If you're a fan of sweet, creamy, caffeinated goodness, you’ve come to the right place. Today I'm excited to share my easy recipe for Caramel Iced Coffee. Let me tell you, your mornings are about to get a whole lot cooler! Rather than blow your budget on a $5+ Starbucks iced coffee with caramel, you can make your very own at home for just a fraction of the price.
There’s something special about the scrumptious allure of caramel. I don’t know about you, but that golden, salty-sweet syrupy goodness is enough to put me in a trance. Is it love? Could be.
Picture this: a tall glass filled with smooth, bold iced coffee, swirled with luscious homemade caramel, and, if you're a cream-in-your-coffee sort, a drizzle of milky richness.
The combination of flavors in this iced caramel latte is absolutely divine! It’s the perfect thing to help get your morning started or to power you through the mid-afternoon slump.
- What is caramel iced coffee?
- What does it taste like?
- Why You’ll Love This Caramel Iced Coffee Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- How To Make Caramel Iced Coffee
- Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Success Tips
- Iced Caramel Coffee Nutrition
- Other Starbucks Copycat Recipes
- Caramel Iced Coffee (Starbucks Copycat)
What is caramel iced coffee?
Buckle up, buttercup. You're about to enter a world of pure flavor! This homemade caramel iced coffee isn't your average cup of Joe, oh no! It's so much more: a refreshing, energizing pick-me-up that'll give you Main Character energy, no matter what time of day it is. Consider it a sinfully slurp-worthy creation that'll transform you into a happier, peppier version of yourself.
Whether you're sipping it in the morning to kick-start your day or treating yourself to an afternoon delight, this caramel-infused beverage is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
What does it taste like?
As you take your first sip, you'll be greeted by a delightful chorus of flavors. The coffee, bold and invigorating, dances across your palate, awakening your senses with its dependable caffeinated richness.
So get ready to indulge in a sip of caramel-infused enchantment, because this combination is pure magic. It's like sipping on a candied daydream, where each gulp brings you closer to enlightenment — or at least helps you become a better version of yourself.
Why You’ll Love This Caramel Iced Coffee Recipe
Ready to dive into this cheaper-than-Starabucks, better-than-McDonald’s caramel iced coffee recipe? I promise you’ll be so glad you did.
Oh, and before you start worrying about a lack of barista skills, let me assure you that this heavenly caramel coffee concoction is:
- Quick & Easy. With just 3-4 simple ingredients and only a few minutes of your time, you'll be sipping on a treat that'll transport you to an island of salty-sweet bliss.
- Completely Customizable. As if that weren't enough to love, you can also customize this iced caramel coffee to your heart's content. Want it extra sweet? Add an extra drizzle of caramel. Got an itch for chocolate? Go ahead and satisfy your chocoholic's calling with a dusting of cocoa powder or a drizzle of chocolate syrup. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination! Read on below for tons more ideas.
- Budget-Friendly. Here's the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae — this caramel-infused coffee won't break the bank. Say goodbye to expensive coffee shop runs, long lines, and ridiculous upcharges. Instead, say “hello!” to inexpensive indulgence! I can't wait to show you how a few simple ingredients can transform your ordinary cup of joe into a café-worthy treat, right in the comfort of your own kitchen.
As promised, this copycat caramel iced coffee Starbucks recipe requires just a handful of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cold Brew Coffee - With extra caffeine, less acid, and alllll the flavors from my favorite beans, cold brew will forever be my first choice for making caramel iced coffee at home.
- Caramel Syrup - My homemade version is made with just 3 ingredients and about 5 minutes of active time, but you’re welcome to swap in a bottle of store-bought if you prefer!
- Whole Milk - The first time I tried making this iced caramel latte recipe with whole milk instead of my usual 2%, I was blown away by how rich and indulgent it tasted.
- Ice - If possible, use filtered water to make your ice so all you taste is the caramel and coffee.
- Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce - These are totally optional as a topping but will give your homemade iced caramel coffee serious Starbucks vibes.
As much as I love this iced caramel coffee recipe, I recognize not everyone’s tastebuds or pantries look the same. Here are some easy swaps you can make if needed:
- Cold Brew Coffee - Feel free to use regular brew coffee that you’ve chilled in a Hyperchiller or overnight in the fridge. You can also substitute freshly pulled shots of espresso for more of a salted caramel iced latte vibe.
- Caramel Syrup - You can always add a pinch of two of salt to the mix for a salted caramel coffee, or swap in the flavored coffee syrup of your choice like honey, vanilla, or brown sugar syrup instead.
- Whole Milk - You’re welcome to use any dairy or non-dairy milk you prefer, or you can also omit it for a more robust coffee flavor.
- Ice - Nobody said this caramel coffee recipe HAS to be iced. Feel free to omit the cubes, or replace them with flavored versions (e.g. frozen coffee cubes, frozen milk cubes, or frozen syrup cubes) instead.
- Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce - Trade the whipped cream for a scoop of vanilla, caramel, or chocolate ice cream. Instead of caramel sauce, try drizzling on some chocolate or butterscotch, add some crumbled cookies or toffee bits, or a sprinkle of spices instead. When you play your own barista, you can get as wild and crazy as you want!
How To Make Caramel Iced Coffee
While there are a ton of caramel iced coffee recipes out there to choose from, I’m partial to mine because it’s so dang easy and foolproof! Here’s how it’s made:
Step 1: Pour cold coffee into a tall glass with ice.
Step 2: Stir in the caramel syrup.
Step 3: Top with milk and stir again.
Step 4: Get fancy and top your iced salted caramel latte with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Drink up!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
Feel free to gussy up this iced coffee with caramel to meet your greatest flavor expectations! There are tons of ways to customize it to your liking. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Extra Rich (a.k.a. Breve) - If your coffee fix is also scratching your dessert itch, consider making things EXTRA yummy and decadent by swapping in half-n-half for whole milk. This is what the Italians would call a breve latte. It’s what I would call TheBomb.Com.
- Dairy-Free/Vegan - If milk makes your tummy mad, feel free to swap in your favorite plant-based alternative. I personally prefer to reach for unsweetened plain or vanilla-flavored options so I can add extra caramel flavor, but you do you!
- Hot Caramel Coffee - Heat up your cold brew after brewing to keep the acid to a minimum, or swap in freshly brewed drip coffee or espresso instead! Then, go the extra mile and warm your milk before frothing it to airy perfection.
- Decaf - Want all the caramel coffee tastiness without the jitters? Swap in your favorite decaf cold brew, or use a strongly brewed roasted chicory iced tea for a completely caffeine-free fix.
This caramel cold brew recipe is my “Mommy Juice,” helping me tackle the day one task or diaper at a time! It’s equally delicious for those obscenely early morning feedings as it is for a post-prandial pick-me-up later in the day. I’ll even make myself a decaf version to sip on as hubby and I watch TV after the kiddos have gone to bed. Seriously, it could pass for dessert!
If you’re looking for something to pair it with, I suggest a fiber-heavy breakfast like oatmeal for the mornings or some healthy snacks like energy balls for the afternoon. If calories and sugar are no concern, it’s also an excellent pair for any of your favorite cookies, cakes, scones, or puddings.
Recipe Success Tips
- No matter which method of brewing coffee you use (e.g. French press, cold brew, percolator, etc), make sure to make it roughly double-strength for any iced coffee drinks. The ice in the drinks will dilute the coffee, which is why you want to make it nice and strong.
- Plan ahead. Giving your cold brew time to steep or hot brew time to chill, and caramel syrup time to cool are important steps to crafting the perfect iced coffee with caramel.
- Use filtered water for the best-tasting coffee (and most neutral-tasting ice).
While I can’t speak for all recipes or all syrups, my recipe for iced caramel coffee made with homemade caramel coffee syrup is 100% gluten-free and celiac friendly.
You sure can! Some caramel sauces and syrups may contain dairy products, but check your labels (or make your own), then just swap in plant-based milk and use vegan whipped cream!
Since caramel sauce is essentially just pourable candy, it’s not the best choice for making iced coffee. If you add it to chilled liquids, it’ll act like honey and harden, then sink to the bottom of the glass.
Instead, make or buy caramel syrup which is intended to easily dissolve into cold liquids, then use the thick caramel sauce as a garnish on top of your whipped cream for added yumminess.
Iced Caramel Coffee Nutrition
With a little over 200 calories and approximately 39 grams of sugar per serving, I’d consider this homemade iced caramel latte a treat.
Keep in mind that the amount of caramel syrup and milk you add is totally up to you, so feel free to customize it to your liking. Remember, moderation is key, but a little indulgence never hurt anyone, right?
Since the amount of caramel syrup and milk can vary based on personal preference, it's a bit tricky to give you exact numbers. Cold brew coffee is low in calories, generally clocking in at around 2-5 calories per cup. As for the caramel syrup, my homemade version is made with sugar, so it does contribute some calories and carbohydrates.
The milk you choose will also play a role in the overall nutrition. If you're watching your calories or looking for a specific nutrient content, make sure to choose accordingly. Either dairy or plant-based milk is great here!
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 236 calories
- Total Fat: 6 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Sodium: 85 mg
- Carbohydrates: 43 grams
- Sugar: 39 grams
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
Other Starbucks Copycat Recipes
Caramel Iced Coffee (Starbucks Copycat)
- Add a handful of ice to a tall glass, then top with cold coffee.
- Stir in the caramel syrup, then top with the milk.
- Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Drink up!