Make a Starbucks Frappuccino for $0.32

I wanted one. Badly. The intoxicating sip of caffeine and the sweet taste of sugar, all blended together into a mixture of iced creamy goodness and designed to melt in your mouth. Yep, there’s nothing quite like the seductive taste of a Starbucks Frappuccino on a hot summer’s day.

With my resolve kicked to the curb in favor of a self-indulgent caffeine hit, I walked into the nearest Starbucks with my wallet in hand. It had been years since I’d ordered a Frapp, so I was fairly shocked by the variety of flavors available, but I was mostly appalled by the price — $3.45 (plus tax) for a tasty Tall! WTF? (Yeah, what the Frapp?)

frappuccino recipe
Take a guess: One is real. The other is cheaper, but just as tasty.

Now I’m not a complete cheapo (cough) and I do enjoy an indulgent treat every now and then, but shelling out nearly $4 for a chilled coffee beverage seemed a bit steep. What’s in a classic Starbucks Frappuccino anyways? Coffee, milk, ice, and sugar? For $4? How’s that for a brain freeze?

starbucks recipes frappuccino

The Starbucks barista must have been used to caffeine-starved customers with mouths agape, ’cause she stood there patiently waiting for me to order. But the only words that dropped outta my gap formed this question: What ingredient keeps the Frapp from separating?

“Oh, that’s just a little xanthan gum — it’s a food thickener, and it keeps blended drinks mixed,” she said.

So I bit my frugal tongue, ordered a classic Tall Frappuccino for $3.86 (including tax), and went home to replicate this costly drug for dimes a drink.

Frapp Price Attack: You’re saving around 92%

Talk about a steep latte factor — a copycat classic coffee Starbucks Frappuccino (using my recipe) can save you 91.7% on a 12 oz (354 mL) Tall sized beverage. Can you really see the difference?

frappuccino recipe

Here’s the caffeinated cost breakdown for each ingredient scaled to a Starbucks Tall.

starbucks frappuccino cost

Bottom Line: Make your own copycat Frappuccino at home and save $3.54 — that’s nearly 92% — on a Tall.

But here’s the thing — my tasty recipe yields around 2.5 cups of frappy goodness. Since I got a little cranked on caffeine for this experiment, I did the mathy math for the total cost of my recipe too.

starbucks frappuccino recipe

Bottom Line: Share a little chilled coffee goodness with a friend (or pour yourself a second serving) for just $0.53 per recipe.

But what about my Mocha Soy Venti? I only did the math on a Tall classic Frappuccino. Calculating the cost of coffee grams per cup, sugar weight, milk measurements, and xanthan gum nearly killed me. Feel free to measure the cost of a homemade Mocha Frapp on your own dime — I’m almost certain you’ll save a lot of moolah!

Homemade Frappuccino Recipe

Make a copycat Starbucks Frappuccino for a fraction of the cost in three easy steps.

STEP ONE: Gather your ingredients.

make a frappuccino

Frappuccino ingredients: makes 2.5 cups (590 mL)

  • 1 cup double-strength Starbucks coffee OR 3/4 cup fresh espresso (cold)
  • 3/4 cup milk (low fat, 2%, whole or whatever)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 cups ice
  • Secret ingredient: Pinch of xanthan gum OR 1 teaspoon dry pectin (keeps Frapp from separating)

starbucks coffee

Since I don’t own an espresso machine, I went to Costco and bought a bag of Starbucks Pike Place roast to best mimic the Frappuccino recipe. Brewed strongly, I think these beans did the trick.

STEP TWO: Toss your Frapptastic ingredients into a mixer and blend. Some of my friends swear by the Magic Bullet blender, but I’ve been happy with my simple Cuisinart for years.

frappuccino recipe ingredients

Depending on the strength of your blender, it may take a few stirs to get the ice moving.

starbucks recipes

STEP THREE: Pour Frapp in a cup. Use an authentic Starbucks cup to fool your friends. Sneaky, I know.

starbucks recipes
Warning: Photographing a Frappuccino for hours may cause coffee separation. Grumble.

Admire your handy work. Add toppings at the will of your waistline. Oh it’s summer so friggits — full whip with chocolate syrup, please!

starbucks frappuccino

Your Thoughts: What’s in your homemade Frappuccino coffee drink? Are the savings worth it?

Your two cents:

  1. Terry Watson December 18th, 2015

    Excellent! Xanthan gum is key.

    Frozen espresso ice cubes gives your excellent recipe a little boost. Try this:
    -5 frozen expresso ice cubes (in old timey tray). Some may remember those!
    -3/4-1 cup milk
    -2 tblsp sugar
    -Pinch xanthan.
    Blend and enjoy!

  2. pavo puska January 1st, 2016

    but how they do in Starbucks with Xanthan Gum?! They already mix the gum with something or they add in blender becouse i never saw them adding this gum before.

  3. Marilyn Peterson January 1st, 2016

    Xanthan Gum is available in the bulk section of Winco Foods. It’s still pretty expensive per pound, but you can just buy what you need–I have enough to make a bunch of these drinks for less than $2.00.

  4. Karen louise January 6th, 2016

    Maxwell house makes a iced coffee liquid like the water enhancers,vanilla and hazelnut flavors,add to unsweetened almond milk(or sweetened,your choice) and some sugar free vanilla syrup,no sugar really needed to add unless you want it super sweet,,tastes the same,add ice and blend if you want,tastes great,low calorie,low carb,

  5. dolllar January 21st, 2016

    How about a recipe for double shot?

  6. Kathie March 17th, 2016

    Thanks for the tip about Xanthan gum. That is the ingredient I was missing. When I home-make frapps I measure crushed ice instead of ice cubes from the refrigerator/freezer which makes measuring and blending the ice much easier. I also use whipping cream (unwhipped) instead of milk (add to taste), a packet of sweet & low as a sweetener, and a tablespoon of sugar-free vanilla syrup (I bought a bottle of this from Starbucks). Tastes great & is sugar free. Of course you can always use the regular sugar ingredients as well.

  7. satish shanthakumar June 2nd, 2016

    At the store I saw two kinds of pectin, one ment for low sugar and one standard. I bought the low sugar one which one should I have bought?

  8. Brenda Englebert June 11th, 2016

    I love these but I hate the expense.. Can I just use stronger coffee than I normally drink n add the rest of ingredients . I use stevia for sweetener n whipping cream for the milk oh n how much coffee

  9. Joel June 19th, 2016

    From the listing of ingredients found on the Starbucks Frappuccino Syrup bottles:

    Starbucks Frappuccino Syrup – Coffee Flavoured Syrup (2009)
    Ingredients: Sugar, Water, Salt, Natural And Artificial Flavour, Xanthan Gum (E415), Presercative: Potassium Sorbate (E202), Citric Acid (E330), Colour: Caramel (E150a, E150b).

    Starbucks Frappuccino Syrup Light Flavored Syrup (2009)
    Water, Sugar, Fructose, Natural Flavors, Salt, Carrageenan (E407), Xanthan Gum (E415), Maltodextrin, Preservative: Potassium Sorbate (E202), Cirtic Acid (E330), Rebaudioside A, Color: Caramel (E150a, E150b).

    Clearly the Xanthan Gum is the secret. I think I’d stick with the regular versus “light” version. The light version may have less calories but you are getting a bunch more chemicals.

  10. Jill July 12th, 2016

    Low carb version for a mocha 16 oz:
    2 TBSP half & half,
    1.5 TBSP cocoa powder
    1.5 TBSP Splenda (or to taste)
    2 TBSP water
    pinch of salt
    2 TBSP
    1/4 tsp vanilla
    1/4 tsp xanthan gum

    mix everything in a blender or whatever you have for 10-15 seconds. I like my Nutri-Bullett (mostly cause it’s already on the counter. lol) If it’s not thick enough add a little more xanthan gum. Too thick? Little more water. Mix again, 10-15 sec. Add about a handful (I guess half a cup) of ice and blend for 30 seconds or so. Only 5 grams of carbs per the whole 16 oz!!! Kerry, this article was great and thank you so much for the recipes!

  11. Jim August 1st, 2016

    How do you keep it from foaming at the top?

  12. Vickie August 3rd, 2016

    How do you make a frappacino out of the iced Expresso Classics/salted caramel mocha in 40oz. Bottles now for sale?

  13. Leeann August 23rd, 2016

    Xanthan gum is what they use in their frapp base, it’s just in liquid form at Starbucks. $5.50 for a Venti so I am all over this like a dirty shirt 😉

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