Copycat Starbucks Sugar Cookie Latte
Now you can whip up the newest Starbucks holiday drink right at home with this copycat sugar cookie latte recipe! A simplified, lightened-up, lower-sugar option that’s even tastier than the original. I’ll walk you through how to make the Starbucks iced sugar cookie almond milk latte—including how to serve it as a hot latte instead.
What is a sugar cookie latte?
The Starbucks iced sugar cookie latte is made with blonde espresso, almond milk, and sugar cookie flavored syrup, served over ice, with red & green sprinkles on top. It’s sweet, light, and tastes like a buttery baked cookie—because Starbucks actually based the drink’s flavors off of a specific sugar cookie: Holiday Spritz Cookies! The sugar cookie almond milk latte was released as a new seasonal holiday drink in 2021, and it’s back on the Starbucks menu in 2022, available iced or hot.
Starbucks vs. Homemade Sugar Cookie Latte
- Simplicity. No need to make an elaborate batch of homemade sugar cookie syrup from scratch! For this simplified homemade version, you can make a makeshift single-serving “syrup” by dissolving your sugar and flavorings in a few tablespoons of boiling water.
- Sweetness & Flavor. Instead of an overly-sweet vanilla beverage with just a hint of coffee, this copycat sugar cookie latte has a delicious balance of sweet, buttery, cookie flavor and rich, comforting espresso. And of course, you can adjust the sweetness & flavorings to your taste!
- Sugar Content. A tall Starbucks iced sugar cookie almond milk latte contains 19g of sugar, whereas this lightened-up recipe has only 13g of sugar. Feel free to add more sugar if you enjoy a sweeter beverage, or you can try using a different sweetener like monk fruit or stevia—whatever suits your needs.
Shifting from “What’s Healthier?” to “What Do I Like?”
To me, this Starbucks holiday drink tastes like a vanilla cookie that’s just too sweet, and I can’t really taste the coffee in it. Now that I no longer restrict myself from eating sugar, I actually don’t crave a super-sweet holiday coffee like I used to. I’ve realized I prefer a not-so-sweet latte because I actually enjoy the taste of coffee. So in my DIY sugar cookie latte recipe, I used less sugar and a bit more espresso—because that’s what I like!
I encourage you to get curious here: What do you actually like? More sweetness, or more coffee flavor? What will make your homemade latte most satisfying to you? I used to make my own Starbucks drinks at home because I wanted to “health-ify” them. But by embracing what we genuinely enjoy, we can open up to making tastier versions of the holiday beverages we love!
What is Starbucks sugar cookie syrup made of?
The Starbucks sugar cookie flavored syrup is made of sugar, water, natural flavor, preservatives, and salt. For an additive-free option, most copycat recipes involve making your own DIY sugar cookie syrup from scratch—which can be daunting and make way more syrup than you’ll need. So instead, we can create a simplified latte “syrup” with just enough for a single serving!
Ingredients for a Simplified Sugar Cookie Syrup
- Boiling Water. Using a kettle (or a pot over the stove), boil water and transfer a few tablespoons to a glass. Remember, this is intended to be a quick-and-easy single-serving latte syrup, so you don’t need much! Then, just whisk in your sugar and flavorings.
- Granulated Sugar. I used 1 Tbsp white sugar because I don’t like my latte too sweet, but you could use 1½-2 Tbsp for a sweeter latte. Personally, I think white sugar creates a flavor most similar to actual sugar cookies. But you can use a different granulated sweetener like brown sugar, or coconut sugar for an unrefined option.
- Almond Extract. The almond extract is essential to create that baked spritz cookie flavor, so I don’t recommend skipping it—but you don’t need very much! The flavor can be strong, so less than ⅛ tsp is plenty here.
- Vanilla Extract. Just like a tasty sugar cookie recipe needs some vanilla, so does this copycat sugar cookie latte!
- Imitation Butter Flavoring. I used just ⅛ tsp of imitation butter flavoring to add some buttery, shortbread-like comfort to this latte syrup. Keep in mind, imitation butter flavoring is different from “butter extract”—which you can use as a substitute here, but it’s much more potent, so you only need 1 drop of butter extract in this recipe
DIY Sugar Cookie Latte Ingredients
- Sugar Cookie “Syrup.” Even though this is a simplified version of the Starbucks syrup, it’s crucial to give this latte its buttery sugar cookie flavor. For the best-tasting latte, use all 3 extracts for flavor!
- Espresso. You can brew a single or double shot using an espresso machine, or a Nespresso if you have one. For an iced sugar cookie latte, just let the brewed espresso cool a bit before assembling. If you don’t have an espresso machine, use a few ounces of cold brew or cold brew concentrate instead of espresso. Or just brew a strong cup of regular coffee to use in this recipe!
- Almond Milk. Although this is a copycat of the Starbucks sugar cookie almond milk latte, you can really use any milk you want! My favorite is oat milk, or you could use soy milk, coconut milk, or dairy milk—skim, 2%, or whole.
- Sprinkles. Don’t forget to finish off your festive latte with some red and green sprinkles! For a true Starbucks copycat, use nonpareil sprinkles. But since I don’t like the taste of nonpareils, I used some flat confetti sprinkles (a.k.a. “quins”).
- Ice. To make the classic Starbucks iced sugar cookie latte recipe, you’ll want to serve your “syrup,” espresso, & milk over ice. For a hot latte, the process is the same—just skip the ice and serve your espresso & milk hot!
How to Make Starbucks Sugar Cookie Latte at Home
- Make Sugar Cookie “Syrup.” First, boil water in a kettle or saucepan, then add 3 Tbsp of boiling water to a glass. Whisk sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract, and butter flavoring into the hot water, until it dissolves. Then, set your “syrup” aside to cool slightly.
- Optional: Froth Milk. A true latte is made with steamed milk, so I like to froth my almond milk in an electric milk frother first. Wspecially when I make a hot sugar cookie latte! You can also froth milk over the stove: just heat the milk in a saucepan and whisk vigorously, until frothy bubbles form. Although you don’t have to, you actually can froth milk for an iced latte, too—and you’ll end up with a lighter, creamier iced beverage!
- Brew Espresso. Using a traditional machine or a Nespresso, brew a single shot of espresso for a milder beverage, or a double shot of espresso for a stronger flavor. (Or, you can use cold brew, cold brew concentrate, or strong-brewed drip coffee.)
- For an Iced Latte: Before assembling your iced latte, let the espresso and frothed milk cool slightly as needed. To serve, add ice cubes to a tall serving glass. Then combine the espresso and sugar cookie syrup over ice, followed by your choice of milk.
- For a Hot Latte: In a mug, whisk together hot espresso and your sugar cookie syrup, then add warm frothed milk.
- Finish with Sprinkles. Top your latte with festive red & green sprinkles, then serve!
Watch my 3 Homemade Starbucks Holiday Drinks video to see how I make my iced sugar cookie latte at home!
Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte (Starbucks Copycat)
- 3 Tbsp boiling water
- 1-1½ Tbsp sugar, to taste
- <⅛ tsp almond extract
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp imitation butter flavoring, (or 1 drop butter extract)
- 2 oz espresso
- ¾ cup almond milk
- ice, for serving
- red & green sprinkles, for topping
- To make sugar cookie “syrup,” add boiling water to a measuring cup and stir in sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract, and butter flavoring. Whisk to combine until sugar is dissolved. (Allow to cool slightly for an iced latte.)
- Optional: Froth milk in a frother, or in a saucepan over the stove. (You can do this for a hot sugar cookie latte, or an iced latte!)
- Brew espresso as desired.
- For an iced latte, add ice to a tall cup (or skip the ice for a hot latte). Combine espresso and sugar cookie syrup in the serving cup, then add milk.
- Top with sprinkles and serve!