Refreshing Starbucks Vanilla Iced Coffee


How much do you love Iced Coffee? I'm not going to lie, I pretty much live on it during the summer months. Come mid-April I'm ready to trade my hot caramel macchiato for a vanilla iced coffee until about October when I can resist the pull of a pumpkin spiced latte no longer. But let's be real, I can't afford to go to Starbucks everyday. So I set out to find a cheaper way to have my favorite drink.

Since I used to work at Starbucks, I can honestly tell you that this tastes like the real thing for a fraction of the price. You need a whooping 3 ingredients for this dream come true, so hold onto your hats while I show you how amazing this is.

Ingredient 1: The Coffee

The Cheap Way

There are two ways to get the best iced coffee. The first way is to buy Starbucks' new iced coffee that can be found in the grocery store. I have seen them at Kroger, Walmart, Target, etc. It comes in a 48 oz bottle near the orange juice/milk section. I get the medium roast UNSWEETENED iced coffee and it costs about $4-5 a bottle. I have seen it as low as $3 a bottle in some parts of the country and there are often manufacturer coupons in the Sunday paper. This bottle will make you 4 to 5 cups of coffee at home. That's a heck of a lot better than $3.00+ for one drink at Starbucks!

The Even Cheaper Way

The second way is even cheaper. You can buy Starbucks' whole bean (or they can grind it for you) iced coffee blend online or at one of their retail stores. You can brew it at home and make even more than the grocery store version. Of course, there is no need to use the Starbucks brand. Use whatever coffee beans you prefer but just know that the true Starbucks taste will come from their brand.

The secret is to brew it on DOUBLE STRENGTH like Starbucks does. That means you need to use twice as much coffee as you would water. This way your iced coffee isn't watered down when you add ice.

Let's say you're brewing at home in your Mr. Coffee coffeepot. The typical coffee to water ratio is 2 Tbsp of coffee for every 6 oz of water. So for the iced coffee you'll want:

4 Tbsp of coffee to 6 oz of water

If I were you, I would just double that for an extra large pot that you can leave in a pitcher in your fridge.

Ingredient 2: The Syrup

Prepare to have your mind blown. Starbucks sells their syrup bottles! Any flavor! Can you believe it? Just be mindful that they need to have extra in stock, so you may want to let them know ahead of time. 

I know what you're thinking: "But what about one of those cool little pumps?" They will give that to you as well as long as you smile and ask nicely. Baristas see a lot of mean people in their day, especially in the drive-thru. So be nice or they will mysteriously be out of the pumps.

Vanilla is the most popular syrup flavor at Starbucks so they usually have plenty of extras. This is my favorite flavor (besides pumpkin spice of course) so I use it in my iced coffee. However, if you want sweetened iced coffee like how Starbucks makes it, you'll need to buy a bottle of Classic syrup. It's nothing more than a simple syrup. Each syrup bottle costs about $12.95-14.95, depending on what part of the country you're in.

Of course you can buy other versions of vanilla syrup too, like Torani. But I am not going to lie, they are not my favorite. It tastes a little "fake" to me. Maybe this is the prissy Barista in me talking buuuuuuut, that's just my opinion.

Add 2 pumps (about 2 tablespoons) into your coffee and that will be plenty sweet. This bottle will give you 33 servings. I wish I could say that it lasts me a month, but... ::wink, wink:::

Ingredient 3: The Creamer

Starbucks uses plain ole' half and half as their creamer unless you specify otherwise. I pour in about 3 tablespoons and it's perfect.

Vanilla Iced Coffee

I mean really, is there anything more you want in life right now than this glass of iced coffee in real life? Maybe a green straw to go with it? Can someone please tell me why everything tastes better with a green straw?

So for one iced coffee a day, you can get enough coffee, syrup, and creamer for about $37. If you bought a grande iced coffee from Starbucks everyday (and who can get a Grande when there's a Venti?!?!) that would cost you about $80. That's saving more than half!!! And if you brew your own coffee it's going to be even cheaper! So what are you going to do with all the money you save?

If you like Starbucks Iced Caramel MacchiatoStarbucks Iced Black Tea Lemonade, or Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade, I can show you how to make these copycat recipes at home too! What is your favorite Starbucks drink? Have you learned to make it at home yet? Drop me a line, visit me on Facebook, or check out my Pinterest and let me know. Happy Cooking y'all!

Copycat Starbucks Vanilla Iced Coffee

This recipe for vanilla iced coffee tastes just like Starbucks but without the hefty price tag.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Person


  • 1-2 Tablespoons vanilla syrup
  • 3 Tbsp half and half

Home brewed iced coffee:

  • 8 Tbsp ground coffee
  • 12 oz water


  • Pour all ingredients into glass and stir.
  • Add ice and serve.

Home brewed ice coffee method:

  • Brew in normal coffee pot.
  • Transfer to a pitcher and let it chill in the refrigerator.
  • Do NOT add ice until you are ready to pour your drink.

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  • 5 stars
    I’ve been making homemade iced coffee for years, and this 2-minute vanilla version is a game-changer! 😍 For those interested in a similar taste to Chick-fil-A’s iced coffee, check out this recipe. It captures that rich flavor perfectly and offers great customization tips!

  • Can you please share an easy way to make vanilla syrup at home ?

    • I’m sorry Laniya. I don’t have a recipe for that. You can order lots of vanilla syrups online.

  • 5 stars
    I was searching for the ingredients Starbucks using in iced coffee because I love them.. specially the cream. Sure I’ll try it..

  • How much of the blonde espresso iced coffee do you use for one glass of iced coffee? And is this same as the blonde espresso shots?

    • Blonde iced coffee and espresso are different. Blonde iced coffee is a lighter flavor roast. Espresso is much stronger and is ground finely to pull strong shots. If you are using regular blonde roast for iced coffee, brew however much you want on double strength.

  • Newtobrew says:

    I used Starbucks Espresso in my son’s ice coffee. Was that incorrect? Thank you for the information that I can get Starbucks syrups, tremendous difference!!

    • I usually brew regular coffee extra strong. The espresso blend is usually ground finely for espresso machines. You might notice espresso blend to be too strong for iced coffee.

  • Can I let the coffee chill overnight or would it taste different, before adding all the goods to it.

    • You can definitely chill overnight. It will keep for several days that way. That is a good way to serve it fresh each morning.

    • Sure it will taste better if you leave the coffee overnight. I’m doing like that

  • Is this the same or similar to the vanilla sweet cream cold brew? I just made my first batch of syrup and can’t wait!

    • Yes, it is similar but not as creamy.

  • Mariemelissa says:

    Thank you so much!! I have been looking for a cheaper way to do it myself without going to Starbucks every morning!!

  • If the bottle says refrigerate, how in the world can it be heated?

    • Hi Lexi! Are you wanting to make the hot brewed coffee and then turn it into iced coffee? If so, you will need to brew the coffee fresh on either double or triple strength.

  • This looks too easy! Cant wait to try it – Its practicality fool proof! My favorite drink is the cascara cold brew with cascara cold foam…. any ideas on how to recreate that one??

    • I wish I could tell you I knew how to make an at-home version of that but unfortunately I don’t. 🙁

  • I love vanilla iced coffee from Starbucks, this is the way I make it, I brew the coffee double strong then I freeze some in a ice tray I put the rest in the fridge, next day I mix coffee cubes, coffee, 3 tablespoons of whipping cream, 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla, and I use stevia to sweeten because I am diabetic, I put it all in a high speed blender. delicious

    • That is a great suggestion! I love the ice cube idea!

  • Coffeeaddict says:

    If I am using the premade coffee how much of that do I put in with the cream and vanilla syrup to make one serving?

    • I usually just eyeball it in my glass, but it’s probably about 10 oz or a little more than a cup.

  • How about the matcha green tea latte?! I need that recipe!

    • I will have to work on that one for you! You will need matcha powder and steamed milk. You used to be able to buy the matcha powder at a Starbucks store but I am not sure it is still available. I bet you could find it online though!

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