Delightfully crafted with only three simple ingredients, my Homemade Caramel Syrup is the epitome of simplicity itself. With just 20 minutes in the kitchen, you can make a big ol’ bottle of Starbucks-inspired caramel coffee syrup for less than half of what you’d pay for a single flavored coffee in the drive-thru lane.
This caramelized simple syrup boasts a luscious blend of burnt sugar goodness, transporting you to a younger, more energetic, dare I say sexier version of yourself with every sip or drizzle. The best part? Once you've mastered the art of this delectable recipe, you'll have a batch that will happily lounge in your
chair fridge for up to three weeks, ready to lend its caramel charm to whatever, whenever you desire it.
Whether you're craving a decadent caramel macchiato to jumpstart your morning, a frosty caramel iced coffee on a scorching afternoon, or a delightful decaf caramel-infused latte to unwind in the evenings, this caramel simple syrup is sure to become your ultimate go-to coffee companion.
Then, when it's time to venture beyond the realm of coffee (because it's 5 o'clock somewhere!), let your culinary creativity kick into high gear as you explore the captivating world of caramel in both cocktails and baking. I told you, this multitasking maven can do it all!
- What is homemade caramel coffee syrup?
- What does it taste like?
- Why You’ll Love This Starbucks Caramel Syrup Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- How To Make Caramel Syrup for Coffee
- Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Success Tips
- Homemade Caramel Syrup Nutrition
- Other Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipes
- Easy Caramel Syrup
What is homemade caramel coffee syrup?
Made with a simple blend of water and sugar that are cooked together until caramelized, then enhanced with a dribble of caramel (or vanilla) extract for an extra pop of flavor, this caramel coffee syrup recipe is your new best friend.
Once made, you can use it any place you would normally add plain simple syrup to add rich, caramelly flavor to all your favorite recipes!
What does it taste like?
My homemade caramel coffee syrup is like your Fairy Taste-Mother who sprinkles a pinch of magic into your cup. Bippity, boppity, BOO! A little drizzle transforms ordinary coffee into an extraordinary experience.
With each sip, the caramel swirls around like a caramel-coated carousel, playfully intertwining with the robust coffee notes. Like Annie Lennox said, sweet dreams are made of this caramel-flavored syrup!
The taste is like a warm embrace from your favorite childhood dessert, toeing the line between rich caramelized sweetness and a subtle hint of toasty caramel goodness. It's the kind of flavor that makes you close your eyes, take a moment to breathe deep and savor the yum before letting out a contented sigh.
Why You’ll Love This Starbucks Caramel Syrup Recipe
Aside from being able to transform any coffee into your favorite fancy Starbucks-style drink, this coffee caramel syrup recipe is also:
- Made With Only 3 Ingredients - If you have sugar and water on hand, you’re already more than halfway there!
- Versatile AF - Whether you're a fan of steaming hot cups of French-pressed Joe, refreshing cold brews, creamy lattes, or traditional drip brews, this liquid gold is sure to lift elevate your caffeinated cup to new heights of flavorful glory. But this versatile elixir isn't confined to coffee alone; it is also the life of the party during cocktail hour AND your trusty baking sidekick.
- Quick & Easy - The whole process of making this syrupy caramel for iced coffee takes just 20 minutes from start to finish!
- Budget-Friendly - If you follow CoffeeCopycat, you know this is a recurring theme. Turns out, playing barista isn’t just fun, it’s also financially savvy!
As promised, you only need 3 simple ingredients to make this homemade caramel syrup for coffee recipe. Here’s what to grab:
- Water - If possible, opt for filtered water for the cleanest, brightest caramel flavor.
- Granulated Sugar - Plain white sugar is all it takes!
- Caramel Extract - This alcohol-based extractive is made from caramelized sugar and adds tons of creamy, buttery richness to your homemade coffee syrup.
While there aren’t a ton of ingredients in the first place, I wanted to make sure you had every available resource to try making this yummy caramel syrup recipe for coffee regardless of what’s currently in your pantry. Here are some easy swaps you can make:
- Granulated Sugar - Organic cane sugar, maple sugar, coconut sugar, muscovado sugar, demerara sugar, grated piloncillo, jaggery, or light or dark brown sugar can all be used instead. Note that the darker sugar options like brown sugar will be more difficult to eyeball in terms of when they have caramelized sufficiently, so use a combination of your sense of smell and an egg timer to help you.
- Caramel Extract - While it won’t have *quite* the same caramelly punch, feel free to swap in vanilla extract or vanilla paste instead. Alternatively, if you have butter extract on hand, you can use it to enhance the creamy flavor. A 50/50 split of vanilla and butter extracts would be delightful, and that combo is probably the closest swap for caramel extract around.
How To Make Caramel Syrup for Coffee
This easy plain or salted caramel coffee syrup comes together in just a few simple steps. Here’s how:
Step 1: Prep. Remove ¼ cup of water and reserve for later. Heat the sugar and remaining ¾ cup of water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk until dissolved.
Step 2: Caramelize. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes. The mixture will turn a light golden/amber color. Remove the mixture from the heat.
Step 3: Complete. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup water and caramel extract. Be careful! It may splatter.
Step 4: Cool & Store. Allow the mixture to cool, then transfer to a syrup bottle and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
This flavor-boosting coffee syrup is pretty dang perfect if you ask me. That said, there are several ways you can make it your own. Here are a few variations worth considering:
- Salted Caramel Syrup - If salty sweets are your jam, feel free to bring that delicious tension to the party! Simply add ½-1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the water and sugar in step 1, then adjust the flavor as needed at the end!
- Brown Sugar Caramel Syrup - While it’s more difficult to discern when brown sugar has caramelized in the water, the molasses flavor it brings is an absolute delight. Feel free to follow my brown sugar simple syrup recipe, but tag on about 15 minutes of additional simmer time at the outset, then replace the vanilla extract with caramel extract.
- Vegan - If you live in the US, opt for certified organic cane sugar to ensure your coffee syrup is vegan-friendly.
Get ready to take your coffee game to the next level, impress your friends at cocktail parties, and become the star baker of your household. Here are some fun ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Morning Magic: Wake up to the sweet embrace of a Caramel Macchiato. Brew your favorite espresso, steam some velvety milk, and generously drizzle in some homemade caramel syrup. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon or add a drizzle of caramel sauce on top for an extra touch of enchantment.
- Iced Indulgence: Cool down on a sunny afternoon with a refreshing Caramel Iced Coffee. Fill a glass with ice, pour over cold brew or chilled coffee, and let the caramel syrup swirl into the mix. Add a splash of cream or milk, stir gently, and sip away the day's worries.
- Luscious Lattes: Elevate your latte game by introducing some sweet, caramelly magic. Prepare a creamy latte using your preferred milk, then unleash the caramel goodness with a generous squirt.
- Baking Bonanza: Step into the realm of delectable desserts and let the caramel syrup shine. Pour it over warm pancakes or waffles, transforming them into heavenly caramel-infused delights. Use it to sweeten your homemade whipped cream, adding a caramel twist to pies, cakes, and pastries.
- Cocktail Hour: When the sun sets and it's time to unwind, consider a caramel cocktail. Shake up a Caramel Old Fashioned, combining bourbon, a splash of caramel syrup, a dash of bitters, and an orange twist. Cheers to a delightful evening!
- Caramel Cocoa Craze: Cozy up on a chilly evening with a mug of Caramel Hot Chocolate. Prepare your favorite hot cocoa, stir in as much caramel syrup as your heart desires, and top it off with a dollop of whipped cream or a garnish of marshmallows. Snuggle up and sip away!
- Ice Cream Extravaganza: Take your favorite ice cream or fro-yo to new heights by blending it up with a generous pour of caramel syrup and just enough milk to make it slurpable. I love plain vanilla ice cream, but chocolate, butter brickle, praline pecan, or cookie dough are all winning flavors to pair with caramel. Top your gourmet milkshake with some whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup. Add some crushed nuts, sprinkles, or chocolate chips if you're really going for it!
Recipe Success Tips
- Keep the saucepan covered. We don’t want too much of the steam to evaporate during the simmering process, rather, we just want the sugar to caramelize a bit for added depth of flavor.
- Don’t stray too far. While a little color on the sugar is delightful, if it gets too dark it begins to taste acrid and burnt.
- Invest in a funnel & a syrup jar with a pour-spout. Trust me, it’s way easier to use this caramel-flavored simple syrup when it’s ready to pour straight from the fridge. Nobody likes to clean up sticky drips!
I can’t speak to all caramel syrup recipes out there, but this one is completely dairy-free!
“Better than” is so subjective! Since taste is personal, what I will say is this caramel simple syrup is more nuanced than plain sugar, and it’s also better at seamlessly dissolving into cold drinks.
“Syrup” in this instance refers to simple syrup, a mixture of equal parts sugar and water, that in this case have been caramelized and flavored with an extractive.
Caramel sauce, on the other hand, is a pourable version of the chewy candy. It’s far more viscous than caramel syrup and is better suited to garnishing coffee drinks and ice cream sundaes rather than mixing into cold coffee.
Homemade Caramel Syrup Nutrition
This candy-flavored concoction is definitely filed under “desserts and sweets” in terms of nutrition. Since it’s primarily made with sugar, it should be treated as such! A 2-tablespoon serving has about 79 calories, which is moderate.
That said, all the calories come from the 20 grams of simple carbohydrates in each pour. Since the daily recommended allowance of added sugar is somewhere in the 40-50 gram range, note that this delectable syrup will eat up about half of your daily allotment.
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 79 calories
- Total Fat: 0 grams
- Protein: 0 grams
- Sodium: 1 mg
- Carbohydrates: 20 grams
- Sugar: 20 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 Homemade Coffee Syrup Recipes
Easy Caramel Syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp caramel extract (or vanilla extract)
- Heat the sugar and ¾ cup of water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk until dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The mixture will turn a light golden/amber color.
- After 15 minutes, remove the mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the remaining ¼ cup water and caramel extract (be careful, it may splatter).
- Allow the mixture to cool, then transfer to a syrup bottle and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.