Caramel Brulee Latte (Starbucks Copycat Recipe)
I remember my first caramel brulee like it was yesterday. My father was staging at the Hotel Fairmont Queen Elizabeth for his patissier certification and brought one home as a treat. Custardy, creamy, and decadent – this French classic has been a favorite ever since.
But who wants to go through the hassle of making and potentially breaking a homemade caramel brulee? Enter our copycat Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte recipe. You can bring a mug of France into your home with just a few simple ingredients. Keep reading to learn how to make it.
What You Need
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1-½ tablespoons caramel syrup
- 1-½ teaspoons vanilla syrup
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar — or caramel candy — for caramel brulee crumble
- Espresso machine
- Small saucepan
- Mixing bowl
At a Glance
16 fluid ounces
The Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte Recipe
In our repertoire of Starbucks copycat recipes, there are few numerous coffee drinks that make you feel a little fancy as soon as your order them. Named for the decadent French classic, the Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte — pronounced “broo-lay”, not “broo-lee” — is certainly among them. It combines their Signature Espresso roast, vanilla and caramel syrup, velvety frothed milk topped with whipped cream and a caramel brulee crumble to create a sweet and smoky flavor that’ll have you believing you might be able to afford those Saint Laurent pumps after all.
Too hot for a sweet and smoky caramel latte? We have some great cold Starbucks copycat recipes. Try the iced caramel macchiato or vanilla iced latte for a more refreshing treat. And check out all the best Starbucks coffee drinks here: https://www.homegrounds.co/best-starbucks-drinks/
What Is Caramel Brulée?
First created for the royals at the Palace of Versailles by chef Francois Massialot in 1691, caramel brulee is a classic French custard made with egg yolks, heavy cream, and a bruleed sugar topping (1). Literally meaning “burnt,” this caramelized sugar crust is the hallmark of an accomplished pastry chef (2).
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a pastry chef, accomplished or otherwise, to make the homemade version of the Caramel Brulee Latte. Our Starbucks copycat recipe is much more straightforward. All you need for this coffee drink is espresso, sugar, milk, cream, caramel sauce, and vanilla syrup. You won’t even be expected to burn anything.
Let’s take a quick look at the ingredients in more detail.
Espresso or Hot Coffee
Home Grounds recommends sticking to bold, dark roast coffee beans for this latte. The more bittersweet flavor of a dark roast is the perfect foil for the sweet syrups and heavy dairy of this coffee drink. A medium-dark French roast is a perfect authentic choice for this caramel brulee latte, though a darker Italian roast also works.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can brew a small quantity of strong coffee instead. Use an Aeropress, French press, or Moka pot, and use a smaller ratio of water to coffee than usual.
The Caramel Brulée Base
The caramel brulee sauce is made by combining the milk, cream, caramel sauce, and vanilla syrup in the frothing pitcher. Making the caramel brulee latte recipe this way ensures the caramel sauce and vanilla syrup is well-incorporated into the base. Just be sure to give your frother or steam wand a thorough cleaning afterward.
We’ve chosen to use a 1:1 ratio of milk to heavy cream because it yields the best creamy milk texture and sweet flavor in caramel brulee lattes. But you could use 1 cup of whole milk, 2% milk, or skim milk if you want to more closely mimic the texture of a traditional latte – or keep calories low.
You can use non-dairy milk options if you’re sensitive to dairy. Home Grounds recommends Barista-style oat milk for the best texture and neutral flavor. But unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened coconut milk, and soy milk can also be used in this caramel brulee latte recipe.
Caramel Brûlée Crumble
The textural crunch of the caramel brulée topping is a key component of a caramel brulee. For the caramel crumble in this recipe, we suggest you quickly broil a mixture of white and brown sugar on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. But for an easier alternative, you can chop storebought caramel candy into caramel bits.
How to make Starbucks Copycat Caramel Brulée Latte
Below is an easy step by step guide to follow for making this delicious coffee drink.
1. Make the Whipped Cream
Add ¼ cup of cold heavy whipping cream and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar to a chilled mixing bowl. Whip with electric beaters or a whisk until stiff peaks have formed.
2. Make the Brulée Crumble Topping
Evenly sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place under a pre-heated broiler and broil until you get a sheet of crackly, caramelized sugar that is golden brown in color.
This happens very quickly, so don’t walk away. If it burns, you’ll end up with an unbearably bitter sheet of charcoal instead of the sweet and smoky flavor brulee you want.
After it cools, break the crunchy sugar sheet into bits and set aside.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a broiler, you can create the brulee crumble using storebought caramel candy chopped into bits.
3. Make the Caramel Brulee Latte Base
Combine ½ cup heavy cream, ½ cup milk 1-½ tablespoons of caramel syrup, 1-½ teaspoons of vanilla syrup, and a pinch of salt in a frothing pitcher. Stir to combine.
Stretch and texture the mixture using the steam wand of your espresso machine until the steamed milk is creamy and silky.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a steam wand, then a 32-ounce French press can be used instead. To froth milk in a French press, heat the milk to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, “stretch” the milk with three large plunges — from top to bottom — and “texture” the milk with smaller plunges near the bottom. If large bubbles form, swirl and tap gently to even out the microfoam.
4. Pull Espresso Shots or Brew Hot Coffee
Pull two shots of espresso using your espresso machine. Aim to use about 20 g of ground coffee and produce a yield of 3 ounces.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can use a Moka pot, Aeropress (ideally with an espresso-style attachment or metal filter), or French press. Brew 3 ounces of strong, dark roast coffee.
Pro tip: Always pull your espresso shot into a pre-heated mug. An espresso is such a small volume of liquid that it will cool quickly if it hits a cold glass.
5. Assemble the Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte
Pour three ounces of espresso or hot coffee into the bottom of a 16-ounce coffee mug. Then, pour in the frothed caramel brulee latte base on top, spooning in any remaining foam from the bottom.
Top with whipped cream and liberally sprinkle the caramel brulee crumble evenly on top.
This delicious caramel brulee latte recipe is the perfect coffee treat for those long, cold winters — or any time you need to treat yourself to dessert for breakfast.
With a rich, creamy caramel brulee base, whipped cream, and a sweet-and-smoky brulee crumble topping, this delicious caramel brulee latte recipe will have you embracing the lifestyle of Saint Laurent, Birkin, and Hermes in no time.
Did you make this Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte copycat recipe? Drop us a comment below, in our Home Grounds Facebook group, or tag and follow us on Instagram to tell us all about it!
Yes, you can add extracts to this caramel brulee latte recipe by adding ¼ teaspoon of any extract to the caramel brulee base. We love nut-based extracts like almond or hazelnut, but classic vanilla works too.
You can make this a salted caramel brulee latte by adding an extra pinch of salt to the caramel brulee sauce. Additionally, sprinkle a bit of flaky sea salt over the whipped cream.
Yes, you can use sugar substitutes in the caramel brulee base if you’re concerned about sugar intake or calories. Some sugar alternatives work better than others. For instance, stevia or agave nectar won’t caramelize like sugar, while erythritol and allulose will.
To steam oat milk, start by making sure the milk and the frothing pitcher are cold before frothing. Submerge the head of the steam wand just below the surface for a few seconds. Listen for the paper tearing sound as it pulls air into the oat milk. Finally, submerge the steam wand deeper in the oat milk to create the vortex — tapping and swirling to get rid of any larger bubbles once the oat milk has reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Vasques, D. (2022, December 12). A Brief History Of Creme Brulee – Elmeson-Santafe. Elmeson-Santafe.com. https://elmeson-santafe.com/a-brief-history-of-creme-brulee/
- Taste of Home. (2018). Caramel Creme Brulee. Taste of Home. https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/caramel-creme-brulee/