How to Make Homemade Starbucks Frappuccinos
I love my job working as a barista at Starbucks, and I've spent my time on Hubpages writing a series of guides to help customers order the perfect drink. To learn more about the unique Starbucks language, check out the first part of my guide, which covers the basics.
Due to the comments I keep getting on my pages featuring Frappuccinos, I decided to try something a little different for this hub. These iced, blended beverages are incredibly popular and since everyone can't always get to a Starbucks or afford the drink they're craving, there's a pretty big interest in recreating these recipes at home.
In this guide, I'll talk a little bit about the Starbucks standard recipes for Frappuccinos, and I'll also make some suggestions for recipes to try at home. The ingredients that Starbucks uses are so specialized that it's hard to make an exact copy, but there are alternatives for each ingredient that can make for a tasty rendition.
16 oz (a Starbucks Grande) Frappuccino
1 shot of espresso
- OR 1-2 tbsp instant coffee (based on brand instructions,) mixed with just enough hot water to make it dissolve
- OR 2-4 tbsp double-strength brewed coffee (to taste)
3/4 cup any kind of milk
- OR 1 scoop ice cream
- OR 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- OR 3/4 cup equal mix of milk and cream or heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp vanilla smoothie/vanilla soft-serve ice cream mix
- OR skip this step if using ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, or cream
- OR 1/2 pack of vanilla flavored Jell-O instant pudding (other flavors are fine)
- OR 2 tbsp maple syrup
16 oz ice
Additional flavorings and toppings
Step 1: Frappuccino Roast
First, let's talk about the coffee that goes into a Blended Coffee Frappuccino. If you're trying to recreate a Creme based Frappuccino, or you just don't want to add any coffee, you can skip this step.
If you order a Coffee based Frappuccino from Starbucks, the barista will use an ingredient called Frappuccino Roast. It's a special blend of coffee created specifically to be stored at room temperature and used in iced beverages. It's very concentrated and does not taste great on its own, but it works perfectly when its blended with the other ingredients.
So, what kind of alternative can you use at home? Personally, I prefer making my homemade Frappuccinos with one or two shots of espresso. Using hot espresso makes the beverage more runny, but it adds a smoky, caramelly sort of flavor that I really enjoy. In fact, when I order my Frappuccinos at Starbucks, I usually sub out the Frappuccino Roast for espresso. If you happen to like the taste but don't like the different texture, you can simply add more ice to thicken the drink.
Of course, not everyone has an espresso machine at home. The simplest alternative to Frappuccino Roast is to use concentrated instant coffee. It's cheap and it gets a very similar effect. The amount you use will depend on the brand of instant coffee you buy. (And it's worth mentioning that Starbucks has a line of its own instant coffee called Via.) For the Frappuccino, measure out the same amount of powder you would for a normal cup of coffee. From my experience, it's usually a tablespoon or two. Instead of adding a whole cup of hot water, add just a little bit by bit until the coffee dissolves. This way, the flavor will be concentrated. I use this same method whenever I'm baking a coffee flavored cake.
If you're not willing to buy instant coffee, but have a coffee maker at home, you can try a third option to replace the Frappuccino Roast. This involves brewing coffee double strength. To do so, either double up on the amount of grounds you use or cut the amount of water in half. If you have to brew a full pot, you can store the extra in your fridge or at room temperature for a couple of days. For one Frappuccino, you'll only need two to four tablespoons of coffee you make this way, dependent on how big you want your drink or how much coffee flavor you like. I recommend using a darker blend of coffee if you choose this option.
Step 2: Milk
The second ingredient in a Frappuccino is milk. At Starbucks, the standard is whole milk, with other options available on request. You can use any kind of milk you'd like at home, including dairy substitutes. The consistency of the Frappuccino will vary a bit - the more fat in the milk, the creamier the result will be. Below is a table displaying how much milk to use per size.
Amount of Milk
Tall (12 oz)
Grande (16 oz)
Step 3: Frappuccino Base
Third, and the hardest ingredient to nail down, is a thickener. The ingredient Starbucks uses is called Frappuccino base, and it adds a bit of flavor, sweetener and thickness to the Frappuccino. This ingredient isn't available for retail sale, which is why it is difficult to recreate a Frappuccino at home. Here are my suggestions for alternatives:
Vanilla smoothie powder or vanilla soft serve ice cream mix. These powders might be a little difficult to find, but they make up for the added sweetness and thickness of the Frappuccino base. Any time I've used these, I've used between two and four tablespoons per drink. This is probably my favorite option. You can experiment with other flavors, but the vanilla is neutral enough that it mixes well with anything.
Jell-O (or other brand) Instant Pudding. Use just half a package of any flavor you like, though I recommend vanilla. This is a great, affordable and easy-to-find alternative to the powders listed above.
Sweetened condensed milk. This isn't the healthiest option, but replacing the milk you'd normally use with sweetened condensed milk will definitely make for a sweet, creamy treat. If you're using this, I would completely substitute out step 2 and not add any other milk. If the result is too sweet, try using half regular milk and half sweetened condensed milk. Another similar alternative is to use half milk and half cream or heavy whipping cream.
Ice cream. Adding a scoop of ice cream to the mix instead of ice won't make you a Frappuccino, per say, but it's a pretty delicious alternative. You can skip adding extra flavors or experiment however you like with ice cream.
Maple Syrup. This made sound like an odd option, but two tablespoons of maple syrup actually comes close to Starbucks' Frappuccinos.
Step 4: Ice
Fourth, add ice equal to the size of the drink you want. I just fill whatever glass I'll be drinking out of with ice to measure it. If you're using ice cream in step 3, I'd recommend skipping out on adding any extra ice.
Step 5: Flavoring
Finally, add any extra flavoring you'd like. Starbucks does offer a number of its syrups for retail sale and they're just the same as the ones the barista uses in the store. You can also try out Torani's line of syrups. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative you can pick up in the grocery store, Hershey's dark chocolate syrup is a great substitute for mocha.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about trying to duplicate specific recipes, I'd be happy to answer them! I'd also love feedback on the recipes. If one of the suggested ingredients doesn't work out quite right, I'd love to know!
More by this Author
This guide talks all about the macchiatos on the Starbucks menu, including the very popular Caramel Macchiato. Learn all about these beverages from a Starbucks barista's perspective.
A comprehensive guide that covers both the basics of Starbucks Frappuccinos and all of the components of blended coffee Frappucinos. The author is a Starbucks barista.
The author is a barista who shares answers to questions she hears all day at Starbucks. How does Starbucks make a latte? And how can customers customize the drink for themselves? Read on to find out.