In savory dishes, coffee can be used as a secret ingredient to enhance the flavors of stews, sauces, and marinades. The bitter and smoky notes of coffee can add a bold depth to meat rubs or provide a subtle earthiness to barbecue sauces. Additionally, coffee can be used as a braising liquid for meats, infusing them with a distinct taste that perfectly complements the natural juices.
When it comes to desserts, coffee brings a rich and aromatic element that elevates classic treats to new heights. Incorporating coffee into cakes, cookies, and brownies creates a delightful balance between sweetness and bitterness. For example, tiramisu, a famous Italian dessert, relies heavily on coffee to soak the ladyfingers and infuse the creamy layers with its intense flavor. Coffee also pairs exceptionally well with chocolate, creating a harmonious blend that takes desserts to a whole new level.
From morning treats to sweet and savory rubs for your favorite proteins, there are countless ways to cook with coffee. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Coffee Smoothie from Feel Good Foodie
This frothy drink turns your morning caffeine hit into a satisfying breakfast amped up with rolled oats, protein powder, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Get the recipe: Breakfast Coffee Smoothie
2. Coffee Banana Bread from The Endless Meal
You love coffee, you love banana bread, right? So what’s not to like about this dense quick bread that offers the best of both worlds? It’s made with sour cream for extra tang, and it gets a strong flavor from both instant and brewed coffee.
Get the recipe: Coffee Banana Bread
3. Chocolate Chip Coffee Pancakes from Jennifer Meyering
A stack of these caffeinated pancakes may not be for kids, but it’s guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard. The flapjacks are fluffy and chock-full of mini chocolate chips with a kick from instant espresso powder.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Coffee Pancakes
4. Gluten-Free Coffee Bean Waffles from The Toasted Pinenut
These Belgian-style waffles are crisp and crackly on the outside with a fluffy interior. They’re sweetened with agave and made with almond flour and chia seeds for a gluten-free, higher-fiber breakfast that will keep you well-fueled for hours.
Get the recipe: Gluten-Free Coffee Bean Waffles
5. Cold Brew Coffee Overnight Proats by Love & Zest
This recipe amps up your typical overnight oats with cold brew, vanilla protein powder, and chia seeds. It’s a great grab-and-go morning meal you can prep the night before.
Get the recipe: Cold Brew Coffee Overnight Protein Oatmeal
6. Coffee-Rubbed Roasted Chicken from Food Thinkers
Coffee can go savory too, and this spice-marinated chicken proves it. The coffee grounds are mixed with paprika, garlic, onion, and a bit of brown sugar to balance out the bite with some sweetness. The sugar also helps caramelize the chicken for max browning and flavor.
Get the recipe: Coffee-Rubbed Roasted Chicken
7. Coffee Vinaigrette from Ricardo Cuisine
Hear us out: This may sound odd, but a small amount of crushed coffee beans can be a major flavor enhancer for a salad dressing. You’ll want to use this bold dressing on a salad of cooked or charred veggies, rather than delicate greens, which can be easily over-powered.
Get the recipe: Coffee Vinaigrette
8. Oven-Roasted, Coffee-Rubbed Pork Shoulder from the Curious Plate
This large-format roast pork shoulder is deeply seasoned with a savory rub of coffee grounds, brown sugar, garlic, and cayenne. It stays nice and moist, thanks to beef broth, and makes an impressive centerpiece at a dinner party or cookout.
Get the recipe: Oven-Roasted, Coffee-Rubbed Pork Shoulder
9. Maple-Glazed Salmon With Coffee Rub from Food Fidelity
A spiced coffee rub isn’t just for meat and poultry, it’s also delicious on a delicate and flaky salmon filet. This salmon is roasted in a foil packet to preserve moisture and to help the rub infuse deep into the fish.
Get the recipe: Maple-Glazed Salmon With Coffee Rub
10. Coffee Creme Brûlée from Sugar Salt Magic
Smash through the sugar crust on one of these adorable jarred desserts for the perfect end to a meal. Instant coffee gives this classic creme brûlée recipe a welcome upgrade, plus you’ll only need four ingredients to make this elegant treat.
Get the recipe: Coffee Creme Brûlée
11. Coffee Ice Cream from Cultured Palate
Everyone loves a luscious scoop of soft and melty coffee ice cream, so why not make it at home? This recipe captures the scoop shop flavor with freshly brewed espresso. And it can be sweetened with honey or granulated sugar.
Get the recipe: Coffee Ice Cream
12. Tiramisu from Nonna Box
We can’t discuss coffee-infused recipes without including tiramisu, and this one has all the elements of the classic Italian sweet: tender, delicate lady fingers, fluffy mascarpone, a spike of Marsala wine, and a generous coating of cocoa powder on top.
Get the recipe: Tiramisu
13. Vietnamese Iced Coffee Pavlova from SBS
Vietnamese iced coffee gets its sweetness and rich, creamy body from a swirl of condensed milk, which is also the base for this stunning layered meringue dessert.
Get the recipe: Vietnamese Iced Coffee Pavlova
14. Italian Affogato from Inside the Rustic Kitchen
If you want the simplest way to eat your coffee, pour a shot of espresso over your favorite vanilla ice cream and dig in.
Get the recipe: Italian Affogato