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This cortadito recipe is the perfect coffee drink. It’s smooth, rich, sweet, and super easy to make.

Cortaditos are one of my favorite caffeinated drinks. Whether I need a cozy morning beverage or an afternoon jolt of energy, I’m always in the mood for a cortadito. A cortadito is a sweet Cuban drink that’s traditionally made with espresso and milk. It’s very similar to a cortado, which is the Spanish version. 

It’s a fancy drink to get at a coffee shop, but I’ve found a great way to make cortaditos at home. By making strong coffee in a French press, you can get a very similar result without owning an espresso machine … or without having to pay $5 or $6 at a coffee shop. It’s also a super easy drink to make, so you can imagine how much money I’ve started saving by simply making my coffee drinks at home, instead of going out for them. 

If you love coffee as much as I do, then you’ve got to try this cortadito recipe. It’s sweet, strong, rich, creamy, incredibly smooth, and only takes 15 minutes to make.

Overhead view of the ingredients needed for cortaditos: a bowl of coffee grounds, a bowl of sugar, a pitcher of evaporated milk, and a pyrex of water

What You’ll Need

Here are the ingredients that you’ll need to make a cortadito at home. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact amounts needed for the ingredients. 

  • Water – I recommend always using filtered water when making coffee drinks. 
  • Cuban coffee – You can use other types of coffee, but you’ll get the best and most authentic results with Cuban coffee.
  • Granulated sugar – Coconut sugar works fine as a substitute. 
  • Evaporated milk – If you want a healthier option, use regular milk or oat milk. But the rich flavor of evaporated milk really makes this drink better. 

How to Make a Cortadito

Here’s how to make this creamy and sweet coffee drink. It only takes 15 minutes! 

  • Heat the water. Bring the water to a boil. 
  • Add coffee grounds. Put the ground Cuban coffee into the bottom of a French press. 
  • Bloom the coffee. Pour half of the water over the coffee grounds and let it sit for 1 minute.
  • Add the rest of the water. Pour the rest of the water into the French press and stir. Lower the press so that it is hovering just above the coffee.
  • Steep. Let the coffee steep for 4 minutes, then push the French press all the way down. 
Side by side with a picture of a French press with no lid, about a quarter full of coffee, and a French press with a lid being pushed down onto the coffee
  • Warm the milk. While your coffee brews, heat the evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat, while occasionally stirring. 
  • Add sugar. Put the granulated sugar in two mugs. 
  • Melt the sugar. Pour a little bit of the coffee into each mug, and stir until the coffee and sugar form a paste.
Side by side with a picture of a tablespoon measure pouring coffee onto sugar in a glass, and a picture of a hand using a spoon to stir the coffee and sugar together
  • Add the rest of the coffee. Pour the rest of the brewed coffee into the mugs.
  • Finish. Add the warmed milk into the two mugs, and serve while hot. 
Side by side with a picture of coffee being poured into a glass, and a picture of evaporated milk being poured into a glass of coffee

Tips and Variations

Here are a few tricks for making the best cortaditos, as well as a few variations that you can try.

  • Freshly-ground. When making coffee, it’s always best to use freshly-ground beans. If possible, buy whole Cuban coffee beans, and grind them right before making the cortadito. This will result in a coffee drink that has a richer and less bitter flavor. 
  • Add cinnamon. A lot of Cuban coffee drinks have cinnamon in them, and you can add that to your cortadito if you’d like. The best way to add cinnamon to this drink is to put some in with the grounds when you brew the coffee. That way the cinnamon flavor steeps into the coffee.
  • Use a coffee maker. Using a French press is a great way to replicate the intense but smooth flavors you get in an espresso shot. But if you don’t have a French press, that’s okay! You can still make a cortadito using a coffee maker. Just use a little bit more grounds than usual, and set your coffee maker to the “bold” or “strong” setting, if it has one. 
  • Make it iced. If you’re more of a fan of iced drinks than hot ones, you can still make this recipe. To make an iced cortadito, follow the same instructions for the coffee and sugar, but don’t heat the milk. Then, after adding the cold evaporated milk to the drink, add ice cubes and stir quickly until the drink is chilled. 
  • Use a microwave. If you prefer to heat your evaporated milk in the microwave, that will work too. Just heat it in 15-second increments on 80% power until the milk is hot. Stir it after every 15 seconds in the microwave, to make sure the milk doesn’t develop a skin. 
Overhead view of a cortadito in a glass, with a spoon in it, next to a kitchen towel

What to Serve it With 

Whether I’m drinking a cortadito in the morning or in the afternoon, I like to enjoy it with a pastry or another sweet baked treat. Here are a few of my favorite things to eat while having a cortadito.

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Cortaditos 

Hot coffee doesn’t store and reheat very well, so saving leftover cortaditos won’t result in the best drink. However, it will last for up to 3 days in the fridge, and you can reheat it in the microwave on 80% power in 20-second increments.

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

I don’t recommend freezing cortaditos. But you can pour leftovers into an ice cube tray to have flavored ice for your next iced coffee drink! 

A cortadito in a glass, next to another cortadito, with coffee beans behind it

More Easy Breakfast Drinks

A cortadito is my go-to coffee drink, but sometimes I like to mix it up with a different beverage in the morning. Here are a few of my other favorites.


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This cortadito recipe is rich, creamy, sweet, and only takes 15 minutes to make. It's the perfect coffee drink!
author: Alyssa
yield: 2 servings
A cortadito in a glass, with a spoon in it, with a kitchen towel and another cortadito behind it
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes


  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons ground Cuban coffee
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar (you can use coconut sugar instead)
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk (you can use regular milk or oat milk for a healthier option)


  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Fill the bottom of a French press with the ground Cuban coffee.
  • Pour half of the boiled water over the coffee grounds and allow it to steep for about 1 minute.
  • Pour the remainder of the boiling water over the grounds and stir.
  • Lower the press so that it hovers just over the liquid and allow the coffee to steep for 4 minutes.
  • While the coffee is brewing, warm the evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, get a pair of mugs and add 2 teaspoons of sugar to each mug.
  • Push the French press down.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of brewed coffee into each mug and whisk until a smooth paste forms.
  • Divide the remainder of the espresso between the mugs and whisk until a slight foam appears.
  • Divide the heated evaporated milk between the mugs.
  • Serve with your favorite pastry.


  • If you don't have a French press, you can make the coffee in a coffee maker. Add a little bit more grounds than usual, and use the “bold” or “strong” brewing setting.
  • For best results, grind your own Cuban coffee beans. 
  • To make an iced cortadito, don't heat the milk. After adding all the ingredients, add ice and stir rapidly. 


Serving: 1(7oz) coffee | Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 258mg | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 226mg | Iron: 0.2mg
course: Beverage

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