Want to save a few bucks and make your coffee shop or Starbucks latte at home? Here’s how! And since you’re probably home a lot more than ever now, you’ll be drinking your hot and steamy cafe latte in your slippers in under 2 minutes!

How to Make a Latte at Home

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If you’ve been following along with me over the years, you’ll know that coffee is life to me. I don’t drink a ton of it but I NEED a hot cup to wrap my hands around in the mornings.

And truth be told, my coffee habits sort of follow the seasons.

When the weather warms up, I fall into iced coffee season. So last spring, I devoted more words than I thought possible to a post I wrote about how to make an iced latte at home. It’s been the most popular post on this site for over 5 years.

How to Make a Latte at Home

However, once the first chill hits the air and almost exclusively through the fall and winter, you’ll find me drinking hot coffee and espresso drinks.

Honestly, if I had my choice and an unlimited amount of funds, I’d be rolling through the Starbucks drive-through every morning for a hot or iced vanilla latte because they are my FAAAAVE.

Buuuut man are they expensive! Almost $6 for a flavored grande (medium) at Starbucks now? Sheesh!!

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

How to Make a Latte at Home

What is a Latte?

A latte is simply steamed milk that is mixed into hot espresso and topped with foamed milk. So simple, right?!

In some coffee shops, you’ll see a latte called a cafe latte. The terms are used interchangeably so don’t worry if you see a cafe latte on a menu somewhere – they’re the same!

How to Make a Latte at Home

Latte vs Cappuccino

While standing in line for coffee, I’ve often heard people asking what the difference is between a cappuccino and a latte. There are a couple of differences in cappuccinos vs lattes.

First, cappuccinos contain less steamed milk than lattes. This makes them taste a bit stronger. Cappuccinos contain equal parts of steamed milk to espresso to milk foam.

To this end, cappuccinos usually contain about half as much steamed milk and twice as much milk foam as lattes do.

How to Make a Latte at Home

Second, cappuccinos aren’t usually sweetened with a flavored sweetener. They’re more of a “purist” drink for espresso fans. Adding sugar or sugar cubes isn’t uncommon but flavored sweeteners usually aren’t added (though you could add one if you wanted to).

What Kind of Milk Should You Use for a Latte?

You can use any kind of milk you want:

  • dairy milk – whole, skim, 1% or 2%
  • dairy-free milks such as oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk

Whole milk creates the best foam of the dairy milks due to the amount of fat it contains. Higher fat content = frothy milk, just like how heavy cream is the best for making whipped cream.

Of the dairy-free milks, oat milk froths up the best.

How to Make a Latte at Home

Does a Latte Have Caffeine?

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

It’s important to note that even decaf espresso has a little bit of caffeine in it. So, if you’re trying to watch your caffeine intake be sure you consider this.

If I want to make a latte later in the day, I make it with 2 shots of decaf espresso. Otherwise, I would never sleep at night!

How to Make a Latte at Home

Which is Stronger: Coffee or Lattes?

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

How to Make a Latte at Home

How To Make a Latte

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

How to Make a Latte at Home

First step is you need espresso. You’ll need 1 shot of espresso for each 12 ounce latte you plan to make.

Ways to Brew Espresso

I brew my espresso with my Nespresso machine. My goodness do I loooooove this machine!!

It’s a fast way to make an espresso (or coffee, if that’s your thing!) 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 the exact amount of water that each pod requires for the espresso or coffee you choose.


PRO TIP: When I brew espresso to drink straight away, I like to use these little double-walled (insulated) espresso glasses. They keep the espresso hot longer when I want to drink it hot. They’re just like the Tervis tumblers but made of glass instead of plastic.

How to Make a Latte at Home

So if I brew an espresso and then say, the dog rings his bell to go outside or Riley is running amuck through the house and I need to wrangle her, my espresso stays hot for juuust a little bit longer. And boy, I’m always so thankful for this! Life happens, people!!

There are other ways to make espresso as well. 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 3+ 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 or buy ground espresso, add the ground espresso to the pot, add water, and brew. Otherwise, you can buy ground espresso in the grocery store or online at places like Amazon. Illy is my favorite brand of ground espresso!

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

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 tend to drink more coffee than espresso 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 latte. Before we had the Nespresso machine, I did this on a few occasions.

Latte Flavors

The ways you can sweeten or flavor a latte are almost endless!

Here are some flavoring suggestions for your homemade latte:

Flavored coffee syrup: My toasted coconut coffee syrup is always a winner. And so is my copycat Starbucks cinnamon dolce syrup for cinnamon dolce lattes.

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

RELATED: 19 Different Espresso Drinks to Make or Buy

Then there’s the classic vanilla syrup to make 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.

Of course, the Christmas season brings a whole other slew of latte possibilities! I made a gingerbread syrup this past season for these gingerbread lattes and if you’re a gingerbread lover, this drink is definitely for you.

Eggnog lattes are a big favorite at Christmas too! You can make them at home with just hot espresso and eggnog that you heat and froth.

Gingerbread Latte

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 drink.

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 steamed milk, this is a great way to make pumpkin spice lattes.

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

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

Simple syrup: 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 as the “classic syrup” at Starbucks.

Caramel sauce: Make a caramel latte or a caramel brûlée latte! My vanilla bean caramel sauce will give a latte a sweet toasty flavor. And my 3 ingredient salted caramel sauce will give your latte a sweet, deeply toasty, and slightly salty flavor. You can’t go wrong with either of these caramel recipes for your drink!

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

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

How to Froth Milk

So now you know that you’ll need some hot milk for this drink, let’s chat about how to froth milk. There are a couple different ways so let’s walk through them.

How to Make a Latte at Home

  1. The Stove Top Method #1: This is by far, the most straightforward and “old-school” way to steam and froth your milk. Simply pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat it until it starts to release some steam and bubble a tiny bit around the edges of the pan (this is called simmering). Then whisk it up until it starts to get frothy. This will take a little elbow grease but it’s the cheapest method around.
  2. The Stove Top Method #2: If you’re going to use a stove top cappuccino maker to brew your espresso, you can also steam your milk in the top portion of the pot. The milk won’t be frothy until you whisk it but this pot will save you some time and extra dish washing compared with using a saucepan. And these cappuccino makers are a WHOLE LOT less expensive than the countertop espresso machines are.
  3. The Blender Method: If you have a fancy dancy blender that has a heating function for soup, you can use this to steam and froth your milk too by whirring it up. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Or, you can blend how milk in a regular blender to make it frothy.
  4. The Milk Frother Method: A milk frother will take all of the “hard” work out of frothing milk. You’ll pour the milk in, plug the unit it, and press the Start button. This is the milk frother I use for my lattes and I love how it takes all the guesswork out of steaming and frothing milk!

How to Make a Latte at Home

Making A Latte at Home

Once you have your espresso brewed and your steamed milk and sweetener ready, pour the espresso in your mug. Then add the sweetener. Lastly, pour in the hot milk to fill the mug and top with some of the milk’s foam.

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

How to Make a Latte at Home

Latte ratios:

  • 12 oz latte (tall or small size drink from a coffee shop): 1 shot espresso, 1 ounce liquid sweetener, 8 ounces milk
  • 16 oz latte (grande or medium size drink from a coffee shop): 2 shots espresso, 2 ounces liquid sweetener, 10 ounces milk
  • 20 oz latte (venti or large size drink from a coffee shop): 3 shots espresso, 4 ounces liquid sweetener, 10 to 12 ounces milk (depending on the size of your mug)

I hope you’ll start making your own lattes at home now! It’s a delicious and cozy cold weather drink that will cost you pennies on the dollar to make at home compared to buying at a coffee shop!

How to Make a Latte at Home

How to Make a Latte at Home

How to Make a Latte at Home

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

Lattes are super easy drinks to make at home! Use any flavor sweetener, type of milk, or boldness of espresso you choose and save yourself a ton of money in the process. My latte recipe is way cheaper and tastes so much better than Starbucks and coffee shop lattes so now you can kick that pricey latte habit of yours to the curb!


  • 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 (refer to the text above for loads of suggestions!)


  1. Froth the milk. For this, you can use an electric milk frother or heat the milk in a small sauce pan on the stove and whisk until it's frothy.
  2. Pour the espresso into a 16 oz coffee mug or heatproof coffee glass. (See note below.)
  3. Add the liquid sweetener to the mug or glass and stir to combine.
  4. Pour milk into the glass and then dollop the frothy milk on top of the drink. Serve while still hot.


You can either brew the espresso directly into the mug or glass if you have an espresso machine or make the espresso on the stove top and pour it into the mug or glass when finished brewing.

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Leave a Comment

  • Kurtis Shattuck
    November 7, 2021 at 10:00 AM

    Isn’t milk steamed for a latte!?

    • Tara
      November 7, 2021 at 11:23 AM

      Yes, it sure is. I have a bunch of suggestions for how to steam and froth milk for a latte written in the post.

  • David
    February 18, 2022 at 9:51 AM

    It took you about 20 paragraphs just to give us a simple recipe. This is why I cannot stand certain websites. Nobody cares if you like coffee. Nobody cares that you’re trying to sell us coffee machines. Just get to the point.

    • Tara
      February 18, 2022 at 11:09 AM

      Hi David, For the convenience of the readers who do not like to read about the background of a recipe and the tips and tricks I provide, there is always a Jump to Recipe button at the top of the post below the social sharing buttons that will bring you immediately down to the recipe.

      Please don’t forget that I am providing you with FREE recipes and that this is MY website so if I want to write about how much I love coffee or suggest my favorite coffee machine to my readers, I can do that. There are hundreds of thousands of readers and followers who DO care about what I have written about for the 15 years that I’ve been sharing recipes on this blog/website so I’ll continue to write for me and for them.

      Thanks for visiting and I hope you got what you needed from the recipe.

  • Bob
    May 3, 2022 at 9:30 PM

    jesus christ tell us your whole life story why dont you? does a latte have caffeine? really?

    • Tara
      May 4, 2022 at 3:38 PM

      Good thing it’s MY blog and I can write however I choose to. Thanks for visiting!

  • Jamie
    June 20, 2022 at 10:47 PM

    Hi Tara, thanks for all the info to read prior to the recipe 😊 I enjoyed reading about so many different options as my daughter and I are trying out some different ways to make a latte! I’m sorry some people were negative to you. Thanks for all the details, super helpful! Have a wonderful week.

    • Tara
      July 5, 2022 at 9:21 AM

      Yay! I love hearing from readers who are in sync with my love for lattes! So glad this post was helpful to you! Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Jamie – they really do mean a lot. Happy Summer!

  • Tiffany
    July 4, 2022 at 12:41 AM

    Hi Tara! Just wanted to say thanks for the recipe and for taking the time to share your experiences! Unlike some of the rude commenters I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with, I rather enjoyed reading the whole post. Take care and keep writing!

    • Tara
      July 5, 2022 at 9:18 AM

      Hi Tiffany! So glad this post was interesting and helpful to you. I had a lot of fun researching, testing recipes, and writing it. Thanks so much for your kind words and for taking the time to leave a comment!

  • Nina Z
    July 4, 2022 at 8:18 AM

    Hi Tara, I’m new to your site and really appreciated your thoroughness!

    • Tara
      July 5, 2022 at 9:14 AM

      Welcome, Nina! Thanks so much for your kind words!

  • Rachel
    October 24, 2022 at 2:22 PM

    This was delicious! Also, loved not spending $7 at a coffee shop. Thank you for sharing!

    • Tara
      November 20, 2022 at 8:19 PM

      Yay! You’re welcome!

  • Muzza
    November 13, 2022 at 12:03 AM

    Thanks for the all the info. I enjoyed reading your post!

  • Chloe
    November 20, 2022 at 5:17 PM

    I assume chilling the espresso you could make this an iced latte? I may have missed that.

    • Tara
      November 20, 2022 at 8:12 PM

      Yes, that’s right! No need to froth the milk for an iced latte though.

  • Theresa
    December 8, 2022 at 10:52 AM

    Really confused – the measurements you give say 2 shots espresso 10 oz milk for a grande, then the recipe itself calls for 8 oz milk? It’s also unclear how you’re getting both steamed and frothed milk from whisking it on the stove. Should the milk be streamed separately, partly added to the espresso and then the remainder frothed? I did read the whole post and not just the recipe but this still isn’t clear.

    • Tara
      September 28, 2023 at 4:57 PM

      If you whisk the hot milk enough on the stove, it will become frothy. Once this happens, pour the hot milk into the cup and then top the latte with the frothy milk if you want to.

  • Heather Dotyi
    February 20, 2023 at 4:59 PM

    Hi Tara,

    I probably missed it, but my question regards how much coffee grounds to use per hot espresso? Under ingredients in How to Make a Latte at Home is says: 2 shots of brewed hot or cold espresso. To make the espresso, how much coffee do we use to make the espresso?
    Thank you so much for the site and encouragement!

    • Tara
      September 28, 2023 at 4:59 PM

      Hi Heather, To make espresso, you’ll need ground espresso beans and a manual espresso machine or a stovetop espresso maker. Alternatively, you can use a Nespresso machine with the pods that Nespresso sells. Hope this helps!

  • Julie
    February 28, 2023 at 8:53 PM

    Thanks for the ideas! Just got a milk frothed for my birthday and I’m excited to try it out. I’d also like to say kindness goes a long way 🙂 I hope others decide to show some to your comment section. The “jump to recipe” button is there for a reason.

    • Tara
      April 14, 2023 at 6:58 PM

      Hi Julie, Thanks so much for your support and kindness! I hope your homemade lattes are working out for you. 🙂

  • Julia
    March 4, 2023 at 10:39 AM

    Post tooooo drawn out
    Cut the post a lot shorter it’s too much to read and it gets boring then we loose interest
    People looking for a recipe and that is what they want not a whole essay

    • Tara
      April 14, 2023 at 6:59 PM

      Hi Julia, Looks like you may have missed the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the post. That will take you directly passed the helpful content I’ve written about how to make lattes and to the recipe.