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How To Make Whipped Coffee — Try the TikTok Trend at Home

A Korean coffee treat known as dalgona isn’t new, but it’s enjoying newfound popularity after being shared on social media during the COVID pandemic.

Many people believe whipped coffee originated in Asia. Others point out that cafes across Greece have been making a frappe-style instant coffee for many years. Although, the Greek version isn’t as fancy as Korean dalgona. 

Whipped coffee went viral on the social media platform TikTok in 2020 after a South Korean star was seen with it during an interview. The recipe for this concoction is simple and it only takes a few minutes to create your own light, foamy drink.

The whipped coffee recipe in our guide only makes a small amount, but it’s easy to adjust amounts for more. As with any good social media trend, other variations have appeared, too. 

Whipped coffee may seem like the opposite of traditional coffees, but it’s just as tasty and addictive.

What Is Whipped Coffee?

Whipped coffee is a Korean coffee trend that was popularized in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. At one point, it seemed like everyone on social media was making this novel coffee.

Whipped coffee goes by a few other names. It’s also known as fluffy coffee and, fittingly, quarantine coffee.

But what is dalgona coffee? Dalgona coffee is whipped coffee, the terms are used interchangeably but refer to the same drink. The name dalgona comes from a soft candy that’s popular in South Korea.

The opposite of coffees such as lattes and cappuccinos, which are topped with milk foam, a dalgona coffee has milk at the bottom and creamy, foamy coffee on top. Whipped coffee has two very distinct layers, a creamy texture, a sweet taste.

Made with instant coffee, sugar, hot water, and milk, dalgona coffee gets its unique look through a chemical reaction that occurs when instant coffee and sugar are combined. For that, you can thank xanthan gum, an ingredient in instant coffee. 

Xanthan gum is an additive that can act as a thickener or stabilizer. When whipped, it creates a frothy, light texture. 

Because regular ground coffee and coffee beans do not contain xanthan gum, creating whipped coffee without instant coffee is trickier (although not impossible).

What is Whipped Coffee

What You’ll Need to Make Whipped Coffee

Collect all the supplies you need before you start making your own dalgona coffee. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons very hot, almost boiling water
  • 6-8 ounce size glass or cup
  • 4 ounces milk
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk or mixer
  • Bowl for mixing
  • Ice

How to Make Dalgona Coffee

As popular as dalgona coffee is, you’re not likely to find it in many cafes. Fortunately, it’s easy and simple to make your own. Here’s how:


1. Fill your mug or glass with ice and add 4 ounces of milk. 

2. Heat the water. Yes, it’s a very small amount, but it needs to be just below boiling point. We recommend using a kettle.

The Process

3. Combine the hot water, instant coffee, and sugar in your mixing bowl.

4. Using a whisk or mixer, whip the ingredients. It should take about 1 to 2 minutes with a mixer. If you’re whisking manually, expect it to take longer — anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your technique.

5. The mixture should quickly become thick and creamy, with small formed peaks.

6. Grab a spoon and add dollops of the mixture to your iced milk. If you want to mix the layers slightly, give it a quick stir, and enjoy!

My Whipped Coffee Didn’t Come out Right, What’s Wrong?

As with any new recipe, things don’t always turn out quite as you expected. If your dalgona coffee doesn’t resemble the pictures, here are some possible reasons and solutions:


  • The drink is too sweet or not sweet enough – The standard dalgona coffee recipe calls for equal parts instant coffee, sugar, and hot water, but you can adjust the ratios. Adding a little more sugar will increase its sweetness, while a bit less will decrease it.
  • It didn’t whip properly – Assuming the ingredient measurements were correct, there are a couple of possible solutions if your coffee doesn’t whip. You may need to increase how long you whip the mixture, especially if you’re using a whisk. You also may not be whipping hard enough with a whisk, so try an electric mixer.
  • It’s too runny – Related to the previous issue, you may have used too much water. Remember, you’re working with small amounts, so even a smidge of extra water can cause problems.

What If I Don’t Have Instant Coffee?

Not everyone has instant coffee on hand. Some java connoisseurs won’t hear of using instant anything, for that matter. If that’s you, but you’d still like to try dalgona, now what?

You just have to know how to make whipped coffee without instant coffee. Instead of using instant coffee and water, you can use hot, brewed espresso or another very strong coffee. It’s still a 1:1 ratio for brewed espresso and sugar, but it’s easier to use slightly larger amounts. We recommend doubling the amounts to 4 tablespoons, and the brewed coffee should be very hot, almost boiling.

Everything is the same from that point on. Whisk vigorously or use a mixer. It may take longer to reach the proper texture than with instant coffee since regular java doesn’t contain xanthan gum. But it can be done.

How to Make Whipped Coffee Without Instant Coffee

Variations of Whipped Coffee

If you’re looking for ways of playing with the dalgona whipped coffee recipe to create other variations of fluffy coffee, look no further. There are several popular options:

Fewer Calories or Less Caffeine

Dalgona coffee can contain over 300 calories, and that’s a relatively small cup. However, if you’d like a less calorific version, there are a few substitutes.

Using stevia rather than sugar is one option, and you can also use oat milk or unsweetened almond or soy milk instead of dairy milk. If caffeine is the issue, substitute decaffeinated instant coffee for the regular instant stuff.

Other Delicious Alternatives

Are you feeling adventurous? Here are some other versions of whipped coffee that have become popular.

Whipped Chocolate Dalgona – Substitute cocoa powder for instant coffee and milk for water. Whisk the cocoa powder, milk, and sugar until fluffy. Some people like to add a bit of vanilla for extra flavor! Then layer it over iced milk.

Boozy Whipped Coffee – The basic recipe remains unchanged, but add a little Irish cream liquor to your iced milk. Layer the fluffy concoction on top of the liquid, and enjoy an adult treat.

Honey Vanilla Dalgona Latte – Substitute honey for sugar and add a little vanilla extract. It will still be just as sweet, but with a somewhat different flavor.

Other options include using chocolate-flavored milk. You can also use warmed milk instead of cold or iced milk.


While whipped coffee is recognized by most young adults, it’s pretty uncommon to find it at your local cafe. Fortunately, with only three ingredients involved, learning how to make this foamy coffee is straightforward and uncomplicated.

Whipped coffee also goes by dalgona, named after a sweet Korean candy. Because dalgona coffee is fluffy, creamy, and sweet, it seems appropriate that it shares its name with a candy.

It’s unfortunate that a worldwide pandemic was needed for this drink to get the recognition it deserves. However, it speaks to the power of social media that a coffee known in Asia only was introduced to java lovers all over the globe.

How to Make Dalgona Coffee

How To Make Dalgona Coffee FAQs

Can You Make Whipped Coffee with Regular Coffee?

Yes, it’s possible to make whipped coffee using regular ground coffee instead of instant. Instant is preferred, but you can substitute very hot, brewed espresso or other strong java. It may take longer to create the desired texture by whipping, though.

How Do You Make Whipped Coffee Less Bitter?

There are a couple of options for helping whipped coffee taste less bitter. One option is to use another kind of instant coffee, as there are multiple roast levels and flavors. For more on selecting an instant coffee, click here.

Another option is to add a bit more sugar into your mixture, which may mask some of the bitterness.

What Makes Dalgona Coffee Fluffy?

Dalgona coffee is fluffy because of its ingredients, but also because of the whisking or mixing technique used. Instant coffee contains an ingredient called xanthan gum, which is often used as a thickener or stabilizer in food items. When whipped, xanthan gum helps create the frothy, light texture in whipped coffee.

How Long Does It Take to Whisk Dalgona Coffee by Hand?

How long it takes to whisk dalgona coffee manually depends on, well, your hand. The more powerful and faster your strokes with a whisk, the faster it will whip into thick foam. If you’re not that strong, you may need a few minutes longer. Anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes is normal.

How Much Coffee Do You Put in Whipped Coffee?

Use a 1:1 ratio of coffee to the other ingredients in whipped coffee. That is equal parts water, sugar, and coffee. Our recipe uses 2 tablespoons of each ingredient. If you want to prepare a larger amount, make sure the ratio doesn’t change.

What Does Whipped Coffee Taste Like?

The taste of whipped dalgona coffee will vary depending on the type of instant coffee you use. But it generally tastes light, airy, and sweet. Some people compare it to a latte or cappuccino. You can expect a stronger taste if you’re using a darker roast instant coffee.