Cooking With Coffee Recipes: The Secret Ingredient for Epic Eats 

When it comes to coffee, the magical liquid that adds a pep in your step and a zing to your morning, most don’t consider ways they can use coffee for cooking recipes. When the reality is, there are so many uses for this tasty elixir that gives us life most days. One of the best ways? Coffee cooking recipes! Whether you brewed too much, have an extra cold brew that doesn’t amount to enough for a full travel mug, or have beans that you need to use before they lose freshness—cooking with coffee is the perfect way to make sure you’re getting the most out of every drop. More than that though, coffee tends to be a secret weapon in the kitchen to level up any dish. And if you’re like us, you always have it on hand! Today, we’re going to share with you the 101 on cooking with coffee, as well as some of our most beloved recipes so you can become a cooking with coffee connoisseur, too! This blog is best to read paired with a cup o’ joe, of course. While you’re sipping, let’s get to it.

Why cook and bake with coffee?

Most of us tend to put coffee in a league of its own, relying on it only when you need a boost. But that’s mostly because it has a flavor profile that we’re not sure how to combine or leverage when it comes to using it in other ways. When in reality, coffee is the perfect addition to many recipes, sweet or savory. There are many reasons coffee is perfect for cooking, here are just a few:

Coffee adds health benefits.

When coffee is roasted, you’re doing more than just bringing the flavor of the bean to life. It actually facilitates the formation of healthy antioxidants like caffeic acid and melanoidins, as well as B vitamins which can help speed up your metabolism. Not only this, but it’s known to decrease the chance of cardiovascular problems, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and stroke. Why wouldn’t you want to consume this magical elixir in any way, shape, or form?!

Coffee lends an earthy flavor to savory dishes and brings out the flavor in chocolate dishes.

Coffee comes from the Earth. As it grows, it soaks up the properties and elements of the land it is surrounded by—this is called terroir. As an example, coffee beans grown at elevation tend to have a nuttier, more spicy taste than those grown at sea level taste due to the cooler temperatures. These temperatures slow down the production of and growth of the beans but allow them to develop more complex tasting notes. So, using a coffee grown at elevation to cook with will embrace all those complex, aromatic, earthy tones and infuse them into your dish for a true explosion of flavor. 

Plus, when paired with sweet chocolate, the coffee actually enhances the chocolatey flavor while decreasing the overpowering sweetness of some varieties. This way, you can indulge a little more without that sugar hangover.

Coffee has the power to perfectly tenderize meat. 

You can skip the pounding step typically required for a tender piece of chicken or beef when you marinade it with coffee. Coffee is filled with natural enzymes and acid that break down the fibers in the meat to make it tender. If you marinade meat in coffee for 24-hours, you’ll never go back to another recipe, we’re sure of it. Since we love tea too, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention black tea also has the same effect when used to marinade! 

Coffee sparks joy in every form.

This is in no way scientific like the other reasons, but let’s be honest, when you smell that beautiful, rich scent of coffee, doesn’t it always bring a smile to your face? Life is about creating joy wherever you can. So, add a little coffee to your cuisine and spark some joy, friends. 

All About Cooking with Coffee

Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty of how you can cook with coffee too!

Cooking with Coffee Grounds vs. Cooking with Brewed Coffee

When it comes to whipping up a decadent meal or dessert with coffee, you’ve got options. Depending on the recipe, you may use coffee grounds or a cup of chilled brewed coffee. When it comes to things like meat rubs or butters, usually coffee grounds are the go-to. Whereas if you’re making a marinade or dessert, typically you’ll need the brewed variety. The beauty of it is, there are so many options for either one! Just search for what you’re in the mood for, and let the recipe lead the way in the kitchen. Plus, we have a few great options you can start with coming up next!

Cooking with Coffee is Great for Savory or Sweet 

Since cafes typically serve up coffee mixed with sweet creams, whipped toppings, flavored syrups, and all the things associated with a sweet experience, most assume coffee can only be used for sweet treats. But that’s not the case at all! The unique aromatic qualities of coffee make it an unconventional but totally incredible way to add complexity and depth to every savory dish you can imagine. You can’t replicate it with any spice blend out there, that’s for sure!

Pro Tip: Fresh is Best

When you’re using coffee in your favorite recipes, the key to a smooth flavor is using freshly brewed coffee that was chilled right after being brewed and placed in an airtight container. This ensures that the coffee doesn’t have a bitter taste that will show itself in your dish. Coffee can indeed go bad, and while it may not cause health issues like a bad piece of chicken, it won’t do your food any favors in the flavor department. In addition to this, whatever you do, don’t use instant coffee. We know that a lot of recipes call for it, but it simply doesn’t offer a flavor that is going to impress quite like a freshly brewed batch made with lovely beans. Yes, we may be biased, but we’ve tried them both and know that fresh is best!

20 Coffee-Centric Recipes to Try at Home from Our Favorites

Now that you understand all the ins-and-outs of cooking with coffee, it’s time to put that to use while trying out some of these magical recipes. But first, it’s important to remember that the best coffee recipes start with the best coffee beans – use our fair trade Finca Silencio coffee to make these! 

Our Finca Silencio coffee is grown, harvested, sun-dried, and roasted lovingly on our farm, Finca Silencio in Risaralda Colombia. The farm sits 1,850 meters above sea level in the Eje Cafetero, where the coffee is cultivated in rich volcanic soil that lends a unique flavor profile from its natural environment. Each bean boasts a distinctive earthiness with notes of black cherry, cinnamon, and vanilla that are only brought out more when you cook with it. 

Now that you know what coffee to start with, let’s get to cooking, shall we? Here we’re breaking down 20 ways you can use coffee to cook, each with a featured favorite recipe from a food blogger or culinary publication we follow, then a few of our own!

Sweet Treats

The sweets are where most people begin their cooking with coffee journey, so that’s first up!

Cocktails

If you’ve never tried a coffee-based cocktail, you’re missing out, friends. Starting and ending your day with coffee is the greatest treat. While it’s fun to mix it up, the traditional favorites like this Classic Irish Coffee are the best.

Original Irish Coffee | Food Network

With only 4 ingredients, you can whip up this tasty dessert cocktail in mere minutes. An ideal nightcap to enjoy by a fire with good company.

Cakes

If you didn’t think your desserts could get any more chocolatey, you’ve never tried one with coffee in it. 

The Best Chocolate Cake | My Baking Addiction

Multiple kinds of cocoa powder paired with a cup of strongly brewed coffee is dessert perfection.

Brownies

This java-centric brownie recipe is a perfect one to whip up for your next party. These tasty morsels deserve a celebration of their own!

Coffee Brownies with Mocha Frosting | Fresh April Flours

Coffee on top and coffee on the bottom, this recipe pairs coffee-based brownies and coffee frosting for an epic pairing.

Breakfast Treats

Coffee and breakfast go together like no other. But that doesn’t mean you have to be sipping while you eat (although, let’s be honest, you probably will be if you love coffee as much as we do). This “breakfast” cake is a real MVP!

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Coffee Cake | Half-Baked Harvest

Now typically coffee cake gets its name from being enjoyed alongside a cuppa your favorite brew. But this coffee cake is for the real coffee lovers, made with brewed coffee! 

Cookies

Biscotti dipped in coffee is the best, so why not pair cookies and coffee in one if that flavor works so well? 

Chocolate Chunk Coffee Cookies | Frosting & Fettuccine

Pairing finely ground coffee with strong brewed coffee gives an extra buzz to these chewy chocolate chip cookies. To make these even more delicious, enjoy the homemade ice cream coming up next nestled between two of these babies! The ultimate coffee ice cream sandwich.

Homemade Ice Cream

No Churn Coffee Ice Cream | What the Fork

Skip the Friendly’s coffee ice cream you always pick up from the frozen section and make the real thing. Perfectly creamy, with bold coffee flavor, you’re going to want to indulge in this every weekend.

Syrups

If you’ve ever heard of the famous coffee milk, this is the unique blend you need to whip up this New England delicacy. 

Coffee Milk Syrup | Taste of Home

We like to think of this as the adult version of chocolate milk! With this syrup you can also put it over bananas, or other fruit, maybe even ice cream? Yum!

Savory Fare

The unexpected, but delightful ways to use coffee like you never have before.

Mushroom Dishes

One chef trick for bringing out the earthiness of mushrooms in a dish, is adding coffee. As we mentioned earlier, coffee naturally brings out those earthy flavors, so it’s a pair made in cooking heaven. 

Coffee Mushroom Cream Sauce | My Recipes

This unique recipe actually uses the beans simmered in sauce and removed before plating. There are other recipes though that will add the coffee right to broth or something similar to bring out those flavors!

Side Dishes

Coffee is the perfect base for indulgent or healthy side dishes. Coffee carrots are actually incredibly delightful, but since we’re partial to the indulgent side of life, we’re sharing the recipe with all the cheese and carbs.

Crusty Cheesy Coffee Potato Cups | Mother Would Know

So many things here you’d never think of combining—breadcrumbs, butter, cheese, coffee, sour cream. But somehow it all comes together for a side unlike any you’ve tasted before.

Dips

Now dips made with coffee can be sweet or savory, but our favorite recipe happens to be savory and goes super well with any sort of Latin American cuisine. 

My Favorite Black Bean Dip | Food 52

Inspired by Costa Rican cuisine, this vegetarian dip is a crowd-pleaser everyone will love.

Jerky

Forget the store-bought stuff with all the additives and preservatives and make your own protein-packed snacks at home—with coffee, of course.

Sweet & Spicy Jerky | Food & Wine

While this pairs all sorts of unanticipated ingredients like Coca-Cola and star anise, somehow, it all works for an impressive snack.

Steak Dishes

Perhaps the most popular savory dish to make with coffee in various ways is steak. The red meat paired with the acidic coffee is an idyllic partnership.

Coffee Rubbed Steak with Coffee Bourbon Sauce | Delish

Using coffee grounds as a rub for the steak, and brewed coffee as the base for the sauce to drizzle on top, this is a steak dish that’s perfect when you need a gourmet meal at home. 

Bacon

Everyone loves bacon. You’ll love it even more when it’s rubbed with coffee grounds, promise.

Coffee Brown Sugar Bacon | Sunset

This ultimate sweet and savory side is drizzled with grounds and brushed with a brown sugar and brewed coffee mixture for extra breakfast bliss.

Scones 

You’d expect to see this in the sweets section, no? Savory scones are the best for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

Coffee, Bacon & Date Scones | The Flavor Bender

This scone recipe is a league of its own. Perfect for breakfast sandwiches, or enjoy simply with a little butter!

Stews

Since coffee is a way to tenderize meat, adding it to your stew avoids those tough pieces in your bowl.

Guinness Coffee Irish Beef Stew | The Chunky Chef

Creamy Guinness and rich coffee add a wonderful complexity and bold darkness to this tasty stew.

Prep Work

We’re pretty sure this is going to become your go-to section for grilling season!

Coffee Dry Rubs

Dry rubs are a perfect way to add flavor to meat or seafood of any kind, while crusting the outside with the rub so the meat retains moisture while cooking. Some favorites for coffee rubs include steak, pork, chicken, shrimp, or scallops. 

Coffee Rub | Oklahoma Joe’s

Leave it to a BBQ company to whip up a decadent rub that can be used on just about any kind of meat. Make a big batch so you always have it on hand. 

Marinades

While most think of things like vinegar or wine as the ideal base for marinade, coffee is one of the best ways you can marinade meat for a perfectly juicy finish.

Easy Coffee Marinade | Snappy Gourmet

What we love about this one is that not only can you use it as a marinade, but you can also boil it down to create a rich sauce to drizzle atop your meat. Yum!

Coffee BBQ Sauce

BBQ and coffee have a long history. It’s honestly one of the first ways people usually start cooking with coffee, which makes it only fitting that you must add a BBQ sauce to your cooking with coffee repertoire.

Coffee-Bourbon BBQ Sauce | Burrata & Bubbles

After you taste this, you’ll never eat the jarred stuff again. Brewed coffee paired with spices including chipotle chili powder and unexpected ingredients like bourbon and maple syrup make for a complex addition to any meat dish that can also be used as a marinade. You’re going to be drooling over this sauce!

Healthy Eats

Because not all coffee dishes have to be indulgent! These are good go-to recipes for everyday meals.

Smoothies

Most try to start their day as the epitome of health with a smoothie. Who cares what you eat the rest of the day, right? 

Coffee Protein Smoothie | Feel Good Foodie

Filled with fruit, healthy carbs, protein, and a little caffeine, this is the ultimate way to wake up and stay satiated for hours in the morning!

Coffee Salad Dressings

Some dressings will use grounds, others brewed coffee. Coffee adds a certain depth to salad dressing that you don’t get from other ingredients. Use it on a breakfast salad with eggs or a simple green salad for dinner!

Coffee Vinaigrette | The Gilded Fork

This one uses sherry wine vinegar with the tiniest bit of finely ground coffee for a burst of flavor unlike any other. Use for up to a week!

Ready to Cook with Coffee? We Want to See Your Creations!

Need some coffee to start your cooking with coffee adventures? It truly is the secret ingredient you may have never thought of using before. Try our Finca Silencio Farm Roasted Coffee for sweet and savory fare, unlike you’ve ever tasted it before! Whether you’re whipping up one of our favorite recipes we shared or creating a coffee delicacy all your own, we want to see it! Take a photo and tag us on social media, @theyauponrose on Instagram or @yauponrose on Facebook. Once you start cooking with coffee, you’ll only wish you had started using it sooner. Happy cooking, friends! We can’t wait to feast our eyes on your creations

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