The Best Caramel Drinks at Starbucks

The best ways to get your caramel fix at Starbucks

Caramel and coffee go great together, and over the years, Starbucks has introduced more and more caramel drinks to its menu. In addition to being able to add caramel syrup or sauce to standard espresso beverages, there are now a plethora of Starbucks caramel drinks, both iced and hot. 

A Starbucks coffeeshop

In addition to the drinks on Starbucks’ own menu, there are also a variety of caramel drinks from their “secret menu.” Starbucks doesn’t sanction these secret menu items and has become popular by word of mouth.

Baristas may or may not be familiar with these drinks, but they can make them for you if you let them know what ingredients are in them. 

Besides the standard hot and cold beverages, there is also a variety of caramel-flavored Frappuccinos blended iced beverages similar to milkshakes. They are topped with whipped cream and contain some type of caramel drizzle or sprinkles on top for extra caramel flavor. 

Some of the characteristics I looked for when searching for the best Starbucks caramel drinks are the taste, sweetness, and calorie count. Below is a list of the best caramel drinks at Starbucks. 

Best Caramel Drinks at Starbucks

  1. Caramel Brulée Latte
  2. Caramel Macchiato
  3. Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino
  4. Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew
  5. Iced Caramel Macchiato
  6. Salted Caramel Mocha
  7. Caramel Frappuccino
  8. Caramel Brulée Frappuccino
  9. Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino
  10. Twix Frappuccino
  11. Salted Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew
  12. Caramel Apple Spice
  13. Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino
  14. Raspberry Caramel Macchiato
  15. Butterbeer Frappuccino

Caramel Brulée Latte

Caramel Brulée Latte is a secret menu drink that can be made hot or iced and consists of milk, Caramel Brulée Sauce, espresso, whipped cream, and Caramel Brulée topping, which is candied caramel sprinkles. 

This seasonal drink is available in the fall and is usually available until the beginning of the year. For that authentic crème brulée taste, I like to add a bit of cinnamon on top as well. 

The Grande size Caramel Brulée Latte (16 oz.) has 410 calories. 

Caramel Macchiato

The Caramel Macchiato is my personal favorite for best Starbucks caramel drinks. When I worked as a Starbucks barista in college, this was the first drink I learned to make, and it has remained my favorite since then.

Caramel Macchiatos can be made hot or iced, and since its introduction in 1996, many coffee shops around the country have copied this drink. 

Ingredients consist of milk, espresso, vanilla syrup, and caramel sauce, and unlike most other espresso drinks, the espresso gets added last. The espresso is poured through the hot milk foam (or ice for an Iced Caramel Macchiato), creating a “spot” on top of the foam, hence the name.

“Macchiato,” which means “spotted” in Italian. Caramel syrup is drizzled over the tip of the drink in a cross-hatch pattern, adding another unique feature to this drink.

A Grande Caramel Macchiato only has 250 calories, and I recommend this drink for people who prefer drinks that aren’t overly sweet. 

Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino

The Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino is a blended beverage made with milk, espresso, Coffee Frappuccino Syrup, and dark caramel sauce. It gets topped with whipped cream, Caramel Sugar Topping, and caramel drizzle. 

What makes this drink unique is the fact that it is “layered.” It has whipped cream, dark caramel, and caramel sugar on the bottom and the top, creating a “sandwich” effect with the blended drink in the middle.

A Grande size has three pumps of Coffee Frappuccino Syrup and five pumps of dark caramel sauce, and the complete drink contains a whopping 470 calories, so you should reserve this decadent drink for special occasions. 

Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew

Many people are not fans of iced coffee because of the ice-filled, watered-down brews that many restaurants serve. I’m one of those people, but I find that cold-brewed coffee tastes excellent. After all, it has the richness and flavor of hot coffee because it’s steeped in cold water for 12-18 hours. 

Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew is an excellent choice for anyone who wants an alternative to bland iced coffee.

Besides the quality coffee, this drink has the unique feature of having cold foam added on top of the drink, creating an “iced cappuccino” effect. 

They make the salted caramel cream foam by adding cold skim milk and flavored syrup to a special blender, and two pumps of vanilla syrup get added to the beverage.

A Grande Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew is great on a hot summer day, and it has only 220 calories. Since there aren’t many added sugars and sweeteners, I recommend this drink for true coffee lovers.

Iced Caramel Macchiato

Like its hot counterpart, an Iced Caramel Macchiato gets made by adding the espresso to the drink last. Milk, vanilla syrup, and ice get added to the cup, and the espresso gets poured through the ice.

The cross-hatch of caramel sauce is added on top, and it creates a beautiful “dripping” effect in the clear plastic cup, as the lines of caramel sink through the milk to the bottom of the cup.

Since the drink does not get stirred, the contrast of the white milk, espresso, and dripping caramel created a drink that not only tastes good but is visually appealing as well.

I recommend getting a Grande size because the ice leaves little room for liquid with a tall (12 oz.). A Grande Iced Caramel Macchiato is 250 calories. 

Salted Caramel Mocha

Salted Caramel has become a popular flavor in recent years, and the Salted Caramel Mocha is a great alternative to the standard Café Mocha.

In addition to the standard milk, mocha sauce, and whipped cream, the Salted Caramel Mocha also contains four pumps of toffee nut syrup and caramel drizzle on top.

Due to the sweetness of the mocha syrup, you may want to ask for one less pump of toffee nut syrup if you want the drink to be less sweet. Caramel and toffee flavors are very similar, so there’s no actual caramel in this drink!

The “salted” factor comes into play when the sea salt topping is sprinkled on top of the drink. This topping is made from turbinado sugar and smoked sea salt, and a Grande Salted Caramel Mocha is 470 calories, and it’s best to keep the consumption of this drink to a minimum. 

Caramel Frappuccino

The Caramel Frappuccino is a classic Starbucks beverage from a time when they only offered three flavors of Frappuccinos. 

This blended drink is made with milk, espresso, Frappuccino Roast syrup, and caramel syrup. This simple beverage is blended and topped with whipped cream, and caramel sauce is drizzled on top. 

A Grande Caramel Frappuccino has 380 calories, a lot fewer than some of the fancier Frappuccinos with more syrups and toppings. I recommend this drink for someone who wants a nice caramel drink that isn’t over-the-top.

Caramel Brulée Frappuccino

The Caramel Brulée Frappuccino is like a blended version of the Caramel Brulée Latte. The beverage is made with milk, espresso, Frappuccino Roast syrup, and Caramel Brulée sauce and is blended and topped with whipped cream. 

The Caramel Brulée sprinkles are added on top of the whipped cream. As with any other Starbucks beverage, it can be customized, and caramel sauce can be drizzled on top of the whipped cream, and the Caramel Brulée sprinkles for an extra caramel kick. 

This is another good Frappuccino for anyone who likes drinks that aren’t overly sweet.

Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino

With the Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino, you get the best of both worlds. This blended beverage combines salted caramel and chocolate for the Frappuccino lover who can’t decide which flavor to get.

The Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino is made with milk, espresso, Frappuccino Roast syrup, mocha sauce, and toffee nut syrup. As with other Frappuccinos, this drink gets topped with whipped cream, and caramel gets drizzled on top along with a sprinkling of the sea salt topping. 

A Grande Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino has 420 calories, so I suggest getting a tall size or foregoing the whipped cream if you are counting calories. 

Twix Frappuccino

The Twix Frappuccino is another one of Starbucks’ secret menu drinks. The Twix Frappuccino, named after the popular Twix candy bar, is a blended beverage whose base is that of a Caramel Frappuccino. 

The drink gets made with caramel syrup, hazelnut syrup, java chips (coffee-flavored chocolate chips), and mocha drizzle.

The drink is topped with whipped cream, and the caramel and mocha syrups are drizzled on top, creating a drink with a taste similar to that of the candy bar. 

Since this is not an official Starbucks drink, the calorie count is unavailable, but with multiple syrups and java chips, I can surmise that the calorie count is somewhere in the 400s. 

Salted Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew

The difference between Nitro cold brew and regular cold brew is that nitro cold brew is stored cold in a keg and served without ice.

Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew is similar to the Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew and gets topped with salted vanilla sweet cream foam. Caramel syrup is added to the drink beforehand. 

Since nitro cold brew gets served without ice, I like to drink it when the temperature is cooler outside, and I don’t have to worry about the scorching sun making my drink warm within five minutes. 

A Grande Salted Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew is only 230 calories, and as with other Starbucks drinks, it can be customized with a pump of flavored syrup or an added shot of espresso. The perfect drink for someone who likes to keep things simple.

Caramel Apple Spice

Starbucks’ Caramel Apple Spice is not a coffee beverage but a juice beverage. This cozy fall drink is a good choice for someone who doesn’t want caffeine or someone who doesn’t like coffee at all but gets forced to go along to Starbucks with family or friends. 

With the Caramel Apple Spice, you get your choice of juice, either apple juice and peach juice blend.

Cinnamon Dolce syrup gets added to the steamed juice, and the drink gets topped with whipped cream, which gets drizzled with caramel syrup. A Grande Caramel Apple Spice has 380 calories, and it is one of my favorite coffee alternatives.

Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino

The Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino is a layered Frappuccino that contains no coffee. This drink is very similar to the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino, but the “creme” means that there is no coffee in this version.

The drink is made with Creme Frappuccino syrup, dark caramel sauce, regular caramel sauce on the bottom.

 The blended beverage is then topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and caramel sugar topping to create the layered effect.

Since there is no coffee in this beverage, it’s a fantastic summertime treat for children.

Raspberry Caramel Macchiato

Another drink from Starbucks’ secret menu, the Raspberry Caramel Macchiato, is a take on the traditional Caramel Macchiato. Instead of vanilla syrup on the bottom, raspberry syrup gets used instead.

The drink is made the same as a regular Caramel Macchiato with the espresso poured through the foamed milk with a cross-hatch of caramel drizzled on top. People say that the tartness of the raspberry syrup brings out the sweetness of the caramel. 

Be advised that the raspberry syrup will turn your drink red, which can be off-putting to some people. If you’re one of these people, play it safe and don’t open your cup. Of course, if your drink is iced, viewing the red and brown mixture is inevitable. 

Butterbeer Frappuccino

In the continuation of secrecy, the Butterbeer Frappuccino is a secret menu item. The name “butterbeer” comes from the fact that the combination of syrups tastes similar to butterscotch. 

This blended drink base is that of a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino and gets made with both toffee nut and caramel syrup. (Other versions include cinnamon dolce syrup). 

The drink gets topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. The name “Butterbeer” comes from a fictitious beverage which is a butterscotch-like drink featured in the famous Harry Potter books. 

Final Thoughts

In addition to the drinks listed above, there are a few more caramel-flavored secret menu items, such as the Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato and the TikTok Iced White Mocha, in addition to seasonal secret drinks, such as the Caramel Pumpkin Macchiato or the Baby Yoda Frappuccino, which can only be made at the time of year when certain ingredients are available. 

Starbucks will pretty much make whatever drink you want, so if none of these are the best Starbucks caramel drinks for you, you can create your own. You can easily get creative and add caramel sauce, syrup, or caramel-flavored toppings to whatever drink you like. 

Caramel toppings include regular caramel sauce, dark caramel sauce, caramel-flavored syrup, caramel sugar sprinkles, and salted caramel cream cold foam. It’s easy to get creative and create your own caramel-flavored drink.

A list of all of Starbucks’ drinks and ingredients can be viewed on Starbucks’ website. 

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.