Stephanie's Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha Recipe {plus 20 More Holiday Treat Recipes!} 2
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Stephanie’s Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha Recipe {plus 20 More Holiday Treat Recipes!}

How to make refined-sugar free caramel sauce for a real food salted caramel mocha! this treat really hits the spot after a long week. Plus there's 20 other real food holiday treats!

By Stephanie, Creator and Editor

Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha

I have long been a self-proclaimed coffee snob, and while I can easily walk away from candy, sodas, and most assorted desserts or sweets, fancy coffees just might be my downfall. I’m pretty sure that Starbucks created their Salted Caramel Mocha for the sheer purpose of tempting me beyond what I can handle.

Since I try to keep my sugar intake low, and avoid refined sugar in particular, I had to figure out how to make my own (besides the simple fact that I can make dinner for my family for the cost of one stinkin’ mocha).

The coffee itself is not the fancy part. It’s the caramel that makes or breaks it. Here’s my fast, easy but scrumptious caramel recipe.

finished caramel in pot

Caramel Sauce {Real Food Style}

  • 2 Tbsp butter (pastured, organic or cultured is best)
  • 4 Tbsp unrefined sugar like Sucanant or Rapadura. Using it in powdered form will give the best results.
  • 1-2 Tbsp heavy cream (raw is best)

1. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.

2. Add sugar and stir in with a small whisk. At first, the butter and sugar won’t really mix.

Let it keep simmering while you stir every 30 seconds or so. After about 5 minutes, bubbles will begin to appear, and the butter and sugar will start to melt together. You’ll know you’ve got it to the right spot when you stir it and it pulls away from the side of the pot, sort of like taffy, all stuck together.

making caramel in pot

3. Add the cream (I do one tablespoon at a time), and keep whisking until it’s well incorporated. This will help to thin out your sauce and give it a lovely creaminess.

This sauce is best served warm. Drizzle it over your coffee, over ice cream, over cake, or anything else you can think of. I made some this morning to take pictures for this post, and my kids felt that their oatmeal was desperately in need of caramel sauce. I’m not so sure about the merits of caramel for breakfast (well, I could probably be convinced), but trust me, you’ll want to pour it on anything you can think of.

If you want to make a large batch, you can store it in a jar in the fridge. When you want to use it, just warm it up by placing the jar in a pot of warm water and stirring it until it’s smooth and pourable once again.

salted caramel mocha

Now to Make Your Salted Caramel Mocha…

Make yourself some coffee. I mean, some dark roast, fair trade, strong coffee.

In the bottom of your mug, put 1 heaping tsp. cocoa powder, along with 1 Tbsp caramel sauce, and however much more sweetener you need. When I’m being good, I just add some stevia to sweeten it, but other times I add a drizzle of maple syrup or else a teaspoon of Sucanat.

Pour in your coffee, add some cream or milk of choice, and stir to dissolve all the sweeteners and cocoa.

Top your coffee with freshly whipped cream (none of that store-bought stuff in the can, ok? promise?).

Drizzle generously with caramel sauce, and then sprinkle with salt. I used the kosher version of Real Salt, because I like the larger granules, but you can use any good sea salt.

Imbibe. Sigh. Lick your lips. Repeat.

(Just a thought… this is amazing to make for yourself or one or two other people, but a lot of work for a crowd. If you want to make a whole lot of latte, try these Holiday Lattes in the Crock Pot!)

Pair this Mocha with a Sweet Holiday Treat

If you’re the type that loves to pair a warm holiday beverage with a scrumptious seasonal dessert, look no further! Check out these 20 tantalizing treats I (Erin) recently dug up in the Keeper of the Home archives!

Gingerbread Fruitcake 1

Cakes, Pies, and Breads

Scrumptious Gingerbread Cake

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Cranberry, Apple and Walnut Cake

Dark Chocolate Flourless Pudding Cake {allergy-friendly}

Grain-Free Dehydrated Apple Pie, Sweetened with Molasses {allergy-friendly}

Janet’s Cheesecake

Gingerbread Fruitcake

Almond Coconut Crust {allergy-friendly}

No Bake Cookie Dough Balls

Cookies, Bars and Balls

Rich Carob Balls and “Sugar” Cookies

No-Bake Cookie Dough Balls {allergy-friendly}

Secret Ingredient Brownies {allergy-friendly}

Chewy Gingersnaps

Cinnamon Scones

simple cooked eggnog


Incredibly Yummy Homemade Eggnog (Here’s another simple cooked eggnog recipe you can try.)

Blender Mocha

Holiday Lattes in the Crock Pot

Naturally Sweetened Homemade Marshmallows

Miscellaneous Treats

Homemade Marshmallows

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Guilt-Free Christmas Snacking

And we can’t forget Stacy’s 25 Grain-Free Desserts and Chocolate Truffle Recipe!

And if we haven’t given you enough holiday treat recipes to try this season, check out our favorite real food desserts eBooks–Treat Yourself: Real Food Desserts and Smart Sweets!

What is your favorite seasonal beverage and holiday treat?

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. (And lots and lots of pure yummyness!)

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  1. Yum! I’m trying this one tonight – we are supposed to have a bit of snow late afternoon, so this sounds perfect!

  2. Wow, the salted mocha looks amazing! And love the round-up of all the holiday sweets & snacks… thanks!

  3. Wow — these are great! (And my favorite holiday drink is hot chocolate, made with extra dark chocolate and not so much sugar…Starbucks used to do a version that would blow your socks off, but the current stuff is much weaker.)
    One quick mention, though – if you’re giving these to people, be sure to mention the sea salt. Some of us (like me) are allergic to it — my throat swells up if I get too much, and I have trouble breathing. And of course, it’s just the hottest, trendiest thing to use sea salt right now. Go figure.

  4. Stephanie, this sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing…I can’t wait to try! How much caramel sauce is considered to be a large batch? How long would it keep in the fridge do you think? Sounds like something I would want readily available all. the. time.

  5. I’ve been salivating over these since you posted them but I’ve been a little busy. But, today was the day finally! I’ll tell ya, it took an act of trust to add that real salt. I mean, salt?! I didn’t want to ruin my whole cup so I made extra carmel and coffee “just in case” (alright, that’s not much trust, LOL). But it was excellent! Gave a cup to my hubby too. It tastes like caramel popcorn because of the salt. Thanks for the nice treat today while I’m getting my house back in a little order. Think I’ll add the extra tablespoon or so to my son’s milk when he gets up from his nap for a treat. 🙂 He’ll be glad too.

  6. Just wanted to drop a note and say this was delicious!! The caramel took no time at all. I used rapadura which is pretty dark so my caramel was slightly darker than milk chocolate. It tasted delicious, though!! Hubby and I both thought these were delicious. I used the caramel on my boys’ cocoa and called it ‘caramel mocha cocoa’. They loved it. This is definitely a keeper. I’m going to keep a small jar of caramel on hand and use it in my coffee. I finally have no excuse to toss the old jar of caramel syrup in my fridge (HFCS, anyone???). Thanks again!!!

    1. I am so avoiding HFCS! Nice to see that I am not the only one trying something other than store artificial crap! YAY!

  7. I used the things I had on hand: turbinado raw sugar, half and half, and butter–it came out wonderful! Too bad for Starbucks–they just lost a customer at .60 cents a cup for caramel drizzle! HA! Now I feel stupid for going this long without doing this…

  8. It seems the low setting on my stovetop is not quite high enough to reach a simmer in five minutes, let alone have simmered that long, and trying to adjust once I realized that just led to a giant burned mess. Would you be able to tell me at what point in the process there should be a simmer? Should the butter be simmering before the sugar is added? Any help would be great! If I can’t get a recipe that seems this simple to work, I might just have to through the caramel making baby out with the bath water, and that would be really disappointing. 🙁

    1. My butter usually simmers after the sugar is added. It’s not too big of a deal how many mintues it is, but more that you get it simmering on a relatively low temperature until it gets sticky and taffy-like as I described. The time is less important. Just stick with it on low and watch it really closely to see how long it takes for it to get to that sticky state with your particular burner temperature. I’m sure you’ll find the spot where it happens. Happy caramel making! 🙂

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