You can make a salted caramel mocha at home that’s even better than the coffee house version with just a few simple ingredients.
If you’re sitting around in your pajamas today craving a salted caramel mocha and really don’t want to get dressed and leave the house to buy one, no worries. Stay in your pajamas, head to the kitchen, and make your mocha at home this morning.
It’s super simple, quick, and easy.
What does a salted caramel mocha taste like?
If you’ve never had Starbucks’ salted caramel mocha, the drink is just what it sounds like. A creamy chocolatey mocha with notes of salted caramel and the slightly bitter edge of coffee.
It’s such a good combo, and when you make it at home you can add as much caramel as you like so you get a drink that is the perfect balance of flavors for you.
- Coffee: No espresso needed for this drink. Use whatever coffee you have on hand, brewed a little strong if you want an extra kick of coffee flavor.
- Milk: Starbucks uses 2% milk in their coffee drinks, but you can use any milk you’d like including non-dairy milks. The higher fat your milk, the creamier your drink will be.
- Cream: Cream is optional, but a tablespoon (or more) in your mocha gives it a delicious richness. Feel free to substitute a splash of half and half if that’s what you keep on hand. And you’ll definitely have some leftover heavy cream, so check out my post What to Do With Leftover Whipping Cream for storage tips and recipe ideas for the leftovers.
- Cocoa powder, sugar, and water: Instead of using a store-bought chocolate syrup, you’ll make a quick cocoa powder syrup to flavor the mocha base.
- Salted caramel: Use your favorite salted caramel sauce or regular caramel sauce here (add a generous pinch of salt for unsalted sauce). If caramel sauce isn’t something you keep at home, pick some up the next time you’re at the store, make my quick shortcut caramel sauce, or whip out a heavy-bottom pot, melt some sugar, and make some traditional caramel sauce yourself.
How to Make a Salted Caramel Mocha
- Make a chocolate syrup by heating the cocoa powder, sugar, and water together in a small pot.
- Stir in caramel sauce and coffee until smooth.
- Add milk and cream and heat until steaming.
- Enjoy your drink in your pajamas.
Can I make this an iced salted caramel mocha/frappuccino?
Yes! To make an iced/frappuccino version, follow the recipe making the chocolate syrup and stir in the the caramel sauce. Then add just 1/4 cup of the milk. Heat just until the mixture is completely smooth and uniform in color. Then remove from heat and combine with the remaining milk and cold coffee. Pour over ice for an iced version or blend with 1 1/2 cups of ice for a salted caramel frappuccino.
I recommend using the full 2 teaspoons of sugar for the iced version and doubling the sugar for a frappe because the blended ice will dilute the sweetness quite a bit.
How much caffeine is in a salted caramel mocha?
The Starbucks version ranges from 80 mg to 185 mg of caffeine depending on the size of the drink. In this homemade version, there is 1/2 cup of coffee which averages about 48 grams of caffeine.
Is a salted caramel mocha a holiday drink?
The Starbucks salted caramel mocha is a seasonal drink they bring back every fall alongside their pumpkin spice latte. But there’s nothing that says you can only make the homemade version in the fall.
If a salted caramel mocha sounds good to you in May or June, then absolutely make yourself one in May or June.
Can I make this without coffee?
Yes. If you’d like to make this without coffee, you can replace the coffee with the same amount of milk for a salted caramel hot chocolate.
More Starbucks Copycat Recipes
- White Chocolate Mocha
- Chai Latte
- Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate
- Peppermint Mocha
- Iced Mocha
- Caramel Macchiato
A Note on Serving Size
This recipe makes about one cup of coffee, enough to fill an 8-ounce mug. If you’d like to fill an oversized mug, 1 1/2 or double the recipe. To double the recipe ingredients, hover over the serving size in the recipe card below or click if you’re on mobile, and slide the slider.
Salted Caramel Mocha
- 1 ½ teaspoon (3g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons (4-8g) granulated sugar *
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 heaping tablespoon salted caramel sauce* plus optional more for topping
- ½ cup hot coffee
- ½ cup milk any percentage
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream optional
- Whipped cream for topping optional
- In a small saucepan, stir together cocoa powder and sugar. Add water and heat over medium heat until mixture is well combined and no lumps of cocoa powder remain.
- Add caramel sauce and hot coffee and stir until caramel is melted.
- Add milk and optional heavy cream and heat, stirring often until milk is steaming hot. Do not let milk come to a boil. If desired, whisk vigorously until mocha is foamy.
- Pour into an 8-ounce mug. Taste and add more sugar/caramel if needed. Top with optional whipped cream if desired, and enjoy!
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