Starbucks Caramel Macchiato


When we first tasted this Starbucks Caramel Macchiato recipe, we had one though, Wow! Well, actually, it was more like two thoughts. The second was ‘this must be really hard to make’. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Five ingredients and a teeny bit of patience are all it takes, and today we are going to show you how to do it.

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Recipe

How to Make Starbucks Caramel Macchiato 

There is absolutely no magic in our Starbucks caramel macchiato recipe. Essentially it is a large milky iced coffee with a twist. The predominant flavors that shine through are what make this drink special.

What are we talking about?

Well, the first is obvious. This contains more than a little delicious caramel sauce. We find normal caramel tastes the most authentic, but if you can find salted caramel, this is well worth a try too!

The second flavor is vanilla. Again, just like Starbucks, we tend to use homemade vanilla syrup to give this dish a delicious sweet edge that works just perfectly with caramel.

Now, here’s the real secret to assembling this drink. We are talking layers. We don’t just bang the lot into a cocktail shaker and tip it out again, oh, no. Instead, we spend a bit of time lovingly crafting our drink so that as you make your way through it, each sip brings a slightly different taste. 

We start with the vanilla syrup and make a thin layer on the bottom of each glass. We then top this with handfuls of crushed ice. From there, we add a liberal splash of milk (whole milk is our favorite it is so creamy). 

Once this has settled, we carefully drizzle our espresso into the glass. If you get this right, it sort of sinks and snakes out in gorgeous little tendrils.

The final stage is to add a liberal amount of sweet caramel sauce. Once you get well-practiced, you can swirl it around the edges of the glass for a macchiato that looks every bit as good (dare we say better than?) Starbucks’ own version.

From there, it’s just a case of serving and drinking. How easy was that? 

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato

4 from 7 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: DrinksCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time





A delicious copycat Starbucks Caramel Macchiato drink is only 20 minutes away. Enjoy this drink at home without having to join the long queue in your local chain.


  • 1 tablespoon 1 vanilla syrup (either store-bought or homemade)

  • Large handful of ice cubes

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • Double shot of espresso

  • 1 tablespoon 1 caramel sauce (again homemade or store-bought)


  • Brew your espresso, then allow it to cool to room temperature. If you are in a rush, place it in the freezer to reduce the cooling time.
  • Take a large glass and pour in your vanilla syrup
  • Top the vanilla syrup with your handful of ice cubes
  • Gently pour in the milk, so the vanilla syrup at the bottom of the glass remains relatively undisturbed.
  • Once the milk has settled, gently tip in your espresso using the back of a spoon. Then, swirl your caramel syrup around in a spiral on the top of a drink.
  • Insert a straw, sit back and enjoy!

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Tips and Tricks

  • One of the main ingredients of our Starbucks macchiato is coffee… More specifically, espresso. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can achieve a similar taste and effect in several ways. You can make a strong concentrated coffee with a French press. Just add a quarter of the amount of water that you normally do.
  • If you don’t have a fancy French press or a coffee machine, give instant coffee a try. The flavor profile won’t be identical, but by the time you’ve added all of the other ingredients, it should be pretty close to an authentic Starbucks caramel macchiato.
  • As we said above, we love to use whole milk in this recipe. However, if whole milk isn’t your thing, don’t despair. Skimmed milk works just as well. 
  • If you are looking for a super-rich coffee drink, feel free to add a tablespoon of heavy cream while adding the caramel sauce.
  • If you are avoiding dairy, it isn’t a problem. We have tried our Starbucks Macchiato with dairy alternatives. We are pleased to say that it tasted pretty much exactly the same. So feel free to give it a go with soy milk, almond milk, or even coconut milk.
  • If you want a really eye-catching finish, here’s a great tip. About half an hour before serving, place your glasses in a clear space in the freezer. Once you pour the drink, the outside of the glass will bead and frost with frozen dew, it looks really nice on a hot summer’s day.
  • It’s up to you whether you leave your macchiato in layers or mix it. We prefer to leave ours in layers and use a straw. So you get little variations in taste as you make your way through the drink. We also think that it looks better when it is unmixed too!
  • You can scale this recipe. For example, if you are making for twice the amount of people, just double the amount. If you want to make less, just cut the amount of ingredients accordingly.
  • We do like to use homemade sauces and syrups, but we realize that not everyone has the time to do that. If you are busy (or lack the inclination), store-bought sauces can be pretty good and make little difference to the final outcome.


This has to be one of the easiest Starbucks drinks out there. It’s barely different from making a cup of tea or coffee. The key with our Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is to be careful while you are pouring the drink. That way, none of those delicious layers get mixed or disturbed unless you like it that way, of course. We often make a few extra shots of espresso so we can make this drink day after day. Enjoy!


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