Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Copycat Recipe

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See exactly how to make a classic Starbucks Caramel Macchiato at home with this easy drink recipe that's assembled just like a barista.
Homemade Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

This crave-worthy Starbucks Caramel Macchiato recipe is the perfect at-home beverage to replace one of the most popular drinks at Starbucks.

Made just like a Starbucks barista, this classic hot espresso beverage is both sweet and bold. What more could you want, right?

The caramel macchiato components are layered into the cup following the same order as Starbucks, with the espresso marking the steamed milk, and finished with a crosshatch of rich caramel sauce.

Using my insider tips, this handcrafted homemade caramel macchiato tastes absolutely delicious and is as close as you can get to the real thing!

Homemade copycat Starbucks caramel macchiato with caramel sauce dripping down the side of a glass mug that has a Starbucks logo on it.
A caramel macchiato gets its sweet, buttery flavor from a generous topping of caramel sauce.

RELATED: Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Guide, Including Caffeine & Calories

Why You’ll Love this Caramel Macchiato Recipe

  • This homemade caramel macchiato recipe makes a single 16-ounce drink which is the same size as a Starbucks grande. As you can guess, when you can’t get to Starbucks, making an at-home copycat saves time and lots of money.
  • There are a lot of caramel macchiato recipes out there that don’t quite measure up to the real Starbucks beverage. This recipe is made using the same measurements as Starbucks, with similar ingredients assembled in the same order.
  • Love iced caramel macchiatos? This recipe is easy to switch up. All you have to do use cold milk in place of steamed and add ice.
A hot Starbucks caramel macchiato made at home in a glass mug with a Starbucks logo, with a thick layer of caramel sauce on top.
The key to making a caramel macchiato like Starbucks is to layer the ingredients in the cup in the proper order.


The ingredients you select matter when recreating a Starbucks caramel macchiato at home. Here’s what I recommend getting to help you nail the flavor.

  • Vanilla Syrup
  • Brewed Espresso
  • Milk
  • Caramel Sauce

Vanilla Syrup: Get a bottle of authentic Starbucks vanilla syrup.

It’s available online, but it costs about half as much if you buy one directly from Starbucks. (The barista can sell you a bottle with pump if they have enough on-hand.)

Otherwise, buy your favorite vanilla syrup from the store (usually sold in the coffee aisle) or make this easy vanilla syrup recipe with just three ingredients.

All the ingredients needed to make a caramel macchiato at home, including a bottle of vanilla syrup, bottle of caramel sauce, bag of Starbucks dark roast espresso beans and milk.
You only need 4 readily available ingredients to make an at-home caramel macchiato espresso beverage.

Brewed Espresso: A caramel macchiato is an espresso-based beverage that Starbucks makes with dark roast espresso beans.

I recommend using Starbucks espresso roast whole bean coffee for this drink if you have an actual espresso machine like my Breville Barista Express.

You can pick up a bag at most stores or, better yet, buy a bag from Starbucks and pay with the app to earn Starbucks stars to use towards free drinks.

If you have a Nespresso, I recommend using whichever one of these capsules fits your particular machine: Starbucks dark roast capsules for original line or Vertuo line.

Milk: Reduced fat, 2% dairy is the standard milk used for most Starbucks espresso drinks.

For this hot caramel macchiato recipe, the milk is steamed so using milk that has some fat in it makes a silky microfoam.

If you substitute a plant-based milk like oat or almond, be sure to get the barista edition which is designed to help it froth up.

To steam the milk, use the steam wand on your espresso machine or a Breville electric milk frother that has a large capacity and temperature setting.

Caramel Sauce: The final layer, caramel sauce, is the pièce de résistance, so head over to the ice cream toppings section of the store, and grab a bottle of the best caramel sauce.

My two favorites are Ghirardelli caramel sauce and Torani caramel sauce.

A layered caramel macchiato with a crosshatch of caramel sauce on top and a bottle of Ghirardelli caramel sauce in the background.
For the best at-home caramel macchiato, top it with a premium caramel sauce.

My Pick for Milk Frother

I love the Breville Cafe milk frother. It has a 3-cup capacity and an adjustable temperature setting, ideal for making lattes, macchiatos and even drinks like hot chocolate!

How to Make a Caramel Macchiato

This recipe makes the equivalent of a grande Starbucks Caramel Macchiato so make it in a mug that’s at least 16 ounces.

  1. Add vanilla syrup to mug.
  2. Aerate and steam milk to 160 °F. Tap the steamed milk jug and swirl it around until any large bubbles are gone and it looks like wet paint. Pour the milk and foam into the syrup.
  3. Brew 2 shots of espresso and pour over the steamed milk layer. (It should make a dot of espresso on top of the milk.)
  4. Squeeze caramel sauce on top. You can do it in a crosshatch pattern like Starbucks, 4 across one-way, 4 across the other and 2 circles.

Detailed recipe and instructions are in recipe card at bottom of post.

Making an Upside Down Caramel Macchiato

The regular order Starbucks adds the caramel macchiato components to a cup is: vanilla syrup, steamed milk, espresso and caramel sauce.

There is a misconception that an upside down caramel macchiato reverses the entire sequence.

In reality, only the espresso and milk are supposed to be flipped.

The order an upside down caramel macchiato goes into the cup is: vanilla syrup, espresso, steamed milk, and caramel sauce.

Basically, an upside down caramel macchiato is the same as a Starbucks vanilla latte with a topping of caramel sauce.

The only difference is that a Starbucks vanilla latte has a little more vanilla syrup than a caramel macchiato.

The reasoning is that about a pump’s worth of vanilla syrup in a Starbucks caramel macchiato is replaced with the caramel sauce.

Want caramel macchiato flavor without having to make an actual espresso beverage? Try out this easy recipe for caramel macchiato coffee creamer. A splash is delicious in a cup of coffee.

What “Macchiato” Means at Starbucks

In Italian, macchiato means marked or stained.

Macchiato means marked in Italian and at Starbucks, the espresso in a caramel macchiato leaves a mark or stain on the steamed milk.

In terms of coffee, a classic espresso macchiato beverage is simply espresso that’s “marked” with a dot of steamed milk.

But Starbucks lingo has a way of turning some traditional coffee terminology on its head.

In the case of a Starbucks caramel macchiato, espresso “marks” or stains the steamed milk, the reverse of a traditional macchiato.

By the way, if you want to order a classic macchiato at Starbucks, ask for an espresso macchiato. Most likely, the barista will clarify what you want.

More Delicious Starbucks Copycat Recipes

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Homemade Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

Caramel Macchiato (Starbucks Copycat)

Yield: 16 ounces
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Easy at-home recipe for a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato that only has 4 ingredients layered in a cup just like Starbucks. This popular Starbucks drink begins with vanilla sweetened steamed milk, followed by bold espresso and a rich layer of buttery caramel sauce.


  • 3 tablespoons vanilla syrup
  • 2 ounces brewed espresso
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (2% or whole is best)
  • 1 tablespoon caramel sauce


    1. Add vanilla syrup to mug.
    2. Aerate and steam milk to 160 °F. Tap the steamed milk jug and swirl it around until any large bubbles are gone and it looks like wet paint. Pour the milk and foam into the syrup.
    3. Brew 2 shots of espresso and pour over the steamed milk layer. (It should make a dot of espresso on top of the milk.)
    4. Squeeze caramel sauce on top. You can do it in a crosshatch pattern like Starbucks, 4 across one-way, 4 across the other and 2 circles.


  • To make an upside caramel macchiato, reverse the order of the steamed milk and espresso. The vanilla syrup still goes in the cup first and the top layer of an upside caramel macchiato is still the caramel sauce.
  • To make an iced caramel macchiato, use cold milk instead of steamed and ice to fill the glass.
  • If you like the same amount of vanilla syrup in your caramel macchiato as the way Starbucks prepares a vanilla latte, use slightly less than 1/4 cup vanilla syrup.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 16 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 7.5gSaturated Fat: 4.5gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 219mgCarbohydrates: 61.5gSugar: 54.5gProtein: 12g

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Pinterest pin for a copycat Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.
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