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Iced Cortado: How To Make This Tasty Summer Drink

Unlock the cool side of espresso with my Iced Cortado recipe and guide – a bold coffee softened by cold and creamy milk.

iced cortado

Expert Consulted: Carl. Utilizing my 6 years of experience in the coffee industry, I’m able to provide accurate and concise information, helping you make informed choices about beans, brewing methods, and equipment, thereby elevating your coffee experience. In this article, I’ll share my knowledge and experience to help you understand how to make an iced cortado and why you can’t typically find it in coffee shops.

The iced cortado is not the most popular drink out there, but in my opinion, it’s one of the best.

This is because it has that bold coffee flavor up front and the sweetness of the milk in the back. A perfect combo for iced coffee lovers.

So, let’s go in-depth to supply you with all the information you need to craft yourself a lovely iced cortado at home.

What Is An Iced Cortado?

An iced cortado is simply two shots of espresso with equal parts milk and served over ice.

what is an iced cortado? iced cortado

So, for example, if you had 60ml of espresso, you would add 60ml of milk. This does technically mean that you could make this drink with fewer shots, or more, if you so desired.

This beverage is very similar to an iced latte but possesses a stronger coffee flavor as a result of less milk.

Strangely, you’ll have a bit of trouble finding this drink in coffee shops.

This is because a cortado is technically made with steamed milk, and an iced one obviously doesn’t have that.

So if you try to order one, you will probably be asked for an iced latte or iced cappuccino instead.

That’s why this recipe is so great, you can make a drink that most cafés can’t!

But, an iced cortado doesn’t have to be just this. You can add a variety of sweeteners like whipped cream, or some sauces/syrups to give your drink that extra pizzazz.

Below I have listed all the ingredients you’ll be needing for this drink.

The Ingredients Required For An Iced Cortado

This drink is a piece of cake to make, all you need is just three ingredients which I’ve handily listed below.

  • Cold milk

  • 2 shots of espresso

  • Ice cubes

the ingredients required for an iced cortado: iced cortado

Although these are the main ingredients, it’s not illegal to add your own additives.

Not everyone prefers the taste of an iced cortado, so if you’re someone who likes a bit of extra sweetness in their coffee, this next part is for you.

Some Add-ins to Try

I’ll start with the most common one, sugar. You’ve all heard of it, and you’ve all used it.

Sugar is the best way to add some extra sweetness in order to counteract that strong coffee flavor you dislike. Add as much as you like, just be careful how much sugar you’re consuming.

Next is another extremely popular option, coffee syrups and/or sauces.

Pretty much any syrup or sauce will work in an iced cortado because it’s just espresso and milk.

In case you don’t know where to start, vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, and pumpkin spice are all great options. Try each one and see how you feel, and if you still aren’t sure, try making some homemade syrup yourself!

A little goes a long way, so don’t add too much flavoring at first. Just add a little and taste first, then add more or less depending on your thoughts.

Is Espresso Needed?

is espresso needed? iced cortado

Yes, unfortunately, there’s only one way to make true espresso, and that’s with an espresso machine.

Now, you can technically bend the rules a little and use coffee that isn’t espresso if you can’t afford an espresso machine.

In my opinion, the drink will taste much better with authentic espresso added.

An espresso machine pushes water through finely-ground coffee beans at a very high pressure. Typically 9-bar.

This process creates a delightfully rich and intense coffee with a little sweetness and a thick layer of that famous crema on top.

Which Milk Should You Use In This Recipe?

In an iced cortado, you can honestly use any milk you would like.

For a creamier and sweeter drink, I suggest using whole milk or 2% fat.

This is the opposite of a regular hot cortado, which is typically made with whole milk. So with this, you can try any milk you want!

Now, if you’re looking for a less creamy, slightly lighter drink, go for skim or 1% milk as they still work well.

As I stated above, any milk works fine so you can even use your preferred dairy-free milk!

You could even transform this drink into an iced long black by removing the milk completely!

But, what if you want to make an even creamier iced cortado? Then you can purchase an inexpensive hand-held milk frother/nanofoamer.

This will spin the milk very fast and create millions of tiny bubbles, giving you some lovely microfoam to add to your iced cortado.

Or, for a potentially cheaper option, if you have a french press handy you can fill it with milk then plunge it a bunch of times and it will create delightfully frothy milk!

Iced Cortado Recipe

Recipe time! This should only take a rough time of five minutes to complete.

  1. Start by brewing your desired amount of espresso, the recommended amount is two shots.
  2. Fill your glass or cup roughly halfway with ice. (you can add more or less if you’d like)
  3. If you’re going to foam your milk, do that now. If not, add the espresso shots to your ice-filled glass or cup.
  4. Now, just pour the milk over the espresso. If you’re using foamed milk, make sure to finish your drink with a layer of foam on top!
  5. If you are using some flavored syrup or sauces, you can add them at any time really, but I prefer to add them now.
  6. Stir thoroughly and drink up!

And in case any of you were wondering, this drink with whole milk will contain about 34 calories. This number will change depending on the milk type and sweeteners used.


Thanks for reading! You have just learned how to make yourself a quick, easy, and incredible-tasting iced cortado.

If possible try to ensure that you use properly extracted espresso for the best experience.

Don’t forget about sweeteners! You can add whichever sweeteners you like, this really transforms the drink into something unique and special.

I choose to make this drink just because of how easy it is, no milk steaming skills needed, just brew some espresso over ice and pour some milk in.

Image Attribution and Licensing

Main Image: Custom made by me.

#1: Custom made by me.

#2: Custom made by me.

#3: Custom made by me.