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How to Make a Frappuccino (Easy Recipe to DIY at Home!)

Frappuccinos are a coffee shop staple and are the perfect way to drink coffee in the summer without overheating. It is surprisingly easy to make a frappuccino at home with this simple recipe. And it is likely to be your new favourite coffee with its potential for endless customization, oozing with goodness like caramel sauce or chocolate syrup.

Read on to learn how to make a simple frappuccino and how to make a Starbucks copycat version that’s even better.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 2 cups of ice
  • 2 shots of espresso (or 1 cup of really strong coffee)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tbsps of sweetener
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Chocolate syrup (optional – other flavours are also encouraged!)

AT A GLANCE

BREW TIME

10-15 minutes

YIELD

One drink (350 ml)

Extra Notes:

  • You can use any type of coffee to make a frappuccino, although medium roast or dark roast Arabica blends work best as you’ll draw out the inherent cocoa notes in these coffee beans.
  • If you skip the whipped cream topping but want an extra bit of chocolate flavour, try blending some chocolate chips, cocoa powder, or chocolate syrup into your iced coffee drink. Edible pearls also add a nice crunchy texture.
  • Use semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips if you are vegan or lactose-intolerant. There are also some delicious dairy-free whipped cream options (1).
  • Aim to finish drinking your frappuccino within 3 to 4 hours of making it. You can leave it in the fridge for longer, up to 24 hours. But as with any dairy-based coffee drink, toss it if it looks or smells off.
  • Looking for some flavoured simple syrup ideas? My favourite is using chocolate syrup to make my own version of a mocha frappuccino drink. Other traditional flavours work equally well, including hazelnut, vanilla, and salted caramel sauce. If you want to try something more unique, I recommend strawberry or pumpkin pie spice syrup. You can buy any of these syrups or try making a DIY one!
  • If you want to make a vanilla frappuccino without vanilla syrup, try putting a couple of drops of vanilla extract into your blended drink mixture to provide the desired powerful vanilla aroma without the added sugar.
  • Consider a nitro latte for a healthier coffee option that’s still sweet and creamy (2).
  • Use chocolate syrup inside a glass and on top of the whipped cream for some awesome chocolatey goodness.
simple frappuccino recipe

4 Steps: How To Make A Frappuccino At Home

What is a frappuccino? At its most basic, a Frappuccino is just blended espresso, milk, and ice. But at its most decadent, a Frappuccino can be a delicious mix of coffee and dessert.

Frappuccino ingredients and their ratios vary depending on your preferences and dietary restrictions. Making one starts with a simple coffee frappuccino, but it can be made into a fancier variation like a salted caramel frappuccino with the addition of one or more personalized ingredients.

If you are excited to make and try some other recipes of coffee drinks you can make at home that are similar to this blended coffee drink, take a look at these different iced coffee recipes. For a fancier version of a simple frappuccino recipe, I recommend starting with the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Recipe, featuring chocolate syrup, Oreos, and other fun surprises. If you want a variation on the basic frappuccino, learn more about the frappé or the freddo, both of which have Greek origins (3).

Here is a breakdown of how to make a Starbucks frappuccino at home, with suggested modifications along the way.

1. Prepare The Ice

Put 2 cups of cubed ice into sealable bags and crush them with the back of a spoon, or crush the ice cubes using a blender. Start with the lowest setting on your blender and slowly increase it over time to the highest one. A blender is not mandatory for this step but makes it much more manageable.

For even better results, cover the crushed ice in the blender halfway with ice water. When making my frappuccino for this article, I used 1 cup of ice cubes and 1 and a half cups of coffee ice cubes, blending for 15 seconds.

frappuccino-ice-cubes
frappuccino-coffee-cubes
frappuccino-ice-cubes-blender
frappuccino-crushed-ice

Pro Tip: For a stronger frappuccino, freeze pre-made espresso or regular strong brewed coffee into coffee ice cubes. This is a great use for any leftover coffee from your last brew. You could also make cubed milk if you want a smoother and thicker drink resembling a milkshake, but don’t leave it in the freezer too long or it will get flaky. Don’t try freezing sweetened condensed milk, as it will never fully solidify – learned that one from experience!

2. Prepare The Espresso (Or Really Strong Coffee)

Depending on how caffeinated you want your beverage, you will need to make 1 or 2 shots of espresso. If you’re unsure what coffee to choose, I suggest a quality dark or medium roast espresso blend for the classic coffee flavour profile. But feel free to experiment to suit your taste.

Looking for an easy frappuccino recipe without espresso? If you do not have an espresso maker, 90 ml of strong brewed coffee also works. Brew with a coffee maker like a French Press, Moka pot, or Aeropress for best results. I recommend using freshly ground dark roast beans to brew your coffee for the richest flavour.

frappuccino-french-press
frappuccino-with-coffee

Pro Tip: Starbucks uses a special Frappuccino Roast, which is made by dissolving instant coffee powder at room temperature in water. It is often then combined with an espresso shot upon request. To make a homemade version of this Starbucks coffee base, you will need 2 tbsps of instant coffee, a pinch of food additive thickener, 2 tbsps of sugar, a dash of salt, and a splash of vanilla extract (4). Having this base on hand makes it quick and easy to whip up a frappuccino anytime.

3. Blend Together Ice, Espresso (Or Coffee), Milk, And Sweetener

Add the prepared ice to your blender if you have not already done so. Then add the espresso (or coffee) along with 1 cup of milk and 2 tbsps of sweetener. I suggest 2% milk, which is what is used in Starbucks frappuccinos, but non-dairy milk alternatives like oat, soy, and almond milk work well, too.

The microbubbles that are formed from 2% milk’s high protein content produce a just-right creaminess with a light texture.

For your sweetener, use granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, sweetened condensed milk, or an artificial sugar substitute of your choice. Experiment with more or less than 2 tbsps of sweetener, depending on your personal preferences. For example, I used 1 cup of chocolate almond milk and 2 tbsps of brown sugar.

frappuccino-milk-coffee-blend

Pro Tip: Some blenders overheat if they are left running for too long in one sitting, so turn it off briefly every half a minute for a few seconds before resuming blending. Not all blenders are like this, so check the manufacturer’s guide for your specific blender.

4. Pour Into A Glass With Optional Toppings, And Enjoy!

Now is not the time to skimp out on adding personalized touches to your icy delicacy. This may be a simple frappuccino recipe, but you can make it a vibrant coffee drink by adding some creative flourishes!

I suggest you first fill your glass halfway with your blended mixture, then add a bit more cold milk of your choice before topping off the drink with the rest of your blend. The milk in the middle helps to thin the texture of the slush, making it easier to drink right away. For an even fancier presentation, drizzle syrup on the insides of a clear glass before pouring.

If you are gluten-free or dairy-free, check the ingredients in flavoured syrups and whipped cream before use. These may contain allergens.

A traditional frappuccino is topped with whipped cream. Add a dollop of whipped cream, swirling it in a circular motion with an extra bit of flair at the top. Drizzle on some syrup in a zig-zag fashion. Powder on some brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or sprinkles. Add some more whipped cream if desired, and repeat the process of garnishing. Drink immediately and enjoy your creative caffeinated concoction.

Voila!

frappuccino-drizzle-inside
frappuccino-milk-in
frappuccino-base
frappuccino-final

Pro Tip: Before you pour in your blended mixture, add some maple syrup to the bottom of your glass to satisfy your sweet tooth, a suggestion brought to you by – you may have guessed it – a Canadian writer and coffee lover.

Final Thoughts

Homemade frappuccinos are one of the most delicious and straightforward cafe recipes to replicate. All you need for this simple frappuccino recipe is ice, espresso or regular coffee, milk, sweetener, and a fun garnish to top it off after blending.

You can get creative with your frappuccino after mastering the recipe basics to discover variations of your favourite drink! Try adding chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, vanilla, caramel sauce, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, or instant espresso. There is no right or wrong way to make a frappuccino if you enjoy the process (and the delicious result).

FAQs

The difference between a frappe and a frappuccino is that a traditional frappuccino is made with espresso or a strong brewed coffee, whereas a frappe is made with instant coffee. The Frappuccino was invented by George Howell, who named it by combining “frozen” and “cappuccino,” and then sold to Starbucks (5). The Greek Frappe is a traditional shaken drink popular in Greece and around the Mediterranean (6). 

No, not all frappuccinos have coffee in them. Starbucks offers frappuccinos that are either coffee-based or crème-based. The Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino, Mocha Frappuccino, and Java Chip Frappuccino have coffee, but the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Crème Frappuccino, Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino, and the Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino do not.

Frappuccinos have caffeine if they are coffee-based and sometimes if they are crème-based. Crème-based frappuccinos do not have coffee, but caffeine can still be found in the chocolate or tea ingredients used in these drinks. Starbucks makes coffee-based frappuccinos that vary in caffeine content from 85 mg to 155 mg, depending on the size of the drink before any additional espresso shots. You can get a crème-based frappuccino without caffeine; however it depends on the type ordered. (7)

You make a frappuccino thicker using Xanthan gum powder, a common food additive (8). More ice also thickens the consistency of the drink, but ensure not to overuse it, or your homemade frappuccino will become too watery, and the coffee will separate from the crushed ice. You can also experiment with using a heavier type of milk like whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, or whipped cream

Frappuccinos at their most basic can be healthy, but the dessert versions are best consumed in moderation. They are high in sugar, calories, and fat, so this is more of an occasional treat than a daily must-have. For a healthier version, skip the whipped cream topping, chocolate chips, flavoured syrups, and added sugar. Use less sugar or sugar-free syrups, and look for low-fat, fat-free, or skim milk options. Or try a milk alternative like coconut, oat, soy, or almond milk.

  1. Fleming, A. (2020, November 18). The Complete Guide to Dairy-Free & Vegan Whipped Cream. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.godairyfree.org/news/nutrition-headlines/how-to-find-or-make-dairy-free-and-vegan-whipped-cream
  2. Kanniah, J. C. (2021, November 16). What is a nitro latte? Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/11/what-is-a-nitro-latte/
  3. Grant, T. (2021, December 9). Exploring Greek coffee shop culture. Retrieved August 5, 2022, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/12/exploring-greek-coffee-shop-culture/
  4. Starbucks. (n.d.). Espresso Frappuccino® Blended Beverage. Retrieved August 5, 2022, from https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/500/iced/nutrition
  5. Grant, T. (2020, February 25). An Exploration of Greek Frappés. Retrieved August 5, 2022, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/02/an-exploration-of-greek-frappes/
  6. Lawrence, K. (2019, July 5). The Frappuccino as Rite of Passage. Retrieved August 5, 2022, from https://www.eater.com/2019/7/5/20680276/frappuccino-starbucks-history-who-invented
  7. Brew That Coffee. (2021, December 19). Do StarbucksFrappuccinos Have Caffeine? Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://brewthatcoffee.com/do-starbucks-frappuccinos-have-caffeine/
  8. Kevin. (2022, March 23). How do you make a Frappuccino thicker? Retrieved August 5, 2022, from https://eatingexpired.com/how-do-you-make-a-frappuccino-thicker/
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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