Making caramel iced coffee at home is a smart way to enjoy a fancy drink for a fraction of the cost of your local coffee shop! A drizzle of caramel adds the perfect amount of sweet to this smooth, refreshing, morning treat!

Iced caramel coffee in a tall clear glass.

Buying one of these from any coffee shop comes with the burden of knowing that you really don’t know what’s in it, and you probably don’t want to know! A homemade version of the same thing is healthier, more cost-effective, customizable, and super simple to whip up!

About this recipe

Homemade iced caramel coffee is equal parts delicious, refreshing and easy! It’s a cold glass of cold coffee and milk, drizzled with caramel and topped with the option of whipped cream. It’s so good it could be a dessert!

If you are one to wait in long lines and spend hard-earned dollars at Tim Hortons or Starbucks for a fancy-looking drink, this recipe has your name written all over it.

As tasty as a Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s, Starbucks, or Dunkin’ Donuts version is, making it at home gives you way more bang for your buck! It is the best of both worlds because not only are you saving mega dollars during the week, but you’re saving so much time too. It also means you can control exactly what you’re putting in it and there are no secret syrups, sugars, or fats in there.

So, the next time you whip up your caramel iced coffee (some days with extra caramel just because), take it to work in your fancy to-go mug, roll down the windows, let the summer breeze blow through your hair, and wave to all the folks waiting in that long drive-through line!

Overhead view of an iced coffee with a straw.

What you need

  • Milk – Can use whichever milk you normally would. Cream or half and half works too for a more decadent drink.
  • Instant coffee – The amount you add depends on how strong you like yours. If you prefer, you could also use 1-2 shots of espresso.
  • Caramel – Store-bought caramel sauce is an easy add-in. If you happen to make your own, use it instead!
  • Ice – Used to make this iced coffee iced.
  • Optional: Whipped cream for topping. Can’t go wrong with that!
Three glasses of iced coffee topped with whipped cream.

How to make it

Mix the milk and coffee together until combined.

Milk and coffee mixed together.

Holding the glass at an angle, drizzle the caramel around the glass.

Caramel drizzled in an empty glass.

Next, add the ice and pour the coffee in.

Latte being poured over ice in a tall clear glass.

Add some whipped topping on top and serve immediately.

Iced latte, topped with whipped cream, in a tall glass with a brown straw.

FAQs

What is a caramel swirl iced coffee?


A caramel swirl iced coffee is a caramel iced coffee with a fancier name! This recipe calls for drizzling the caramel around the edge of glass allowing it to fall in and combine with the milk and coffee to infuse the drink with that delicious caramel. There are versions where the caramel is the last thing that gets added and “swirled” into the drink, which turns it into a swirled iced coffee. It’s all the same in the end!

Is iced coffee bad for you?

That depends. Iced coffee on its own, is literally cold coffee. There is much debate as to what health benefits drinking coffee has, so it’s difficult to say whether coffee is bad for you. Plus, “health” is of course very subjective.

It’s only when you start adding in all sorts of tasty additions, then you can start to see why some would question. In a nutshell, any of those fancy drinks you buy at your local coffee shop…probably not good for you. Loads of added sugar, fat, and it’s more of those things than it is actual coffee.

When you customize it to your liking at home, you can definitely make it a healthier version, turning something that is bad for you into something that could be quite good for you!

Close up of iced coffee topped with whipped cream.

How to make this iced coffee your own

  • This recipe is for 1 person. Easily double or triple it for more.
  • Use salted caramel for a salted caramel iced coffee.
  • Instant coffee is great for having something quick but you could use cold, already brewed coffee if you prefer. Espresso works great as well.
  • To make this dairy-free, use vanilla flavored almond milk and skip the whipped topping.
  • To make this refined sugar-free, make a homemade version of caramel sauce using coconut sugar, ghee, almond milk, and vanilla.
  • For a little added garnish, sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the whipped topping, or an extra drizzle of caramel.
Overhead view of iced latte.

Other Breakfast Beverages

Overhead view of iced caramel coffee with a brown straw.

Get the Recipe: Caramel Iced Coffee

Making caramel iced coffee at home is a smart way to enjoy a fancy drink for a fraction of the cost of your local coffee shop! A drizzle of caramel adds the perfect amount of sweet to this smooth, refreshing, morning treat!
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso add more or less depending on how strong you like yours
  • 2-3 tablespoons caramel
  • 1 cup ice
  • whipped topping optional

Instructions

  • Mix the milk and coffee together until combined.
  • Drizzle the caramel around the glass then add the ice and pour the coffee in.
  • Add some whipped topping on top and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Nutrition information does not include whipped cream topping.
Calories: 262kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 26mg, Sodium: 190mg, Potassium: 390mg, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 408IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 324mg, Iron: 1mg