This Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha is a perfect copycat! Made with coffee & steamed milk, it's topped with whipped cream & salted caramel.
What is in a salted caramel mocha?
This drink is a mix of homemade and store bought syrups – you'll basically mix them with espresso shots, steamed milk and whipped cream!
Here's what you need on hand.
For the mocha sauce:
- cocoa powder
For the salted caramel sauce:
- heavy cream
- sea salt
For the drink itself:
- espresso shots
- Homemade mocha sauce (see above)
- Storebought caramel or toffee syrup
- Sea salt
- Whipped cream
- Homemade caramel sauce, for drizzling
How to make this drink
- Mix boiling water with sugar in a mason jar, stirring in cocoa powder to make the homemade mocha sauce.
- Make the caramel sauce by browning sugar in a small pot on the stove. Stir in butter, then slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, stirring constantly. Stir in sea salt, then remove from heat and set aside.
- For the drink itself, brew espresso shots in a large mug.
- Meanwhile, steam and froth milk.
- Stir mocha sauce, storebought caramel/toffee syrup and sea salt into espresso shots, then pour steamed milk overtop.
- Finish off the drink with whipped cream, then drizzle with homemade caramel sauce.
- Water and sugar – This simple syrup is the sweetener for the cocoa syrup and uses a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. You can experiment with different sugars and different ratios to find the right degree of sweetness you prefer for your coffee.
- Cocoa powder – Use either unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa.
- Sugar – Both cane sugar and turbinado sugar brown and melt well to make a proper caramel sauce. Using brown sugar will also work but the sauce will be lighter in color.
- Butter- Be sure to use unsalted butter so the sauce isn’t too salty.
- Heavy cream- You can make this using half and half or even evaporated milk instead of the heavy cream but the sauce will be thinner.
- Sea salt- This is salted caramel so don’t leave it out. Use kosher salt instead of table salt, as table salt will make it too salty.
- Espresso- If you want to use coffee instead, use one cup of your favorite cold brew or hot, strong coffee.
- Milk- The Starbuck’s version uses 2% milk. Use your favorite alternative milk if you want to make it dairy-free.
- Homemade mocha sauce – You can substitute any chocolate sauce you like if you choose not to make your own.
- Caramel or toffee syrup– Use your favorite store-bought syrup for the drink and the drizzle.
- Sea salt- Don’t leave this out-it enhances all of the flavors of the drink.
- Whipped cream- Use a vegan whipping cream substitute or feel free to leave it off if you want to avoid the extra calories.
Making it over ice
This doesn’t have to be a seasonal drink if you don’t want it to be! It is simple to adapt this recipe for the summer heat. Here's how:
- Brew the espresso like you normally would, then let it cool in the fridge for 10 minutes – you still want it to be fresh so don't leave it too long.
- Make the syrups ahead and let them cool.
- Don't steam the milk. Add cold milk over the ice along with other ingredients.
- Finish off with whipped cream and caramel sauce if desired.
Calories in this recipe vs Starbucks
When you use the recipe below, the drink has 326 calories and 33 grams of sugar. According to the Starbucks website, there are 470 calories and 59 grams of sugar in one 16-ounce serving so you're saving a ton of calories and sugar with my drink even if it still is quite indulgent.
Making the different components ahead
Once you realize how good these are, you just might want one every day!
You can make the mocha and caramel sauce up to 2 weeks in advance. Then, store them in canning jars or any covered container in the refrigerator for easy access.
Making a large batch
You can quadruple the recipe for the syrups and sauces. However, for the best results, it is best to always brew the espresso and steam the milk fresh.
This is because preparing the espresso too far ahead can leave it bitter and affect the flavour of the drink.
Storing and reheating
Technically, you can make the entire drink ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to a day. However, leave off the whipped cream until you’re ready to enjoy the drink.
Pour the caramel mocha into a steamer or microwave to revive it. Then, top it off with whipped cream and caramel syrup.
More Starbucks recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
For the drink itself
- 2 espresso shots
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp Homemade mocha sauce (see above)
- 1 tbsp storebought caramel or toffee syrup
- 1 tiny pinch of sea salt
- Whipped cream
- Homemade caramel sauce, for drizzling (see above)
Make the mocha sauce
- Boil water in a kettle and mix boiling water with sugar in a mason jar, stirring in cocoa powder. Set aside.
Make the caramel sauce
- Add sugar to a small pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir sugar often (watching it doesn't burn) until it starts to clump and turns golden brown. Eventually it will melt and turn into a thick brown liquid.
- Once sugar is melted, stir in butter until melted, about 1 minute or so. Very slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, stirring constantly. Stir in sea salt, then remove from heat and set aside.
For the drink itself
- Brew espresso shots in a large mug. Meanwhile, microwave milk for 1-2 minutes and froth with a milk frother afterward, or add milk to a steamer to heat through and froth.
- Stir mocha sauce, storebought caramel/toffee syrup and sea salt into espresso shots, then pour steamed milk overtop, stirring gently.
- Finish off the drink with whipped cream, then drizzle with caramel sauce. Serve and enjoy!