Our of all the Starbucks copycat drinks that I've made, our family enjoys this salted caramel mocha the most. You don't even have to be a coffee fan to enjoy this drink! If you're wanting a healthier version than the Starbucks one, or are craving this drink during the off season, making this easy recipe is the answer.
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The mocha drink is named after mocha coffee beans, which are usually used to make the drink. This kind of arabica coffee has a natural hints of chocolate flavor. Mocha drinks also contain hot chocolate, cocoa powder, or some other kind of chocolate flavoring, such as a syrup.
Salted caramel mocha has the rich, creamy taste of homemade caramel sauce and the roasty flavor of freshly brewed coffee with subtle hints of chocolate. You’ll also get an extra burst of creamy and salty flavors from the decoration.
These two coffee drinks are quite similar, so many people get them confused. For a macchiato, the order of ingredients in the glass is steamed milk, foamed milk, and espresso. For a mocha, the order of ingredients in the glass is espresso, steamed milk, foamed milk, then whipped cream.
Yes, it does contain caffeine, unless you make your mocha with decaf coffee instead of espresso.
At Starbucks, it is a seasonal drink. It’s typically released each fall at the same time as the pumpkin spice latte. (It's not returning for fall 2021, however.) The best part? You don’t have to wait until fall time; you can make your own with this recipe!
A Starbucks salted caramel mocha (Grande with 2% milk and garnish) is 470 calories. My recipe (5 fl oz of mocha with garnish) is 347 calories.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for the sauce. You'll need granulated sugar, heavy whipping cream, water, butter, and salt. It's really important to measure out all the ingredients before you begin making it.
Pour the sugar and water into a 1-quart saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and boil until it turns a deep amber color. Do not stir as it boils; this will cause it to crystallize.
Once it's golden brown, immediately remove it from the heat and whisk in the butter and cream until smooth. Pour it into a jar and set aside to cool.
Gather the ingredients for the chocolate milk. You'll need heavy whipping cream, milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and 60% cacao chocolate chips.
Sift the cocoa powder into a small saucepan to prevent lumps.
Gradually add the heavy whipping cream, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth.
Whisk in the milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the chocolate chips until evenly mixed. Pour the chocolate milk into a blender and blend for 30-60 seconds until frothy and well mixed.
Make sure you have all the ingredients: caramel sauce, homemade chocolate milk, freshly brewed coffee, and heavy whipping cream. Things are looking good around here!
Pour 2 tablespoons of the sauce into a glass. Add 1 tablespoon of the chocolate milk and 3 tablespoons of cream.
Add ⅓ cup of hot coffee and stir until all the sauce is dissolved.
Top with homemade whipped cream, a drizzle of sauce, and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Enjoy while it's still hot.
- Use vegan butter to make the caramel sauce.
- Use coconut milk or cream instead of dairy.
- Use vegan chocolate chips for the chocolate milk.
- Use homemade caramel sauce. Homemade tastes 10 times better than store-bought!
- Easily clean a sticky pot and utensils. Simply fill the pot with tap water, add the sticky utensils, and boil for a couple minutes. Rinse and clean as normal.
- Need a mocha in a hurry? Make the sauce and chocolate milk ahead of time and refrigerate until needed.
- Make sure the coffee is fresh. Bitter coffee will affect the taste of the mocha.
- Cutting calories? Use half-and-half instead of cream and skip the decoration.
- 1-Quart Saucepan: this heavy-bottomed saucepan won't burn food as easily.
- Whisks: we love using these sturdy whisks for so many recipes!
- French Press: this insulated French press makes some of the best coffee you'll ever taste.
- Strainers: these fine mesh sieves effortlessly sift cocoa powder and other dry ingredients.
- Coarse Sea Salt: this really adds a nice touch to your homemade Starbucks drinks.
Other Starbucks Copycat Drinks You'll Enjoy
- Apple Crisp Macchiato
- Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
- Smoked Butterscotch Latte
- Flat White
- Peppermint Mocha
- Eggnog Latte
- Gingerbread Latte
The pleasure of a 5-star review for this recipe would be greatly appreciated.
Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha Recipe
For the Salted Caramel Sauce
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup filtered water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
For the Chocolate Milk
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
For One Mocha
- 2 tablespoons salted caramel sauce
- 1 tablespoon chocolate milk
- ⅓ cup strong coffee
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
For Decorating One Mocha (Optional)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon salted caramel sauce
- ⅛ teaspoon coarse sea salt
Making the Caramel Sauce (10 minutes)
- Measure out the ingredients before you start.
- Pour the sugar in a heavy based 1-quart saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Pour in the water and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil over medium-high heat until it turns amber, about 7 minutes. Never stir it; doing so will crystallize it. Once the caramel begins to turn color, watch it very closely because it can burn in a matter of seconds. Be careful, as it is hotter than boiling water.
- Once the caramel is a good color, immediately remove it from the heat and add the butter. Whisk it in until it's fully combined, then add the cream and salt and whisk until well blended. Use caution, as the mixture will bubble up when you add the butter and cream.
- Pour the sauce into a bowl or glass jar and set aside to cool. You should have about ⅔ cup (160 ml) of sauce.
Making the Chocolate Milk (10 minutes)
- Sift the cocoa powder into a small saucepan, then whisk in the cream until well mixed. Whisk in the milk and continue to stir until the mixture until the cocoa powder has dissolved into the milk and cream.
- Place the chocolate milk over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until it just starts to simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Whisk until they have fully melted into the chocolate milk.
- Pour the chocolate milk into a blender and blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until well blended and foamy. You should have about 1 cup (240 ml) of chocolate milk.
Making the Mocha (10 minutes)
- Make some strong coffee.
- Beat the heavy whipping cream with a handheld electric mixer until stiff peaks form. It should be stiff enough not to fall out of the bowl if it's turned upside down.
- Snip the corner off of a sandwich bag and put a star piping tip in the hole. Spoon the whipped cream into the bag to create a piping bag.
- For one mocha, pour 2 tablespoons of caramel into a mug. Add 1 tablespoon of chocolate milk, ⅓ cup of coffee, and 3 tablespoons of cream and stir well to combine.
- Pipe the whipped cream on top and drizzle with the leftover sauce. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and enjoy immediately.
- Make your own caramel sauce. Homemade always tastes better than store-bought.
- Sticky pot and utensils? Fill the pot with tap water, add the utensils, and bring to a boil. Let the water boil for about 5 minutes, then rinse. All the sticky caramel will be gone!
- Need to make ahead? Whip up the chocolate milk and caramel sauce in advance and refrigerate until needed, or make up the whole mocha and just warm it up on demand.
- Use freshly brewed coffee for the best flavor.
- Counting calories? Use half-and-half instead of whipping cream and skip the garnish.
This recipe was originally published on January 11, 2018.