How to Make an Iced Caramel Macchiato (A Recipe)
So you want an iced caramel macchiato to beat the heat during the dog days of summer? Why not skip the long lines, the trip to the gas station, and the hassle of changing out of your pajamas and make your iced caramel macchiato instead? Trust us. It’s worth it.
What You Need
- Three tablespoons (1.5 ounces) of homemade vanilla syrup
- Eight ounces of cold milk
- Three 1.5-ounce shots of fresh espresso (4.5 fluid ounces in total)
- Cold brew coffee ice cubes
- Homemade caramel sauce, drizzled to taste
- Espresso machine
- Espresso grinder
- Ice cube tray
- Measuring cups and spoons
At A Glance
For the Homemade Vanilla Syrup
- Two cups water
- One cup of granulated sugar
- One cup of dark brown sugar, packed
- One vanilla bean
- ⅛ teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract
For the Homemade Caramel Sauce
- One cup of granulated sugar
- One cup of dark brown sugar
- One cup water
- One cup of warm whole milk
- Two tablespoons of salted butter
For the Cold Brew Coffee Ice Cubes
- 16 ounces of fresh cold brew coffee
How to Make an Iced Caramel Macchiato at Home
So, let’s address the burning question we know is on the tip of everyone’s tongue: Isn’t an iced caramel macchiato just a traditional macchiato with caramel and ice? No, and no.
You see, eons ago, in 1996, a particular siren-themed coffee shop—I’m looking at you, Starbucks—put the iced caramel macchiato on the map. Unbeknownst to much of the latte-loving public, this new-fangled coffee craze was worlds apart from your classic latte macchiato. And it’s a far cry from an espresso macchiato, too.
Related: 45 Best Starbucks Drinks To Try This Season
So, what’s an iced caramel macchiato? An espresso-based drink with a bit of milk, a little vanilla syrup, ice, and caramel sauce—measured from the heart.
To make this iced caramel macchiato, you’ll need to use the best espresso beans and a great espresso machine.
Home Grounds has included recipes for cold brew cubes, vanilla syrup, and a creamy, fudgy caramel sauce for the most delicious results. But, if you need your morning coffee, like, now, then store-bought versions of the syrup and the sauce will work just well.
1. Make Your Cold Brew Ice Cubes
Add 16 ounces of cold brew to a tray to make these coffee cubes. Then, put the tray into the freezer to chill.
Pro Tip: While you can certainly use store-bought cold brew, we suggest making your own with either dark roast or light roast coffee for the tastiest results.
2. Make Your Caramel Sauce
In a saucepan, combine one cup of granulated sugar, one cup of brown sugar, and one cup of water. Cover it with a lid, and allow it to come to a boil at medium-high heat.
Once the water is boiling, remove the lid and cook the caramel until it turns a deep golden brown. You’re looking for a deep, caramel aroma.
Then, slowly stir in one cup of warm milk with a whisk. Be patient and gentle with this step, as your milk can boil up, and your caramel may separate if you add the milk in too quickly. Also, hot, melted sugar can make for some not-nice burns, so put on oven mitts if you’d like.
Next, return your caramel-and-milk mixture to the heat, and let it meld together at a slight boil. Continue gently whisking until it thickens up to a sauce-like consistency.
Lastly, take your sauce off the heat. Cut your two tablespoons of salted butter into cubes and slowly whisk it into your sauce. You’re looking to create a fudgy, creamy consistency.
Once everything is well-incorporated, and the mixture is cool, transfer it into a separate container.
Pro Tip: This homemade caramel sauce can be made ahead of time and is great for topping ice cream sundaes and other desserts.
Also, since this step involves a lot of whisking, why not save yourself the arm workout and try a double-balloon whisk? In short, this whisk looks like a regular balloon whisk with a small stainless steel cage and ball bearing inside. The theory goes that as you whisk your ingredients, the extra heft of the ball bearing inside the inner cage helps to aerate your mixture faster.
For even better results, gently whisk the sauce from side to side, not in circles or with a beating motion. Why? The side-to-side motion of a whisk applies more sheer force to one layer of the mixture, which helps the rest of the mixture combine evenly.
3. Make Your Vanilla Syrup
To make the vanilla syrup, combine two cups of water, one cup of granulated sugar, one cup of brown sugar, and a vanilla bean in a saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce it to a low simmer.
Oversee this mixture and wait until all the sugars fully dissolve into the solution. Feel free to whisk everything together to help it along gently.
Once all the sugars have dissolved, take this syrup off the heat, remove the vanilla bean, and let it cool. Then, transfer the mixture into a separate container.
Pro Tip: You can make this vanilla syrup ahead of time. Also, you can use it in any recipe that calls for vanilla flavoring.
4. Mix Your Vanilla Syrup into Cold Whole Milk
Take a 20-ounce glass and mix in three tablespoons of vanilla syrup with eight ounces of cold, whole milk. Gently stir to combine.
Pro Tip: If you want to keep this recipe dairy-free, feel free to substitute oat milk for the whole milk.
5. Grind Your Beans and Brew Your Espresso
Next, grind enough coffee beans to make three shots of espresso using an espresso machine. Since we’re making three or 4.5 ounces of fresh espresso shots, you’ll want to grind 21-24 grams of coffee.
To do this, prep your double-shot portafilter as you usually would for a regular doppio. Then, once you’ve pulled those shots, immediately pour them into your milk-and-vanilla syrup, prep your third shot, and pour that in.
Pro Tip: Don’t mistake brewing your triple espresso shots into a mug and then pouring it into the milk and vanilla syrup. It takes only ten seconds for your espresso shots to become bitter if it’s allowed to sit.
6. Assemble Your Iced Caramel Macchiato
Drizzle caramel syrup inside the glass for decoration. Then, add ice coffee cubes with vanilla syrup and milk into the glass. Then, gently stir to combine the espresso, vanilla syrup, milk, and ice.
Finally, drizzle your caramel sauce on top. And at long last, your iced caramel macchiato is ready to enjoy.
Related: Do you like vanilla-flavored drinks? Here’s where you can learn to make Starbucks vanilla iced latte at home. Or if you want a custardy coffee, try this Starbucks copycat caramel brulee latte!
Phew, that was a long recipe, wasn’t it? But, as with everything else, all good things take time. So, why not treat yourself this weekend and whip up this delicious iced caramel macchiato at home? You deserve it.
Did you make iced caramel macchiato using this recipe? If you did, do tell us about it. We’d love to hear from you in the comments and in our Facebook group.
Yes, you can make a hot caramel macchiato by adding your vanilla syrup into a heat-safe mug, foaming your milk, and then brewing your espresso. Lastly, drizzle your caramel sauce on top of the foam.
Yes, you can use cold brew concentrate instead of espresso. You can even use any strong-brewed coffee. Add it in along with your cold brew ice cubes, vanilla syrup, and cold milk.
Absolutely, you can drizzle chocolate sauce on top, along with the caramel sauce. For a subtler cocoa note, use chocolate cold brew coffee concentrate instead.