.

For this one, have your hot coffee prepared, then blend in your preferred amount of Nutella. This adds a lush, chocolaty flavor that takes a basic brew into an utterly delectable beverage. To enhance the chocolate flavor even more, we enjoy adding a chocolate drizzle inside our cup before introducing the hot coffee, finishing with a touch of ice. This delightful addition satisfies the palate and adds something a little extra special, made all the better by the fact that all you've added is a pantry staple.

Pumpkin purée

Should you find, even after exploring the myriad ways pantry items can imbue your drinks with an extra layer of specialty, that a classic pumpkin spice latte still resonates with your taste buds as the quintessential brew, crafting one from the comfort of your pantry is indeed feasible. The assembly requires a medley of quintessential ingredients, prominent among them being pumpkin purée. Alongside, arm yourself with either espresso or robust coffee, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and your choice of milk.

Start by heating and simmering all the components, allowing them to meld and warm on a low flame. Then, heat the milk separately and froth it employing your preferred technique — a French press renders this task remarkably straightforward, though a hand mixer is equally effective. Pour your coffee blend into a cup, layer the frothed milk gracefully on top, and sprinkle a dash of spices for that extra dash of elegance and flair. This drink mixture does a beautiful job of combining a bunch of pantry staples, and during the fall season, pumpkin is especially easy to find in pantries, but just be sure you don't use the can you've already set aside for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.