Why Your Favorite Coffee Creamer Is Made With Vegetable Oil

Millions of people around the world start their morning with a cup of coffee. The aroma of a freshly brewed pot alone is enough to rouse us from sleep, but it's the caffeine that truly awakens our eyes and minds to a new day. However, not everyone enjoys the taste of black, unadorned coffee; some find it too bitter. To make it more palatable, many people turn to coffee creamer.

Coffee creamers have become a massive industry, offering dozens of delicious flavors and options to suit various dietary needs. These creamers are creamy, silky, and sweet, effectively transforming a morning cup of joe into a confectionary treat. What many don't realize is that it takes numerous ingredients to make those creamers taste like a dessert buffet — one of which is vegetable oil.

Yes, oil hides within that delicious sugary liquid that resembles milk. The truth is that oil helps extend the creamer's shelf life. This is particularly useful for larger containers that some people take longer to finish. Additionally, the oil gives the creamer its dairy-like appearance, even though (spoiler alert) most creamers are non-dairy products.

A longer shelf life

Although many coffee creamers are found in the refrigerated sections of grocery stores alongside gallons of milk and heavy cream, most are actually non-dairy products. This means that while they may contain milk proteins like casein or whey, they are not made from milk. It might come as a shock, but the primary components of most coffee creamers are water, sugar, and oil.

Water is included for obvious reasons, as creamers are liquids; sugar adds sweetness, and hydrogenated oil ensures shelf stability. Additionally, these creamers contain various other hard-to-pronounce ingredients listed on their labels, all of which contribute to their specific flavor and texture. If you examine the ingredients closely, you'll find that many processed foods include oils to prolong their freshness and appearance. The creamer is processed in such a way that you can't taste, see, or even feel the oil, which would likely be a major texture turnoff for most people.

Make your own creamer to avoid the oil

According to Medical News Today, excessive consumption of hydrogenated oils, such as vegetable oil, can lead to various negative health effects. These include elevated LDL cholesterol levels, which in turn can increase a person's risk of heart disease. If you love your coffee creamer but are considering cutting back, you have options. You can easily limit the amount you add to your daily coffee or make your own homemade creamer. The simplest version might involve adding some half-and-half to your coffee, along with a flavored extract like vanilla, almond, or maple. You can even combine various flavors to suit your taste. If you want added sweetness, you can include sugar or a sugar substitute as you prefer.

To make a batch of creamer to store in your refrigerator, combine sweetened condensed milk, skim milk, and vanilla extract (or your desired extract) in a jar or liquid container. Stir or shake until combined for a delicious blend of sweet, creamy, and milky flavors. As the seasons change, feel free to switch up your creamer flavorings. For instance, consider peppermint extract for the winter holidays, pumpkin pie spice for fall, and salted caramel for any season.

There are also numerous recipes for creating non-dairy homemade creamers that utilize nut milks and thickeners like tapioca powder. Given the many different kinds of coffee creamers on the market, you can likely make your own version of any one of them with just a few ingredients.