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From breakfast to dinner (and beyond), there are few dishes coffee doesn’t enhance.

When I studied abroad in Spain, the only coffee my host mom had in the house was vile instant Nescafé. I tried making it with water, then milk, then a combo of both. I tried adding tons of sugar, but nothing worked. I detested it. I developed a strong hatred for instant coffee and I continued to scoff at it until I found it in a friend’s cupboard years later. I held it up and looked at her quizzically. “I add it to my oatmeal in the morning,” she said. “It’s actually delicious.”

So I called on Pinterest to see if my friend was just crazy (she also likes to eat peanut butter and cheese sandwiches) or…right. And surprisingly enough, I found tons of recipes?—?and not just baked goods?—?that used instant coffee. I found bloggers who substituted the ease of instant joe for brewed coffee in their recipes. After scrolling through countless recipes, I vowed to give instant coffee another chance.

If you scoffed at the idea, try one of these recipes and you’ll probably be adding it to your oatmeal soon, too.

Oatmeal Latte

How Sweet Eats

Of course, you can just add a tablespoon or two of straight instant coffee to your oatmeal (I’d recommend a dash of sugar, too). But if you want to get even fancier, try this Oatmeal Latte. To make it, you add liquid coffee (easily made with instant granules) to oatmeal for a frothy hug in a mug.

Salad Dressing

Bon Appetit

This dressing is the perfect way to keep your caffeine high rolling all the way through lunch. Whisk together red wine vinegar, honey, instant espresso, olive oil, salt and pepper for a sweet and rich dressing that makes eating your salad a lot more fun.

Ice Cream

Bon Appetit

For a jolt in your dessert, top your ice cream (or frozen yogurt—or just plain yogurt, at that) with a sprinkle of instant coffee.

Bon Appetit

If you’d rather incorporate the coffee right into the ice cream itself, simply add the powder to your favorite vanilla ice cream base (up to 3 tablespoons per quart, depending on your taste preferences).


Spicy Southern Kitchen

Brew up some instant coffee and marinate your steak in it, or mix the powder into a dry rub instead. As an added bonus, there are some fabulous coffee barbecue sauces, too.


Pete Bakes

Of course, one of the most popular ways of consuming coffee (aside from drinking it) is in baked goods. Personally, I can’t think of even one dessert that wouldn’t be improved by a jolt of caffeine.

In a recipe that calls for brewed coffee, substitute a teaspoon of powder for a cup of brewed. Or just add up to three tablespoons of powder to any batter for a caffeinated twist on your favorite dessert.

Shakes and Smoothies

Homemade Hooplah

Shakes and smoothies are another instant coffee no-brainer. You’ll want to keep a jar stocked just for this purpose because it’s so, so good. You can add a dash of instant coffee to your morning yogurt-and-banana smoothie, your green kale booster or your protein-packed power shake.