Cafe au Lait Recipe

By Stuart Smith | Last Updated May 10, 2020


Preparation Time & Servings

Requires simple ingredients.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)

*Nutrition information should be considered an estimate.

TOOLS NEEDED: Coffee brewing device of choice (French press recommended).

Café au lait is French for “coffee with milk.” As suggested by the name, this drink is straight-forward and, therefore, a great place to start to create your own drinks at home.

Traditionally, café au lait consists of equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk. To get the most traditional café au lait possible, use a dark-roast bean and a French press for brewing the coffee.

This is a popular breakfast beverage, typically served in a wide-rimmed bowl, although a large mug will work just fine. If you want to be just like the French, enjoy this delicious beverage with a toasted croissant.



  • 6 ounces milk (whole milk works best)
  • 6 ounces freshly brewed dark roast coffee


  • Place the milk in a microwave-safe container and heat on high power for about 30 seconds until it is very hot but not boiling. Alternatively, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes until very hot but not boiling, watching it carefully. Do not boil the milk!
  • Combine the coffee and steamed milk in a large mug

Recipe Tip

The American version of this drink includes coffee made with chicory root and is said to have been made popular in Louisiana during the Civil War due to the scarcity of real coffee beans. Try chicory coffee for a New Orleans–style café au lait. You can also add some sugar to your recipe to sweeten it a bit.

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