Fresh Family Meals Made for Everyday Life

Salted Caramel Mocha

Recipe At-A-Glance
Vegetarian, Gluten-Free15 min
Nothing beats a rich mocha on a cold winter morning. Here is a quick and easy version of salted caramel mocha that you have to try.
Two coffee drinks in glass mugs next to jars of salted caramel sauce.

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When I heard that Starbucks wasn’t bringing its salted caramel mocha back in 2021, I decided to whip up one of these seasonal mochas from scratch for myself. It is sweet, but not too sweet, a little bit salty, and perfectly rich and decadent. And now I’m going to share my coffeeshop copycat recipe magic with you, so that you can replicate it at home yourself!

What’s the difference between a mocha and a latte?

A latte is just espresso with steamed milk added—there may also be flavored syrups stirred in, giving you drinks like a vanilla latte or hazelnut latte. A mocha is a type of latte that has chocolate added to the espresso and the milk. In this case, we add both salted caramel sauce and chocolate to make a salted caramel mocha.

Overhead shot of small bowls and liquid measuring cups holding mocha ingredientsCaramel sauce is drizzled over a salted caramel mocha

What’s the best coffee to use for a mocha?

For the most authentic mocha, you’ll want to use espresso shots. This small espresso pot is incredibly affordable and doesn’t take up a ton of space.

But if you don’t have an espresso maker and don’t want to buy one, you can use drip coffee or French press. Just be sure to pick a dark roast (or even an espresso roast), or the coffee flavor will get lost among the caramel and chocolate.

What’s the best milk to use for a salted caramel mocha?

Most coffee shops use 2% cow’s milk as their standard milk, but truly, any kind of milk will work. We recommend whole milk for a richer, creamier flavor. But you can also use skim or 1% milk, which will make a less creamy mocha, or half and half for an even richer flavor. Or, use any plant-based milk!

Overhead shot of two fully loaded coffee drinks

Can you make a vegan mocha?

Sure can! We’ve made coffee drinks like this one with lots of different plant-based milks, and enjoyed the ones made with oat milk or full-fat coconut milk from the can the most—they give the creamiest mocha experience! Experiment with different plant-based milks to find your favorite.

Can I make this salted caramel mocha recipe decaf?

Absolutely! It’s easy to take the caffeine out of this mocha—just use decaf coffee or espresso instead of full-speed.



Two coffee drinks in glass mugs next to jars of salted caramel sauce.

Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha Recipe

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Adapted from The Motherload.

Nothing beats a rich mocha on a cold winter morning. Here is a quick and easy version of salted caramel mocha that you have to try.


For the drink:

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup hot, strong coffee (I did 4 tablespoons of coffee to 1 cup water in a French press) or 2 shots of espresso
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons caramel sauce (my favorite recipe)

For the topping:

  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel sauce


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk over low heat until very hot. Remove from heat and froth milk with a frother, whisk or immersion blender. Or, pour into a mason jar, screw on lid and shake until very frothy.
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk together the coffee, cocoa, sugar and caramel sauce. Split the coffee mixture between two mugs.
  3. Pour the hot milk and foam into the coffee, dividing evenly between the two mugs.
  4. For the topping, mix together salt and sugar. Top each mug with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce and a hefty sprinkling of the salt and sugar mixture.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 mocha
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 195Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 333mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 6g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.



Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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28 Responses
  1. Jo

    Thanks so much for this post, I’m from London, UK and made this today as it poured down with rain outside, I felt so comforted and happy! I thought I’d mention that I used butterscotch sauce as I didn’t have caramel sauce on hand, but it tastes lovely!!

  2. Andre Racicot

    Same recipe, but use smoked sea salt! Starbucks uses this smoked salt-sugar combo, which they flat out refuse to sell to me, so I made my own!

  3. I am always intrigued by salted caramel anything but haven’t tried well, anything yet! I should change that soon…

    I was at Starbizzle on the weekend and went with a Skinny Peppermint Decaf Mocha – I love the mint chocolate combo! And here is a funny story, I actually asked if there was egg nog in the egg nog latte – maybe I should have had full on caffeine 🙂

    1. Cassie

      Ooooh! The combo of salt + caramel + chocolate is definitely one of my favorites. And I LOVE mint and chocolate together. But I’m saving my first Peppermint Mocha for the day after Thanksgiving. That plus a little Christmas music and tree trimming sounds perfect. 🙂

  4. Sara

    This. This is why I love your blog. You balance the 80/20 ideology very well. Healthy, fuel your body, nutritious food 80% of the time and feed your soul, too good to pass up food 20% of the time.

    Love it – this looks delicious.

  5. I had one of those at starbucks the other day… quite delicious! But I did find myself gravitating towards the peppermint mocha, so I think that will be my next selection (I am a starbucks addict, and I freely admit it.)

    This looks so delicious though! Even better than starbucks!

    1. Cassie

      I would love to be a Starbucks addict (seriously, there is nothing better than having a Starbucks cup in your hand), but I just can’t justify the funds. Especially when I can make the same things at home!

  6. That looks awesome Cass! My fave coffee is Caribou’s Ho Ho Mocha (aka white chocolate mocha with a shot of peppermint topped with whip and peppermint candy – oh so naughty).

    1. Cassie

      Oooh! We have something similar to that at a local coffee shop called the White Zombie. I don’t even like white chocolate but that stuff is goooo-oood!

  7. Peppermint Mocha is my go to – as, like you, I’m mostly a Starbucks gal in autumn/winter so I feel my weekly trips are justified 🙂 although I will WILL DEFINITELY be hitting up the salted caramel asap! And yours too – looks ahhhhhmazing 🙂

  8. SaraD

    I have tried the Starbucks salted mocha and I found it unbearably sweet. I do have a soft spot in my heart for PSLs and gingerbread lattes. Haven’t had an eggnog latte yet this year!

    1. Cassie

      The original recipe for this called for two tablespoons of sugar in the coffee and I just couldn’t even imagine that, plus the whipped cream, plus the caramel sauce.

    2. I know I’m a year later, but I have to chime in: I love the Starbucks SCM, but I, too, find it much too sweet! I always ask them to halve the toffee nut syrup and it is much, much better.
      Also, Cassie: thank you for using actual cocoa powder in the recipe. That’s just what I was looking for! I made some heavenly caramel sauce last week, but I just don’t keep chocolate syrup on hand. Thank you!

Meet Cassie
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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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