Caramel Macchiato {Starbucks Copycat Recipe} — An EASY, at-home recipe for the beloved coffee shop drink!! It tastes AMAZING and your wallet will thank you! No espresso maker or milk frother required!!

a copycat starbucks caramel macchiato in a glass mug

Hot Caramel Macchiato Recipe 

If there’s one drink that I’m prone to ordering when I go to a coffee shop, it’s a caramel macchiato. I have a passion for all things caramel.

This easy, at-home recipe tastes amazing, you’ll save yourself a trip to the coffee shop, and your wallet will thank you, too. It’s perfect for chilly weather, holiday brunches, or as ‘dessert’ after a holiday meal and celebration you’re hosting. It’s rich, creamy, decadent, and wonderfully caramely.

You can’t have a caramel macchiato without caramel sauce so I made my own by using my recipe for Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce. While you could cheat and use store-bought sauce, it just doesn’t taste the same and I urge you to make your own.

You will have some leftover and could avoid that by making a half batch, but why? It’s perfect for adding to your favorite brownies, ice cream, muffins, or of course make more caramel macchiatos.

side view of a hot caramel macchiato in a glass mug

What’s in a Caramel Macchiato? 

The caramel macchiato ingredients list is short and sweet: 

a caramel macchiato in a glass mug with milk froth spilling down the sides

How to Make a Caramel Macchiato at Home 

The caramel sauce is easy and is just a mixture of 3 ingredients: sugar, water, and Horizon Heavy Whipping Cream. Add vanilla or salt, optionally. The Horizon Heavy Whipping Cream adds an unmistakeable richness to the caramel sauce that you’re going to adore.

For the coffee aspect, you can either go with 2 shots of espresso but since most of us don’t have an espresso maker, about 6 ounces of strong, freshly brewed coffee is great.

Finally you’ll need to warm up some milk. A milk frother would be amazing here but since I don’t have one, I added Horizon Whole Milk to a glass measuring cup, zapped it in the microwave until very warm (don’t boil it), and poured it over the coffee.

overhead view of a Caramel Macchiato next to two cartons of Horizon milk

Horizon Whole Milk is a real treat for me because I tend to bake and use Silk Unsweetened Cashew, Coconut, or Almond Milks in my day to day life and to have something so thick and creamy is fabulous. If it says Horizon® organic on the carton, you know what’s inside comes from happy cows on family-run organic farms.

Because I was feeling decadent, I topped my caramel macchiato with So Delicious CocoWhip. Normally caramel macchiatos aren’t served with whipped cream on top but it’s the holiday season — why not?

There’s an ever-so-slight hint of coconut in it and I want to eat it by the spoonful. And I drizzled extra caramel on top for good measure of course.

a Caramel Macchiato and a carton of heavy whipping cream in front of a carton of Horizon milk

Can I Omit the Corn Syrup? 

The corn syrup is not absolutely necessary. It can help prevent crystallization and keep the caramel sauce a bit smoother, but if you just take your time and watch the caramel closely you can omit.

Can I Use Flavored Coffee? 

Of course! Use whatever coffee or espresso you like. Just be sure to pick a flavor that will pair well with the caramel sauce. 

overhead view of a hot Caramel Macchiato

Tips for Making a Hot Caramel Macchiato 

When making the caramel sauce, I highly recommend having all the ingredients in place nearby (including hot mitts and a glass jar or heat-safe container). You’re working with boiling sugar and your full attention on the recipe is necessary.

If you’re unsure whether the caramel sauce is done or not and you’re going to err on under or overcooking the caramel, undercook it. Overcooking results in caramel hard candy, not caramel sauce.

Let the caramel sauce cool to room temperature before using. You do NOT want to drink it when it’s hot (it’s basically molten sugar at that stage). 

Caramel Macchiato {Copycat Recipe} - An EASY, at-home recipe for the beloved coffee shop drink!! It tastes AMAZING and your wallet will thank you! No espresso maker or milk frother required!!

Caramel Macchiato {Copycat Recipe}
Yield: 1

Caramel Macchiato {Copycat Recipe}

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

An EASY, at-home recipe for the beloved coffee shop drink!! It tastes AMAZING and your wallet will thank you! No espresso maker or milk frother required!!


Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup (can be omitted but helps reduce crystallization)
  • 1/2 cup Horizon Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste for ‘salted caramel’ sauce



Make the Caramel Sauce:

  1. Have all the ingredients in place including hot mitts and a glass jar or heat-safe container nearby. You’re working with boiling sugar and your full attention on the recipe is necessary.
  2. To a medium/large high-sided saucepan (use a pan much larger than you think you’ll need because the sauce will bubble very vigorously at the end), add the sugar, water, corn syrup and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Allow the mixture to boil for 5 to 9 minutes, or as necessary, for it to turn caramel-colored, at which point it could be smoking slightly. The final stage where the mixture turns from pale amber to that perfect shade of caramel can go quickly, in less than 30 seconds, so keep a watchful eye and don’t let it burn or you'll have to start over. Throughout the boiling time, you can swirl the pan gently or whisk the mixture every minute or so, but the less the sugary mixture gets on the sides of the pan, the better in preventing crystallization in the final sauce. Tip - If you're unsure and you're going to err on under or overcooking the caramel, undercook it. Overcooking results in caramel hard candy, not caramel sauce.
  4. As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-colored, reduce the heat to low.
  5. Very carefully and slowly, add the heavy cream. Stand back because mixture will bubble up considerably.
  6. Optionally, and very carefully, add the vanilla and optional salt, to taste. Stand back because mixture will bubble up again.
  7. Whisk until sauce is smooth and combined, and let it boil another 1 minute, which helps thicken it up.
  8. Transfer sauce to glass jar or heat-safe container (easiest to pour into a 2-cup measuring cup and then easily pour into glass jar). Allow sauce to cool uncovered to room temperature; sauce thickens considerably as it cools. Sauce will keep airtight at room temp for at least 1 month; set extra sauce aside. If sauce sets up overly firm or your kitchen is cold, zap it in the micro for 10 seconds to loosen it.
  9. Optionally, drizzle about 1 to 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce over the interior surface of a coffee mug. Skip this step if you don't prefer a lot of caramel. Set mug aside.

Make the Coffee:

  1. Prepare the espresso or coffee and pour into the mug. Note - I find the drink is sweet enough with just the caramel and the whipped topping but if you think you want additional sweetener/sugar, add it now and stir to combine; set mug aside.
  2. If you have a milk frother, use it here. If not, add the milk to a glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe container and heat for about 1 minute on high power, or until milk is very warm but not boiling; alternatively this can be done on the stovetop. Whisk the milk for about 15 seconds to froth it up a bit.
  3. Add the warmed milk to the mug to taste, top with CocoWhip, drizzle with caramel sauce to taste, and serve immediately.  Drink is best warm and fresh.


Caramel Sauce adapted from The Best and Easiest Homemade Caramel Sauce.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 917Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1222mgCarbohydrates: 231gFiber: 0gSugar: 230gProtein: 1g

More Fall Drink Recipes:

Caramel Apple Cider — Warm apple cider spiked with cinnamon, maple and almond extracts, apple chunks, and the mugs are rimmed with heavenly homemade salted caramel sauce!! FAST, EASY, and so DELICIOUS!!

Hard Apple Cider Mule — And after trying this twist on the Moscow mule, I think you’ll agree that autumn never tasted better.

Creamy Nutella Martini — This martini is creamy, smooth, and satisfying. The Frangelico adds hazelnut, cinnamon, and vanilla notes, while the Irish cream provides richness and creaminess.

Skinny Caramel Frappuccino— This drink is too good to be true! It’s cold, creamy, rich, and satisfying, plus it’s only 50 calories per serving. 

Creamy Boozy Iced Coffee – This is the fastest and easiest method way to make iced coffee that I’ve tried, and I’ve tried plenty.

Homemade Baileys Irish Cream— Homemade Baileys Irish Cream comes together 1 minute, with ingredients you likely already have on hand. Rich, creamy, and the flavor is a dead ringer for store-bought! 

Post is brought to you by Horizon. The recipe, images, text, and opinions expressed are my own. #HorizonOrganic

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.

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