PerfectBrew Logo Blue

How to Cook With Coffee

Table of Contents

Did you know: You can incorporate coffee into brunch, dinner, and dessert–as an ingredient, rather than simply in a cup next to your plate? While many people just drink their coffee, there are actually tasty and easy ways to include coffee as a cooking ingredient. You won’t even run out of options! Read on to discover all the different things you can do to cook with coffee.

Why Coffee Is A Versatile Cooking Ingredient

Coffee is a versatile cooking ingredient because you can incorporate it into nearly any kind of meal. Add it to your breakfast recipes, your marinade for grilling meat, and bake it into cakes or other types of dessert. It’s one of the few ingredients out there that can be used in many different ways, each time bringing a unique taste and texture to the dish. 

Recipes usually will specify what type of coffee you need to include. The different types are: 

On top of this, different roasts of coffee will provide different flavor profiles. There are also flavored coffees such as hazelnut and vanilla. You can even find coffee with chocolate, cinnamon, and fruity flavors. Depending on the recipe you’re making, the flavor of your coffee could further impact the taste. 

Every time you include coffee, no matter the type, it adds depth to your food’s complex and delicious flavor. Whether you’d like to try something with coffee for your breakfast, lunch, or dinner, here are five easy ways to incorporate coffee into your meals: 

  1. Breakfast salad with espresso 
  2. Tasty coffee dry rub 
  3. Baking 
  4. Adding it to savory meat dishes 
  5. Turning it into a jelly

Breakfast Salad With Espresso

Yes, you can make a salad for breakfast. Toss together a couple of breakfast food items and any veggies you have in the fridge with some greens to create a breakfast salad. This is the perfect recipe for weekends when you have guests over, or have some leftovers from the week you need to use. 

Although you can include basically anything in a breakfast salad, the best ones have traditional breakfast items such as poached or boiled eggs, and bacon. They also include typical breakfast vegetables such as mushrooms or avocado. How do you add coffee to this? The secret is in the dressing.

Adding a dressing that includes espresso as an ingredient makes your salad truly a breakfast meal. Espresso has a lot of acidity, more than other types of coffee, making it perfect for a red wine vinaigrette. Follow these instructions to make an espresso-infused vinaigrette: 

  1. In a bowl, whisk together 1-2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar. 
  2. As you whisk, drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil slowly into the mixture. Keep whisking until your dressing is completely smooth. 

Once you’ve assembled your salad ingredients, pour your homemade dressing over it and toss until everything is evenly coated. You’ll get an extra early-morning kick from the espresso vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Tasty Coffee Dry Rub

One of the most common ways people incorporate coffee into cooking is to use coffee grounds to flavor meat. Since grounds have a grainy texture and stick well to raw meat, it’s perfect to use them as a rub. Mix grounds with your other ingredients and apply the rub directly to the meat before cooking your steaks or burgers. 

Before you begin making your coffee dry rub, you’ll have to make sure your grounds are completely dried out. You might have a bag of grounds in the cupboard, but don’t use these straight from the bag–most recipes require you to brew coffee first, then use the brewed coffee grounds. That way, the grounds provide a distinct and robust coffee flavor. 

Take two tablespoons of brewed coffee grounds and spread them out on a baking sheet. Put the sheet in your oven at 350℉ for several minutes. This way, you ensure that the grounds are fully dry the way they need to be. Then follow these instructions: 

  1. Let the grounds fully cool. Once cool, mix them with one tablespoon of freshly ground coarse black pepper and one tablespoon of salt. 
  2. Dry off your meat with paper towels before you sprinkle on the dry rub. 
  3. With your fingers and hands, rub the meat with the seasoning and work it in. 
  4. Cook your meat as you like. 

While coffee may be a surprising dry rub ingredient, you’ll find that it provides a rich and complex flavor to your meat. It also comes in handy if you’re out of other dry rub ingredients, but you’d like to add something more than just salt and pepper to your steaks. Try it out the next time you fire up the grill. 

Baking With Coffee

Baked goods are a popular option for incorporating coffee into your cooking. You can use coffee in a variety of foods such as cakes and loaves of bread. As long as you use a small amount of coffee, it’ll enhance the flavor without being too overpowering. Some recipes even include both cocoa powder and coffee for a chocolatey coffee taste. 

No matter which type of baked goods you like, you have a variety of options to bake with coffee because coffee’s flavor goes so well with many different types of foods. Use coffee in: 

Many recipes pair coffee with flavors such as chocolate or cinnamon. It also pairs well with fruits, so it’s great to add in pastries. Typically, you will use espresso powder because espresso doesn’t contain as much moisture as traditional drip coffee. Too much moisture can ruin some baked goods. 

Surprisingly, coffee is an ingredient in many bread recipes as well. Although you may not think of coffee at first when you brainstorm different ways to bake bread, it can add a delicious, bold flavor that gives the bread more depth. Wheat bread and loaves that include nuts such as pecans are great recipes to include coffee in.

Add Coffee to Savory Meat Dishes

Like baking with coffee, there are a myriad of ways you can incorporate coffee into your meat dishes. From chili to steak to chicken, you’ll find a variety of options to boost flavor and achieve your most perfect grilling season yet.

Coffee in Marinade

Marinades are one of the easiest and tastiest ways to add coffee to your meat. All you need to do is: 

  1. Brew coffee. 
  2. Add it to your other marinade ingredients and mix. 
  3. Place your meat in a Ziploc bag or other sealed container. Add your marinade mix and completely coat the meat in it. 
  4. Let the bag sit in the refrigerator for several hours. 

The flavors will soak in, and on top of this, coffee helps tenderize meat. Prep your roast meat, short ribs, steaks, and other meats with a marinade that boasts an all-around flavor profile.

Coffee in Braising Liquid

Braising is a commonly-used trick in cooking to make a tough cut of meat easier to eat. By simmering the meat in liquid for hours or even days, you can create tender meat that will fall off the bone. Some people start braising their meat two days before the meal. 

Adding coffee to the liquid you will be braising meat in adds another dimension of flavor. Coffee will also caramelize when the liquid starts to cool down. If you enjoy braising your meat, add some brewed coffee the next time to see the difference it makes.

Coffee in Barbeque Sauce

Another option is to stir or whisk a little coffee into your favorite barbeque sauce. You can add this sauce to grilled chicken or any other type of meat you enjoy flavoring with barbeque sauce. 

Brush your coffee-barbeque sauce over meat during the last several minutes of grilling. Or, combine it with ground meat such as ground turkey for burgers or in a beef chili. Coffee can help round out the flavors in your barbeque sauce, especially if your sauce tends to be a little sweet; the bold flavor and acidity of coffee will balance that sweetness out.

Turn It Into a Jelly

If you make your own jelly, give coffee jelly a try! All you need is coffee, lemon juice, sugar, and pectin. Pectin is a type of starch that is commonly used in jams and jellies. It helps develop semisolid texture and is a necessary ingredient. Luckily, many different types of pectin are commercially available. You may have to experiment with different types of pectin to get the perfect jelly texture you’re looking for. 

Follow these instructions to turn coffee into a jelly: 

  1. Brew 4 cups of strong (dark roast) coffee. 
  2. Add ¼ cup lemon juice and the add mixture into a saucepan. Bring this to a boil. 
  3. Separately, whisk together 1 ⅓ cups pectin and 5 ½ cups of granulated sugar. Add this to the boiling coffee mixture, then whisk until it is fully dissolved. 
  4. Return the mixture to a boil and let it fully boil for one minute. 
  5. Remove from heat and spoon into your jelly containers such as jam jars. 

You can use different methods to process the jelly, such as the Boiling Water Bath method. Again, you may have to experiment until you find the process that works for you. After you have processed the jelly, make sure the containers cool and are stored in a dark space. Use them within one year. 

Foods that you can add your coffee-flavored jelly to include: 

  • Sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly, savory brie and ham) 
  • French toast, waffles, or pancakes 
  • Meatballs 
  • Candied bacon 
  • In smoothies 
  • Glaze for meats or barbeque sauce 
  • On top of cheesecake or other types of cake

In fact, you can make coffee jelly and have it with all the other recipes in this article! Add it to your grilled meat, serve it on the side of your breakfast salad, incorporate it into your marinade or barbeque sauce, or top off your baked goods with your homemade coffee jelly.

Cooking with Coffee: Easy and Delicious

Coffee is already part of your everyday life. Turns out, there are more ways to enjoy it than simply drinking it from a cup! Not only can you cook with coffee, but there are many different ways you can incorporate coffee into your recipes. If you want, you can consume coffee throughout the day by incorporating it into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. 

If you’re thinking of giving cooking with coffee a try, remember you have these options: 

  • Baking it into bread, cinnamon rolls, or desserts such as cake and cookies. 
  • Adding it to a salad dressing such as a vinaigrette. 
  • Using it to flavor your meat. You can add coffee to a marinade, to your braising liquid, in barbeque sauce, or even as a dry rub. 
  • Turning it into a jelly that you can serve on the side with all kinds of different meals. 

If you’re a coffee-lover, the good news is there is no shortage of options to enjoy coffee throughout the day. The next time you’re cooking, give these coffee recipes a try!

Share This Article


Skip to content