Caramel Macchiato

caramel macchiato

The Spruce

Prep: 1 mins
Cook: 1 mins
Total: 2 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 drink
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
202 Calories
2g Fat
38g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 202
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 186mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 37g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 316mg 24%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 448mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There's no need to spend extra money to enjoy a warming, tasty cup of caramel macchiato. This delectable and frothy coffee treat, made famous by coffee spots around the world, is easy to make at home for a fraction of the price. With only four ingredients, you can try and make your own vanilla syrup and caramel sauce to have at hand for a daily dose of caramel macchiato heaven. If you're blessed with an espresso machine at home there is no doubt that a shot of espresso coffee is the best choice for this beverage, but in a pinch using instant espresso can also yield a tasty drink. Very strongly brewed coffee can also be a good alternative.

In Italian, the term "macchiato" means "stained" or "spotted", which refers to the small amount of foamy milk used to "stain" a shot of espresso for a traditional "caffè macchiato." The name was loosely adapted to this beverage, which is a "stained" shot of espresso topped with a drizzle of caramel and a substantial amount of milk—which technically makes it a latte, as macchiatos don't have that much milk.

With only four ingredients and a milk frother, you can have this drink in your hand in no time. If you don't have a milk frother, there are a few tricks on how to achieve the foamy texture without, like carefully shaking hot milk in a mason jar, pumping the milk in a French press, or whisking the milk on the stovetop while it heats up. For a dairy-free vegan alternative, use almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk. The higher the fat content of the plant-based beverage, the more successfully the milk will foam.


  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla syrup

  • 1 shot espresso, hot

  • 1 tablespoon caramel sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather your ingredients.

    ingredients for hot caramel macchiato

    The Spruce

  2. Steam the milk either in a steamer, on the stovetop, or in the microwave. Add the vanilla syrup, then froth the milk mixture with your desired frother.

    steamed milk

    The Spruce

  3. Add the hot espresso to your mug. Top with the steamed milk. Drizzle the caramel sauce on top. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

    caramel macchiato

    The Spruce

How can I make espresso without a machine?

We wish the answer would be as simple as "all you need is water and coffee," but to achieve the closest thing to an espresso you do need one of three appliances—which luckily are not as expensive as an espresso machine:

  • The classic Italian Moka: This beautifully designed coffee maker has three chambers: the bottom is filled with water, the medium chamber holds coffee grounds, and the upper chamber is where the resulting strong coffee will end up. By heating the water at the bottom, pressure makes it go up to the coffee chamber where it mixes with the finely ground coffee and ultimately travels to the empty chamber on top. This coffee is stronger than drip coffee, and the stronger the roast and the bigger the amount of coffee that you use per cup of water, the darker the resulting coffee will be. For this method, you'd need at least two tablespoons of strong coffee per 1/2 cup of water.
  • The useful French press: With this elegant device that's available in all price ranges, you can make a great strong coffee. By pressing hot water and coffee that have been steeping in the same chamber for a few minutes, you obtain a beautifully dark cup of joe. The strength of the resulting coffee depends on the type of coffee you're using. For this method, you'l need at least two tablespoons of strong coffee per cup of water.
  • The fancy Aeropress: These are similar in price to well-known brands of French presses. The coffee and hot water sit in one chamber, and they're pressed directly into your mug by pushing down by hand. The resulting coffee is smooth and lower in acidity, as advertised by the manufacturers, and can make an espresso shot in less than a minute. You'd need to buy high-quality finely ground dark roast coffee, and a heaping tablespoon of it is advised per each cup of water.

If you don't have any of the above options at hand, use your drip coffee maker, but double the amount of coffee you'd regularly used per cup and be sure to have a strong roast when making espresso for this recipe.

Additions and Substitutions

There are many ways of playing with this recipe. Here are a few of our favorite takes on the caramel macchiato:

  • Salted caramel macchiato: Sprinkle sea salt flakes on top of the caramel sauce and stir a sprinkle of salt into the vanilla and milk combination. 
  • Cocoa caramel macchiato: Add a drizzle of chocolate syrup along with the caramel sauce on top of the coffee. If preferred, mix more chocolate syrup with the milk for extra chocolate flavor. 
  • Cinnamon caramel macchiato: Use cinnamon syrup instead of vanilla syrup. Top the espresso with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 
  • Creamy caramel macchiato: Add whipped cream on top of the milk and drizzle with caramel sauce.
  • Double caramel macchiato: Add an extra tablespoon of caramel sauce to the bottom of your mug.