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How to Make an Iced Cappuccino (Starbucks Copycat Recipe)

Nothing to cap off a whole night’s sleep with a refreshing iced cappuccino! This iced cappuccino recipe is super easy to make. No need to beat the morning rush traffic and book it to Starbucks when you can enjoy a copycat iced cappuccino DIY-Starbucks-style in bed or at your office desk! All you need is espresso, milk, ice, and some spice.

Read how to make an iced cappuccino (copycat iced cappuccino Starbucks recipe).

What you need

  • 1 shot of espresso or strong regular coffee
  • ½ cup of cold milk of your choice
  • 8 ice cubes
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon or cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 milk frother

AT A GLANCE

BREW TIME:

5 minutes

YIELD:

One drink (12 ounces)

Extra Notes:

  • If you don’t have access to a fresh espresso shot, you can use instant or strongly brewed coffee, such as from a French Press.
  • The best type for frothing is 1% or 2% dairy milk. Skim milk or whole milk options work, but the consistency of the drink will taste different.
  • Use barista brand almond, oat, coconut, or soy milk to make a dairy-free, lactose-intolerant, or vegan-friendly version. Each type of milk has its unique taste and will behave differently when frothed, but barista brand versions mimic the ratio of proteins and fats in regular milk and their behaviors when exposed to heat.
  • Sweeteners are not usually incorporated into hot or cold cappuccinos, but that doesn’t mean they’re off-limits to you. Your house, your rules! Sweeten your brew by trying 1 tbsp of maple syrup, refined sugar, or coffee cream. Keep in mind the nutrition calories, especially when it comes to cream, but this is a guaranteed yummy alternative to an iced cappuccino. It will taste delicious and allow you to save money with a customizable recipe that brings the sweet sip of Starbucks to you almost as good as the real thing.

How To Make Iced Cappuccino At Home

What is an iced cappuccino? Simply put, an iced cappuccino is a type of milk coffee featuring a base shot of espresso poured over a lot of ice along with cold milk and topped with a thick layer of cold foam-frothed milk. 

Now, bonus question: what is bone dry cappuccino? As the name implies, it is bone dry of any milk, yet you still have a foamy milk froth layer. Different types of coffee beverages use different types and amounts of milk. Still, as you learn more, you’ll start differentiating between them much more quickly and becoming a milk connoisseur just as much as you are about coffee!

Back to the topic: how do you make a homemade iced cappuccino? Let’s dive in.

Iced Cappuccino

1. Brew Your Espresso

Prepare a single shot of espresso of your choice. For a true Starbucks copycat iced cappuccino, brew Starbucks Espresso Roast by NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto using one capsule if you have a coffee capsule machine, or use 10 g of ground coffee and 40 ml of hot water (1). 

If you want an extra strong iced cappuccino, brew a double shot. If you immediately regret this decision upon tasting how strong you’ve actually prepped your brew, dilute it with more ice cubes, milk, or water if the situation is dire.

Pro Tip: You can still make espresso without an espresso machine using several other creative ways via other coffee brewing methods.

Here are some other methods of espresso making. With an AeroPress, use more coffee than you usually would, about 2 tbsp, and press down firmly on the plunger to mimic the pressure an espresso needs. Add more coffee than you think is necessary with a French Press, and prepare the brew as usual, but with a twist: push the plunger down slowly with steady pressure, raise it back up, and repeat. These two alternatives won’t make the same quality espresso as from an espresso machine, but they’ll do in a pinch and are more often accessible to coffee lovers.

2. Prepare Your Milk

There are different schools of thought when it comes to using cold milk in terms of whether you just splash some in or froth it cold or froth it hot. But we believe that in your own recipe here it is a matter of personal preference. 

To keep the crema of an espresso intact, pour it in after you prepare the ice and milk for the iced cappuccino. But do it before the froth.

Whatever you choose, use ⅓ cup of milk of your choice. Pour this right over the top of the espresso and mix them with a spoon if desired. Use the remaining milk you have allotted for this recipe to froth in a milk frother. Many milk frothers can create a cold froth if you press and hold down the power button for a few seconds, but be sure to double-check the instructions for your specific frother.

Pro Tip: You may not even need a sweetener by playing around with the milk type used. If you want less sweetness in your iced cappuccino, try steaming or using cold raw milk for a heavier body and a mix of caramel and buttery notes. If you prefer a fruitier-flavored coffee with more sweetness, try steaming or using cold pasteurized and unhomogenized milk (2). 

3. Pour Everything Over Ice

To make iced cappuccinos today, you’ll need to have prepared ice cubes in an ice cube tray the night before. Otherwise, set that up now and come back when they’re ready! 

You can also pop into a store and grab a bag of ready-made ice. We recommend using eight ice cubes in a glass, which, depending on the size of your tray, can easily be the whole thing. More ice cubes help cool the hot espresso to enjoy iced coffee drinks better.

Pour your espresso-milk mixture into a tall or short glass depending on your desired quantity. Spoon the milk froth on top.

Pro Tip: Ice cube trays are not just limited to water; you can experiment and freeze any of the base ingredients used in this recipe. We’re talking espresso cubes, French Press strong-brewed coffee cubes, milk cubes, chocolate cubes, etc. Get creative with your iced capps and try out a sweetener that you think makes sense for what you love in your tasty drinks. You can even use them in other iced coffee drinks.

4. Add A Pinch Of Optional Toppings, And Enjoy!

Last but not least, enjoy tasting your delicious sweet brew! Sprinkle on some cinnamon, powdered sugar, or any other great idea for sweeteners you’ve got! 

A tiny splash of vanilla or almond extract flavoring can go a long way and mixes quite wonderfully with this simple iced cappuccino recipe.

Pro Tip: DIY doesn’t have to be 100% DIY. Ultimately, the easiest way to make a cappuccino at home is to invest in a good cappuccino machine. This might feel like cheating, but we all have bad days or unmotivated times, and it’s nice to make a cappuccino from the comfort of your home even if you don’t want to or are not capable of doing so yourself at any moment.

Ready to try another Starbucks copycat recipe? If you liked this one, then check out our Starbucks copycat iced caramel macchiato recipe. It is delicious, cool, and full of caramel!

Final Thoughts

It is possible to have an iced cappuccino ready to be enjoyed from your home within 5 minutes with just some espresso, milk, and ice available. Throw on optional toppings to customize your drink with cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, or any other seasonings or sweeteners, and voila! 

Feel free to experiment using espresso, instant coffee, or strongly brewed coffee. Test out various kinds of milk and see which ones you find to froth better than others while noting their tastes. Try out different ratios of milk to the ice to coffee. Have fun with the process!

FAQs

Yes and no. An iced cappuccino entails a shot of espresso poured over ice with cold or steamed milk and a generous layer of frothed milk cold foam. A cappuccino has equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, making for a smaller-sized coffee of 6 oz. While an iced cappuccino and a regular cappuccino have the same base ingredients of espresso and milk, an iced cappuccino has more ice, less steamed milk, and a larger drink yield overall.

Yes, you can make an iced cappuccino with instant coffee. Instead of using 1 shot of espresso as in this recipe, mix 1 tbsp of instant coffee with an equal amount of boiled water and proceed in the same way. For a decaf option, use decaf instant coffee. We recommend trying 1 tbsp first and then working up if you don’t find it to be strong enough. However, the steps for making a traditional cappuccino are just a bit different.

The difference between an iced latte and an iced cappuccino is the form and amount of milk. An iced latte uses cold or steamed milk poured over a shot of espresso and some ice. You typically add the sweetener and enhance the texture with a thin layer of frothed milk. An iced cappuccino has less steamed or cold milk yet more foam, so the ratios of espresso and steamed and foamed milk are more even. This affects intensity and flavor.

  1. Starbucks Coffee At Home. (n.d.). Iced Cappuccino Recipe. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.starbucksathome.com/recipes/iced-cappuccino
  2. Pramana, T. (2017, September 19). Experimenting With Milk Types for The Best Cappuccino. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/09/experimenting-with-milk-types-for-the-best-cappuccino/
Dasha Toptygina
I am a writer who delves into all manner of things related to coffee, cats, and characters. I started drinking coffee daily in university and now my entire work, life, and personality all revolve around procuring the perfect brew. I start every morning with yoga, French Press coffee, and some special creative time devoted to working on a magical cat café story... but, more on that later.

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