This McDonald's caramel iced coffee recipe is the best copycat recipe for McDonald's fans and coffee lovers alike! Now you can make your favorite coffee drink at home and still get that authentic restaurant-quality flavor. Follow along with this easy recipe to find out how to make this delicious cup of iced coffee!
Since you are here and love delicious recipes of copycat coffees, check out this Chick-Fil-A Vanilla Iced Coffee Easy Copycat Recipe, this Dutch Bros Annihilator Recipe, or this Starbucks Iced Shaken Espresso recipe.
This is the Best McDonald's Caramel Iced Coffee Recipe
This recipe stands out for its unmatched flavor profile, including the perfect balance of rich coffee notes and a caramel sweetness. Not only are you already working with a great flavor foundation, but you also have the ability to increase the quality of the ingredients and fully customize it by adding or substituting anything you want.
For example, the caramel syrup that McDonald's uses. Though it may taste delicious, it probably isn't of the highest value. There's no question that by making this drink at home you could make it even better than anytime you've had it before at the restaurant.
Aside from the fact that it's definitely healthier and tastier, you're also winning financially in the long run by saving so much money from making this drink at home, especially if you're a frequent McDonalds iced coffee drinker.
Ingredients for the McDonald's Caramel Iced Coffee Recipe
Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page for the detailed ingredient measurements.
- Strong Brewed Coffee: Using premium-roast coffee made from high-quality coffee grounds will ensure a better coffee flavor and aroma. You can also use the McDonald's coffee brand if you want to stay on brand.
- Caramel Sauce: A drizzled coating around the inside of the cup of thick caramel sauce gives this drink a denser caramel flavor. This isn't something that McDonald's does per se, but it is the beauty of making your own drink at home!
- Half-and-Half: Half-and-half is the perfect middle point between milk and cream.
- Caramel Syrup: Caramel flavored syrup is mixed in with the coffee to sweeten it and add caramel flavor.
- Ice Cubes: A few ice cubes are necessary since this is an iced coffee. You'll want extra ice to keep the drink extra chilled especially on a hot summer day.
How to Make this McDonald's Caramel Iced Coffee Recipe
Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page for the full step-by-step instructions!
- Start by brewing yourself a fresh pot of coffee. Then allow it to sit and cool for a bit.
- Grab a tall glass and drizzle the caramel sauce around the sides of the inside walls. This is optional but so worth it.
- Once the coffee has cooled, fill your glass with ice and pour in the coffee and half-and-half. Add in the caramel syrup a little bit at a time while stirring and adjusting to taste.
- When you have the caramel sweetness just right, give it one final stir with a straw, add a swirl of whipped cream if you'd like, and enjoy your homemade iced coffee!
Why You Need to Make this Recipe!
- This drink only requires a few basic ingredients that probably already have or could easily get from the grocery store.
- Save time by skipping the drive to the fast-food restaurant or local coffee shop by making your morning coffee in the comfort of your own home.
- Be in control every step and every ingredient from the amount of coffee you use to the perfect serving size that you desire.
- The best part is that you're saving money in the long run by buying ingredients in bulk.
Frequently asked questions - FAQ
Is There a Difference Between Caramel Sauce and Caramel Syrup?
Yes, there is! Caramel syrup is essentially just a simple syrup that has been continually cooked to allow the sugar to caramelize and for the water to reduce.
Caramel sauce is thicker because it is made with a fattening ingredient such as heavy cream, butter, or a plant-based emulsified oil. They have different flavors and dissolve in liquid differently as well.
Both were used in this recipe to create a double-caramel flavor and for added texture and creaminess.
Ingredient Substitutions for the McDonald's Caramel Iced Coffee Recipe
- Instead of Regular Brewed Coffee: You could realistically use whatever form of coffee you'd like. Espresso shots would give it a stronger, more intense coffee flavor while cold brew on the other hand has less acidity, bitterness, and an overall softer flavor. Instant coffee would even work great if you're in a rush and don't have much time. If you aren't looking for a caffeine fix, use decaf coffee instead so you can enjoy this delicious beverage any time of the day.
- Instead of Half-and-Half: Just like the coffee, you can use any type of milk you want. Since half-and-half is in the middle, you could go one direction and use nonfat milk or whole milk, or you could go the other direction and use straight-up heavy cream for a delicious mouth feel. Plant-based milks such as almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk can be a good idea as well.
- For a Sugar-Free Iced Coffee: If you want a sugar-free coffee drink, simply swap out the caramel sauce and caramel syrup for their sugar-free counterparts when you go to the store. Most milk does have a small amount of naturally occurring sugar, however it shouldn't be noticeable, or you could even get sugar-free options if you're using plant-based milk.
- For a Vegan McDonald's Caramel Iced Coffee: Besides the obvious substitution of using plant-based milk over dairy milk, you will also have to make sure you're using plant-based caramel sauce since some of them are made with dairy.
What Other Flavors Can I Do?
- French Vanilla: Vanilla and caramel go great together! Vanilla usually is best applied by using a flavored syrup, so swap out the caramel syrup and instead use the French vanilla syrup with the caramel sauce.
- Chocolate: Of course, chocolate and caramel together are a dynamite combination. Chocolate is honestly good however you apply it so it's all up to you. You can use chocolate sauce or chocolate syrup, just make sure to substitute out the caramel version of whichever one you choose. I also have this McDonald's caramel mocha drink which you might love too!
- Toasted Almond: The flavor of nuts is probably a sleeper that you maybe wouldn't have first thought of but trust me this one is good. Toasted almond syrup is a solid go-to, but there are plenty of other nut flavored syrups that go amazingly with caramel such as hazelnut, pistachio, and macadamia.
Recipe Variations for the Caramel McDonald's Iced Coffee
If you get bored of having a regular iced coffee, we got you covered on a few variation ideas:
- Iced Latte: A latte is technically just the same thing but with espresso instead of regular coffee. It sounds like it wouldn't make much of a difference, but I promise you could taste the difference in flavor. Just something small to switch it up.
- Iced Caramel Macchiato: An iced macchiato is unique in the fact that the drink is made upside down. Add your milk then top with the coffee and flavorings.
- Caramel Frappe: A frappe is essentially just a blended coffee beverage, which takes your iced coffee to the next level. To create this, make the same recipe as the McDonald's caramel iced coffee, put the whole thing into a blender, and blend for 15-30 seconds. Also, just a pro chef tip, drop in a teaspoon of xanthan gum before blending for a well emulsified texture. Most importantly, be sure to top your frappe with a swirl of whipped cream.
How Can I Make Homemade Caramel Syrup?
You can absolutely make homemade caramel syrup for your McDonald's caramel iced coffee! Here is a great recipe for homemade caramel syrup for coffee!
How Do I Make Homemade Caramel Sauce?
Just like the caramel syrup, caramel sauce can be easily made at home and tastes so much better than storebought. Here is an awesome recipe for homemade caramel sauce.
What Should I Eat with this McDonald's Caramel Iced Coffee?
If you're craving pastries to go with your afternoon coffee, try this Starbucks Coffee Cake Copycat Recipe, this World's Best Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies, or this Tea Time Chocolate Loaf Cake With A Coffee Frosting recipe.
The Best Mcdonald's Caramel Iced Coffee Recipe
McDonald's Caramel Iced Coffee
- ¾ cup coffee
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 2-3 tablespoons caramel syrup
- caramel sauce to coat the cup
- ice cubes
- Brew your hot coffee as per usual. You want to have about ¾ cup of coffee for this recipe. Allow the coffee to cool down a little bit before using it to make your drink.¾ cup coffee
- To a tall glass, coat the walls with caramel sauce. Then add the ice, coffee, and caramel syrup. Top it off with the half and half before stirring it to combine everything together.1/3 cup half and half, 2-3 tablespoons caramel syrup, caramel sauce
- You can enjoy it as is or top your drink with whipped cream and extra caramel sauce drizzles.