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

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.



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  1. 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. 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!