Copycat Starbucks Pistachio Latte
How to make a pistachio latte that’s even better than Starbucks’—including a homemade salted brown butter topping! Instead of a latte flavored with sugary pistachio sauce, this copycat pistachio latte recipe is made with pistachio milk and chopped pistachios on top. A simplified, lower-sugar, additive-free remake that’s full of festive flavor.
For more Starbucks holiday fun, whip up a Copycat Sugar Cookie Latte or Peppermint Hot Chocolate!
What’s in a pistachio latte at Starbucks?
The Starbucks pistachio latte is made with espresso, 2% milk, sweet pistachio sauce, & their salted brown butter topping. It’s cozy, nutty, salty-sweet, and you can order it hot or iced. The pistachio sauce at Starbucks is made with real pistachios (ground into nut butter), along with sugar, condensed milk, cocoa butter, natural flavors, & preservatives. And the salted brown butter topping is supposed to be cookie-flavored—but its main ingredients are just sugar, corn starch, & natural flavors. I do enjoy the Starbucks version, but I always wish it had more pistachio flavor. So I decided to make my own pistachio latte with actual pistachio milk!
Starbucks vs. Homemade Pistachio Latte
- Simplicity. You can make this copycat Starbucks pistachio latte without any fancy flavor syrups, and there’s no need to make your own pistachio sauce at home. Using simple, recognizable ingredients makes this a more flavorful and less-artificial beverage. And, it’s just plain easier to prepare—ready in 10 minutes or less!
- Flavor & Ingredients. This homemade brown butter topping tastes like actual brown butter & cookies—because it’s made with real butter & shortbread cookies! And using pistachio milk adds loads of real pistachio flavor to the latte, without any fancy, shmancy syrups.
- Sugar Content. A tall (12oz) pistachio latte at Starbucks contains 33g of sugar, and a short (8oz) latte contains 22g of sugar. Even if you use the maximum amount of sugar suggested in this recipe, your DIY pistachio latte will only have 16g of sugars—or as few as 8g sugar, if you prefer a less-sweet latte like me!
Making a “Better” Latte at Home
I like my latte to be less-sweet and I want more of the coffee and pistachio flavors to come through, so I use pistachio milk and add less sugar. (Which also allows that rich brown butter topping to shine!) Ultimately, you get to choose how to make your homemade latte in the most satisfying way for you—whether that’s in terms of flavor, ingredients, simplicity, or health considerations.
Make your latte as sweet (or less-sweet) as you want. Use pistachio milk for more pistachio flavor, or use a different milk altogether to make a buttery brown sugar latte instead. You get to decide: what’s the right middle ground between health, ease, & flavor here for you?
Copycat Pistachio Latte Ingredients
- Pistachio Milk. Since it’s made from real pistachios, making a latte with pistachio milk is a delicious way to add natural pistachio flavor. And it’s way easier than making your own pistachio sauce or syrup from scratch! But if you can’t find pistachio milk at your grocery store (or you just don’t like it), you can use any other milk you prefer—you’ll just have a salted brown butter latte, without the pistachio flavor.
- Espresso. You can brew a single or double shot of espresso using a Nespresso machine, or a traditional espresso maker. But if you don’t have either of these, no worries! As a substitute for espresso, you can make your pistachio latte with cold brew, cold brew concentrate, or even an extra-strong cup of brewed coffee.
- Brown Sugar. I like to sweeten this latte with brown sugar, because its caramel-like flavor pairs amazingly with the salted brown butter and pistachio flavors. I only need 1 tsp of brown sugar since I don’t like it too sweet, but you can use up to 3 tsp (or more) if you love a sweeter latte! If preferred, you can use granulated white sugar or coconut sugar instead.
Ingredients for Salted Brown Butter Topping
Unlike the “salted brown butter cookie-flavored topping” at Starbucks, this DIY version is the real deal. It’s made with real salted butter, browned over the stove, with brown sugar and actual crushed cookies mixed in. I crumbled some of my holiday spritz cookies to use in this recipe, but you could use shortbread cookies, sugar cookies—whatever you like. The cookies are optional here, but they add such a comforting flavor and crisp, crumbled texture in this holiday latte!
How to Make Starbucks Pistachio Latte (Only Better)
- Brown Butter on the Stove. A true copycat Starbucks pistachio latte needs that salted brown butter topping! So start by melting salted butter in a light-colored saucepan—so you can see the color change as the butter browns. As it melts, stir constantly for about 2 minutes, and you’ll start to see some brown flecks and smell a nutty aroma.
- Add Sugar & Crushed Cookies. Once the butter is browned, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir for about 30 seconds. Then, you can add the brown sugar and crushed shortbread cookies, stirring to integrate them into the brown butter. And that’s it! Set your brown butter topping aside until you’re ready to serve the latte.
- Froth Pistachio Milk. Next, heat your pistachio milk (or milk of choice) in a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking vigorously. I recommend moving your whisk in a back-and-forth motion to help the milk bubble and froth up.
- Add Espresso & Sugar. Once the pistachio milk is simmering, add brewed espresso and brown sugar, whisking well until the sugar melts and the latte mixture is integrated.
- Serve with Toppings. Pour your warm latte mixture into a mug and top with homemade salted brown butter topping. Finish it off with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios, crumbled shortbread cookies, or whatever you like!
You can see the step-by-step process for making this copycat Starbucks drink in my 3 Homemade Starbucks Holiday Drinks video!
Starbucks Pistachio Latte Recipe
Copycat Pistachio Latte
- 1 cup pistachio milk, (or milk of choice)
- 1-2 oz espresso
- 1-3 tsp brown sugar, to taste
Salted Brown Butter Topping
- 2 tsp salted butter
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp crushed shortbread cookies, (optional)
- chopped pistachios
- crushed shortbread cookies
Brown Butter Topping
- Add butter to a light-colored saucepan over medium heat (so you can see the color as it browns).
- Stir constantly for ~2 minutes as the butter melts and begins to bubble—you’ll start to see some brown flecks and it will smell nutty.
- Once browned, remove pan from heat and stir another 30 seconds or so.
- Stir in brown sugar and crushed shortbread cookies. Set aside until ready to serve.
How to Make Pistachio Latte
- Heat pistachio milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat. As it heats, whisk vigorously to froth the milk—using a back-and-forth motion, rather than a circular motion.
- Once frothy and simmering, add espresso and brown sugar, whisking until melted.
- Transfer latte into a mug and serve topped with brown butter, chopped pistachios, and crumbled shortbread cookies.
Nutrition Notes:Nutrition for a sweeter latte made with 3 tsp brown sugar: 247 calories | 16g fat | 22g carbs | 2g fiber | 16g sugars | 5g protein
122mg sodium | 23mg cholesterol Below nutrition is provided for a less-sweet latte made with 1 tsp brown sugar.