Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha is a beloved festive drink. It’s sweet, creamy, warm, and comforting – everything you need to survive the blustery cold and family stress that can plague the holidays.
What if you could not only mimic this Starbucks coffee shop favorite at home but improve on it?
In this ultimate copycat Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha recipe, we’re going to one-up the famous chain by using real food, like rich dulce de leche. And we’ve got a few other tricks up our sleeve, too, so you’ll want to keep reading!
WHAT YOU NEED
- Double shot of espresso
- 6 ounces + 1 teaspoon of milk (divided)
- 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
- 3 teaspoons dulce de leche
- Whipped cream
- Red sprinkles
- White sugar pearls
AT A GLANCE:
One 12-ounce drink
- If you don’t have access to an espresso machine, 3 ounces of strong coffee from a Moka pot, Aeropress, or French press will also work here.
- You can use any coffee you like, but dark roasted coffee beans are the best choice because of their intense bittersweet flavor. Milder coffees can easily get lost under all the sweetness and dairy in this drink.
- The best choice is 2% dairy milk, like at Starbucks. This provides the best frothy texture when steamed, but skim, 1%, and non-dairy kinds of milk are also acceptable. You can even use whole milk or heavy cream for an incredibly rich version.
- Dulce de leche is a rich sauce made by slowly simmering milk and sugar until it thickens to a spreadable consistency (1). It is similar in flavor to caramel but much creamier. Caramel sauce is a good substitute if you can’t find dulce de leche and don’t want to make your own.
- Special Equipment – Espresso machine with the steam wand (or a milk frother)
How to Make a Copycat Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha At Home
The Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha is one of the chain’s most popular holiday beverages. This delicious coffee drink tastes and looks the part, from the warm caramelized flavors to the red sprinkles on top.
So let’s find out how to make it at home. It’s easier than you think. No toasting of white chocolate required!
Looking for a more summery Starbucks copycat recipe? Try our Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino version for a cold coffee drink.
Step 1: Prepare the toasted white chocolate sauce
Add the white chocolate chips, a teaspoon of milk, and dulce de leche to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Despite the drink’s name, you are not toasting the white chocolate; it’s the dulce de leche that provides the caramelized flavor.
Heat the mixture until the chocolate has melted, then remove it from the heat and pour it into your glass. A clear, tall glass makes for the best presentation for serving, but it will taste just as good in a 12-ounce coffee cup.
Alternatively, you can make the sauce in the microwave by adding all the ingredients to a microwave-safe bowl and heating it in 30-second increments. Avoid overcooking it, as the milk will scald and lose its naturally sweet flavor.
Pro tip: Though not traditional at Starbucks, you can also add sea salt (just a pinch). This nicely balances the rich sweetness of this drink and gives it an appealing salted caramel flavor.
Step 2: Prepare and add the espresso
If you’re a good multitasker, you can start this step while waiting for your chocolate to melt. Pull two espresso shots using your espresso machine or make an extra-strong 3-ounce coffee using a Moka pot, Aeropress, or French press. If you’re using a French press, use a higher coffee-to-water ratio than usual to mimic the intensity of an espresso.
Pour the espresso on top of the toasted white chocolate sauce in the glass.
Pro tip: You can also add a coffee syrup along with the espresso, which provides another layer of flavor. Hazelnut, caramel, vanilla, or white chocolate syrup, are all popular choices with this drink, and some people wear that mint makes it extra festive. Just keep in mind that this is already a very sweet beverage, so you may want to opt for a sugar-free syrup option.
Step 3: Steam the milk
Using the steam wand on your espresso maker, steam the milk the same way you would for a latte. You want the result to be a creamy microfoam with a texture similar to wet paint, not the airy froth you’d prepare for a cappuccino.
If you don’t have a steam wand for your milk, you can use a frother instead. You won’t have the same precise control over the milk’s texture, but it will still taste great. And since you’re topping this drink with whipped cream, there is no reason to worry about pouring latte art.
Pour the frothed milk over the espresso in the glass.
Step 4: Add toppings to your heart’s content and enjoy!
Drinks like the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha are designed to be over the top (no pun intended) with abundant toppings. This isn’t a black coffee; This is a dessert masquerading as a beverage, and it deserves to be treated as such!
For the classic Starbucks look, perfect for the holidays, top it with a decorative swirl of whipped cream, a smattering of festive holiday sugar sprinkles, and a pinch of white sugar pearls. Those sprinkles and pearls aren’t just for show, and their crunch adds an important textural element.
Or get creative with your favorite toppings: cocoa powder, white chocolate shavings, a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce, mini chocolate chips… Or why not all of the above!? My favorite combination is whipped cream, red springles, and dark chocolate sauce, which keeps the festive look of the original while doubling up on chocolate flavor.
Serve it up.
There you have it. You can make your own Toasted White Chocolate Mocha in less than the time it would take you to hit the Starbucks drive-thru. And by using real food ingredients, it will taste even better!
If you enjoyed this recipe, pass it to your friends because everyone deserves to skip the coffee shop line-up and enjoy a homemade treat, especially around the holidays.
Is the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha healthy?
The Toasted White Chocolate Mocha isn’t a healthy choice, but it is OK to enjoy in moderation. It is relatively high in calories, fat, and sugar, so you should treat it as a dessert rather than a standard way to start your morning. According to the Starbucks menu Nutritional Information, the 12-ounce Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha has 330 calories, 42 g of sugar, and 13 g of fat (2).
Can I make the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha with milk or dark chocolate?
Yes, you can make the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha with milk or dark chocolate, but the stronger chocolate is more likely to drown out the subtle caramelized flavors of the dulce de leche (3). Essentially, it will taste like an extra-sweet mocha with no discernible toasted flavor.
If you’re interested in a warm beverage featuring milk or dark chocolate, take a look at our Mexican chocolate mocha recipe instead.
How does the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha compare to a traditional mocha?
The Toasted White Chocolate Mocha is quite similar to a traditional mocha recipe. The only difference is that the white chocolate and caramel sauce has replaced the chocolate in a traditional mocha latte in the toasted white mocha latte. Both drinks are just variations on the caffe latte, so both are primarily made up of espresso and steamed milk.
- Wartzman, E. (2020, March 3). The Ingredient That Takes Shortbread from Meh to Marvelous. Retrieved from https://www.bonappetit.com/story/dulce-de-leche
- Starbucks. (2022). Toasted White Chocolate Mocha. Retrieved from https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/2122482/hot?parent=%2Fdrinks%2Fhot-coffees%2Fmochas
- Guevara, J. (2018, October 8). Dark, Milk, White… & Ruby? The Different Chocolates Explained. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/10/dark-milk-white-and-ruby-chocolate-types-explained/