How To Make Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino

Homemade caramel frappucino with cream

I found the four most popular Starbucks-style Caramel Frappucino recipes on the internet and tested them out.

After doing this I picked out the best elements from each recipe to make my ultimate Caramel Frappuccino. I will share this recipe with you, as well as giving you my thoughts on the other popular recipes.

Two of the recipes here use a simple syrup that you need to make in advance and which contains xanthan gum. I had to buy the xanthan gum off Amazon as it is not widely available in supermarkets.

If you do not want to make the simple syrup then I would recommend replacing it with an equal amount of caramel sauce. I don’t like using sugar in the drink as the crystals do not dissolve in icy liquid.

The second recipe is the best recipe that does not require a homemade syrup.

Anyway, on with the recipes.

My Best Caramel Frappucino Recipe (Based On Testing)

Ingredients:

For the Starbucks style syrup (credit goes to Coffee At 3):

  • 1 cup (240g) sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon of Xanthan gum

For the Frappucino:

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) of strong coffee (I used two shots of espresso topped with water)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) of whole milk
  • 1 cup (240g) of ice
  • 1 tbsp Starbucks style syrup
  • 2 tbsp caramel syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream to top (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce to top (optional)
The ingredients needed for this Frappucino (minus cream and caramel sauce that goes on top)

How to make:

  1. Mix ingredients (minus cream and caramel sauce) and blend in blender.
  2. Top with cream and caramel sauce.

Notes on the recipe:

The hardest part of this recipe (or any of these recipes) to get right is the amount of ice to use.

I found that equal parts liquid (both coffee and milk) and ice worked well, but the best proportions to use will likely depend on your blender. The more powerful the blender, the more ice you can get away with using.

Starbucks’ own Caramel Frappuccino almost certainly contains more ice than what I am recommending.

Even if you can’t get your hands on xanthan gum, I would still recommend dissolving any sugar that you use in hot water to make a simple syrup. Sugar will not dissolve in ice-cold milk/coffee and having the crystals in your final drink gives it an unpleasant grittiness.

Starbucks Coffee at Home Caramel Frozen Blended Coffee

This was by far the best drink that I found online. You can find it here.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of instant coffee
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp caramel syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups of ice
  • Whipped cream to top (optional)
  • Caramel sauce to top (optional)

How to make:

  1. Mix ingredients and blend in blender until smooth.
  2. Top with cream and caramel sauce.
Ingredients for Starbucks At Home recipe (use a strongly brewed instant coffee)

Notes on the recipe:

This was a close second to the drink that I made. The main downside was that the coffee taste was muted by the fact that it used instant coffee rather than espresso.

If you like your Frappuccino to taste barely have a coffee taste than this is the one to go for.

Coffee at 3’s Caramel Frappucino Copycat Recipe

This recipe used the Starbucks style syrup as its main sweetener. I also got the syrup recipe from them so props where it’s due. You can find the recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 teaspoons of instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) of whole milk
  • 1 (240g) cup of ice
  • 3 tablespoons Starbucks style syrup
  • 3 tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60g) whipped heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to make:

  1. Add vanilla extract to cream and whip to make whipped cream
  2. Put all other ingredients in blener and blend until smooth.
  3. Put blended ingredients in glass and top with cream and extra caramel sauce
The clear ingredient in the bowl on the bottom left is the syrup

Notes on this recipe

The xanthan gum in the syrup did give the drink a thick, almost gooey, texture similar to a the Frappuccinos you get at Starbucks.

One way that the drink tasted noticeably different from Starbucks was that it didn’t contain caramel syrup. Caramel syrup has a very distinct flavor from caramel sauce (the syrup almost has a coconut-like taste) and this taste is clearly present in Starbucks’s version of the drink.

AllRecipe’s Starbucks Caramel Frappucino Recipe

This was the simplest recipe, using just sugar and caramel sauce in addition to coffee, milk, and ice. You can find the recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (240g) ice
  • 1 cup (120 ml) strong brewed coffee (two tablespoons of ground coffee)
  • 1 cup (120 ml) low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) caramel sauce
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • Cream to top (optional)

How to make:

  1. Blend ingredients together until smooth
  2. Top with cream if you want to

Notes on the recipe:

Yeah…this one wasn’t good.

It was far too sweet. More importantly, very little of the sugar dissolved into the liquid making the drink gritty and tasting of sugar rather than of caramel.

Insanely Good Recipe’s Starbucks Caramel Frappucino Copycat Recipe

This was a lesson in how not to use xanthan gum. You can find it here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (480g) of ice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of strong brewed coffee
  • 3/4 (180ml) of milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) of caramel sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream and extra caramel sauce to top

How to make:

  1. Brew coffee and let cool
  2. Mix all ingredients together other than the whipped cream in a blender until smooth
  3. Serve in a glass with the whipped cream on top.

Notes on the recipe:

I can barely remember what this tasted like.

All I could think about when drinking it was how odd the texture was due to the xanthan gum.

The drink wobbled like jelly when I shook it and it felt like I was swallowing a load of tapioca balls.

Considering that our recipe for Starbucks style syrup had one teaspoon of xanthan gum and that was enough for around 20 servings, this recipe calling for 1/4 teaspoon for two servings was huge overkill.

Safe to say I won’t be making this one again.

Common Questions About Making Caramel Frappucino At Home

Here is what I have found out in my experiments making Caramel Frappucinos.

What is the best ice to liquid ratio?

You want to use at the very least a 1:1 ratio between ice and liquid in your Frappucino.

The better your blender, the more ice you can add. I would imagine that Starbucks use a 2:1 ice to liquid ratio.

Should you use caramel syrup, caramel sauce, or both?

I found that the mass-produced caramel sauce is just plain sweet rather than tasting strongly of caramel.

Therefore I would recommend using caramel syrup in the Frappucino and using caramel sauce to top the cream.

The only exception to this is if you are not using sugar or simple syrup in the drink. If this is the case then you can use caramel sauce as you would sugar or simple syrup in a recipe.

Do you need to make a syrup in advance?

The drink is improved by using a syrup rather than sugar.

If you do not want to make a syrup in advance then I would recommend using caramel sauce as your main sweetener (in addition to caramel syrup) rather than using sugar granules.

Sugar granules will not dissolve very efficiently in such a cold drink so will make the drink gritty.

Do I need to use xanthan gum?

When used in the syrup, xanthan gum does make the drink slightly thicker and more akin to a Starbucks Frappucino.

However, the difference it makes is so slight that it is definitely not necessary to make the drink.

If you are not going to use xanthan gum I would definitely make the drink with whole milk rather than low-fat milk as the latter might make the drink too watery.

Should I use instant coffee or espresso?

If you want your Frappucino to taste equally as much of coffee as it does caramel then use espresso.

If you want caramel to be the key flavor then use instant coffee.

Final Verdict

Although I tend to prefer more classic coffee drinks, I did really like my Caramel Frappuccino recipe and will be making it again.

Let me know what you think of my recipe, and any tweaks you may have for it. If you want to discover more Starbucks recipes you can check out my take on a pumpkin spice latte.

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