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Peppermint Mocha Starbucks Recipe

Learn how to make the Starbucks Pepper Mocha with this easy recipe! It’s a wonderful drink to sip during the Christmas season and beyond.

If you love the Starbucks peppermint mocha latte but don’t love the price tag or having to make a coffee shop run every time you get a hankering for one, I’ve got good news for you: this is a Starbucks drink that’s fairly simple to make at home, and I’m going to walk you through the steps.

This is one of Starbucks’ seasonal drinks, but with my DIY version you can enjoy this iconic drink outside of the holiday season!

Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Review:

A diptych showing a Starbucks peppermint mocha with the lid on and off.

Of course I went to Starbucks and ordered their Peppermint Mocha so I could accurately recreate the flavors for y’all. 

The first time I tasted it, I thought they had forgotten the shot of espresso, because I could barely taste any coffee! 

So I went back a second time and got it again, only to find that the coffee flavor was still taking the backseat. I thought the second time I could taste it a little more? But it was still fairly faint.

So if you’re craving a caffeinated drink that doesn’t have a super strong coffee flavor, this is a great option!

I liked that the drink was nice and rich.

But enough chit-chat – let’s make the drink!

Video Tutorial


Here’s a video tutorial in case you learn better through watching. The written tutorial and recipe card are below!


The simple ingredients needed to make a Starbucks peppermint mocha at home.

You only need 4 simple ingredients:

  • 1 shot of espresso: Like I said, this drink is *lightly* flavored with coffee. If you’re a coffee lover and prefer a stronger coffee flavor, you could use 2 shots of espresso instead. 
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup: I used my homemade chocolate syrup to test this recipe. Starbucks uses their sweet mocha sauce, which I’ll discuss more below. If you don’t have any chocolate syrup on hand and don’t want to make any, you can simply substitute 1 ½ tablespoons of cocoa powder and 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar, simple syrup, or a sweetener of choice.
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint flavor: To get that lovely mint flavor, you’ll use peppermint extract or peppermint flavor. The one I use is oil based, but there are also alcohol based ones on the market. Now Starbucks uses their peppermint syrup to flavor this drink, and you can definitely make your own peppermint syrup or purchase it. But if you’d prefer not to make or purchase a specialty coffee syrup, the peppermint flavoring is a nice alternative.
  • 8 ounces whole milk: Starbucks uses 2% milk, but I prefer the richness of whole milk. I haven’t personally tested it, but I’m sure you substitute oatmilk if you’re going dairy free. 

A small cup of Starbucks mocha sauce to show the consistency.

What is mocha sauce at Starbucks?

As far as I can tell, the Starbucks mocha sauce is simply chocolate syrup or chocolate sauce. I ordered a few pumps of it off to the side, so I was able to taste it by itself. It basically tastes like pretty bland chocolate syrup.

The consistency was also pretty thin, as you can see in the photo above.

Starbucks mocha sauce ingredients:

Starbucks mocha sauce is basically made with water, sugar, and cocoa powder.

Here’s the full ingredient list: water, sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, natural flavor.

So based off of my taste test and the ingredient list, it’s pretty much a thin chocolate syrup.

How to Make a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha at Home:

Pouring a shot of espresso into a clear glass mug.

Okay, let’s make this delicious drink!

Place the shot of espresso into a 12 to 16 ounce coffee mug.

BTW, if you don’t own an espresso maker, you can use my How to Make a Shot of Espresso with Instant Coffee tutorial!

You could also substitute 2-4 tablespoons of strong coffee.

Heating the Milk:

Pouring chocolate syrup into a pan of milk.

Place the milk and chocolate syrup in a small saucepan.

I find that if you heat and froth the milk and chocolate syrup together, it’s less likely that the chocolate syrup will just sit at the bottom of the mug.

Heat over the stove on medium heat to 150 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit (66 to 68 degrees Celsius).

Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent the chocolate syrup from burning!

Frothing the Milk:

Pouring the chocolate and milk mixture into a hand pump milk frother.

Now it’s time to froth the milk/chocolate mixture!

If you own an espresso machine, you can simply heat and froth the milk at the same time by using the steam wand to make steamed milk. 

But if you don’t own a machine, no worries! You can easily froth your hot milk using a French press, hand pump frother, or stick frother. 

Check out my How to Froth Milk without a Machine video tutorial if you’re still feeling unsure how to accomplish this!

Adding the peppermint flavor to the milk/chocolate mixture.

Right before you froth the milk, add the peppermint flavoring. 

I tested this recipe by just adding the flavoring to the espresso, and I found that it didn’t emulsify very well. This resulted in an unevenly flavored drink.

Adding the flavoring to the milk produced much better results!

Frothing the chocolate/milk mixture using a hand pump frother.

Now froth the milk to your desired foaminess! 

Pouring the frothed milk and chocolate over the espresso in the mug.

Pour the frothy milk and chocolate mixture over the espresso in the mug.


All of the ingredients needed to make the topping.

Starbucks tops their peppermint mocha with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

To make your own whipped cream, simply whip 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon of vanilla extract to your desired thickness.

You could substitute vanilla syrup for the sugar and vanilla extract if you have that on hand. 

Adding whipped cream on top of the peppermint mocha.

Scoop or pipe the whipped cream on top of the drink.


A mug of Peppermint Mocha (a Starbucks recipe) with a red checked napkin underneath and candy canes, coffee beans, and chocolate in the background.

Finish off with some dark chocolate curls. 

You could also finely chop chocolate chips if that’s what you have on hand. 

And now you can enjoy your favorite drink any time of the year!

Other Substitutions:

A diptych showing peppermint coffee syrup on the left, and canned whipped cream on the right.

If you’d like to make this drink SUPER easy to throw together, you could purchase peppermint syrup, chocolate syrup, and canned whipped cream at the grocery store. 

You could even try making it with chocolate milk to cut out the step of adding the chocolate syrup.

A diptych showing the Starbucks peppermint mocha on the left and my homemade version on the right.

Price Comparison:

Now for my favorite part: the price comparison.

At Starbucks, a tall peppermint mocha will set you back around $5.25 before taxes and tips. With taxes and tips, it will be closer to 6 or 7 dollars.

My homemade version, on the other hand, will only set you back around 94 cents, or we could round up to about a dollar.

This will of course vary depending on the quality of ingredients you use, but it’s safe to say that it’s a significant savings to make this drink at home.

How Much Sugar is in the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha?

The peppermint mocha is a pretty sweet drink, but I didn’t find it unbearably sweet. 

A tall Starbucks peppermint mocha contains 42 grams of sugar. A Grande has 54 grams of sugar, and a Venti has a whopping 68 grams of sugar. 

My homemade version, which is approximately equivalent to a Starbucks tall, contains about 30 grams of sugar.

So if you prefer a less-sweet latte, my homemade version is the perfect option. And if you’d like it sweeter, just add a little more sugar!

How many pumps of peppermint in a peppermint mocha at Starbucks?

The amount of peppermint syrup varies depending on what size of drink you order. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Short Peppermint Mocha: 2 pumps peppermint syrup, 2 pumps mocha sauce
  • Tall Peppermint Mocha: 3 pumps peppermint syrup, 3 pumps mocha sauce
  • Grande Peppermint Mocha: 4 pumps peppermint syrup, 4 pumps mocha sauce
  • Venti Peppermint Mocha: 5 pumps peppermint syrup, 5 pumps mocha sauce

A mug of Peppermint Mocha (a Starbucks recipe) with a red checked napkin underneath and candy canes, coffee beans, and chocolate in the background.

Is there espresso in a Starbucks peppermint mocha?

Yes, the Starbucks peppermint mocha contains espresso. So if you’re avoiding caffeine, you should order the peppermint hot chocolate instead.

How many shots of espresso are in a peppermint mocha?

Again, the number of espresso shots varies depending on the size of drink you order:

  • Short: 1 shot of espresso
  • Tall: 1 shot of espresso
  • Grande: 2 shots of espresso
  • Venti: 2 shots of espresso

So if you love a stronger coffee flavor, I recommend ordering the Short or Grande peppermint mocha since the ratio of coffee to milk is higher in those.

What milk is in a Peppermint Mocha?

The standard Starbucks peppermint mocha comes with 2% milk. You can customize this either at the coffee shop, or in the Starbucks app.

Starbucks also offers nonfat milk, whole milk, half and half (to make a breve), oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk.

Does Starbucks always sell Peppermint Mocha?

The peppermint mocha is a seasonal item on the Starbucks menu. As a general rule, the Starbucks holiday drinks are released sometime in November, and they stay until the end of the year.

But this could vary year to year! Sometimes Starbucks makes really popular drinks regular menu items.


So that’s how to make my copycat Starbucks Peppermint Mocha! Make sure to check out the recipe below for more make-at-home drinks!

A photo collage of different Starbucks copycat recipes.

More Starbucks Coffee Drinks:

Other Starbucks Drinks:

Recipe Card

Yield: 1 serving

Peppermint Mocha Starbucks Recipe

A mug of Peppermint Mocha (a Starbucks recipe) with a red checked napkin underneath and candy canes, coffee beans, and chocolate in the background.

This simple peppermint mocha recipe is the perfect drink for getting you into the holiday spirit!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


For the Drink:

  • 1 shot espresso (or 2-4 tablespoons strong coffee)
  • 8 ounces whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup (see note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint flavor

For the Toppings:

  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • chocolate shavings


For the Drink:

  1. Place the espresso in a 12 to 16 ounce coffee mug.
  2. Put the milk and chocolate syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat to 150 to 155 degrees F. Stir occasionally to prevent chocolate syrup from burning.
  3. Add the peppermint flavor to the milk/chocolate mixture. Froth to desired foaminess (see note). Pour over the espresso in the mug.

For the Toppings:

  1. Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla to desired thickness. Spoon or pipe on top of the drink.
  2. Finish with the chocolate curls. Enjoy!


Chocolate syrup: I used my homemade chocolate syrup to test this recipe. You could also substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar.

Frothing the milk: If you have an espresso machine with a steam wand, you can use that to heat and froth the milk, chocolate syrup, and peppermint flavor at the same time. If you don't own an espresso machine, you can use a French press or handheld stock frother.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 327Sugar: 30g

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