Creamy and satisfying, this dairy-free cappuccino is the perfect blend of espresso and foamed homemade cashew milk.
Any day that starts with a cappuccino is a good day. This hot beverage is easily made with the help of a home cappuccino machine, resulting in a delicious coffee that's barista-worthy. No trip to the coffee shop needed!
A classic Italian hot coffee beverage, cappuccino is an espresso drink that's topped with steamed and frothed milk. Here, I've substituted my homemade cashew milk as a delicious way to keep this beverage dairy-free.
Made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk and milk foam, a cappuccino is the perfect breakfast drink to get you ready for the day. I love cappuccino for breakfast with a toasted slice of gluten-free pecan raisin bread.
Luckily, making a cappuccino is easy if you have a home cappuccino machine. And if you don't, no worries. I'll show you how to make it and froth the cashew milk for that signature foam that graces the top of this popular coffee drink.
Fun fact: In Italy, a cappuccino is considered strictly a breakfast drink. It's frowned upon to order one after noon, and especially after dinner since they believe dairy interferes with digestion. However, since this is a dairy-free recipe, I think it's safe to make this for a mid-afternoon treat!
- 2 Ounces Espresso - espresso is an extremely concentrated coffee brew that's rich and just thick enough to create its own crema when brewed with an espresso machine. Machines that have an espresso setting create a short pressurized "shot" of coffee that's forced through the finely ground coffee beans with a small amount of water to create a potent and distinctly fragrant brew.
If you don't have a home machine that has an espresso setting on it, you can get a similar taste by using an espresso roasted bean, finely ground, that has a more intense flavor and brew it as usual.
You can also use the French Press method of making coffee to create a very concentrated brew that works beautifully for a cappuccino.
- ½ Cup Cashew Milk - use my recipe to make this dairy-free milk that's creamy and slightly sweet. You don't need to strain it, so it's super easy to make with soaked cashews and filtered water, right in your high speed blender. You'll love this nut milk for this cappuccino recipe as well using it for smoothies. It's my go-to dairy alternative.
- Sweetener - sweetener is optional since the cashew milk offers a bit of sweetness itself. However, you can use a bit of stevia or even a dash of maple syrup, which you'll add to the coffee before topping it with the foamed milk.
- Cinnamon - a sprinkle of ground cinnamon is optional, but it's a spicy touch that, in my opinion, makes this cappuccino absolutely perfect.
How To Make It
- Brew a 2 ounce shot of espresso. Use your home cappuccino machine or a French Press to achieve this strong brew. Use an Italian roast or dark roast coffee bean for a richer flavor.
- Steam the cashew milk with the frothing wand on your machine or a handheld milk frother. Froth the milk until its foamy and double in volume. It's super important to not to overheat the cashew milk otherwise the excess heat can make it taste a little burnt. Tap the pitcher to release any large bubbles.
- Add sweetener (optional) to the coffee in your mug.
- Pour the foamed cashew milk over the coffee and dust with cinnamon.
How Can I Froth Milk Without A Machine?
If you don't own a cappuccino machine, you can use several alternative methods to achieve the creamy frothed milk topping for your beverage.
First, it's important to know that milk will froth best when its steamed and warm. The heat expands the fat and protein content in the milk allowing it to "froth" or foam when agitated. You'll need to heat your milk in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave, being careful not to heat it to boiling since that will curdle even non-dairy milk, making it unusable. So take care to warm it slowly without a boil.
- Mason Jar - pour the heated milk in a mason jar, seal it tightly and shake until frothy
- Immersion Blender - use your immersion blender to gently agitate the heated milk in your saucepan until frothy.
- Blender - pour your heated milk in your high speed blender and give it a whirl until frothy.
- Frothing Wand - use this inexpensive gadget designed specifically for milk frothing. It runs on batteries and will whip up a lovely froth perfect for your finishing touch to your cappuccino.
Can You Froth Almond Milk?
Yes, almond milk can be frothed, but it may not produce as much foam as cashew milk, and certainly not as much as dairy-based milk.
Almond milk curdles easily when heated, so take care to watch your machine, saucepan or microwave when heating it so as not to boil it.
Other factors include which brand of almond milk, or even homemade, that you're using. Too much water in the milk will result in a flat to no froth outcome, so your mileage may vary depending on the brand and technique you use.
That said, almond milk may be frothed using any of the methods listed in the section above, so give it a try and note which one works for you.
Which Non-Dairy Milk Is Best For Cappuccino?
The key factors in both dairy-based and non-dairy milk that contribute to it being foam-worthy are its fat, protein and carbohydrate content. The fat and protein ratio is what allows the steamed milk to froth when agitated. So, look for high fat content when choosing store bought milks since they will produce more foam when using any of the frothing methods listed in the section above.
While all of these plant-based milks are dairy free, oatmilk, soy milk and rice milk are not paleo or Whole30-friendly.
- Cashew milk - My homemade version works well for frothing. Store bought works, but is dependent on the brand
- Oat milk - Excellent for frothing
- Soy Milk - Excellent for frothing
- Coconut milk - Excellent for frothing. Full-fat coconut milk from a can will give you lots of foam. Coconut milk from a carton is too watery and doesn't work well for frothing.
- Almond milk - will foam, but is dependent on the brand
- Rice milk - low to no foam
- Hemp milk - low to no foam
- Flax milk - low to no foam
- Chia milk - low to no foam
No matter how you make it, it's easy to have a delicious dairy-free cappuccino at home.
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- Brew a 2 ounce shot of espresso.
- Steam cashew milk with the frothing wand of your espresso machine. Froth milk until foamy and double in volume. Be careful not to overheat the cashew milk - overheating can make it taste a little burnt. Tap the pitcher to release any large bubbles.
- If using sweetener, add to espresso in mug.
- Pour cashew milk over espresso and dust with cinnamon.