Order up: it’s a caramel iced latte! One of the most beloved iced coffee drinks with a delicious combination of rich espresso, buttery caramel, and creamy, luxurious texture.
Whether you’re looking for your morning caffeine fix or a special pick-me-up, this is your ticket.
Even better? Making an iced latte at home is a cheaper alternative to hitting up your local Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts on the ‘reg. Save time and have the best iced latte you can imagine at a fraction of the cost…?! Yes, please!
So what do you say? Let’s make a homemade version that’s not only more delicious, but budget-friendly…you won’t go back to any other way…it’s just too good. Pinky promise.
Looking for the hot version? Get it here: steamed caramel latte recipe!
Is an Iced Latte the Same as Coffee?
The short of it is that no, they’re not exactly the same. There are two main differences between iced coffee and an iced latte, and it comes down to the type of coffee used, and the milk ratios.
An iced latte is made with espresso, which is much stronger than coffee, and there is more milk in an iced latte, because… latte ratios!
Iced coffee, or similarly, cold brew, are both methods of making regular coffee served over ice, and sometimes milk and other flavorings are added, but neither are essential to the drink.
Eager for more coffee info? Read more about iced lattes in this post, and the differences between iced coffee and cold brew here.
How to Make a Caramel Iced Latte
You’ll need three simple ingredients: espresso (or strong coffee), milk of choice, and caramel syrup.
First: Caramel Syrup
Here’s the thing, you can buy caramel sauce (like I sometimes use in hot lattes) or caramel syrup like they use in the coffee shops, but making the homemade version is about 1,426X better.
It’s really quite easy to do, too, and the result is an ultra-high-quality, flavorful, no-artificial-ingredients caramel syrup that you can use over and over and over. But be warned, it’s going to disappear quickly!
Making the syrup is a pretty hands-off process, but it does require attention. Read more about making it in my homemade caramel syrup recipe post, where you can find all the tips and tricks and insider info.
If you’re using caramel sauce instead of caramel syrup, be sure to stir it into the hot espresso well before continuing to make sure it’s incorporated.
Espresso (or Very Strong Coffee)
If you have an espresso machine, use it!
But I hear you…how can you brew espresso if you don’t have an espresso machine?! Well, friend, I don’t have an espresso machine either. The key, in this case, is to make very strong coffee.
Here are a few ways to make “espresso” or very strong coffee:
- Use cold brew coffee concentrate. The easiest option for iced lattes.
- Traditional Coffee, Strongly Brewed: You will need less water in your coffee-to-water ratio when brewing coffee. The general recommendation is a 15:1 ratio of water to coffee for a strong brew. Ultimately, it depends on your preferences.
- Brew espresso beans or a dark roast for the strongest, deepest coffee flavor
- While you can brew the coffee any method you prefer, a french press is a great option for strong coffee.
- Stovetop Espresso: make espresso on the stovetop using a Moka pot, which is a classic Italian method for brewing strong coffee.
- Use Instant Espresso or strongly brew instant coffee.
- Nespresso: ok, this is a machine but it’s not an official espresso machine (IMO) but rather an easy, at-home option for making espresso without the pricey, fancy machine. So if you have one, of course, use it!
Consider this: if you are using strongly brewed coffee instead of espresso, use more coffee (or less milk) for a more authentic latte flavor.
There isn’t really a wrong way to assemble an iced latte, but because we’re using simple syrup, it helps to combine the espresso/coffee with the syrup first, before adding ice. This ensures the flavor is infused throughout the latte (the ideal situation here).
So add the espresso, stir in the syrup, then add ice to a tall glass. Or add the milk, then the ice. Dealer’s choice here.
For the creamiest texture and most luxurious iced latte, I highly recommend using whole milk. My favorite dairy-free option is oat milk.
Almond milk and soy milk are other comment dairy-free options. That being said, since it’s an iced latte and there’s no frothing required, you have so much flexibility when it comes to milk type, so use what you like best.
And that’s it! Just add in a reusable straw and sip away and enjoy your homemade perfection.
Make a Next-Level Iced Latte
If you really want to take your homemade iced caramel latte to the next level, I am 100% your hype woman.
Add on a big dollop of whipped cream and then really elevate it with a drizzle of caramel sauce (go for that ice cream topping here, you want the thick stuff).
It’s the ultimate treat. Why not live a little?!
If you’re looking to mix it up, give one of these a try!
- Use half vanilla syrup and half caramel (we would call this our dulce de leche at the coffee shop I used to work at).
- Make a “turtle mocha” (caramel and chocolate) by adding chocolate syrup. Then drizzle the whipped cream with caramel and chocolate, and add chopped pecans on top!
- Sprinkle in a dash of cinnamon.
- Make a salted caramel iced latte with a pinch of salt added to the caramel.
- Any variation you’d like! Honestly, this recipe is so customizable! Play around with it and find your perfect creation (then leave a comment below so we can try it, too!)
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Iced Caramel Latte
- 3 ounces espresso (2 shots), or ½ cup strong coffee
- 2 Tablespoons caramel syrup, homemade or store-bought
- 4-6 ounces milk of choice, more or less to taste
- If making homemade caramel syrup, prep it first or even ahead of time.
- Brew espresso or strong coffee as needed (or use cold brew concentrate) and add it to a drinking glass. Stir in the caramel syrup and fill the glass with ice. Top with milk and stir to combine as needed.
- *Ratio: if using strongly brewed coffee instead of espresso, consider using more coffee (or less milk) for a more authentic latte flavor.
- Milk: any type of milk will work; I recommend whole milk or oat milk as a dairy-free option.
- Time: if making homemade caramel syrup at the same time, increase the prep time to about 15 minutes.
- If using thick caramel sauce, stir it in the hot coffee/espresso first until dissolved.