Caramel is arguably one of the best flavors out there! It’s smooth, buttery, and suddenly makes everything seem ok.
And thanks to its popularity, Starbucks uses its caramel syrup to flavor drinks ranging from its infamous macchiato to the salted caramel cream cold brew.
Because I LOVE anything caramel, today’s post features this versatile flavor.
We’ll cover some of the best caramel-inspired drinks from Starbucks, the difference between caramel syrup and sauce, and a recipe or two for all you home baristas out there!
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What are the best caramel drinks to order from Starbucks?
Call me boring, but one of my all-time favorite Starbucks drinks is the caramel latte.
Hot or cold, combining espresso, milk, and a hint of caramel coffee syrup results in a drink with a buttery flavor that isn’t overly sweet.
It’s a drink easily replicated at home by buying premade caramel syrup or by whipping up your own batch by adding caramel extract to a basic simple syrup recipe.
If you’d like to try making your own, click here to skip to the copycat caramel syrup recipe below.
And if you’d prefer to buy bottled Starbucks caramel syrup, click here to view the product on Amazon.
Iced Caramel Macchiato
The macchiato is similar to a latte because both drinks contain espresso, milk, and flavor syrups. But the macchiato is a much more espresso-forward beverage than a latte.
In other words, if you love strong coffee flavor profiles in your drink, then you’ll enjoy a macchiato.
But a latte is the drink for you if you enjoy coffee beverages on the sweeter side with a hint of espresso flavor.
Macchiatos also feature a layered look with the milk and classic syrup on the bottom and the espresso on the top. When making a latte, the barista generally gives the drink a good stir to incorporate the ingredients.
Oddly enough, the iced caramel macchiato initially combines espresso, milk, ice, and vanilla syrup, not caramel.
It’s finished with caramel drizzle, where the drink gets its name and signature caramel flavor.
Raspberry Caramel Macchiato
This drink is a delightful twist on the standard caramel macchiato.
Instead of French vanilla syrup in the milk layer, it features a few pumps of raspberry syrup. Espresso is then carefully added to create a layered look.
The drink is finished with a caramel drizzle.
Thanks to the layered appearance, it’s a drink off the Starbucks menu that’s almost too pretty to drink!
Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino
The frappuccino is a legend among the wide variety of coffee drinks served at Starbucks daily. It’s a sweet, icy treat that’s tough to pass up!
This drink is a must-try for caramel lovers everywhere!
Although the coffee chain offers a regular caramel frappuccino, the ribbon crunch version features caramel syrup in the blended portion and a drizzle of their dark caramel sauce, resulting in a double whammy of caramel flavors.
The drink is finished with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and a caramel-sugar topping.
And if you want to try whipping up a home version, check out our coffee base recipe.
Salted Caramel Mocha
If you’re a fan of salted caramel, then this one’s for you!
The salted caramel mocha combines mocha sauce and toffee nut syrup with espresso and your choice of steamed milk.
It’s topped with whipped cream and finished with a caramel drizzle and a sprinkling of sugar and sea salt.
A popular drink in the fall, it’s a fantastic way to enjoy warm caramel flavor even as the weather turns chilly.
Starbucks Caramel Syrup Recipe (Copycat)
I like to make simple syrup recipes in smaller batches, so they stay fresh longer.
It’s also nice to make small batches if your tastes change quickly and you want to try lots of different flavors!
Making your own coffee syrups is a fantastic way to bring a splash of cafe flavor home at a fraction of the cost.
It’s also a great way to control your ingredients and limit the preservatives and extra coloring often found in commercially prepared products.
Although you can use any kind of sugar, turbinado sugar will give your final product a slightly golden color, adding to the overall appeal of the caramel syrup.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a medium saucepan.
Warm over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Continue heating until it reaches the consistency of your liking.
You’ll want to watch the mixture carefully to avoid boiling, which can add a bitter flavor to your syrup.
Add 2 tablespoons of Watkins caramel extract to give it that luscious caramel flavoring.
Allow to cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Amazon has a fantastic collection of jars that are convenient for storing your homemade syrup collection. Click here to see them for yourself.
Starbucks Iced Raspberry Caramel Macchiato Recipe (Copycat)
I tried making this one at home and absolutely loved it, so I wanted to pass it along to you!
Fill a Mason jar halfway with ice. Add 1 teaspoon raspberry-flavored syrup. Click here to see the syrup I used on Amazon.
If you’re avoiding dairy, try oat milk. Fill the jar 1/3 to 1/2 way with milk. Otherwise, 2% milk adds a bit of substance to the drink. Stir the raspberry flavoring, milk, and ice.
Pull 2 shots of espresso. Once complete, add 1 teaspoon of your homemade caramel syrup to the espresso and stir to combine.
You can substitute premade caramel syrup. If you don’t have the premade syrup, add 1 teaspoon of simple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of caramel extract to the espresso.
Hold a spoon upside-down over the raspberry milk mixture. Slowly pour the espresso over the back of the spoon and into the drink.
The final result will be a decadent drink with a gorgeous layered appearance.
This drink is one of my favorites and is so easy to recreate at home!
What’s the difference between caramel syrup and caramel sauce?
One significant difference between caramel sauce and syrup is that sauce is thicker than syrup.
Due to its consistency, caramel sauce mixes better into hot coffee beverages than cold ones. The sauce tends to settle to the bottom when mixed into iced coffee.
Caramel syrups mix well regardless of drink temperature.
Caramel sauce is also made with milk products, so if you are lactose-intolerant, it’s best to avoid caramel sauce.
You can also try making your own by following the best caramel sauce recipe on the internet.
Try substituting dairy-free products by whipping up a batch at home and still enjoy the rich signature flavor of the Starbucks cafe at home.
Lastly, and thanks to its consistency, caramel sauce is often used for drink decoration on top of whipped cream.
It’s also the ingredient that gives the caramel macchiato its buttery sweetness.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many calories are in Starbucks caramel syrup?
In 2 tablespoons, you can expect to consume 90 calories. But because the syrup is very sweet, you can likely get away with less and still find the drink delectable.
Can you buy sugar-free caramel syrup?
Yes! Doing so saves a significant number of calories and your daily sugar intake.
Although tasty, many custom drinks from Starbucks and other big-name coffee shops have a massive sugar content that rivals a Halloween candy binge.
Knowledge is power, so familiarize yourself with the daily value allotments for your favorite drinks. Or, simply recreate them at home with healthier alternatives.
Even if it’s cutting back on the amount of caramel syrup you add to your favorite drink, it all counts toward a healthier lifestyle!
Click here to see sugar-free caramel syrup on Amazon.
Syrups Mentioned in this Post, ,
Starbucks caramel syrup is a versatile product that can take your morning coffee from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s also one of the most popular syrups used in Starbucks drinks.
Whether making a simple iced coffee or an elaborate layered drink, Starbucks caramel syrup should be your go-to choice. And now that you know how to make it at home, there’s no excuse not to enjoy Starbucks-quality coffee every day!
What’s your favorite Starbucks drink? Let me know in the comments below!
And if you loved this post, please help me spread the word about the blog by sharing it with a friend and pinning it.
And check out a few of our other coffee-related posts that you’re guaranteed to love!
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- 4 of the Best Starbucks Secret Menu Items
- The Best Chocolate Coffee: How to Combine the Two Flavors for the Perfect Cup
- Dutch Bros Annihilator: The Best Drink Ever?
- How to Make the Caramelizer from Dutch Bros
- The Ultimate Guide to Making Dutch Bros Soft Top