A foamy Starbucks Vanilla Latte is my forever favorite coffee drink and I’m thrilled to make it at home for a fraction of the cost of a coffee shop drink! This perfect breakfast-in-bed treat is also super easy to make for yourself before work with just milk, espresso, and vanilla syrup.

A hot vanilla latte in a clear glass with a big dollop of foamed milk on top of the latte.

I can’t start the day without my coffee. Hot or iced will do, but I need it.

It didn’t used to be this way but as soon as a drive-thru Starbucks was built on my way to work about 15 years ago, the obsession started. And as you can imagine, it got to be an expensive habit pretty quickly.

So when I started working full-time and at home on Smells Like Home in 2019, I began making my iced lattes at home to save money and time.

Two homemade vanilla lattes in clear glass mugs with a big dollop of foamed milk on top of the latte. There is a spoon in the forward mug and some of the milk foam has been stirred into the latte.

And since that first iced latte, I’ve made it part of my job to teach YOU how to make your own, too. I want you to know how to make a latte at home that’s just like one of the most popular Starbucks drinks. 

So let’s all skip the long line at the Starbucks drive-thru and get to making my favorite vanilla latte at home! 

This simple vanilla latte recipe is so decadent and flavorful with just 3 ingredients I bet some of you are already using in your morning coffee. You can thank me later as you add this hot latte with lots of foamy milk to your at-home caffeine routine!

A hand is pouring a shot of hot espresso into a glass mug to make a vanilla latte.

No fancy equipment required!

Ingredients

This is your basic shopping list for this vanilla latte recipe, but you can find all the measurements and steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

As usual with any coffee drink, feel free to tweak my recipe to your own tastes and dietary needs.

Ingredients for a homemade vanilla latte. In the front is a shot of hot espresso in a glass espresso cup. Behind the cup are bottles of milk and homemade vanilla simple syrup.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Brewed hot espresso
  • Milk — any kind works here! No need to alter this recipe for an oat milk or almond milk latte either!
  • Vanilla syrup

What is the Difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino and lattes are both coffee with milk and foam on top, but how are they different? 

Traditionally, a cappuccino is made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. Sometimes you can even see all the layers in a clear mug.

A hot vanilla latte in a clear glass mug with a big dollop of foamed milk on top of the latte. In the background, there is a jar with espresso beans and a bottle of vanilla simple syrup.

A latte however, has more steamed milk than a cappuccino, and with just a little foam on top. The milk is also gently mixed into the espresso before the milk foam is added.

How to Make Starbucks Vanilla Latte at Home

Here are the quick steps to making the perfect copycat Starbucks vanilla lattes at home. You’ll find the full list of steps in the recipe card below so be sure to keep scrolling down!

A hand is pouring vanilla simple syrup into a glass mug to make a vanilla latte.

STEP 1: First, heat and froth the milk! You can use an electric milk frother or in a small pot on the stove top and whisk it by hand. 

STEP 2: Now, pour in the vanilla simple syrup and then add the hot espresso on top of the syrup.

STEP 3: Finally, pour the hot frothy milk into the mug and dollop with a little more foam! This goes so so well with a big piece of crumb cake, a big blanket, and a good book!

Hot steamed milk is being poured from a stainless steel electric milk frother into vanilla latte. The latte is in a clear glass mug.

More Amazing Latte Recipes

Once you get the basics of how to make a latte, the options are endless! You can even make iced vanilla lattes for those hot summer mornings without a trip in your sweltering car to the drive-thru.

Just like Starbucks, you can be a barista in your own kitchen with almost no equipment and your favorite flavors!

A hot vanilla latte in a clear glass mug with a big dollop of foamed milk on top of the latte. In the background of the photo, there is a shot of espresso in a glass, a bottle of vanilla simple syrup, and a stand with white mugs hanging from it.

Christmas is the best time for lattes. They’re super comforting and can be flavored so many ways! Try this gingerbread latte with all the spices, or a yummy eggnog latte with or without the rum. 

Sometimes I need a new flavor, and these caramel brûlée lattes are sticky-sweet in just the right way. Top them with smashed caramel candies for the best dessert coffee.

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

You can even make your own cinnamon dolce syrup! You’ll never guess this super simple secret to take a classic coffee syrup from basic to amazing!

What to Serve with Vanilla Lattes

Sometimes you need a sweet treat before noon. I’m always down with this idea!

A traditional cinnamon sour cream coffee cake is one of the best breakfast dishes. It’s filling but not too sweet with just a touch of cinnamon.

Overhead photo of two hot vanilla lattes in clear glass mugs with big dollops of foamed milk on top of the latte. Laying on the marble countertop next to the glasses are espresso beans, vanilla bean pods, spoons, and empty espresso glasses.

If you love vanilla, I highly recommend you make these French vanilla sablés ASAP. Don’t be afraid of the fancy name — these crunchy butter cookies are so simple.

If you love a classic sugar cookie recipe, look no further! Pan-banging sugar cookies are some of my favorite Christmas cookies you’ll crave all year.

A hot vanilla latte in a clear glass mug with a big dollop of foamed milk on top of the latte. In the background of the photo, there is a shot of espresso in a glass, a bottle of vanilla simple syrup, and a stand with white mugs hanging from it.

A hot vanilla latte in a clear glass mug with a big dollop of foamed milk on top of the latte.

Vanilla Latte (Starbucks Copycat)

Yield: 1 (12 oz) drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

If fancy coffee shop lattes are your thing, you'll be shocked at how easy it is to make a homemade vanilla latte. With just 3 ingredients, you can quickly elevate your at-home morning caffeine routine into a work-from-home coffee shop.

Ingredients

  • 2 shots of brewed hot espresso (approximately 2 oz)
  • 2 oz vanilla syrup
  • 8 oz milk (any variety - cow, coconut, soy, oat, almond, etc.)

Instructions

  1. To 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. To make the latte and assemble: Pour the vanilla syrup into a 16 oz coffee mug or heatproof coffee glass. (See Note below.) Pour the espresso into the syrup and stir to combine.
  3. Pour the hot frothy milk into the glass and dollop with some of the milk foam. Serve while still hot with crumb cake or cookies on the side, of course.

Notes

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 with a Moka pot and pour it into the mug or glass when finished brewing.

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