Cortado Recipe

Updated October 14, 2021

Cortado coffee

There are many espresso drinks with the two essential ingredients of espresso and milk. The different varieties can all look similar if you are not sure what details to look out for.

Amongst espresso drinks, cortado is becoming increasingly popular. Nowadays, you can find it on the menu at almost every coffee shop. Luckily, a cortado is also one of the easiest espresso-based drinks to make, and you will not need expensive equipment to prepare it.

Ready to get started? In this cortado recipe, we will guide you step by step on making a sweet and strong cortado at home that you will be able to enjoy whenever you wish.

What is a Cortado?

Cortado is a Spanish word for “cut” and cortado is an espresso drink “cut” by an equal amount of milk. The beverage is originally from Spain but is now popular worldwide and is an excellent choice for espresso lovers who prefer a strong coffee taste.

A typical drink contains espresso and warm milk in a one-to-one ratio. The milk in the cortado is steamed and helps to reduce the acidity of the espresso.

Difference Between a Cortado and a Latte

These two drinks could be easily confused. Both the cortado and the latte have the same amount of double espresso shot. Although for the latte they sometimes use only a single shot of espresso.

The main difference is that the cortado has an equal amount of steamed milk to the espresso. Whereas, the latte has 4 times more milk compared to the cortado.

The latte is served in a larger cup and is more diluted due to the extra milk. The result is less intense coffee flavors and less of a caffeine boost when compared to the cortado.

Difference Between a Cortado and a Cappuccino

The cappuccino contains more milk and foam than the cortado. Both drinks are based on a double shot of espresso, but the cappuccino has more milk with a different texture and a thick foam layer on top.

The cappuccino will be a much gentler drink than a cortado. Perhaps, this gentleness is why my Italian friends made fun of me every time I had a cappuccino in their presence. They did not consider a cappuccino a “proper” coffee choice, especially after lunch or dinner. Whereas, there is never a wrong time to drink a cortado.

Difference Between a Cortado and a Cortadito

A Cortadito is a sweet Cuban espresso made by a pre-sweetened espresso shot topped off with steamed milk. They add the sugar into the top of the Moka pot, where the espresso will brew into crema.  Some of the recipes add frothed milk to the sweetened coffee, but there are some variations made without frothed milk.

Simple Cortado Recipe

Prep Time:  3 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2 drinks


  • Coffee grinder
  • Milk steamer



1. Grind the coffee in a fine setting.

2. Make a double shot of espresso.

3. While espresso is extracting, steam approximately 2 ounces of milk. You want the ratio of milk to coffee to be one to one. Make sure there is no foam.

4. Slowly pour the milk over the espresso

5. Serve and enjoy your cortado!


Serving Size: 1

Amount per serving: Calories: 50

How to Drink a Cortado

Your new favorite espresso drink will taste best if you sip it slowly. Expect a sophisticated coffee experience where you don’t want to rush. Just enjoy the perfect balance of coffee and milk, its taste, and its texture.

Benefits Of the Cortado

Cortados are notably easy to make at home, which gives them a significant advantage over lattes and cappuccinos. The latter beverages require careful frothing of the milk to achieve a creamy and smooth structure. In the absence of expert frothing techniques and tools, it is very difficult to get the right amount and density of microfoam. The cortado reigns supreme at home.

Another benefit of the cortado is that you will enjoy a 4-ounce drink with a double shot of espresso. This makes it one of the most caffeine-packed drinks except a straight espresso. Any time you need to study or work late, the cortado will give you the much sought-after boost.

At the same time, a straight espresso might be overly strong for some, and cortados are the happy balance for many coffee drinkers.


We hope you enjoyed our quick guide to cortados and that you will try our cortado recipe at home. The cortado is one of the best espresso drinks because it does not require special frothing techniques or lots of practice to master.

It’s also a superb option if you want a quick boost of energy from a double espresso without drinking espresso straight. Because the cortado is half espresso and half milk, it combines a powerful caffeine boost with the balance of smooth steamed milk.

Simple to make and lot’s of fun to drink. Feel free to test and share this recipe with your family and friends. Enjoy your cortado, and remember to sip it slowly!