Caramel is one of the most addicting flavors, which can be added to almost anything you can imagine--food, coffee, tea, desserts, cocoa, you name it.

If you love going to Starbucks and ordering caramel drinks, it may be helpful to know the brand the coffee shop uses.

So, what caramel does Starbucks use? Let’s find out!

Starbucks uses its own brand of caramel, and this is true for both its caramel sauce and caramel syrup.

These two may seem interchangeable, but their flavorings are very distinct from one another.

Let’s discuss them in more detail.

Starbucks Caramel Sauce

Starbucks has its own brand of caramel sauce. Have you ever asked for a caramel drizzle in your Starbucks beverage? If so, then you know what caramel sauce is.

Compared to caramel syrup, this flavored sauce is thick and viscous. That's why most of the time, this caramel is added to Starbucks hot drinks.

It can still be added to cold beverages; however, it is prone to clumping, which makes it more of a decoration to the drinks than one of the actual ingredients.

So, at the checkout, you'll see bottles of sauces with the Starbucks logo. While the manufacturer isn't disclosed, many believe the sauces are from Fontana.

Not only does the Fontana brand offer similar sauce flavors, but the taste is the same as the one they use at Starbucks.

If you want to recreate Starbucks drinks with caramel sauce at home, you buy it at grocery stores like Walmart and online stores like Amazon.

Love Caramel Sauce? Try These Drinks!
  • Caramel Macchiato
  • Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew
  • Caramel Frappuccino
  • Caramel Apple Spice 

Starbucks Caramel Syrup

Starbucks also has its own brand of syrups. This is the type of caramel you'd find in a flavored latte, some Frappuccinos, and other espresso-based drinks at Starbucks.

Unlike Starbucks caramel sauce, caramel syrup is more versatile and can be added to many types of beverages.

Many believe the company uses Torani and Monin brands, but they are wrong. 

Starbucks syrups are made by Fontana. That's why Fontana syrups have the same flavors as what Starbucks offers.

Like the Starbucks caramel sauce, you can purchase the Starbucks caramel syrup products at your favorite grocery store and Amazon.

The company also offers other flavors of syrup, like vanilla and hazelnut.

While Starbucks supplies most of the ingredients in their coffee shops worldwide, some can't get the supplies they need right on time, so they may resort to using a different brand.

Love Caramel Syrup? Try These Drinks!
  • Salted Caramel Cream Nitro Cold Brew
  • Caramel Cream Frappuccino
Starbucks caramel macchiato with caramel drizzle

What’s In Starbucks Caramel Sauce & Syrup?

Now that we know the brand of caramel Starbucks uses let's discuss its ingredients and nutritional contents.


The Starbucks caramel sauce contains the following ingredients:

  • sodium bicarbonate 
  • monoglycerides, diglycerides 
  • potassium sorbate-a preservative 
  • natural flavors 
  • skim milk powder 
  • water 
  • heavy cream 
  • butter 
  • sugar 
  • invert sugar 
  • corn syrup

On the other hand, Starbucks caramel syrup has:

  • sugar 
  • water 
  • natural flavor 
  • potassium sorbate 
  • citric acid

So, if you're vegan or lactose intolerant, I suggest you ditch the caramel sauce since it contains skim milk powder, butter, and heavy cream, which is known to be derived from cow's milk.

Do note that the ingredients apply to both the Starbucks caramel sauce and caramel syrup you get from the coffee shop itself and the bottles you can get from Amazon or other grocery stores.


You're probably familiar with the main ingredient of caramel, right? Caramel contains high amounts of sugar.

So, if you're trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you might want to skip caramel syrup and sauce altogether.

On the other hand, if you're happy to satisfy your sweet tooth occasionally, knowing how much sugar these two have can stop you from consuming more than you need to.

The Starbucks caramel sauce has 22 grams of sugar per serving (two tablespoons), while the caramel syrup contains the same amount of sugar per the same serving size.[1][2]

Just for reference, each pump of syrup is equal to ½ tablespoon, while two tablespoons are equal to 28.3 grams or 1 fl. Oz.

Barista HQ Tip: Since both have the same amounts of sugar, it doesn't matter which of them you prefer to add to your coffee. I have noticed that the caramel sauce tastes better with hot beverages, like tea, latte, or cappuccino. It makes the flavors of the coffee rich and sweet, with a hint of buttery flavor. 
homemade Starbucks drink with caramel sauce


If you order caramel drinks at Starbucks frequently, knowing the calorie content of the Starbucks caramel sauce and syrup can give you a ballpark figure.

Because of all the added ingredients in the caramel sauce, this coffee additive has a higher calorie content than caramel syrup.

A two-tablespoon serving of caramel sauce contains 160 calories, while the same serving of caramel syrup is only 90 calories.

So, if you enjoy the sweet flavor of caramel but are trying to reduce your calorie intake, it's best to use caramel syrup to enhance your coffee drink instead of the sauce.

Other Nutritional Facts

When counting your macros, you need to count the grams of proteins, fat, and carbs in anything you consume.

Whether it's food or beverage, understanding the nutritional value of your every purchase is key to successfully watching your weight.

The Starbucks caramel-flavored sauce contains 26 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat, and 0 grams of protein per two tablespoons.

On the other hand, the caramel-flavored syrup has 22 grams of carbs and 0 grams of protein and fat for the same amount.

If you're buying commercially available Starbucks caramel products, the nutritional facts are the same. 

Caramel Apple Spice Frappuccino from Starbucks

Starbucks Caramel Sauce Vs Syrup - How Do They Differ?


Not all caramels are built the same - this goes double for caramel sauce and syrup.

The caramel sauce has a stronger and slightly buttery caramel flavor compared with the purer clean caramel taste of the syrup.

Both are sweet, but the syrup is sweeter and thinner than the sauce.

I personally love both, especially together, but sometimes they work better in different situations. I tend to have more caramel syrup in the winter as it blends better into hot drinks while caramel sauce is a mainstay in summer as a drink topper.


The primary difference between the Starbucks caramel sauce and syrup is their ingredients.

Starbucks caramel sauce and caramel syrup are known to enhance any coffee beverage.

While both have natural flavors, the caramel sauce contains more ingredients like butter, heavy cream, and corn syrup than the caramel syrup.

These additional ingredients make the sauce thicker than the syrup. It also has a rich flavor, making it perfect for beverages with a more distinct caramel flavor.

The caramel syrup, on the other hand, has a fluid-like consistency. This makes it more versatile than the sauce and can be added to any beverage, hot or cold.

I love it in my Americano, but it can be added to cappuccino, cocoa beverages, and anything you prefer. It also dissolves more quickly than the sauce.

Different Uses

On top of the texture difference, the two also have different uses. The caramel sauce is mostly added to hot beverages because heat can dissolve the sauce easier.

It is also added to cold drinks, but mostly for decoration because it becomes clumpy in cold temperatures. The syrup, as mentioned, is more versatile and perfect for anything you can imagine.

Even though there are many differences between the two, both taste great when added to coffee and can provide the delicious, sweet caramel flavor Starbucks customers, like us, enjoy so much.

In fact, it's a great addition to many different types of beverages like tea, hot chocolate, and even food.

Starbucks Copycat Caramel Macchiato

How To Make Copycat Starbucks Syrup At Home

Amazon and various grocery stores sell the Starbucks signature caramel sauce and syrup.

If you want to make your own syrup at home--whether for personal or business use or as gifts to friends--you can follow this delicious copycat recipe from the Starbucks website.[3]

Remember to save this article on your browser, so you can visit this classic caramel syrup recipe when you need to create one!

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • Combine the sugar and ¼ cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Wait for the sugar to dissolve, around 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t let the mixture boil.
  • Once dissolved, increase heat to medium-high and cover the pan. Let the mixture boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the cover and stir the mixture slowly until it has a light honey color, around 6 minutes.
  • Once it reaches the right color, turn the heat off and very carefully add the hot water. The mixture may spurt when doing this, so watch out.
  •  Then, when the bubbling slows down, add the vanilla extract.
  • Lastly, let it cool down completely before using it. Store your newly crafted caramel syrup in an airtight jar.

Starbucks Caramel Commonly Asked Questions

Can you buy Starbucks caramel in stores?

Customers can buy Starbucks caramel in Starbucks stores. Amazon and other grocery stores also sell these delicious and sweet caramel varieties.

Can you make Starbucks caramel sauce at home?

Yes, you can! In fact, it has a similar recipe to the classic copycat caramel syrup recipe above. Instead of adding ½ and ¼ cups of water, you’ll only need to add three tablespoons of water, plus butter, heavy cream, and salt.

What is the most popular caramel drink at Starbucks?

The most popular drink at Starbucks is the iced Caramel Macchiato. Customers also love the classic Caramel Frappuccino and the signature Caramel Brulee latte.

Summary - Try Caramel In Your Drink!

If you want to enhance the flavor of your coffee, adding a pump or more caramel sauce or syrup to your Starbucks drinks can make a difference.

Just remember, Starbucks doesn’t use Torani or Monin brands for their caramel.

Instead, their delicious and rich caramel syrups and sauces are made by Fontana.


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2. Starbucks-syrup-caramel-1964457429
3. syrup

Kim Fernandez


Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

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