Maybe it’s a sweltering 100°F outside, or maybe you’re one of those “people who only drink iced coffee…ever.” Or, maybe you’re just really craving an iced latte and you don’t need any reason besides that.
Regardless, you are going to fall head over heels for this iced vanilla latte. Not only is it sweetened perfectly with homemade vanilla bean syrup – made with real vanilla – but it’s creamy and refreshing and delivers the perfect caffeine fix.
Even better? It’s a cheaper alternative to hitting up your local Starbucks on the ‘reg. So what do you say?
Let’s make a homemade vanilla iced latte that’s not only more delicious, but budget-friendly…you won’t go back to any other version…it’s just too good. Pinky promise.
Looking for the hot version? Get it here: steamed vanilla latte recipe!
Is an Iced Latte the Same as Coffee?
The short of it is that no, they’re not exactly the same. There are two main differences between iced coffee and an iced latte, and it comes down to the type of coffee used, and the milk ratios.
An iced latte is made with espresso and milk.
How to Make a Vanilla Iced Latte
You’ll need three simple ingredients: espresso (or strong coffee), milk of choice, and vanilla syrup.
First, Make the Vanilla Syrup
If you don’t have it already made, you will need to make vanilla syrup.
Of course, you could use storebought latte syrup, but we are going for high quality here, and honestly, making the homemade syrup is about 1,000X better in my humble opinion.
It takes like two seconds (ok maybe like 3 minutes but who’s counting?).
Since we’re already using hot coffee (usually) we’re not going to be overly concerned with the whole cooling process. Win, win for speedy-quick!
The low down is this: simmer together some sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla bean paste (or, if you don’t have any, use vanilla extract).
Done. Finito. Three minutes and you’re on your way to your iced latte.
And if you know me, you know I love efficiency, so while this is a’ cooking, start the coffee so everything is ready for take-off (i.e. assembly) together.
Next, Brew Espresso (or very strong coffee)
If you have an espresso machine, use it!
But I hear you…how can you brew espresso if you don’t have an espresso machine?! Well, friend, I don’t have an espresso machine either. The key, in this case, is to make very strong coffee.
Here are a few ways to make “espresso” or very strong coffee:
- Use cold brew concentrate.
- Traditional Coffee, Strongly Brewed: this is my go-to option to be honest because it’s easy and super accessible. You will need less water in your coffee-to-water ratio when brewing coffee. The general recommendation is a 15:1 ratio of water to coffee for a strong brew. Ultimately, it depends on your preferences.
- Brew espresso beans or a dark roast for the strongest, most profound coffee flavor
- While you can brew the coffee any method you prefer, a french press is a great option for strong coffee.
- Stovetop Espresso: make espresso on the stovetop using a Moka pot, which is a classic Italian method for brewing strong coffee.
- Use Instant Espresso or instant coffee.
Consider this: if you are using strongly brewed coffee instead of espresso, use more coffee (or less milk) for a more authentic latte flavor.
Make the Latte: Time for Assembly
There isn’t really a wrong way to assemble an iced latte, but because we’re using simple syrup, it helps to combine the espresso/coffee with the syrup first, before adding ice. This ensures the flavor is infused throughout the latte (the ideal situation here).
So add the espresso, stir in the syrup, then add ice. Or add the milk, then the ice. Dealer’s choice here.
For the creamiest texture and most luxurious iced latte, I highly recommend using whole milk. My favorite dairy-free option is oat milk.
That being said, since it’s an iced latte and there’s no frothing required, you have so much flexibility when it comes to milk type, so use what you like best.
And that’s it! Just add in a reusable straw and sip away and enjoy your homemade perfection.
Take it Up a Notch with Toppings
If you really want to take your homemade iced vanilla latte to the next level, I am 100% your hype woman.
Add on a big dollop of whipped cream and then really elevate it with a drizzle of vanilla syrup (either the homemade stuff or the sauce that’s specifically for drizzling – it’s thicker). It’s the ultimate treat. Why not live a little?!
A few of my favorite ways to mix up a basic vanilla latte:
- Use half caramel syrup (we would call this our dulce de leche at the coffee shop I used to work at).
- Add mint syrup for a delicious vanilla mint flavor! It’s refreshing and warm.
- Add autumn spice syrup for a super cozy and comforting fall drink.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Vanilla Iced Latte
- Vanilla Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat. Bring to a simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla paste (or extract). Use immediately or let cool and store in a jar in the fridge until ready to use.
- Latte: Brew espresso or strong coffee as needed (or use cold brew concentrate) and add it to a drinking glass. Stir in the vanilla syrup and fill the glass with ice. Top with milk and stir to combine as needed.
- Milk: any type of milk will work; I recommend whole milk or oat milk as a dairy-free option.
- Ratio: if using strongly brewed coffee instead of espresso, consider using more coffee (or less milk) for a more authentic latte flavor.
- Syrup Serving: the syrup yields about 3/4 cup, or approximately 6 servings when using 2 TBSP per drink. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.