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What is the healthiest coffee creamer? A dietitian shares her No. 1 pick

In moderation, there is room for coffee creamer in a healthy diet. Here are the 8 healthiest brands to reach for.
/ Source: TODAY

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Coffee itself is a healthy beverage, but what you add to it might change that. And these days, there are more coffee creamers than ever before.

Do you want sweetened or unsweetened? Flavored or plain? Dairy creamer or a plant-based alternative? With all these options, choosing the healthiest coffee creamer can be a difficult task. As a registered dietitian, I dissected dozens of coffee creamer labels to find the healthiest coffee creamers to add to your morning brew.

Is coffee creamer healthy?

In reality, most coffee creamers are heavily processed foods, and diets high in ultra-processed foods are associated with numerous health problems. 

Coffee creamers may also contain some mix of saturated fats and added sugars. Too much of either is also associated with health issues, so it’s helpful to limit these substances and choose coffee creamers with less added sugar and/or saturated fat.

While coffee creamers can fit within a healthy diet, keep in mind that the information on a food label is tied to a certain serving amount. For coffee creamers, that’s typically a tablespoon. If you stir more into your coffee, you could be getting unhealthy amounts of added sugar, saturated fat and other ingredients in your creamer. This is particularly true if you’re drinking several cups of coffee per day.

Coffee creamer ingredients

The ingredients in coffee creamers depend on which type of creamer you’re choosing.

  • Dairy-based cream is the most natural coffee creamer, with nothing but real milk and cream.
  • Dairy-based flavored creamers may contain milk, cream (or derivatives of them), oils, flavors, sweeteners (whether artificial or natural), preservatives, thickening agents and emulsifiers. 
  • Plant-based creamers contain some mix of a plant-based milk (such as almond, oat, or coconut milk or cream), gums to thicken and mimic dairy’s creamy texture, emulsifiers, flavors and sweeteners.
  • Coffee creamer powders may contain dehydrated milk, plant-based milk or a derivative of these ingredients. They may also contain sugars, oils, flavors, sweeteners and other additives.

While small amounts of food additives, like gums and emulsifiers, are probably no problem, up to 60% of the calories we eat come from heavily processed foods, so you’re likely to encounter these additives, as well as added sugars and saturated fats, in a number of foods. Over time, the cumulative effects of food additives may be unhealthy.

In fact, food additives may be one reason that ultra-processed foods are linked to numerous health issues. One large study looking at adult participants’ emulsifier intake over time found that additives like xantham gum, guar gum and soy lecithin were associated with a higher risk of heart disease. These results held up when researchers controlled for other factors, such as added sugar intake, that could up the risk of heart disease. 

Since it’s nearly impossible to avoid gums and other additives when choosing a plant-based coffee creamer, we’ve allowed them in the coffee creamers we’re recommending. However, it’s generally healthiest to limit these and other food additives when possible.

How to choose the healthiest coffee creamer

When shopping for coffee creamers, consider the saturated fat and added sugars and scan the ingredients for additives. Here are some guidelines used to create the list of healthiest coffee creamers.

  • No more than 2 grams of saturated fat.
  • No more than 4 grams added sugar (the amount in one teaspoon).
  • No carrageenan (a thickening agent that may be particularly harmful).
  • No artificial sweeteners.

No. 1 healthiest coffee creamer

Organic Valley Grassmilk Organic Half and Half

This creamer contains nothing but organic milk and cream from grass-fed cows. While other creamers may have various additives, this one has no added sugar, flavors, thickeners or emulsifiers. 

Plus, grass-fed milk contains more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, making this a better choice than ordinary half and half. 

Worth noting: Half and half has a fair amount of saturated fat, with 2 grams per 2-tablespoon serving. This can certainly fit within a nutritious and balanced diet, but if you use more than the suggested amount (in all the coffee you drink daily) or eat a diet that contains a lot of red meat and other full-fat dairy foods, you may be consuming an unhealthy amount of saturated fat.

Healthiest coffee creamers

Califia Farms’ Organic Lavender Almond Creamer

There’s a lot to love about this almond milk-based creamer. It’s made with no oils or gums, it’s organic, and the natural lavender flavor offers upscale coffee shop vibes.

Worth noting: Each tablespoon has 3 grams of added sugar, so be mindful of how many splashes you’re putting in your cup of Joe.

Natural Bliss Sweet Cream Flavored Coffee Creamer

This dairy-based creamer is a blend of skim milk, cream, sugar and natural flavor. You won’t find any oils or gums here.

Worth noting: Natural Bliss has 1 gram of saturated fat per tablespoon – the same as half and half. However, unlike half and half, it has 4 grams of added sugar. Both saturated fat and added sugar can add up quickly if you’re using more than a tablespoon.

Elmhurst Pistachio Creme Oat Creamer

This creamer is a blend of mostly water, whole-grain oats and pistachios. It also has a touch of sweetness from real cane sugar, but has less than 1 gram of added sugar per tablespoon serving.

Worth noting: It contains 2% or less of the food additive dipotassium phosphate.

Nutpods Almond and Coconut Creamer

This creamer’s main ingredients are water, coconut cream and almonds. I love that Nutpods has flavored varieties, such as Caramel, French Vanilla and Cinnamon Swirl, that contain no sweeteners whatsoever. Each tablespoon has no saturated fat and only 10 calories.

Worth noting: Like other plant-based dairy alternatives, it contains thickening agents.

Laird Superfood Tumeric Coffee Creamer

This powdered blend contains coconut milk, coconut sugar and turmeric, a spice with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Worth noting: The serving sizes listed on the label are for one teaspoon or two tablespoons, but the preparation instructions are for two tablespoons. That amount contains 4.5 grams of saturated fat, which is above our recommended cap of 2 grams per serving. While the saturated fat from coconut milk may not be as harmful as the type that comes from cream, this is still up for debate. Therefore, you may want to limit your intake, especially if you’re at risk of or have a history of heart disease.

Oatly Sweet & Creamy Oatmilk Creamer

Oats, water, sugar and oil are the primary ingredients in this creamer. The oil helps provide a creamy mouthfeel.

Worth noting: As with other sweetened creamers, be cautious with how much you use as each tablespoon has 4 grams of added sugar. Like other plant-based creamers on the list, it contains thickening gums.

Silk Sweet Oat Latte Oat Creamer

This oat milk creamer is predominantly made from whole oats and water. It’s also saturated fat-free.

Worth noting: Like most plant-based creamers, it contains additives, such as oils and gums. It also has 4 grams of added sugar per tablespoon, so be mindful of how much you add to your coffee.

Is coffee creamer powder healthy?

Traditional powdered coffee creamer is a blend of unhealthy ingredients, including corn syrup solids and hydrogenated vegetable oils. If you’re stuck somewhere, like a plane or hotel room, and it’s the only thing you can get your hands on, I wouldn’t worry about it, but I wouldn’t make it a daily habit.

Several newer coffee creamers on the market are made with powder derived from coconut milk or cream. These tend to have fewer unhealthy ingredients, but because of their coconut origins, they can contain more than our cap of 2 grams of saturated fat per serving. I found several products that had natural ingredient lists and a reasonable amount of added sugar, but contained more than our upper target for saturated fat, so they were excluded for this reason.

Is non-dairy coffee creamer better for you?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. Non-dairy creamers may have less saturated fat than traditional half-and-half, but they also tend to have more added sugar and other food additives.

Healthy coffee creamer alternatives

In reality, it’s healthiest to lighten your coffee with low- or reduced-fat milk or unsweetened plant-based milk made with no or few additives. These options avoid or limit unwanted substances, like additives, added sugar and saturated fat. 

If you love flavored creamers, try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder or pumpkin pie spice. You can also add a splash of vanilla extract. These additions will trick your tastebuds into thinking you’re having something sweet without adding any sweeteners.

Healthy homemade coffee creamer

If you want to make coffee creamer at home, try this simple idea: Blend ¼ cup hemp seeds, ¼ cup milk, a splash of vanilla extract, and some cinnamon together in a blender. 

This recipe makes four servings. You can store it in the fridge for up to five days. The mixture may thicken when stored, but you can thin it with some warm water to your desired consistency before stirring it into coffee.

Hemp seeds are rich in healthful fats, including the plant-based omega-3 ALA. You can also feel good about the fact that it contains no added sugar and no saturated fat.


There are a lot of coffee creamers on the market and some are healthier than others. In general, it’s healthiest to limit saturated fat and added sugars — substances that may be high in creamers. It’s also a good idea to limit food additives, which are present in heavily processed foods, like plant-based coffee creamers. That’s why the healthiest way to lighten your coffee is plain, low- or reduced-fat milk or unsweetened plant-based milk with the fewest additives. However, if these options don’t provide the creaminess you’re looking for, our list of healthiest creamers is a great guide.