Starbucks Caramel Sauce vs Caramel Syrup- key differences

Whether you are making coffee, caramel bacon, cakes, cookies, candies, pies, pudding, and popcorn, to name a few, caramel sauce and caramel syrup can be used interchangeably depending on the intent.

Starbucks, the one person, one cup, one neighborhood company, is a renowned corporation endowed with the successful production of top-notch caramel drinks such as caramel macchiato, caramel frappuccino, caramel ribbon crunch creme frappuccino, caramel apple spice, caramel Brulee latte, caramel mocha, and fall breeze. These caramel drinks are pumped or drizzled with caramel sauce or caramel syrup.

This article presents Starbucks caramel sauce vs caramel syrup – the key differences. It’ll be helpful when ordering your favorite caramel drink in Starbucks.

Starbucks caramel sauce vs caramel syrup- 7 main differences


Starbucks caramel syrup contains two ingredients; sugar and water. Starbucks also adds potassium sorbate and citric acid to its caramel syrup as preservatives.

Starbucks caramel sauce contains more ingredients: sugar, butter, cream, water, non-fat dry milk, corn syrup, glycerides, potassium sorbate (preservative), soy lecithin, and sodium bicarbonate (salt).

Nutritional Fact

Starbucks caramel syrup has no trace of fat. A pump of Starbucks caramel syrup contains 20 calories and a small value of potassium.

On the other hand, Starbucks caramel sauce contains fat due to the heavy cream added. However, it also contains calories and protein.


Starbucks caramel syrup is used in making Starbucks macchiatos and frappuccinos. It is also used in its various syrup flavors, including sugar-free cinnamon dolce, hazelnut, funnel cake, peppermint, toffee nut, sugar-free vanilla, and pineapple ginger. Starbucks caramel syrup is also added in making cakes, candies, pies, pudding, pancakes, non-coffee, and coffee drinks. It is best used in both hot and cold drinks.

Starbucks caramel sauce is used in making Starbucks cappuccino, mocha-flavored lattes, and coffee. In addition, it is utilized in making hot drinks and serves as toppings for cold drinks, burgers, bread, cake, ice cream, pancake, french toast, apple pie, doughnuts, truffles, smoothies, and so much more.


For Starbucks caramel syrup, water, and sugar are mixed and heated in a non-stick pan. After a while, the mixture stops boiling and starts bubbling. Then the heat is reduced, and water is added again little by little. Finally, the Caramel is left to cool, and the preservative is added.

Starbucks caramel sauce is made by caramelizing the sugar and adding corn syrup. Next, the cream is heated in another pan with low flame and added to the caramelized sugar.

The mixture is then stirred continuously until it is without any lump. After a while, butter, salt, and vanilla are added to the mix and stirred properly. Then it is allowed to cool completely before adding preservatives.


Starbucks caramel syrup has a thin and watery texture.

Starbucks caramel sauce has a thick and viscous texture.


Starbucks caramel syrup has a light golden color. This is not surprising because of the caramelization process.

Starbucks caramel sauce has a deep golden color, more like copper.


Starbucks caramel syrup is available in physical stores and online stores.

On the other hand, Starbucks caramel sauce is not available for sale. Other caramel sauce brands can be bought, though.

Dark Caramel vs Light Caramel- key differences


Dark caramel is made by cooking sugar for a more extended period under medium heat. For example, if the sugar is initially caramelized for 5 minutes, it will be extended to 8-10 mins to get the dark caramel before adding butter, cream, milk, and salt.

The opposite is the case for light caramel as the sugar and water mixture is taken off heat in a shorter period.


Depending on the timing of sugar cooking, the dark caramel will turn out a medium amber, intense amber, or dark amber-brown color. Getting this color shouldn’t exceed 10 minutes under medium heat.

On the other hand, the light caramel will turn pale yellow, yellow, or light orange.


Unlike Light caramel, dark caramel has a bittersweet flavor.


Dark caramel creates a beautiful layer to your cake and ice cream.

Light caramel can be used for candies and cookies and can be eaten off a spoon.

What caramel sauce does Starbucks use?

Fontana caramel sauce! Oh, it has a buttery flavor, a thick nature, and a rich taste. Fontana caramel sauce works fine for both hot and cold drinks.

What syrup does Starbucks have?

A wide range. Starbucks basks in its variety of syrup flavors. Any syrup of your choice will be pumped into your coffee, so it’ll be best to know Starbucks’s syrups to make a great choice. They are:

  • Caramel syrup
  • Hazelnut syrup
  • Raspberry
  • Toffee nut syrup
  • Peppermint syrup
  • Classic syrup
  • Peach syrup
  • Vanilla syrup
  • Cinnamon dolce syrup
  • Mango syrup

Of course, Caramel ranks first among Starbucks syrups, other syrups give a whole new experience to your coffee flavor.

What is caramel drizzle at Starbucks?

Caramel drizzle is the same as caramel sauce. You can say it’s a synonym for caramel sauce.

What flavor lattes does Starbucks have?

The official Starbucks menu presents five classic lattes, namely:

  • Caffe latte
  • Cinnamon Dolce Latte
  • Starbucks Reserve latte
  • Starbucks Reserve Hazelnut Bianco Latte
  • Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte.

In addition to these five, Starbucks also rotates flavored lattes seasonally. These are:

  • Caffe Mocha
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • Pistachio Latte
  • Peppermint Mocha
  • Gingerbread Latte
  • Caramel Brulee Latte
  • Eggnog Latte

What sugar-free syrup does Starbucks offer?

You think Starbucks only caters to sugar-loving drinkers. No! Starbucks also offers sugar-free drinks with the help of its sugar-free syrup. Starbucks has two sugar-free syrups, which are:

  • Vanilla syrup
  • Cinnamon Dolce syrup

Since the summer of 2021, cinnamon dolce syrup has been tough to find due to supply shortage but be assured it is not extinct. Instead, Starbucks recommends the Chai Tea Latte as a replacement.

Six best Caramel Syrups for Coffee

  1. Torani Classic Caramel Syrup
  2. Starbucks Natural Flavored Coffee Syrup, Caramel
  3. Torani Premade Salted Caramel Syrup
  4. Da Vinci Gourmet Sugar-Free Caramel Pack
  5. Dave’s Coffee Syrup
  6. Lavender Syrup from Monin

Above-mentioned are our top-rated Caramel syrup, presenting to your taste buds a top-notch coffee flavor.

Best substitutes for caramel extract

Caramel extract is different from caramel sauce and caramel syrup. Caramel extract is obtained by dipping Caramel into alcohol. Wow! What versatility!

But you aren’t an alcohol user, or perhaps, you have searched for caramel extract around stores and websites to no avail. Not to worry, caramel extract can be substituted with:

Caramel Liqueur

Caramel liqueur is the twin of caramel extract. The difference is the sugar and alcohol content. Caramel liqueur has more sugar and less alcohol. So you don’t need to add sugar to the mixture when using it.

Caramel Syrup

Caramel extract and caramel syrup have similar tastes. The difference is the absence of alcohol in caramel syrup.

Caramel Candy

We know caramel candy is solid, but it is another wonderful substitute for caramel extract. It is always available. Just melt it by adding water and heating for about 10 minutes.

How to make caramel macchiato sweeter

Perhaps you don’t like the bittersweet taste the espresso used for your caramel macchiato gives. Make it sweeter by adding more caramel syrup, caramel sauce, or both.

How to make caramel syrup for coffee – step by step

Ingredients: Sugar and water

  • Step 1: Pour 4 cups of sugar into a non-stick pan.
  • Step 2: Add 2 cups of water.
  • Step 3: Stir well, cover with a lid and bring to boil under medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4: By now, the light amber color will be revealed. Reduce the heat and add water to the mixture.
  • Caution: It will spatter roughly, so be very careful, be at a distance. I’m sure you cherish your skin.
  • Step 5: Stir well and let it cool.
  • Step 6: The caramel syrup will be thicker when cool. Pour into a bottle and store in the fridge.

Note: The ingredient measurement is not fixed. Use according to the quantity needed.

How to make caramel sauce for coffee – step by step

Ingredients: Sugar, water, cream, butter, milk and vanilla.

  • Step 1: Pour sugar into a deep non-stick pan.
  • Step 2: Add water.
  • Step 3: Stir well and bring to boil for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4: Reduce heat and add water. Remember to be careful.
  • Step 5: Bring the mixture off the heat.
  • Step 6: While still hot, add butter and stir to ensure it evenly dissolves.
  • Step 7:  Add your cream, milk, and vanilla.
  • Step 8: Give it a final stir and let it cool. Pour into a bottle jar and store in the fridge.

Note: The ingredient measurement is not fixed. Use according to the quantity needed.

Is Caramel healthier than sugar?

No. Both Caramel and sugar have the same sugar content. Though Caramel possesses the flavor and scent while sugar is known just for one taste- sweet, both are high in calories and carbohydrates.

Are Carmel and Caramel the same thing?

No! Some misspell or mispronounce Caramel as Carmel. The correct word for the smooth, chewy confection is ‘Caramel.’

Is Starbucks caramel syrup gluten-free?

No, Starbucks clearly states that its caramel syrup contains gluten. You will get gluten-free drinks at Starbucks made with gluten-free syrups like the cinnamon dolce flavor syrup and the hazelnut flavor syrup.

Does Starbucks have sugar-free creamers?

Yes! The Starbucks hazelnut-flavored zero creamers and caramel-flavored zero creamers are available for your beverages.

By Johny

Meet Johny, our exceptionally talented bartender at Bourbono. With an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and an innate ability to mix the perfect drink, Johny is the heart and soul of our establishment’s bar. In addition to his skillful bartending, he also contributes to the Bourbono blog, sharing his love for all things food-related but with a particular passion for beverages and the art of bartending.

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