Best Non-Dairy Creamers

Updated May 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

35 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best non-dairy creamer

For many people, coffee is more than just a beverage. It’s a way of life. Every year, enthusiasts sip more than 400 billion cups of the magical morning elixir. Americans alone drink more than 450 million cups every day as a jump-start to the day, an afternoon pick-me-up, or an after-hours social activity.  

But sometimes, lifestyle challenges can get in the way, especially if you enjoy your java with creamer. Lactose intolerance, other food restrictions, and popular diet plans can seriously disrupt the latte lover’s life.

You could give up your coffee, but you’re no quitter. You could drink it black, but that may not appeal to you. A third option: you could switch to non-dairy creamer. 

Non-dairy creamer can imbue your coffee with rich, silky goodness without lactose. Different brands use different ingredients to get the job done, and the right one for you depends upon your situation, health concerns, diet, and taste.

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Some specialized non-dairy creamers contain minerals and dietary supplements such as collagen and aquamin.

Key considerations

Liquid vs. powder

Some customers have strong feelings about using liquid non-dairy creamer. Others are just as dedicated to their powdered mix. 

Liquid non-dairy creamer

Liquid non-dairy creamer often mimics the real stuff better than powdered options. It blends easily with coffee to create an authentic texture. If you want a fluffy, frothy finish, we recommend liquid creamer.

Liquid non-dairy creamer doesn’t spoil as fast as dairy, but many varieties must be refrigerated after opening. These products have a shorter shelf life than powdered options and also tend to cost more.

Powdered non-dairy creamer

Powdered non-dairy creamer is usually the more budget-friendly choice. Because liquid creamer is easy to over-pour, many dieters find that powdered creamer is more conducive to their weight loss program. It’s easy to take powdered creamer on the go, and it has a longer shelf life than most liquid options.

Ingredients

So what is it in non-dairy creamer that creates that rich, silky goodness? It depends on the formula.

Nut-based creamer: Nut-based creamers get their thick, luxurious texture from almonds, cashews, coconuts, and more. These creamers work for people who follow vegan and gluten-free diets. Nut-based creamer comes in both liquid and powdered form. It’s relatively pricey and definitely not fat-free. Customers with nut allergies should pass on nut-based creamer. 

Soy-based creamer: Those who dislike nutty flavors should check out soy-based creamers, which are similar in concept to soy milk. Some people who have nut allergies react to soy, so be sure to talk to your doctor if this is a concern. Individuals with certain endocrine problems and some breast cancer survivors often need to limit soy intake, too.

Oat-based creamer: Oat-based creamers add more substance to coffee than other options, and they froth in ways that other formulas don’t. These creamers are made from blended oats and water as well as other flavoring ingredients. Oat creamer is generally allergen-free and may even add a touch of fiber to your diet. The tradeoff: it is higher in calories and carbohydrates than some other creamers. 

Other ingredients: Some cheaper formulas use a combination of hydrogenated oil and the milk protein casein. However, many people choose non-dairy creamer for health reasons and would prefer not to load up on saturated fat from hydrogenated oil. What’s more, creamers that contain partially hydrogenated oil add small amounts of trans fat — the kind of fat that boosts “bad” cholesterol and reduces “good” cholesterol — to your daily intake. 

That’s not to say all oil-based creamers are bad. Some contain healthy fats such as coconut oil, MCT oil, and even ghee. Healthy fats are key components of many cutting-edge diet plans, but they do contribute to total calorie count, so consider your health goals when purchasing. 

The recommended serving size of most liquid creamers is about one tablespoon.

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Features

Packaging

Single-serve containers

Single-serve containers offer grab-and-go convenience. There’s no need to measure the creamer, which is a benefit for chronic over-pourers. However, single-serve containers generate a lot of waste, which increases your cost and also impacts the environment.

Large packages

Large creamer packages let you dispense creamer as you please for a more customized taste. This can mean extra calories, though, so be sure to measure out portions if you’re dieting. Large packages of liquid creamer usually require refrigeration and are not practical for on-the-go or occasional use.

Flavor

Tempering the taste of naturally bitter black coffee is the entire reason creamer exists. Fun flavors like vanilla, hazelnut, and caramel are available for you to try, but scan the label before drinking. Although some flavored creamers contain natural ingredients, others are loaded with artificial flavors and sugar. These additives can wreak havoc on different health conditions, so be sure you know what’s going in your body. 

Sweetener

Some quality creamers boast a natural, unsweetened product, but others contain sugar. The plant-based sweetener stevia is a natural sweetener with a low glycemic index found in many creamers. High-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners are also common, and these are not considered healthy ingredients. If you have diabetes or other conditions that require a low-sugar diet, be sure to read the label. 

Fat

Many popular diet plans encourage healthy fat consumption to help limit carbohydrates and adjust metabolism. In these cases, creamers that thicken coffee using nuts or vegetable oil are considered a plus. For other eating plans, however, a high-fat creamer poses a problem. If you follow a low-fat or non-fat diet, you’ll want to verify the fat content of your non-dairy creamer.

Casein

While non-dairy creamers eliminate lactose, a major allergenic offender, a number of formulas still contain the milk protein casein. These creamers are not truly dairy-free. Most people with dairy allergies won’t react to casein, but some do. Vegans will want to be aware of casein in their “non-dairy” creamer, too.

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DID YOU KNOW?
The first non-dairy creamer was soy-based and hit the market in the 1950s.
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Accessories

Coffee: Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
This perennial favorite has a balanced, full-bodied flavor. Major Dickason’s Blend is renowned for its luxurious aroma, and the taste is bold without going over the top. 

Coffee maker: Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
A cup of coffee is only as good as the machine that brews it. Cuisinart pulls out all the stops with this fully programmable model. It’s designed to hone temperature and flavor to make the perfect cup of coffee.

Tea: Tea Forte Loose Leaf Sampler 
Coffee drinkers shouldn’t have all the fun. Tea lovers can enjoy non-dairy creamer, too. Each 15-pouch set from Tea Forte includes several delicious flavors. 

Non-dairy creamer prices

Inexpensive: The least-expensive non-dairy creamers cost between $.10 and $.30 per ounce. You’ll find both powdered and liquid creamers in this range. Liquid creamers often include oat- and soy-based ingredients. 

Mid-range: Expect to pay between $.50 and $1 per ounce for non-dairy creamer in this range. You’ll find plenty of liquid creamers here, as well as powders made from high-quality ingredients. Most recipes are based on coconuts or tree nuts. 

Expensive: The priciest creamers cost $1 or more per ounce. Most of these products are liquid creamers made from organic, non-GMO ingredients and high-quality healthy fats and oils. 

Is your non-dairy creamer curdling in your coffee? Try pouring the creamer in before the coffee or switching to a low-acid brew.

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Tips

  • Beware of added sugar. “Plain” or “original” creamers may be a better choice for those watching sugar, calories, fat, or additives in general. 
  • Note that even non-dairy creamer has a shelf life. It may be a longer shelf life than dairy-based products, but it has its limits. Note the date on the package. If the creamer smells or tastes rancid or looks off, pitch it.
  • Observe storage instructions. Some non-dairy creamers must be refrigerated; others can be stored in a cool, dry place. Check the packaging to make the most of your purchase. 
  • Artificial colors are sometimes used to make non-dairy creamer look more attractive. Keep this in mind if you are sensitive to food dye. 
  • Look for carrageenan on the ingredient list. Some non-dairy products use carrageenan, a seaweed derivative, to smooth and thicken the recipe. Some believe carrageenan can lead to gut inflammation and related health problems. 
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Gluten is rarely found in non-dairy creamer, but check the label just to be sure.

FAQ

Q. Does non-dairy creamer have fewer calories than milk-based creamer? 

A. Not usually. In fact, many non-dairy creamers have a similar or even higher calorie count. Non-dairy creamer primarily benefits individuals with lactose intolerance and those who avoid milk for other reasons. If you’re strictly counting calories, non-dairy creamer isn’t necessarily a preferable alternative.  

Q. What is shelf-stable creamer? 

A. Shelf-stable creamer has undergone special treatment that allows it to remain unrefrigerated until opened. It is pasteurized at a higher-than-standard temperature to get rid of pathogens and sealed in protective packaging. Products that undergo this treatment may be labeled as “shelf stable” or “aseptic” and can usually be stored unopened for up to six months, but they must be refrigerated after opening. Most manufacturers recommend consuming aseptic products within seven days of opening.

Q. I’ve heard some creamers contain unlabeled trans fat. How can this be?

A. Manufacturers are not required to list trans fat on products that contain a half a gram or less per serving. Unfortunately, these “phantom fats” can add up in products like coffee creamer, where we tend to over-pour. If a creamer contains .5 gram per serving and you consume more than a serving two or three times a day, it’s easy to see how quickly the trans fat grams add up.

 

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