This homemade Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice drink may become one of your new favorite warm winter drinks. Made 2 ways with a few simple ingredients.
In essence, Starbucks’ Caramel Apple Spice is made with one cup of apple juice, and one to two tablespoons of Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Syrup. Then, it’s topped with whipped cream and a swirl of caramel sauce.
If you’ve never had it, you need to try it! After tasting it for the first time, it instantly became my holiday drink of choice. It tastes like Christmas in a cup! For the longest time, I didn’t order anything else at Starbucks. If you are not a coffee drinker, it’s also a warm drink you can try other than hot chocolate.
In the recipe card, I provide instructions to make it two ways – from a packet or from scratch. Both are delicious, and both can be customized.
Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice Ingredients
Cinnamon Dolce Syrup
When I first started making this recipe, I bought a bottle of Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Syrup and a pump. Most Starbucks will sell these directly to you if you ask. Now, I will warn you. This is a LOT of syrup, and it will last you a LONG time. In fact, I had my original bottle for years before I decided it wasn’t safe to use it any more. Since I didn’t use it all before it went bad, I rarely buy it anymore.
You can also buy Torani or DaVinci cinnamon syrups for a fraction of the price of the Starbucks brand. These will give you the same flavors as the Starbucks version. Any of these flavored syrups can save you a lot of money. They may not taste exactly the same, but it will be very close.
Although, if you want to save even MORE money, you can make your own syrup. Most of the time, this is what I do now. Even better, I bet you have all the ingredients you need to make it in your pantry right now.
TIP: To make your own Cinnamon Dolce Syrup combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and simmer in a pot over medium heat for 5 minutes until it reduces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. If you want to lower the sugar even more, you can use a Low-Carb Brown Sugar Substitute instead of the regular brown sugar.
Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll need one tablespoon of syrup for this recipe. If you really want to amp up the flavor, you can use two tablespoons. But start with one first, and add more to taste if you want.
Apple Juice or Apple Cider Base
The next thing you’ll need for this recipe is to decide what to use for your apple base. If you prefer to make this from scratch, use 1 cup of your favorite apple juice or apple cider. I’ve made this recipe with inexpensive bottled apple juice, and it still turns out well.
Or if you want a shelf-stable, convenient product, try using regular or low sugar apple cider packets. Recently, I’ve loved using these apple cider packets since they already have a hint of spice in them, and I can make a single-single serving very easily.
Caramel Apple Spice Toppings
Finally, to take this drink over the top, you’ll need whipped topping and caramel sauce. You can make these from scratch or buy store-bought varieties. While these ingredients are optional, I think they really add to the flavor. Plus, it makes the drink so pretty and inviting. I especially love the contrast of the cool whipped cream and the hot apple juice.
Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice Equipment
No matter what preparation method you use, you’ll need to warm the apple juice base, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Then, top the warmed mixture with caramel sauce and whipped cream. It’s so easy to do at home.
When I make this recipe, I use the Cocomotion. But as far as I know it has been discontinued. Even though it has been discontinued, I need to take a minute and tell you about my love for this machine.
The Cocomotion is the first appliance I ever owned. As a teenager, I asked for it for Christmas. And, over 15 years later, it’s still one of my favorite appliances. It has markers on the side for easy water measuring. The lid swivels to keep the spout closed or open. For easy cleanup, fill the Cocomotion with water and a drop of soap, and click the on button to start a clean cycle. And warms the liquid to the PERFECT temperature that’s not too hot but not too cold. Plus, as it mixes, it whips hot chocolate or other drinks perfectly so they are light and airy. Guys, I love this thing.
While I haven’t tried them, there are a few other hot chocolate makers that are available today. This West Bend Cocoa Crazy Hot Chocolate Maker has a lot of the same features I love about my Cocomotion, and it has pretty good reviews. If my Cocomotion ever dies, I think this is the one I would buy to replace it.
The next best alternative you can use is a hand-held milk frother. To use this, warm up your liquid either on the stove or in a microwave-safe mug. Next, add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Then, use the milk frother to whip everything together.
Or, you can also mix everything with a spoon. Just be sure to mix well so everything dissolves and there are no clumps of cinnamon!
Want More Copycat Starbucks Recipes?
If you want a sweet pastry to go with your copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice, try my recipe for One Bowl Banana Bread. Personally, I think is better than Starbucks! Plus, it will save you lots of money to make it at home too.
Or, if you are looking for other drink ideas, try my copycat Starbucks Healthy Pumpkin Spice Frappe. It’s only 75 calories and costs less than $2 to make.
Another warm winter drink at our house is this Cranberry Ginger Hibiscus Tea. It is tart, floral, spicy, and slightly sweet.
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How to Make Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice
Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice
- 1 packet Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Mix*
- 1 cup Water*
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon*
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Whipped Topping
- 2 tbsp Caramel Sauce
Hot Chocolate Maker Directions
- Add water, apple juice mix, cinnamon, and brown sugar to the hot chocolate maker. According to the manufacturer's directions, turn the hot chocolate maker on to allow the ingredients to mix together and warm through.
- Add water, apple juice mix, cinnamon, and brown sugar to a pan. Heat the mixture on medium for about 3-5 minutes until the liquid is just simmering. Use a milk frother, whisk, or a spoon to dissolve the brown sugar and incorporate the cinnamon.
- Add water, apple juice mix, cinnamon, and brown sugar to a microwave-safe mug. Heat for 60-90 seconds until liquid is warmed through.
- Add 1 tbsp of caramel sauce into the bottom of a heat-proof mug. Pour the hot liquid on top of the caramel. Top with whipped cream topping and remaining caramel sauce. Sip and enjoy!