This iced cappuccino recipe is simple to make and so delicious! It’s also perfect for people with food sensitivities since it’s naturally sweetened and can be made decaf, dairy-free or lactose-free. There’s no reason to ever buy a pre-made iced cappuccino ever again!
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Those of you not living in Canada may not have had the chance to try one, but if sweetened iced coffee drinks are your thing, you’d probably love Tim Horton’s “iced capps” (aka iced cappuccinos).
Unfortunately for me, my body doesn’t tolerate caffeine well. I can eat small quantities of chocolate, but if I drink anything caffeinated, it’s not long before I start feeling nauseous, shaky and light-headed.
I’ve never really had the chance to learn to enjoy coffee, but my caffeine sensitivity is so bad that I can’t even drink regular tea, so we have to buy decaf or herbal. There are worse things to be sensitive to, but it can get a little annoying at times.
Refined sugar has the same sort of effect on me, so I try to substitute honey or maple syrup wherever possible. (Thank goodness I live in Canada and we buy our maple syrup directly!)
Since iced cappuccinos contain both caffeine and refined sugar, they’re pretty much the worst thing I could possibly drink. I always come to regret it whenever I give in and buy one.
That’s where this easy iced cappuccino recipe comes in. It’s not an exact copycat recipe, but it’s just as refreshing and delicious as the real thing, and the best part is that you can tailor it to suit any dietary preferences, restrictions or sensitivities you may have!
It’s naturally sweetened using maple syrup, and while you’re free to make yours using regular coffee, I always use decaf, making it both free of refined sugar and low in caffeine (and also healthier than the original).
This means I can finally enjoy my favourite iced drink without any of the unpleasant side-effects!
I’ve even converted my husband, who has never in his life purchased an iced cappuccino from Tim Horton’s, but now asks me to make extra whenever I’m making one for myself so he can enjoy it alongside me!
Related: Coffee & Chocolate Chia Pudding
How to Make a Homemade Iced Cappuccino
Making your own (healthy) blended iced capp at home is so quick and easy, and costs way less than buying one already made.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
- 1 ½ tbsp instant coffee (regular or decaf), or very strong brewed coffee
- 1 ½ tbsp hot water
- ½ tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 ½ – 2 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 ½ cups ice cubes
- 3 tbsp coffee cream or half-and-half
You’ll also need a small bowl in which to dissolve the instant coffee granules and a blender capable of easily crushing ice cubes.
I personally LOVE my Vitamix blender and would never go back now that I have one.
I make a lot of healthy frozen desserts in the blender (banana ice cream, anyone?), and I was going absolutely insane trying to make them in my previous blender. I never thought I would be the kind of person to get super excited over kitchen appliances, but there you have it.
The funny part is that my husband and I are actually quite frugal most of the time, and we rarely spend large amounts of money on one item if we can help it.
But we do so much cooking from scratch that we make an exception for kitchen appliances, especially if we can find them on sale.
We actually have a history of gifting each other fancy kitchen appliances for Christmas. I guess everyone has a thing.
That being said, if pricey blenders don’t happen to be your thing, a regular blender would probably do the trick since this recipe doesn’t call for that much ice!
1. Dissolve Instant Coffee
Start by dissolving 1 ½ tablespoons of instant coffee granules in 1 ½ tablespoons of hot water. If needed, you can stir them with a spoon to help them dissolve.
Obviously, you can skip this step if you’re using brewed coffee. Just make sure it’s very strong or the finished iced cappuccino will taste pretty bland.
If you’re going this route, I’d recommend skipping the water and simply using 3 tablespoons of very strongly brewed coffee instead. You can also add a small quantity of instant coffee granules to your brewed coffee if you’re worried it won’t be strong enough.
2. Blend Ingredients
Once the granules are dissolved, pour the coffee into your blender. Add ½ tablespoon of cocoa powder, ⅓ of a cup of milk, and 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (to taste).
Using less maple syrup will make the coffee taste more pronounced. I usually use 1 ½ tablespoons when I’m making this for my husband, who is a big fan of strong coffee, but I personally prefer mine a little sweeter, so I tend to use 2 tablespoons for myself.
Turn on your blender and run it for about 5 to 10 seconds, until the ingredients are well combined.
Note: If you’re unsure whether you should be using 1 ½ or 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, start with less and taste the mixture once the ingredients have been blended together. It won’t taste quite like the finished product, but it should give you an idea of whether it’s sweet enough for your liking.
3. Add Ice Cubes
Once you’ve blended the ingredients together, it’s time to add the ice cubes.
I wasn’t sure what to indicate in the recipe in terms of a quantity, because it really depends on the size of your individual ice cubes and how much space is left between them.
Since this recipe makes enough to fill one tall 16-ounce drinking glass, instead of counting the ice cubes, I usually just take out the glass I’m going to be using and fill it up most of the way.
This isn’t an exact measurement, but I would guess that it corresponds to approximately 1 ½ cups of ice cubes.
I actually added a few too many and the finished iced cappuccino wouldn’t all fit in my glass.
4. Blend Until Frothy
Once you’ve measured out your ice cubes, add them to the coffee mixture and run your blender until they’ve been pulverized and the mixture looks frothy. Then, add 3 tablespoons of coffee cream or half-and-half and blend until combined.
Once that is done, your DIY iced cappuccino is now ready to enjoy! Doesn’t it look delicious?
You’ll have a much easier time drinking your iced cappuccino with a straw since it’s pretty thick.
And if ever you’re not a fan of plastic straws, not a problem! We bought a set of reusable metal straws a while back and we love them—they even come with a little brush that makes cleaning a breeze!
(Ours were bought at Canadian Tire, but there are lots of similar sets available on Amazon.)
Recipe Tweaks for Food Sensitivities
Depending on your dietary preferences and/or food sensitivities, here are some ways you can adapt this recipe to make it perfect for you:
Lower the Caffeine Content
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, my body hates caffeine and consuming it makes me feel horrible. For this reason, I always make my iced cappuccinos using decaf instant coffee granules.
This doesn’t make it caffeine-free since it still contains cocoa powder, but it lowers the caffeine content enough that I can enjoy it without any of the unpleasant side-effects.
Decaf coffee can sometimes taste different from regular coffee, but I use the one pictured below (this is the closest equivalent I could find) and it’s quite good.
Even my husband, who is a big coffee drinker and isn’t usually a fan of decaf, was pretty impressed!
Lower the Fat Content
If you’re watching your fat intake or simply don’t like drinks that are too rich, replace the coffee cream or half-and-half with more milk.
We buy whole milk because we have four young kids at home, but feel free to buy a lower fat percentage if that’s what you prefer.
Make It Lactose-Free
Almost everyone in our household is lactose-intolerant, so we buy lactose-free products whenever possible.
For this recipe, I used lactose-free milk and lactose-free coffee cream, which are typically pretty easy to find at most grocery stores. If you absolutely can’t find them, check out the instructions below for making this recipe dairy-free.
(And if you’re lactose-intolerant but love consuming dairy, check out my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cheesecake! I’ve shared all the tips we use to make ours completely lactose-free.)
Make It Vegan + Dairy-Free
I’ve never done it myself, but if you are vegan, if you can’t consume dairy, or if you can’t consume lactose and can’t find any lactose-free products at the store, you could always replace the milk and coffee cream with your favourite non-dairy milk.
I imagine coconut milk would work nicely because of its creaminess, but soya and almond milk could also work well.
Depending on the sweetness of the non-dairy milk you’re using, you may have to adjust the amount of maple syrup to compensate.
Change the Sweetener
I love maple syrup and use it frequently, but if you can’t find any, you could always replace it with another type of liquid sweetener.
I’m not sure honey would work well because it has a pretty strong taste, but agave syrup tastes pretty neutral and would probably be a good substitute.
You could probably even use regular granulated sugar. I try to use natural sweeteners as much as possible because my body has a bad reaction to refined sugars, but if that’s not an issue for you, I’m sure it would work just fine.
As you can see, there are so many advantages to making your own iced cappuccinos at home instead of buying them! They’re cheaper to make and best of all, you can customize them however you like!
Homemade Iced Cappuccino
- 1 ½ tbsp instant coffee granules regular or decaf
- 1 ½ tbsp hot water
- ½ tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 ½-2 tbsp maple syrup to taste
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 ½ cups ice cubes approx.
- 3 tbsp coffee cream or half-and-half
- Dissolve the instant coffee granules in hot water, stirring with a spoon if needed, and pour into a blender. (Or replace with 3 tbsp very strongly brewed coffee.)
- Add cocoa powder, maple syrup and milk. Run your blender for about 5-10 seconds, until ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust the quantity of maple syrup as needed.
- Add ice cubes and blend until frothy, then add cream and blend for a few more seconds until well combined. Serve immediately.
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