Dalgona Coffee is the South Korean drink made from instant coffee and sugar that’s taken Instagram and TikTok by storm. This whipped coffee recipe is fluffy, airy, cloud-like, and will keep you going all day.
WHAT IS WHIPPED COFFEE?
Basically an opposite-latte, whipped coffee is served by spooning an aerated, creamy coffee mixture over milk and then stirring it all together. You can make it with cold or hot milk (though cold milk is much more popular) and the end result is a sweet, strongly coffee-forward drink that’s incredibly creamy and almost milkshake-like.
WHERE’D THE NAME “DALGONA COFFEE” COME FROM?
Whipped coffee rose to viral popularity under the name Dalgona Coffee in South Korea amidst the 2019-2020 lockdown and social distancing. As more people turned to social media as their main form of entertainment, videos of whipping together a pretty (and satisfying) coffee using simple ingredients took off!
“Dalgona” comes from a Korean honeycomb candy that goes by the same name. When whipped, the coffee mixture takes on a toffee-like consistency and color that makes it resemble the Korean candy!
HOW DO YOU MAKE WHIPPED COFFEE?
This is one of those recipes that truly is so simple it almost doesn’t deserve a post. All you need to make this whipped coffee at home is 4 ingredients:
- Instant coffee
- Granulated sugar
- Hot water
First, you combine the instant coffee, sugar, and hot water in a small bowl and whisk them together with a hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. It will take about 3-4 minutes, and the mixture will turn light golden-brown. It will resemble an airier peanut butter.
Then, you spoon the beaten coffee mixture over a glass full of cold milk (or ice cubes and milk) to serve. Feel free to use whatever kind of milk you prefer– skim, 2%, almond milk, soy milk– whatever you have on hand. Once it’s all mixed together, you can top it with cocoa powder, cinnamon, chocolate shavings, or whatever you might typically sprinkle over your coffee.
Before sipping, stir it all together until you get a smooth, creamy iced coffee, then use a straw to slurp away!
CAN I MAKE IT WITHOUT INSTANT COFFEE?
Unfortunately, instant coffee is generally the lowest quality coffee out there, as it’s essentially made of leftovers that are ground and dried. I often use it when cooking and baking as it tends to deepen flavors like chocolate or chilis (check out these brownies by the way) but I typically wouldn’t make my morning drink with instant coffee. That being said, this is Dalgona Coffee surprisingly good if you think of it as more of a treat than quality artisan drink.
If you’re thinking, “No big deal, Morgan, I’ll just make it with regular ground coffee!” just pump the breaks for one second.
Instant coffee provides the foaming agent here.
This is due to a couple of reasons:
First of all, instant coffee is water-soluble, which means that it’s creating a more viscous liquid that can trap air.
Secondly, roasted coffee beans contain a lot of oils. Instant coffee often contains emulsifiers to prevent those oils from separating out and going clumpy. Those emulsifiers will encourage further whipping.
There are some potential work-arounds like adding egg whites or aquafaba (chickpea liquid) do different grounds and powders for the desired whipped, meringue-like result, but as of right now I’d say that I haven’t seen anything that looks particularly promising in terms of being both tasty and worthwhile.
If you’d like really good coffee rather than a coffee-flavored (and highly caffeinated) treat, I recommend just sticking to your normal stuff, or stocking up on some quality ingredients and using a good coffee maker.
CAN I WHISK BY HAND? HOW ABOUT AN IMMERSION BLENDER?
I most recommend using a hand mixer or stand mixer for this because whisking by hand would be exhausting. However, I did test, and you can whisk by hand if you must. It will take considerably longer, and it’s quite the arm workout, but it’s possible!
Immersion blenders will also work, though they don’t work quite as well as whisking. A milk frother can also do the trick!
COULD I MAKE A DALGONA COFFEE COCKTAIL?
Yes, yes and yes. Consider serving your whipped coffee mixture over vodka and heavy cream (a la White Russians), Bailey’s, or perhaps even Irish whiskey and milk.
Get creative with it and take inspiration from your favorite coffee cocktails such as espresso martinis and Irish coffees.
WATCH THE VIDEO
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- Ice, if desired
- 1 cup milk of choice
- Cocoa powder or cinnamon to top, optional
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the instant coffee, sugar and hot water. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip until fluffy and toffee-colored, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add your ice to a tall glass, if desired, and then pour over your milk. Spoon the whipped coffee on top. The more whipped coffee you use, the stronger the drink will be. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or cinnamon, if desired.
- Using a spoon or straw, stir the coffee mixture into the milk before drinking.