3 Iced Coffee Recipes: Caramel, Vanilla and Mocha
These 3 Iced Coffee Recipes are sure to please during the summer months! In this post I show you how to make iced coffee: everything from an iced vanilla latte, iced mocha and iced caramel machiatto, and the three homemade syrups you'll make will last in the fridge for more summer coffee drinks! Jump to Recipe
What makes iced coffee so special?
Did you know that every morning, rain or shine, sleet or snow, I drink iced coffee?!
It's my absolute favourite way to wake up – there's something so refreshing about a big tall glass of slightly sweetened iced coffee, but the same old thing can get boring so I'm here to bring you outside your routine to try a few new spins on everyone's fave summer drink.
I'm convinced iced coffee is better than hot coffee because it's kind of like a dessert in a glass: add in your ice, your coffee, a splash of flavoured syrup and dairy (or non-dairy) milk of choice. It's an amazing combination worth trying, and it's SO easy to do at home!
What type of coffee should I use?
Like any cup of joe, you should choose high-quality coffee beans to make the coffee for your iced coffee recipe. I swear this is not a plug for Lavazza but I love their dark roast coffee. You can buy the beans on their own and grind them using a coffee grinder at home, or you can buy pre-ground coffee your local grocery store. It's up to you!
I will often try to go to my fave local cafes as well and buy their house blends, or pick up some coffee from Starbucks. That way you get the same taste of your favorite coffee place without having to spend $5 per drink!
Espresso vs coffee
I don't know about you, but hot or cold, I like my coffee STRONG. To get a stronger coffee flavour, I like to pick a dark roast over a medium or blonde roast, but it all depends on your personal preference.
For these iced coffee recipes, you can use either espresso or brewed coffee. You will get that stronger coffee flavour with espresso shots, and honestly this is the way I prefer to make my iced coffee because the shots blend with the ice to create a cold liquid right away and then all you have to do is add your milk and sweetener.
Proper iced coffee using brewed coffee on the other hand takes an hour or two to chill, and who the hell wants to wait that long?! You can choose either method, but just be aware that you'll have your iced coffee in hand much quicker by using short espresso shots and pouring them over ice.
What about cold brew coffee?
You can also make cold brew coffee, that has become all the rage in recent years. Cookie and Kate has a great post on how to make cold brew coffee, and it is essentially steeped overnight in the fridge through thin coffee filters. The process takes quite a while (12-18 hours), but the flavour is amazing, so depending on how far in advance you're willing to prepare the iced coffee, this may be an attractive option.
What type of ice is best for iced coffee?
I know this may not seem important but choosing the right ice for your iced coffee is key! Here are your options:
- Crushed ice – this is what you see in this recipe. Because I had a ton of coffee to make I picked up a big bag of crushed ice and used it liberally. This is typically what I use for iced coffee
- Medium-sized ice cubes – this is usually what people have on hand in their freezer and I say go for it!
- Large ice – I like to use larger blocks of ice if I'm going to enjoy my iced coffee outside. They are slower to melt this way!
How to make iced coffee (step-by-step)
Here's how to make iced coffee at home. I've broken it down into easy to follow steps:
- Make your simple syrup and have it chilling for about an hour or so. Skip this step if using store bought syrups.
- Brew your espresso or coffee. Again, I recommend espresso as it cools faster when mixed with ice – you have to chill brewed coffee for an hour or so before you can use it for iced coffee.
- Pour your coffee of choice over a large amount of ice in a tall glass cup.
- Mix in 1-2 tbsp of simple syrup and as much milk as you'd like. Enjoy!
Can you store leftover iced coffee in the fridge?
Yes and no. This really depends on how much of a coffee snob you are to be honest. If you're used to a fresh brew, storing any leftovers in the fridge may not be a good idea. Cold brew typically lasts 2-3 days in the fridge if you've covered it properly – the flavours will last a bit longer because it's brewed cold.
However, drip coffee that has been chilled has a shorter shelf life before the robust coffee flavour starts to disappear and become stale. I wouldn't recommend keeping it for more than 24 hours. However, there will be nothing inherently wrong with the coffee other than the taste so feel free to go ahead and judge by your taste buds.
Iced coffee add-ins
I've listed three different iced coffee recipes below for you to try, but just know that the sweeteners and milks you can add are limitless! Here are some more ideas to taking your iced coffee over the top!
- Mint extract
- Vanilla extract
- Coconut extract
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Vanilla ice cream
- Coffee ice cubes
- Chocolate milk
- Chocolate syrup
- Kalua or Bailey's
Making simple syrup
Since sugar doesn't dissolve very well in a cold drink, I highly recommend that you make a simple syrup for iced coffee. All you have to do is:
- Boil 1 cup water
- Mix with 1 cup sugar
- Add any applicable extracts (vanilla, caramel, coconut, etc.)
- Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before using (or speed up the process by chilling in the freezer)
Making the Iced Caramel Macchiato
The trick to this Iced Caramel Machiatto recipe is making the rich dulce de leche caramel syrup and layering the espresso and milk; it’s way easier than you think too!
Start with an empty cup full of ice, then add a couple tablespoons of the syrup. Brew your espresso, and pour it very delicately over the milk of your choice – I usually go with 2% but whole milk makes this drink extra creamy and over the top.
If you don’t have dulce de leche at home (you can usually find it with the jams or in the ice cream isle of your local grocery store), simply boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours in a large pot of gently boiling water.
Making the Iced Vanilla Latte
Vanilla lattes are so easy to make and you don’t need to splurge on an expensive vanilla bean to get good flavour with this syrup. Like the rest of the syrups here, the formula is pretty straightforward. Make a plain simple syrup by mixing boiling water and sugar together, then add in your flavouring of choice.
For this vanilla latte, I used plain old artificial vanilla extract but you could use the more expensive pure extract or opt for the vanilla bean if you can find them. But really, the vanilla latte is the easiest of all to make. Like the machiatto, start with an empty cup full of ice. Brew two espresso shots and pour them over the ice, then stir in 1 cup of milk and add vanilla syrup to your taste. Yum!
Making the Iced Mocha
This chocolate iced mocha is made very similarly to the vanilla latte, and you probably already have the main ingredient at home: cocoa powder! Make the simple syrup from the Vanilla recipe above, mix in a tablespoon of cocoa, and you’re good to go. Start with an empty cup full of ice, pour your espresso shots overtop, mix in some milk and some chocolate syrup. Super easy!
If you really want to take this iced mocha over the top, you could also use chocolate milk, or even add in a little mint extract to make it an iced peppermint mocha. Amazing combo right?! There are so many ways to get creative with iced coffee!
Will you be trying any of these iced coffee recipes? Which flavour syrup is your favourite?
Tools needed to make iced coffee
- Pick up some coffee beans or pre-ground coffee such as Lavazza
- You may need a coffee grinder if you're using fresh whole beans
- Check out the Philips 3100 coffee machine on Amazon – it's a great little coffee maker to use at home and it brews espresso shots too
- And if you're feeling really lazy and just want your coffee already, these iced coffee syrups are an AWESOME way to jazz up your summer drinks!
More coffee recipes
I've got a ton more homemade coffee recipes below – check them out!
The Best Iced Coffee Recipes
Iced Vanilla Latte syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup simple syrup
Iced Mocha syrup
- 1 cup simple syrup
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
Iced Caramel Machiatto syrup
- 1 cup simple syrup
- 1/4 cup dulce de leche
Simple Syrup base
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
FOR EACH DRINK
- Handful of ice cubes
- 2 espresso shots
- 1/2 cup milk (I use 2% but you can use skim or whole as well!)
- Prepare in advance: Bring water and sugar to a boil in a large pot on the stove. Divide into 3 heat-safe bowls or measuring cups, then add flavourings according to above. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge (or freezer if you're in a rush!) Syrups can be kept in the fridge up to 4 weeks.
- For the Iced Drinks: Brew espresso shots using a coffee machine. Add ice to a large glass, then pour espresso shots and milk over top. Add in 1-2 tbsp syrup of your choice. Serve and enjoy!