For the last 19 years, the arrival of autumn hasn't been about waiting for cool, crisp mornings or the changing of the leaves. It has come with anticipation of Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte release date. The PSL has been synonymous with fall for so long, we may as well rename the season "pumpkin spice season!" In 2021, Starbucks announced a new addition to their seasonal line-up, and it's back this year with a bit of a twist: Starbucks apple crisp macchiato has returned as the first official vegan addition to their fall menu.
Made with Starbucks blonde espresso and rebranded with creamy oat milk, this drink is soft, smooth, and tastes almost exactly like an apple crisp. We fell in love with the drink upon first sip before realizing we could only have it a few months out of the year. So we set out to make a copycat recipe that would allow us to enjoy the macchiato any day, anytime. All you need is your favorite coffee and a few concoctions: a brown sugar simple syrup and a spiced apple drizzle.
What is In the Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato?
To get started making Starbucks apple crisp macchiato, we took a peek at Starbucks' website for the ingredients list. We love that Starbucks is so transparent in publishing all the ingredients to all their dishes, but we still had to figure out the proportions to make this recipe shine.
The drink is made up of a few components: oat milk, brewed espresso, apple brown sugar syrup, and spiced apple drizzle. The apple brown sugar syrup is almost identical to Starbucks' regular brown sugar syrup, containing brown sugar, water, natural flavors, salt, and potassium sorbate as a preservative. It also includes malic acid, which is what gives the syrup its characteristic apple flavor. To create that apple flavor at home, we used real apple juice because it was easier to find at our local grocery store.
The spiced apple drizzle is really where most of the apple crisp flavor comes in this drink. Starbucks makes this caramel-like drizzle with sugars (corn syrup and invert sugar), apple juice concentrate, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, caramelized sugar (for color), and preservatives. We found the easiest way to make it at home was with brown sugar, which helped the drizzle obtain a caramel consistency without adding butter or heavy cream.
Is Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Seasonal?
Like their famous pumpkin spice latte, Starbucks apple crisp macchiato is available hot, iced, and blended, but you can only get it for a few months out of the year. In 2022, Starbucks released the drink August 30th and it's available throughout the fall season "while supplies last."
That's what's great about making this drink at home! You can make it anytime you're craving apple pie. The apple brown sugar syrup and the spiced apple drizzle recipes make more than you'll need for a single drink, but they'll last about a month in the refrigerator. If you plan to make this recipe on the regular, we recommend doubling the recipes so you'll have enough for several drinks. If you need to use them up, these syrups are also perfect for fall-themed cocktails, too.
Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Substitutions
In 2022, Starbucks debuted this drink with oat milk as a vegan addition to their fall lineup. Feel free to make this drink with oat milk, cow's milk, or any other alternative milk. Keep in mind that cow's milk or barista-edition oat milk will froth the best, creating a foamy layer on top of the macchiato. Other alternative milks don't foam that well, so you may not see a pronounced criss-cross hatching of the drizzle on top.
You can also make this drink as an iced or blended drink. For an iced drink, start by pouring the apple brown sugar syrup and spiced apple drizzle into the glass. You'll probably want to use a little more syrup for the cold version, as hot drinks carry sweet flavors more prominently than cold drinks. Then pour in cold milk, cold espresso, and about a cup of ice. Stir and enjoy!
To make a blended version of Starbucks apple crisp macchiato, pour the contents of the iced macchiato into the blender and blend until smooth.
Copycat Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Recipe
For the Apple Brown Sugar Syrup - makes approx 3/4 cup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- pinch kosher salt
For the Spiced Apple Drizzle - makes approx 1/2 cup
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch ground nutmeg
- pinch kosher salt
For the Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato
- 1/2 to 1 ounce apple brown sugar syrup
- 1 cup milk or unsweetened oat milk
- 2 shots espresso (or 2 fl oz brewed coffee, or 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder)
- 1/2 to 1 ounce spiced apple drizzle
For the Apple Brown Sugar Syrup
- Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. Store extra syrup in the refrigerator for up to a month.
For the Spiced Apple Drizzle
- Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. The drizzle will thicken to a caramel-like consistency as it cools. Store extra drizzle in the refrigerator for up to a month.
- For the Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato
- Place the apple brown sugar syrup in the bottom of a mug.
- Heat the milk or oat milk in the microwave or on the stovetop until steaming. Froth it with a milk frother for about 20 seconds, until foamy. Pour the milk into the mug and spoon the foam on top.
- Pour the espresso over the foam without stirring.
- Drizzle the spiced apple drizzle on top in a crisscross pattern. Serve immediately.
READ MORE: 10 Healthy Starbucks Drinks to Get the Energy Without the Sugar Crash