Drinking black coffee definitely has nutritional perks, but not everyone can stomach the bitter taste. Coffee flavorings and syrups can make your morning brew more enjoyable, but they can tack on extra calories and sugar. “If you overdo it, this could potentially add up and lead to health issues,” says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN.
But fear not — thankfully, there are plenty of coffee flavoring products that will treat your tastebuds without the yucky stuff. In fact, some even offer other nutrients you need.
To put together this list of the best coffee flavoring products, we spoke to dietitians and nutrition experts for their recommendations based on the following criteria:
- Nutrient value
- Sugar content
The Best Coffee Flavorings and Syrups
1. Monin Organic Vanilla Syrup
If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, you’ll love the rich, smooth taste of vanilla with subtle notes of caramel that this syrup from Monin has to offer. The taste and simple list of ingredients in this coffee-flavoring syrup make it a great choice.
“The flavor of this coffee syrup is amazing and the ingredients are on point,” says Theresa Mazza, CHES, DTR. “Even better is that there is no artificial junk in it — just pure cane sugar, water and vanilla.”
All that said, this product is still a syrup made with sugar, so you’ll have to mind your portions. “The calories and sugar can definitely add up,” Mazza says. Luckily, the syrup is quite potent so you’ll only need a small amount to flavor your java.
The brand also makes a chocolate version (among other flavors), so if you’re in market for mocha, test it out.
2. Chobani Coffee Creamer
Coffee creamers are often made with dairy milk or cream, but many are also full of ingredients you probably don’t want. “I love Chobani’s line of coffee creamers because they’re made with five or fewer natural ingredients each,” says Kaleigh McMordie, RDN, LD.
Chobani uses ingredients you don’t have to worry about in their flavoring, and it has a great, creamy texture and mildy sweet taste. “There are no artificial additives or fillers — and they taste good! Though they still have some sugar, you can use just a splash, or mix it with plain milk or half and half for less sugar,” McCordie says.
Just remember, this coffee flavoring has about 30 calories and 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon, so you’ll want to be mindful of how much you use.
Chobani Coffee Creamer comes in a variety of yummy flavors, including Vanilla, Hazelnut, Sweet Cream, Caramel and Cookies and Cream.
3. McCormick Ground Cinnamon
Another great way to add flavor to your joe is to use spices. Cinnamon, in particular, has a naturally sweet taste and can infuse your coffee with a tantalizing aroma, not to mention a few health benefits.
“I’m a huge fan of pure ground cinnamon as a coffee flavoring,” says Keith-Thomas Ayoob, RD, FAND. “I like that you can add it to a pot of coffee, or just to a single cup.”
And because it’s a spice with just one ingredient, you’ll get a dose of flavor without any added sugar or fillers. “Even better is that it has no calories but loads of antioxidants,” Dr. Ayoob says. “Research suggests cinnamon could even play a role in helping to prevent blood sugar spikes.”
4. doTERRA Peppermint Oil
Adding food-grade oil is another great way to give a cup of coffee a dose of intense flavor without sugar or other additives. It has one ingredient, no calories or sugar and you’ll only have to use a small amount.
“Pure, food-grade oils are a fabulous way to flavor your coffee, especially because you’ll only really need a drop or two,” says functional nutritionist Amy Lippert, NTP. “I love to use peppermint oil around the holidays, and clove oil in the fall when it’s pumpkin spice season.” You can try other options like cinnamon oil and vanilla oil, too.
5. Stevia in the Raw Packets
Sweetening coffee can go a long way in making it taste better, but too much added sugar in your diet can have negative effects on your health. Using stevia instead adds just the subtle flavor you need.
“My favorite sweetener for coffee is Stevia in the Raw,” says Melissa Mitri, RD. “It adds a natural hint of sweetness to it without being too overbearing.”
On top of adding sweetness, stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener with no carbs. “Stevia has been linked to improved blood sugar levels,” Mitri says. And it may be a safe sweetener for people with diabetes, per a March 2020 review in Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine%20and%20calorie%2Dfree.).
Thanks to this coffee creamer from Prymal, you can have your birthday cake and drink it, too. This sugar-free coffee creamer powder in Prymal’s winning Birthday Cake flavoring is dessert in a mug.
Crafted to fit into a healthy diet, don’t let the flavor fool you. This creamer is low in carbs and has no added sugar. It’s sweetened with a mix of erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and extracts of chicory root, monk fruit and stevia — ingredients that don’t negatively affect blood sugar, according to St. Luke’s Health.
Plus, it’ll give you a dose of healthy fats. “This creamer includes a type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides, commonly referred to as MCTs. They are unique because they are rapidly metabolized, which allows them to be used as an instant energy source,” Burgess says.
Prymal offers coffee creamers that come in other fun flavors like Original, Cacao Mocha, Salted Caramel, Irish Cream, Red Velvet, Butter Pecan, French Vanilla, Cinnamon Dolce and more. You can shop for individual flavors, or buy a variety pack.
7. Best Non-Dairy Creamer
Crafted with just five ingredients, coffee creamers from Laird bring flavor and nutrients without any harmful additives.
“These creamers are lightly sweetened with coconut sugar, which has a small amount of trace minerals like iron and zinc,” Burgess says. “Laird also swaps hydrogenated oils for extra virgin coconut oil, which is much more nutritious.”
This creamer is made with powdered coconut milk, coconut sugar, extra virgin coconut oil, seaweed-derived calcium and natural flavoring. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan friendly, and it comes in a wide variety of flavors like Cacao, Turmeric, Chocolate Mint, Pumpkin Spice and more.
Taking care of your gut health is important, and using a coffee flavoring like Four Sigmatic’s Functional Creamer can help you start the day on a healthy note. Made with the gut in mind, this flavoring is full of the nutrients you do want while leaving out the stuff you don’t.
“Four Sigmatic’s line of coffee flavorings is free of artificial ingredients and fillers,” says Erin Kenney, RD, LDN. “Instead, they’re made with coconut milk, real vanilla and both prebiotics and probiotics, which help maintain gut health.”
Prebiotics act as the “food” for the good bacteria (aka probiotic bacteria) in your gut. Getting them both from your diet is the key to a balanced microbiome and good digestive health.
“This flavoring also contains MCT oil which has been shown to reduce bacterial overgrowth and improve the health of the gut lining,” Kenney says. It comes in a few varieties that promote different benefits, such as Gut Health Vanilla Coconut, Balance Original Coconut and Think Cacao Coconut.
8. Inbru Coffee Flavoring
Thanks to the folks over at Inbru, now you can brew flavor into your coffee by adding your flavoring to the grounds themselves. That means you get the benefit of a rich-tasting coffee with no added calories, sugar or filler ingredients.
Inbru makes its coffee flavorings from rice hulls, which is the outer shell of the rice grain that is typically discarded during the milling process. The hulls are infused with aromatics and essential oils, and when you add them to coffee grounds before brewing, the heat helps the flavors release into your java as it brews.
With no additional ingredients, this product is perfect for those looking for subtle, aromatic flavoring. It comes in varieties like Vanilla Hazelnut, Vanilla Bean, Toasted Chestnut, Southern Pecan, Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Fudge, to name a few.
What to Look for in Coffee Flavorings
There are so many different products out there to choose from, but when you’re shopping for the best coffee flavoring, here are a few things to look for.
1. A Short Ingredient List
Burgess suggests flavoring your coffee with a product that’s ideally made with five ingredients or less. “I recommend flipping over to the nutrition label and looking for ingredients you can pronounce,” she says.
Additionally, you may want to steer clear of a few specific additives that are typically found in coffee flavorings and creamers. “Some ingredients you’ll want to avoid are added fillers such as carrageenan, gellan gum, corn syrup and hydrogenated oils,” Burgess says. “These additives have been tied to health issues like inflammation.”
You’ll also want to choose flavorings and syrups that aren’t high in added sugar. “Too much added sugar in your diet can increase your risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease,” Burgess says.
If you have diabetes or are just watching your blood sugar, opt for coffee flavorings that don’t have any added sugar. If you still want something sweet, some products are sweetened with ingredients like stevia, monk fruit or sugar alcohols, which don’t affect blood sugar significantly, according to St. Luke’s Health.
Many of the products on our list have additional ingredients and nutrients that could add health benefits to your morning coffee, such as healthy fats or probiotics. Read the product descriptions and packaging to see which ones might match your health goals.