Skip the drive to Starbucks and make your own Caramel Macchiato at home for a fraction of the cost! If you enjoy a variety of coffee and espresso-based drinks, it’s really worthwhile to learn how to make your favorite drinks at home. You only need 3 ingredients to make this simple drink!
I like to splurge at Starbucks on occasion, but I must admit that I’m far too cheap to go to a coffee shop on a regular basis and shell out $5 each time for what’s little more than coffee, milk, and sugar.
Yes, I realize that I pay an absurd $24/lb for my parmigiano-reggiano, but that’s because there’s really no substitute and it’s not something I could realistically make at home.
A Caramel Macchiato on the other hand is quite easy to make yourself, if you’ve got a way to make espresso. There are machines like the uber popular Nespresso (affiliate) that make this super easy. There are also more “fancy” ways to make espresso yourself, and my coffee and espresso crazed husband favors this Mypressi Twist handheld espresso maker.
Once you’ve got the espresso taken care of, really all you need is some foamed milk and caramel sauce. I like to make it myself, but you can certainly buy a jar of caramel sauce from the store as well. It keeps really well in the fridge.
Just to be clear, this is a “coffeehouse style” caramel macchiato, like the one that you’d pick up at a Starbucks. A real macchiato is just espresso with steamed milk (my husband made me put that in here).
Tips for Best Results
Use fresh caramel sauce – I know you can pick up a jar of shelf-stable caramel sauce at the grocery store, but that stuff can’t hold a candle to freshly made buttery caramel sauce. And it’s really not as hard to make as people say. If you read the comments on my post, you’ll see a lot of people are happily surprised by how easy it is, and the flavor is unmatched.
Use whole milk – Skim milk and whole milk are the best for frothing, and the one you use depends on personal preference. Personally, I like whole milk for a richer and more creamy experience. A Caramel Macchiato is already an indulgence, so go all the way!
Step by Step Overview:
To get started, place a tablespoon of caramel sauce into the bottom of the cup:
A true Starbucks Caramel Macchiato uses vanilla syrup in addition to caramel sauce, but using just caramel sauce gives the best flavor, plus then you don’t have to bother with preparing yet another ingredient. What I like about the caramel sauce instead of the simple syrup is that instead of just adding sweetness, the caramel adds a ton of flavor too from the caramelization process.
Additionally, most caramel sauce already has vanilla in it, providing hints of vanilla flavor in each sip. But if you wish, you may add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract here to your cup.
Next, you’ll need to add your espresso to the cup, a doubleshot, in particular:
We use this Mypressi Twist handheld espresso maker (affiliate), but there are machines that make this even easier for you, like the Nespresso machine.
If you prefer less caffeine, you may also use only one espresso shot, but I recommend reducing the amount of milk by half.
Next, you’ll need some foamy hot milk.
There are lots of different methods you can use like a jar in the microwave or with a pot with an immersion blender, but if you want to make yourself some elaborate coffee drinks at home, it may be worthwhile to get an actual milk frother. Otherwise, here are 8 ways to froth milk.
Whole milk and nonfat milk tend to foam the best. Also, I will note that I have never tried this with milk alternatives like oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk, but my guess is they would not provide enough froth power.
After you’ve added the espresso to your cup, pour the hot milk in:
Then you can spoon the remaining milk foam on top of the drink:
Finish with a caramel drizzle on top for extra flavor and a nice look:
That little drizzle of caramel on top of the milk helps add that flavor to every sip.
Now, enjoy one of the most tasty coffee drinks of all time in the comfort of your own home!
How to Serve It
Any decorative caramel on top of the foamed milk will start to sink as it sits, and the bubbles in the frothed milk will start to dissipate, so try to serve the Caramel Macchiato as promptly as possible. It’s definitely best enjoyed fresh!
I like to serve some homemade baked goods with this, especially when I have company over. I bake some fresh Scones or make a hot plate of Crepes.
These Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping are also incredible, with Chocolate Muffins as a close second favorite.
Also, this takes it out of caramel macchiato territory, but this is delicious with a scoop of ice cream added, kind of like a homemade affogato!
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Yes. Mix all ingredients together while the espresso is still warm, then chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
Caramel syrup is usually just a simple syrup, equal parts sugar and water, with fake caramel flavors added to it. It will never compare to the real thing. Use a true caramel sauce, or even a salted caramel sauce.
Not really, as it doesn’t have the strength of espresso. One shot of espresso has the equivalent caffeine of a 12 ounce cup of brewed coffee. Some people try to work around this by concentrating extra instant coffee granules, which I’ve never tried. A better choice is to purchase espresso pods.
Coffeehouse Style Caramel Macchiato
- 2 tbsp caramel sauce divided
- 1 doubleshot espresso (1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup milk steamed with foam*
- In the bottom of a mug (I recommend at least 8 ounces in capacity), add 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce.
- Add the espresso directly on top of the caramel, then pour in the hot milk. Spoon the remaining milk foam on top.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of caramel over the milk foam. Enjoy promptly!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in November 2019. Originally published March 2012.
28 Comments on “Caramel Macchiato”
My mom and dad dont let me drink coffee for they think im too young, lol, i am gonna specially make this for them 2 morrow morning, THANKSGIVING DAY!! 🙂 ^_^
Is it really good though, and if yes what are some tips that i can use? Im 12 and waiting for tips, I KNOW HOW TO COOK SO DONT WORRY
Hi Monica, I hope it turned out well! That’s really nice you would make something for them =)
I’m looking forward to trying a “Machhhhh-eeeeee-ahhhhhh-toeeeeeeeeeeee” tomorrow. I just need to go to the store to get the ingredients and will give it a try. 😉
Thanks for the recipe!
HAHA good luck, I think it’s better made at home!
Sometimes you really have to shed some extra bucks just to get better things in life, but yes I agree only if you can’t make it but if you can why not make your own
I just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! I enjoy reading your blog and hope that others will see it and be able to enjoy it, too!
My husband has been my personal barista for the last 8 years. Most mornings he makes me a hazelnut or raspberry mocha. He even started making his own homemade chocolate syrup. I love the sound our the espresso maker in the morning, and the smell of the beans after he grinds them smells heavenly.
Isn’t great to be spoiled?
starbucks employee here, let me tell you how we ACTUALLY make a caramel macchiato, for the sake of copying how we do it. because you’re missing a thing or two. im basing this off a grande size (16 oz). we start with 4 pumps of vanilla syrup, and then we steam our milk. it’s not “hot” milk, it’s all steamed. so it has that froth to it. it should look kind of like wet paint, and be about that thick, too. pour the steamed milk into the cup, on top of the vanilla. take 2 espresso shots and pour them over top, quickly so your shots don’t die. then, top. with caramel drizzle in a lattice pattern. the drizzle is the ONLY caramel in the drink, the syrup is vanilla
It is so much easy to make when you have an expresso, and its cheap too. Thanks for saving a lot of money by providing us this drink recipe.
I’m cheap too. I hate going there and spending $5 bucks on a coffee. It’s a rare treat for me and I usually only go there because the Starbucks guy looks like Bradley Cooper and he has an English accent. 🙂 This looks delicious and saying Machhhhh-eeeeee-ahhhhhh-toeeeeeeeeeeee is like a jaw excercise.
You are not cheap, you are being sensible. Somethings we have to purchase but others are so much better made at home.
Cheap ?! Ditto ! hahaha Nothing beats homemade anyway 😀
This is great, Joanne! Is this the first espresso maker you guys have ever had? I’ve been thinking about getting some sort of espresso machine/milk steamer, but every time I begin to research, the array of options makes my head spin!
Hey Cody, Yes, this is the first espresso maker we have gotten. Pete did a LOT of research and ended up picking this one (he looked at the fancy expensive ones, the cheap ones, etc). He really likes this the MyPressi and it’s one of the cheapest options out there that still yields excellent espresso. If you want to ask him more about it I’m sure he’d love to ramble about how great it is LOL.
I grew up having the best cup of coffee. My mom was a genius at it. How I miss it. I refuse to pay so much money for a cup. This one my dear looks delicious.
Coffee is something that’s not done right a lot of the time, your mom sounds like she knew how to do it right! I bet you get lots of nostalgia whenever you smell coffee.
Whenever I hear macchiato I think of the movie Talladega Nights….so funny. Perfect looking home creation!
I’ve never seen that movie and now I’m so curious! I must search for this clip on Youtube!
My husband just filled me in =) LOL
Oh, you are not cheap. You are smart! DH and I also invested on a cute Nespreso Pixie and a $3 Ikea milk frother over the holidays. I don’t feel bad about buying Parmesan cheese either, although I think Costco has the blocks at around $18/pound. A good ingredient goes a long way when cooking at home.
Ooo I have to check out this nespreso pixie! That milk frother is super cheap too. We actually do the jar shaking trick which works fine, though I bet the milk frother requires much less cleaning!
Well, going to a coffee bar is quite expensive, I like to go that kind of places with my husband, but not very often, I hate to pay too much for just a cup of coffee, but it’s just the experience to be in a quiet place without my kids…
HAHA your comment made me laugh! We don’t have kids yet but I can imagine that would be nice to have some alone time!
I am not much of a coffee drinker, but I am all about making things at home that you get at stores or restaurants!
You know, I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker either but it’s slowly been growing on me. I like espresso more than coffee too.