Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha

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Edited 10/1/13: Instead of the caramel syrup listed below, you could also use my 7 minute salted caramel, which is incredibly easy and quick to make.

Salted caramel has been a big trend for a while. I’m all for jumping on a bandwagon if it’s a delicious one, and it doesn’t get better than sweet and salty in one package. A while ago I made this wonderful salted caramel cupcakes recipe and on Friday I’ll share my recipe for salted caramel pears (like caramel apples, but with pears and a sprinkle of sea salt).

Starbucks has had a set of salted caramel beverages on its menu this fall but have you seen how many calories is in one of those things? They range from something like 300-600 calories, but the sugar content is what really made me pause (50-70 grams!). Now, you could skip dessert and have one of these instead (my coworker actually calls them “dessert in a cup”). But at $4-5, it’s one expensive drink and still a lot of sugar in one sitting.

Instead, let’s just make our own! That way you can control all the ingredients and adjust the amount of sugar to your taste, plus save a lot of money. I don’t know about you, but even my massive sweet tooth can’t handle that kind of sweetness in one cup – I tried a short size (smaller than a tall) and could feel the sugar rush. I created recipes using either coffee or espresso, so no matter what your setup at home you can make a (better) version of Starbucks salted caramel mocha.

If you don’t drink coffee, you can omit the coffee/espresso, add more milk and make yourself a salted caramel hot chocolate. Either way, these drinks are rich, decadent and a nice balance of sweet with a hint of salty. Plus, you’ll save $5 – treat yourself to something else instead!

I’ve made two other homemade versions of Starbucks drinks in the past: homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe and homemade frappuccino recipe. I love making homemade versions of store bought foods like this (and Goldfish, Funfetti cake, Hostess cupcakes, chocolate syrup, etc.). What would you like to see me make next?

 

Recipe:

Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha

  • 1 shot of espresso or 3/4 cup coffee
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons caramel sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder (the hot chocolate kind, not the unsweetened baking kind – I used Archer Farms dark chocolate cocoa and loved it)
  • Pinch of sea salt (Starbucks uses a blend of smoked sea salt and turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Extra caramel sauce and sea salt to drizzle/sprinkle on top

With an espresso maker:

Prepare espresso. Place caramel sauce, cocoa powder and sea salt in a mug and pour espresso over them. Froth milk and slowly pour into mug, stirring to combine everything. Taste and add more caramel, cocoa and/or salt to taste. Top with whipped cream, drizzle caramel sauce, and a tiny pinch of sea salt.

Without an espresso maker:

Prepare coffee. Place caramel sauce, cocoa powder and sea salt in a mug. Pour coffee into mug, stirring to combine everything. Heat milk in microwave or on the stove and add to mug, stirring everything to combine. Taste and add more caramel, cocoa and/or salt to taste.  Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce and a tiny pinch of sea salt.

Salted Caramel Syrup (edited to add: OR try this easy 7 minute salted caramel recipe)

Makes enough for around 3-4 salted caramel mocha or hot chocolate beverages

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
  • 
1/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula (if it becomes lumpy, reduce heat and refrain from stirring). When it turns a deep amber color, add the butter and stir until it is melted. Add the heavy cream and whisk until the caramel is smooth (be careful, it will bubble up when you add the cream). Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate extra syrup.

76 Responses to “Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha”
  1. Angie @ Bigbearswife writes:

    I love the salted caramel mocha at starbucks, it quickly became a new favorite of mine. thank you for this recipe tho!

  2. Stephanie writes:

    @Angie – I tried it and liked it too, but I can’t believe how expensive it is! I got a short (even smaller than tall) and it was still $3.55. For espresso, milk and some flavored syrups and salt, that seems like too much too me.

  3. Lia writes:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been slightly addicted to Starbucks salted caramel mocha and need to stop… this is perfect! Can’t wait to try it!

  4. Jenn writes:

    I’m not a big coffee fan, but I’d love to try the caramel hot chocolate version! yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Stephanie writes:

    @Lia – you’re welcome, enjoy!

  6. Stephanie writes:

    @Jenn – I think it’d be great just as a hot chocolate! Enjoy :)

  7. Jen at The Three Little Piglets writes:

    I just tried one the last time I was at Starbucks! I loved the flavor, but it was cloyingly sweet. I’d much rather make my own. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  8. mjskit writes:

    A friend of mine bought one of these this morning at Starbucks on our way out of town. I tasted it and it was quite tasty but still a little too sweet even though she had them cut back on the “pumps”. Your recipe sounds perfect! I’ll definitely be making it and then passing this link to my friend. She’ll love it as well.

  9. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time writes:

    I don’t go to Starbucks (spending $4 for a cup of coffee is ridiculous) so seeing recipes like this is fantastic and gives me the opportunity to give them a try at home. Thanks for taking the time to re-create this. I’ll definitely give it a try.

  10. Lindsey@Lindselicious writes:

    Oooh love that drink. Salted caramel anything is always a winner. YUM! Cant wait to try this at home. =)

  11. AlishaMichelle writes:

    Looks great! I’ve been trying to find drinks to make at home that will cut down on my Starbucks costs!

  12. Andrea writes:

    This looks so so so so so so so so good.

  13. genevieve writes:

    My husband has been making us fancy coffee drinks at home for a while now. We’re trying this one next!

  14. Torrie B writes:

    OMG, THANK YOU!!! I’ve been looking for a homemade salted caramel mocha ever since Starbucks came out with theirs…and I finally found this one on Pinterest! Sounds wonderful :)

  15. carolyn writes:

    Could you use pre-made caramel sauce that is used for ice cream topping?

  16. Stephanie writes:

    @Carolyn – you might need a touch more of salt to really get the salted caramel flavor, but it should work fine. I think Starbucks uses a caramel flavored Torani syrup.

  17. Emily writes:

    I feel like I missed something important here, but I made the caramel “syrup” yesterday and then kept it in the fridge to use today and it is completely hardened in the container. Did I do something wrong? I followed all of the directions! I’m not really sure it’s usable now as syrup (although I guess it would probably make a tasty candy or something-ha!). Is this how it’s supposed to be??

  18. Stephanie writes:

    @Emily – try reheating it in the microwave. It should turn back into syrup.

  19. Emily writes:

    I ended up carving some out and trying that today and it worked. The drink was delicious! What a treat. Thanks!

  20. heidi writes:

    do we cook that sugar with no water, when making the caramel syrup??

  21. Stephanie writes:

    @heidi – yes, you cook the sugar by itself until it caramelizes.

  22. Sara writes:

    This is the best!!! My hubby and I love it!

  23. Jen writes:

    Thank you soooo much! I tried the Starbucks salted caramel for the first time this week and it was so good except it was far too sweet. I came home and immediately found your recipe. It’s perfect! I can make it as sweet or not sweet AND save $4. My family loves it.

  24. Lynette writes:

    Trader Joe’s sells a salted caramel sauce my husband is addicted to over ice cream. It is a little pricey though.

  25. Christine writes:

    This is a life changing recipe! I got tired of the salted caramel mocha after about the 10th one :-) and realized that you can also use the caramel syrup to sweeten coffee or a fake latte (half coffee and half warm milk foamed with my Aerolatte). Thanks so much for the recipe.

  26. Carollynn writes:

    I tried to make the caramel sauce twice and both times were a fail. Sugar, butter, and especially heavy cream are expensive ingredients to throw away. The first time I thought I might even have to throw the pan away! I think more detailed instructions would be helpful. For example, is the sugar supposed to be completely melted (ie: syrup) before adding the butter? And if not, what am I suppossed to do about all the lumps (even when I “reduce heat and refrain from stirring”? The lumps never got all the way melted even after adding the butter and cream. I think I’m just going to buy caramel sauce from the store. It would be cheaper and less of a headache! But thanks for the overall recipe. I’m gonna try it with the lumpy sauce I made! LOL!

  27. Stephanie writes:

    @Carollynn – caramel can be really tricky. The sugar should liquify and turn a deep amber color before you add the butter. If you get lumps and they don’t go away when you reduce the heat and don’t stir, you can always strain them out later.

    This guide to making caramel from David Lebovitz is really helpful if you’re struggling with caramel.

  28. blah writes:

    starbucks actually use toffee nut syrup..not caramel syrup. so if you want it to taste like the the one at starbucks buy a bottle of that.

  29. blah writes:

    this is coming from a starbucks employee =)

  30. Top 11 of 2011 | 52 Kitchen Adventures writes:

    [...]  3. Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha [...]

  31. Salted Caramel Macarons | 52 Kitchen Adventures writes:

    [...] of my favorite cupcakes ever, these salted caramel cupcakes). One day, after posting recipes for salted caramel mochas and salted caramel pears within a week or two of each other, I tweeted something about being on [...]

  32. Tanya writes:

    How much caramel sauce does this recipe make? Does it need to be refrigerated? How long does it keep for? Thank you so much for this yummy recipe!

  33. Stephanie writes:

    @Tanya – it’s been a while, but based on what I wrote, it sounds like it makes around 6-8 tablespoons (3-4 servings in the beverage recipe). Keep leftovers in the fridge – they should keep for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

  34. Munk writes:

    First, thank you for the recipe — we’ve recently re-located overseas and while they do have Starbucks in England, a) they don’t have all beverages, b) I don’t have that kind of money, and c) we don’t even have a Starbucks in this village. (Did I mention no money?)

    I went with the “all hot chocolate” version since husband hates coffee and it came out really, really nicely. I thought the flavor was great and it really took me back to my last Salted Caramel in the States. (Then, sadly, husband got sick — but that’s just him and trying to get adjusted to dairy over here; everything seems to make him sick. The recipe was perfect and I gladly drank his as well, so I kid him that this works out well for me.)

    Thank you again, this definitely goes into rotation.
    Munk recently posted Keeping Guys Down on the Farm: Oven-baked Sweet Potato Fries

  35. priya writes:

    loved the salted caramel syrup recipe …I also made vanilla pannacotta and topped it with this syrup..yummm :) thanks for the recipe

  36. Fall Spiced Popcorn | 52 Kitchen Adventures writes:

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  37. Jenn writes:

    The salted caramel mocha is my absolute favorite drink from Starbucks!! They actually use their brand of Toffee Nut syrup for the flavoring & then drizzle caramel sauce over the top & sprinkle with the sugar/smoked sea salt. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  38. Pam@behealthybehappywellness writes:

    Yum! I love salt, caramel and chocolate together – this may just be my treat for tonight – thanks for sharing.
    Pam@behealthybehappywellness recently posted No more cans! 4 easy steps to making your own pumpkin puree!

  39. Stephanie writes:

    @Pam – they’re a heavenly combo! Hope you enjoy :)

  40. 7 Enticing Coffee Recipes for National Coffee Day | 7 on a Shoestring writes:

    [...] between both salt and caramel. But now? Ummm… give me more! This Salted Caramel Mocha from 52KitchenAdventures.com sounded quite savory and simply had to be [...]

  41. deecochran writes:

    I prefer my coffee black but every so often I just HAVE to have a fufu coffee drink and tried this one last week. OMG! I loved it! THANKS SO much for sharing your recipe, now when I have a craving I can whip one up at home! =)

  42. Stephanie writes:

    @deecochran – so glad you enjoyed the recipe! :)

  43. Steph writes:

    I found you through a Google search. Yours looked like the easiest recipe, and I had all the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a go. My exact reaction to this was, “OH MAH GAWD.” I’ve been making my own mochas at home for a long time, but the salted caramel mocha is a special treat I get when we’re out and near a Starbuck’s. (The closest one is half an hour from here. This is a blessing for my bank account but a curse for my jonesing. lol)

    ANYWAY. I used your recipe to make my version (quad venti…yes, I’m heavily caffeinated), and it is SPOT ON. I’ve pinned it with a rave review.

    Also, I just read the “About” section, and it’s like we’re soul sisters. I’m also a baker not so much with the cooking, although I’ve been experimenting more lately. (Thanks, Pinterest!) And you’re a Stephanie, too! STEPHS OF THE WORLD REPRESENTING! :) Anyway, thanks for a killer recipe that is super, super easy to boot! :)

  44. Stephanie writes:

    Steph, I’m so glad you came across my site! Your enthusiastic comment made my day :) I’m off to visit your blog now!

  45. SuperMomV writes:

    Thank you so very much!
    With the ways things are tight right now (I think for every family), raising 5 kids in this economy is cRaZy and this is my most favorite coffee drink so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU (A million thanks!) for this recipe!
    It was perfect!
    I had everything on hand to make it and it saved me $5 a pop going through the drive thru!
    =)

  46. Coffee Shop Copycat Recipes for Fall writes:

    [...] anyone?), and the Salted Caramel Mocha is the perfect balance of both. I found a great recipe on 52 Kitchen Adventures’ blog that includes a way to make the drink with espresso (if you have an espresso machine at [...]

  47. Living Apockylypse « Caffeine of the Week // Ode to My Coffee writes:

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  48. Katrina writes:

    Loved it! Thank you, I was going broke at my local Starbucks’ location. Made these last night and they were a hit.

  49. Michael writes:

    Just tried your recipe, I made the syrup just fine but it didn’t stir into my coffee when I poured that in, I don’t have a espresso machine so I used the 3/4 coffe instead, I put my cocoa, salt, and syrup in the cup, and than my coffee on top, it was out of a kuerig so may not have been hot enough, i will try again in the morning, I was wondering, as my syrup had started to harden already if it would be better to just reheat it and pour it in with the fresh coffee? As what i had just gathered around what I as using to stir up the cup.

  50. Stephanie Nuccitelli writes:

    Caramel will harden a bit in the fridge. Reheat it briefly in the microwave until it’s pourable and then add it to your coffee.

  51. So… why is it on the menu? | experiencecoffee writes:

    [...] to say I will be making my own salted caramel mocha and it will probably be 12,000x better than Starbucks [...]

  52. 6 Coffee Drink Recipes writes:

    [...] drink at your local coffee shop, or you could make it at home and save yourself the expense! This Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha recipe is actually quite simple, with the show-stopping ingredients being sea salt and caramel [...]

  53. Saturdays and Deep Freezes « Sister Riles writes:

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  54. Melissa writes:

    Yum! I used 1/2 C dark chocolate almond milk instead of milk and skipped the powdered cocoa and I used 1% milk to make the caramel sauce instead of heavy cream. Great recipe! Thanks!

  55. Leilah writes:

    Salted Caramel Mocha is one of my favorite drinks EVER (Another one is Passion Iced Tea, also from Starbucks, which I learned how to make at home this summer)! I just had my first one of the season :) I usually get it with White Chocolate Mocha sauce though. Last year, I bought a bottle of the Toffee Nut syrup they use, thinking I could make my own (I didn’t think to google it until now lol)…didn’t work out so well for me.
    I just made this recipe, using the Toffee Nut syrup instead of the caramel and I also used Almond Milk. It is so good! Sorry, Starbucks, I don’t need you anymore!! I love that I can make it as sweet or not-so-sweet as I want. Thanks for this!

  56. Top 10 Best Recipes with Caramel - Top Inspired writes:

    [...] Recipe [...]

  57. Verla monge writes:

    You can buy salted Carmel syrup in regular or sugar free.
    Got mine at Cost Plus World Market!

  58. Eva writes:

    Thank you! I just discovered the salted mocha caramel drink at Starbucks and I love it but I live 60 miles away from the nearest store. So I’ve learned to make my own at home, this recipe is perfect and so easy to make. I already had all the ingredients. I keep the bryers caramel syrup (no high fructose corn syrup) and hot coco mixes, the rest was easy.

  59. Alisha writes:

    Yum! This looks so good. I’ll definitely be giving it a try!

    Stopping by via SITS!
    Alisha recently posted High Five for Friday

  60. Andrea writes:

    I totally need to make this!!
    Andrea recently posted #RiskRejection: I talked myself into this

  61. Martha writes:

    Yum, this looks delicious! I love Starbucks but hate plunking down the cash for their drinks. Thanks for sharing! And happy SITS day!
    Martha recently posted Seven ways to grow your blog, part five: Use your social media networks wisely

  62. Susan Maccarelli writes:

    I love this at Starbucks – thanks for the DIY!!
    Susan Maccarelli recently posted Taking Credit For the Good Stuff: Owning Your Kid’s Positives (Not Just The Negatives)

  63. Dana writes:

    Yum – it’s like dessert in a mug! Popping over from SITS – have a great weekend!
    Dana recently posted Spooning with Lisa

  64. Emma writes:

    Hi, I was wondering if you could make this in a frappuccino sort of form? How would you go about mixing it with ice? Thanks!

  65. Stephanie Saunders writes:

    Emma, I actually have a homemade frappucino recipe. I think you could take that and add the caramel and chocolate to it. Great idea!

  66. Heidi @simplerecipebox writes:

    Now this is something I can do! Thanks for sharing! You have a lovely blog.
    Heidi @simplerecipebox recently posted Why Being Healthy Is Over-rated

  67. shane writes:

    Stephanie, please tell me how this recipe is less than the calories in the same Starbucks drink? Your caramel sauce alone is over 850 calories. Even if its divided into 3-4 drinks, its 200-375 per drink and that’s before adding milk, whipped cream and cocoa powder. You’re looking at a minimum 400+ calorie drink. Not very calorie friendly…

  68. shane writes:

    Not to mention…who drinks a 5oz drink??? A half cup of milk is only 4oz combined with one shot of espresso equals about a 5oz drink. Doubling your ingredients for a normal serving (8oz drink), your calorie count is higher than Starbucks!!!

  69. Stephanie Saunders writes:

    Shane, I never said it was fewer calories. By making your own, you can control how much sugar you add, the serving size, and the ingredients, so it’s up to you how many calories are in it. I believe it’s better to use whole foods and make your own version, rather than having several shots of syrup that contains “natural flavors,” citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and caramel color.

  70. shane writes:

    Stephanie, your selling point was the fact that Starbucks drinks have so many calories and sugar in theirs when the fact is that your version is worse in both categories. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have mentioned in your second paragraph how many calories and sugar theirs has. I quote’…have you seen how many calories is in one of those things?’ Come on….

  71. Stephanie Saunders writes:

    Shane, I’m not sure why you’re so riled up, but I’m sorry that my post offended you so much – I’m just offering an alternative to the Starbucks drink.

  72. Steph writes:

    Don’t let people like Shane get to you, Stephanie. Those who can DO. Those who can’t become critics.
    Steph recently posted Size Acceptance

  73. Stephanie Saunders writes:

    Thanks Steph :)

  74. Adria writes:

    I tried your recipie and it tastes amazing! Ignore shane, if all he has time to do is critique blog posts, his comments aren’t worth anything!

  75. On Chiale! » Blog Archive » They can cause immediate harm to the baby writes:

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  76. 6 Coffee Drink Recipes writes:

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