Dalgona Coffee || (Paleo, Vegan, Keto)

So I had to hop onto the Dalgona train! Oh the pics on instagram were driving me crazy!  I love me a good cup of coffee and that whipped soft coffee layer on top was just freaking killing me!  At first I ignored all those posts thinking that to make a Paleo version would be a lot of work. I never actually checked out the recipe…just imagined it to be complicated. But I am so glad I finally succumbed and searched for the recipe!  And I owe thanks to my dear cousin sis Sumi for sending me a pic of her Dalgona coffee mug. Oh boy, that pic finally did it for me and I had to find the recipe and then proceeded immediately to make a Paleo version of it!

Fortunately, it was not hard at all. All I had to do was replace the white sugar with coconut sugar and replace the regular milk with coconut milk. And what was the verdict? Oh wow, the first time I made it, I have to admit that although I was bowled over by the sheer beauty of it (it looks amazing with that whipped layer on top!), I did not know how to consume it! LOL!  Yeah, I first spooned a little bit of the creamy whipped topping and winced a little since it was intense and bitter!  It was like a strong espresso shot! And that first time, I had made a warm version using warmed coconut milk. And when I stirred it in an effort to mix both the layers, I ended up creating a mini mess on my kitchen table since my glass was small and filled to the top! Ugh! This was not going well!

Dalgona Warm version

Hot mess upon stirring!

But of course, I wasn’t going to give up so soon! So I transferred all of the drink to a taller glass and then mixed everything up well to get a caramel colored coffee latte, which tasted so much better! Yay!  I was quite happy however not ecstatic.  Yet. The ecstasy did come a couple days later when I made it again as an iced latte version. On that first day itself, I had made an iced version for my children (teenagers who have been deprived of their once a week Starbucks Caramel Frappe due to the shutdown!) and they were so elated and kept telling me how fabulous and perfect it was!  So the second time around, I made an iced version for myself too and boy, it was ‘out of the park’ delicious! And now I finally got what the commotion on social media was all about!  So easy to make with just 3 ingredients and so freaking delicious! That’s definitely ‘viral’ stuff! I am so glad I can tolerate coffee reasonably well as I think I am going to ‘Dalgona’ crazy for a while now! I am working on making an AIP version too….fingers crossed!

Iced version!

So yes as you can guess, I definitely advocate the ice cold version over the warm milk version.  If you do want to stick to the warm coffee latte, I recommend adding more sweetener, reducing the coffee quantity a bit or adding more milk (I state all these in my recipe below)

You could also easily replace the sugar with monk fruit granulated sugar for a keto version and / also use any other nut milk instead of coconut milk. As for me, I think my Paleo version with coconut sugar and coconut milk is just perfect!  I think coconut sugar gives it that caramel flavor that really complements the coffee!  Btw, this recipe can be made with only instant coffee and there is a scientific reason behind it.

So what is the science here? I read a lot of explanations on the internet and basically a short explanation is this. What you are making is a foam. You are incorporating air and trapping it in a liquid, in this case water, by beating the mixture. The coffee solids in the instant coffee help stabilize the foam by creating “walls” around the air pockets. Sugar further helps this process as it is hygroscopic, which means that it binds with water. What this does, basically, is increases the viscosity of the mixture (makes it thicker and sticky) and helps to keep the foam stable. So you need the ‘coffee solids’ for this phenomenon to work and only instant coffee has that since it consists of freeze dried or spray dried concentrated coffee granules.

OK so apart from the 3 ingredients – instant coffee, some kind of granulated sugar and non dairy milk, you also need an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. A food processor or blender will not work.  A stand mixer will also not work unless you are making a very large batch! And if you want to do it manually using a whisk, I won’t recommend it unless you want to really get some serious arm work out! It will take you at least 10 minutes of non stop whipping to get the right consistency.

So here is the recipe along with video tutorial below!  You can watch the video to see how I make it along with my taste testing it! I also share my tips on how to drink it as well 🙂

Dalgona Coffee (Paleo, Vegan, Keto)
Recipe type: Beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 
A delicious coffee drink that can be had hot or cold with a creamy whipped toffee like topping! Dairy free and refined sugar free!
  1. Take a medium size glass mixing bowl and add the instant coffee, the sugar and the hot water to it. Using an electric mixer, mix these ingredients for about 3 to 4 minutes till you get a creamy and semi-solid mixture that stays on the spoon and doesn't drip easily. Keep this aside.
For the iced version:
  1. Take a tall serving glass (that can hold more than 12 oz of liquid) and add the milk (see notes regarding quantity of milk to be added)
  2. Add the optional maple syrup or keto sweetener if needed. Stir with a spoon to dissolve it in the milk completely.
  3. Now drop in a few ice cubes making sure there is room on top to add the whipped topping. Finally add the coffee and sugar whipped mixture gently on top of the milk layer. Sprinkle some instant coffee granules on top for decoration!
  4. To drink, take a large spoon and stir everything up mixing the topping and the milk layer so that you get a caramel colored mixture. Add more ice or more milk if needed!
For hot latte version:
  1. Heat your milk of choice in a microwave or on stove top until hot (not boiling) and then pour the hot milk into a tall serving glass leaving room for the topping. Now add the whipped coffee mixture on top.
  2. To drink, use a large spoon to mix the top layer with the bottom layer completely to get a caramel colored latte and sip slowly. You can add more milk or more sweetener if needed.
I have suggested a range for the quantity of milk because of varying preferences. Some folks like their coffee drink nice and strong and actually like the bitter flavor whereas some folks like it mild. So if you like it strong, use less milk and vice-versa.
I also really recommend using a large and tall glass for serving so you have room to not only mix the two layers well before drinking but also have room to add more milk and / ice as needed!
Another suggestion if you want to keep the coffee content low is to use only 2 tsps of instant coffee instead of the full tablespoon and use the same quantities (2 tsps) for the sugar and water.

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