Let me show you how to make an iced latte at home! You’ll save a ton of money and all that time it takes to get to the coffee shop, drag the kids out of the car, and wait in line. You’ll be drinking your iced latte in your slippers in under 2 minutes at home!

Looking for iced latte recipes? Be sure to check out my Iced Vanilla Lattes and my Iced Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

With the weather warming up, we’re coming into iced coffee season! Are you an iced coffee or cold brew lover?

Or are you like me and iced lattes are more your thing? If I had my choice and an unlimited amount of funds, I’d be rolling through the Starbucks drive-through every morning for an iced vanilla latte.

Buuuut man are they expensive! Over $5 for a grande (medium) at Starbucks now? Sheesh!!

It costs me less than $2 to make the same size iced vanilla latte at home. This is why I want to show you how easy it is to make an iced latte at home!

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

What is an Iced Latte?

You see iced lattes everywhere these days, don’t you? If you’re wondering what the heck an iced latte is, I’m here to tell you!

An iced latte is simply milk mixed into espresso with ice in the glass. Yes! It’s that simple!

What Kind of Milk Should You Use for an Iced Latte?

You can use any kind of milk you want from whole to skim cow’s milk to almond, soy, or coconut milk. Or any kind of milk in between as long as you love it!

Heavy cream and half-and-half aren’t really recommended for lattes. You’ll be adding 8 ounces of milk to your iced latte and the higher fat content in heavy cream and half-and-half doesn’t make them a great option for this drink.

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

Do You Froth Milk for An Iced Latte?

If you’ve ordered a hot latte from a coffee shop, then you know that hot, frothy milk is poured into a cup with espresso. Great baristas often make pretty latte art with the steamed milk. (The lattes I make at home NEVER look pretty!)

But for an iced latte, there’s no need to froth your milk. The reason for this is because hot milk will melt your ice. So you want to use cold milk for iced lattes.

Using cold milk means that making iced lattes is much faster than making hot lattes since you don’t have take the time to steam the milk. Plus! There’s no extra clean up of the milk steamer.

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

Does an Iced Latte Have Caffeine?

Yes iced lattes have caffeine. That’s because the espresso used to make the drink has a high concentration of caffeine.

And it’s important to pay attention if you’re trying to watch your caffeine intake: even decaf espresso has a little bit of caffeine in it.

To cut down on my caffeine intake, I mix a shot of decaf espresso with a shot of regular espresso. And if I want to make an iced latte later in the day, I make it with 2 shots of decaf espresso. Otherwise, I would never sleep at night!

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

Which is Stronger: Iced Coffee or Iced Latte?

The answer to this question is dependent upon a number of variables:

  • The strength of the espresso you make your iced latte with. Espresso is available in varying levels of boldness. Bolder espresso will yield a stronger drink.
  • The number of shots you make your iced latte with and the size of the glass you use. If you make your iced latte with 2 shots of espresso in a smaller glass, there may be little room for the milk. This will yield a stronger latte. Conversely, if you make your iced latte with 2 shots of espresso in a large glass, it will take more milk to fill up your glass. Extra milk (and melting ice) will dilute the espresso and weaken the strength of the espresso in the drink.
  • The strength of the coffee you use to make an iced coffee. Like with espresso, bolder coffee yields a stronger drink.

Ounce for ounce, espresso contains more caffeine than coffee. One ounce of espresso contains about 63 mg caffeine. One ounce of coffee contains about 14 mg caffeine.

However, since a medium iced coffee contains about 12 ounces of coffee (about 168 mg caffeine) and a medium iced latte contains 2 shots of espresso (about 126 mg caffeine), a medium iced coffee is actually stronger than an iced latte (source). Who would have thought!!

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

How Do You Make an Iced Latte?

So after all this talk about what kind of milk to use, frothing milk, and caffeine strength in an ice latte, let’s get down to making one!

First step is you need espresso. Funnily enough, the espresso can be cold OR hot. Yep, that’s right! I brew my espresso right over the ice cubes in my glass. The ice helps to cool the espresso down and the cubes don’t seem to melt too much since there’s only about 1 ounce of espresso in each shot I make.

Iced Vanilla Latte

Ways to Brew Espresso

I brew my espresso with my Nespresso machine. My god do I loooooove this machine! It’s fast and there’s no guessing game about how much water is needed because the pods have a barcode on them. The machine reads the barcode and adds only the exact amount of water that each pod requires for the espresso or coffee you choose.

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home


Like I said, I brew my espresso directly into my ice-filled glass. You could also brew the espresso in advance, like the night before, and let it cool. I’ve done this before and it works just fine.

When I brew espresso to drink straight away or to make it in advance and chill, I like to use these little double-walled (insulated) espresso glasses. They keep the espresso hot longer when I want to drink it hot, and colder longer when I refrigerate it. They’re just like the Tervis tumblers but made of glass instead of plastic.

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

There are other ways to make espresso. An old-fashioned but still really cool stove top espresso maker works great too! I have used this stove top maker in the past but switched over to the Nespresso as my go-to when we purchased it 2+ years ago.

My mom uses still makes espresso (or demitasse, as the Italians in my family call it) on the stove top and it’s really easy to use! You just need to grind your espresso beans, add the ground espresso to the pot, add water, and brew.

If you have an actual espresso machine in your kitchen, this is going to be how you make your espresso. That’s a luxury item for us since we don’t drink espresso too often and I don’t want to sacrifice counter space for one either.

And of course, you can definitely stop by a coffee shop and order a shot or 2 (or however many shots you need) to bring home to make your iced latte. Before we had the Nespresso machine, I did this on a few occasions.

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

How Do You Sweeten an Iced Latte?

The ways you can sweeten an iced latte are almost endless with 1 caveat. I don’t sweeten any of my cold coffee drinks with granulated sugar because it doesn’t dissolve properly. Liquid sweeteners, however, mix easily with the cold milk and espresso and dissolve seamlessly.

Here are some flavoring suggestions for an iced latte:

Flavored coffee syrup to sweeten an iced latte: My toasted coconut coffee syrup is always a winner. And so is my cinnamon brown sugar coffee syrup that’s basically a copycat recipe of the Starbucks cinnamon dolce syrup.

Homemade vanilla syrup is the perfect sweetener for cold brew, iced coffee, and iced lattes and it's EXACTLY like the Starbucks vanilla syrup you're overpaying for. Make it at home in 10 minutes and with 3 ingredients! #vanillasyrup #coffeesyrup #homemadevanillasyrup #vanillabean #coldbrew

Then there’s the classic vanilla syrup to make iced vanilla lattes. And my blackberry vanilla syrup will just slightly tint your drink a light purple while giving it a boost of fruity deliciousness.

OH! And how could I forget my almond toasted coconut variety with real toasted coconut that you’ll steep in a 5-minute simple syrup.

4 Homemade Syrup Recipes for Iced Lattes Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

Though I haven’t tried it, the rosemary syrup I added to my mistletoe kiss cocktail might be a nice herby addition to your coffee. You can buy or make your own coffee syrup but I really do love to make my own.

They’re all SO GOOD!

Flavored Coffee Creamer: My pumpkin spice creamer is a copycat recipe of the coffee creamers you find in the grocery store. Combined with some milk, this is a great way to flavor your iced lattes. 

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Maple syrup to sweeten an iced latte: This natural sweetener is a delicious way to sweeten your coffee, whether it’s hot or cold. Look at that! Now you’ve made an iced maple latte!

Simple syrup to sweeten an iced latte: This just a simple mix of equal parts water and sugar that you boil for 5 minutes. When the liquid is cool, it’s a basic syrup to sweeten your coffee with. This is known at Starbucks as the “classic syrup.”

Caramel sauce to sweeten an iced latte: Caramel sauce is an excellent way to sweeten your iced latte! My vanilla bean caramel sauce will give an iced latte a sweet toasty flavor. My 3 ingredient salted caramel sauce will give an iced latte a sweet, deeply toasty, and slightly salty flavor. You can’t go wrong with either recipe but be sure you warm the caramel sauce a little to loosen it up before you add it to the iced latte.

Honey to sweeten an iced latte: This is also a great natural sweetener for hot and cold drinks. Honey will give your iced latte some floral flavor notes and it will enhance any naturally sweet flavors your espresso already has.

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

Flavored milk to sweeten an iced latte: You can find some milk varieties that are sweetened these days. Vanilla almond and soy milk are both fairly common in grocery stores.

Making Your Iced Latte at Home

Once you have your espresso brewed and your milk and sweetener ready, fill a glass with ice. Pour the espresso over the ice. Add the sweetener. Pour in the milk to fill the glass.

Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

Like I said, it’s super easy to make this drink at home!

Iced latte ratios (keeping in mind that the larger your glass is, the more ice you’ll need to fill it):

  • 12 oz iced latte (tall or small size drink from a coffee shop): 1 shot espresso, 1 ounce liquid sweetener, 8 ounces milk
  • 16 oz iced latte (grande or medium size drink from a coffee shop): 2 shots espresso, 2 ounces liquid sweetener, 8 ounces milk
  • 20 oz iced latte (venti or large size drink from a coffee shop): 3 shots espresso, 4 ounces liquid sweetener, 8 ounces milk

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

I hope you’ll make your own iced latte at home this summer! It’s a delicious drink, however you decide to make it, and it will cost you pennies on the dollar to make at home compared to buying it at a coffee shop!

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

How to Make an Iced Latte at Home

Yield: 1 (12 oz) drink
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 2 minutes

Let me show you how to make an iced latte at home! Use any flavor sweetener, milk, or boldness of espresso you choose and save yourself a ton of money in the process.


  • 2 shots of brewed hot or cold espresso (approximately 2 oz)
  • 8 oz milk (any variety)
  • 2 oz liquid sweetener, such as a coffee syrup, maple syrup, caramel sauce, honey, or simple syrup


  1. Pour the espresso into a 16 oz glass filled with ice. (see note below)
  2. Add the liquid sweetener to the glass.
  3. Pour milk into the glass and stir until the milk, sweetener, and espresso are combined.


You can either brew the espresso directly over the ice if you have an espresso machine or make the espresso on the stove top and pour it over the ice. The espresso can be hot or cold when pour it over the ice.

we love to see what you make!

tag what you make with #smellslikehomeblog on Instagram and follow along with me in my New England kitchen!

  • Lance
    April 22, 2019 at 4:23 PM

    TBH I just really want to know where you got that ceramic mug the milk is in. It’s stunning.

    • Tara
      April 24, 2019 at 12:05 PM

      I love this!! I added a link at the bottom of the recipe for the mug in the Recommended Products section (not an affiliate link). It’s from Farmhouse Pottery, a small handmade pottery business in Vermont. I’ve been drooling over their products for a few years and absolutely love their stuff (their pantry mugs are my favorite mugs of all time). It’s all a little pricey but the quality is outstanding and like I said, it’s all handmade.

  • Miranda
    May 31, 2019 at 6:56 PM

    Sounds so simple to make! Thanks for sharing. Love when we find ways to save money.

  • Pam
    May 31, 2019 at 7:26 PM

    Yummy! I love making coffee drinks at home – you know what’s in them and so much cheaper!!

  • Tove Maren
    May 31, 2019 at 10:41 PM

    I drink a 24oz latte (4 shots) every morning. This post is going to save me LOTS AND LOTS of money. THANK YOU – this looks delicious – and you can also save lots of calories. The coffee shops a lot of times automatically use whole milk… so many calories right there!

  • Elia Garrison
    May 31, 2019 at 10:52 PM

    This looks so delicious. I always drink my coffee hot but hadn’t really thought about doing this. That being said for summer this is the perfect treat.

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