This copycat Tim Hortons French Vanilla recipe is sweet, creamy, and has hints of hazelnut, toffee, and butterscotch. I've finally found the secret ingredient, and I think it's even better than the original!
☕ What is it?
French Vanilla coffee is a popular drink at Tim Hortons. It's sweet and creamy and has hints of vanilla, hazelnut, toffee, and butterscotch. It's made with 100% arabica beans.
You can buy it freshly made in-store or use their powdered French Vanilla mix to make it at home, although it's said to be less creamy or sweet.
🥄 Replicating at home
Up to this point, there haven't been any reliable guides on how to replicate this drink at home. Even Tim Hortons employees are unsure about its ingredients.
According to some Reddit discussions, it's made in-store by simply mixing a pre-made powder with hot water. So, the employees never know what's inside.
Tim Hortons sells a powdered mix for French Vanilla, but most people say it doesn't taste as good as the original.
The secret ingredient
Deeper into the Reddit thread, someone says they've had success mixing it with hot chocolate mix. Intrigued by this idea, I researched further and discovered that cocoa is one of the ingredients in their mix!
I tried mixing it with hot chocolate mix, and it tasted pretty close to the original!
- Milk: Whole milk is the best option due to its added creaminess from the extra fat.
- Instant Coffee Granules: You can use any brand of instant coffee, but for a Tim Hortons-like taste, use their branded one.
- Hot Chocolate Mix: Again, any brand can be used, but if you want it to taste like theirs, use their brand.
- Vanilla Extract: Just a little bit to add extra vanilla flavor.
- Sugar: Their signature French vanilla is slightly sweeter than others, so we give it a little boost.
Substitutions & Variations
- Instant coffee granules can be replaced with strong brewed coffee instead.
- Hot chocolate mix can be substituted with ½ teaspoon of cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of milk powder.
- Vanilla extract can be replaced with ½ a vanilla bean.
⬇️ Please read the recipe card for the complete ingredient list and instructions.
STEP 1: Combine instant coffee granules, hot chocolate mix, and sugar with ½ cup of boiling water in a cup. Stir until dissolved.
STEP 2: Add warm milk, vanilla, and enjoy! You can pop the cup in the microwave for 30 seconds if you want it hotter.
📋 Frothed milk
If you want a frothed milk look, heat some milk to around 160°F; it should be hot but not scalding. Then, pour it into a small jar or glass container and shake it vigorously to create a lot of bubbles. Now, spoon it on top of your coffee.
🥡 Storage & Leftovers
Storing: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn't absorb flavors from the fridge.
📖 Recipe FAQs
The recipe is a hard-kept secret, but their French Vanilla mix has these ingredients:
Sugars (sugar, Corn Syrup Solids), Modified Milk Ingredients, Maltodextrin, Coconut Oil, Instant Coffee, Salt, Skim Milk Powder, Silicon Dioxide, Cocoa, Guar Gum, Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono- And Diglycerides, Natural And Artificial Flavour, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sodium Silico Aluminate.
Tim Hortons French Vanilla
- ¾ cup warm milk
- 2 teaspoon instant coffee granules (or ¼ cup strong brewed coffee)
- 1 teaspoon hot chocolate powder (see notes for substitution)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (or ¼ vanilla bean)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Combine instant coffee granules and hot chocolate mix with ¼ cup of boiling water in a cup. Stir until dissolved.
- Add warm milk and vanilla, and enjoy! You can pop the cup in the microwave for 30 seconds if you want it hotter.
- Optional: If you want a frothed milk look, heat some milk to around 160°F; it should be hot but not scalding. Then, pour it into a small jar or glass container and shake it vigorously to create a lot of bubbles. Spoon on top of coffee.