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Espresso (or strong coffee) is stirred with a homemade gingerbread syrup and frothed milk to make this warm and comforting gingerbread latte recipe. Sweet molasses combines with warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg for that classic gingerbread flavor we all know and love.
With Christmas just around the corner and holiday spirit in the air, festive drinks are on the menu. There’s nothing better than a cozy gingerbread latte that’s just like the one Starbucks used to offer.
Unfortunately, this fan favorite has been retired from the holiday drinks menu for the past few years. But if you want to get your gingerbread latte fix, this recipe is the next best thing to the Starbucks version — even better, actually!
Enjoy a latte with my Soft Gingerbread Cookies for an extra special holiday treat on Christmas morning.
First, you’ll start by making your own gingerbread syrup. It’s easy, I promise, and it keeps beautifully in the fridge so you can enjoy some delicious gingerbread lattes later in the holiday season. Once the simple syrup is done, the rest of the latte is easy peasy. Not only is this copycat Starbucks gingerbread latte recipe more budget-friendly than going to a local coffee shop, but you can enjoy it in your pajamas.
Want to make them for a crowd? Try this Slow Cooker Gingerbread Latte instead, but double, triple, or quadruple the recipe (depending on the size of your crock pot).
Now, let’s get started on a yummy gingerbread latte!
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
For the gingerbread syrup:
- Water — Every syrup starts with a base of water and sugar.
- Granulated Sugar — Add regular granulated sugar to begin sweetening things up.
- Brown Sugar — Use dark brown sugar for this recipe. It has more of a molasses flavor to it, which is perfect for anything gingerbread flavored.
- Molasses — Molasses is essential to authentic gingerbread flavor. You’ll probably want to use light or mild molasses. Dark molasses is okay, too, but it’s less sweet and slightly bitter. Avoid blackstrap molasses, which can be quite bitter and has a very strong flavor (per Spruce Eats).
- Spices — You’ll need ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves to get that classic gingerbread flavor. You can also substitute an equivalent amount of gingerbread spice.
- Salt— Just a pinch brings out the flavors of all the other ingredients.
- Vanilla Extract — Use vanilla to enhance all the other flavors and add sweetness.
For the latte:
- Espresso — Instant espresso or strong coffee can work too.
- Gingerbread Syrup — See the recipe card for instructions on how to make this gingerbread syrup recipe. You’ll have enough for 9 yummy lattes, and the syrup will keep in the fridge for about a month. You can buy gingerbread syrup online, but I think that this homemade version is so much better than anything you’ll get out of a bottle.
- Milk — Use whole milk, oat milk, or even half and half. Whichever you prefer is fine! Full fat milk froths more easily than skimmer varieties.
- Whipped Cream — This is optional, but it adds to the creaminess and decadence of the drink. Use homemade whipped cream, Reddi-wip, or similar.
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg — Use just a pinch of each to sprinkle over top of the whipped cream.
Equipment You’ll Need for a Starbucks Copycat Gingerbread Latte
Here’s what you’ll need to whip up this gingerbread latte recipe in a jiffy!
- Espresso machine or coffee maker (or use instant espresso or coffee)
- Milk frother or whisk
- Measuring cups and spoons
How to Make a Gingerbread Latte
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Start with making the gingerbread syrup first. Add the water, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt to a medium saucepot. Stir to combine.
Step 2: Cook over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer, stirring occasionally. Once it starts simmering, stir constantly for 5 minutes. It’s very important to stir the entire time or else the sugars will scorch and burn. After simmering and stirring for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set the syrup aside.
Step 3: Add espresso or strong coffee to your mug.
Step 4: Add 2 tablespoons of gingerbread syrup and some frothed milk. Top with whipped cream and a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Feel free to add more gingerbread syrup if you’d like a stronger gingerbread flavor.
I recommend serving this homemade gingerbread latte in a cute holiday mug with loads of whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg over the top. You can also add a cinnamon stick or crumble a gingerbread cookie over the top for extra flavor and holiday flair.
If you’re looking for something sweet to go along with your latte, look no further than a hunk of my Gingerbread Monkey Bread, some Biscoff cookie butter truffles, or a big piece of Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cake.
Storage and Freezing
Refrigerator: The homemade gingerbread syrup will last up to 1 month in the fridge in an airtight container. Warm syrup in the microwave or on the stove before adding to your lattes.
Freezer: You can freeze this gingerbread simple syrup for up to 6 months or more in a freezer safe container. Thaw in the fridge overnight, and then reheat as instructed above.
Gingerbread Latte Copycat Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Use brewed espresso or instant espresso in this recipe — both work just fine. If you don’t have espresso, really strong coffee will do the trick.
- If you don’t have a handheld frother, don’t worry. You can froth your milk using a whisk and lots of elbow grease until a foam forms. Make sure it reaches at least 170°F before trying to froth it. You could also add the warm milk to a jar and shake like crazy to froth the milk. Pioneer Woman lists 8 ways to froth milk without an espresso machine!
- Don’t let the milk boil — that can cause it to separate.
- Use 2 tablespoons of syrup per 2 shots of espresso for the perfect balance of flavors. But measure with your heart (and taste buds). If you like your lattes on the sweeter side, add more syrup!
Additions and Variations
Crumble a gingerbread cookie on top. That’ll definitely add more gingerbread flavor to this cozy drink.
Make it boozy. Add some Baileys Irish Cream to your latte! You’ll need about 1/4 cup per latte—don’t forget to reduce the milk by 1/4 cup if adding the Baileys.
Insert a cinnamon stick. It’ll add even more holiday flavor while you sip on your latte.
Make it vegan. Use plant-based milk and whipped cream to turn this into a vegan gingerbread latte.
Enjoy an iced gingerbread latte. Prefer iced coffee? Let the espresso shots cool, and then add the gingerbread syrup and milk. There’s no need to froth the milk if you’re serving it cold.
Starbucks Gingerbread Latte Recipe FAQ
Starbucks lists the following ingredients on their site: milk, espresso, gingerbread syrup, whipped cream, vanilla syrup, and nutmeg. However, the drink has been retired for a few years now.
This delicious gingerbread syrup is made with water, white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. You’ll love it!
Yes, you can, though it’s a little more difficult. For plant-based milk like oat milk or almond milk, get Barista blend milks which are thicker and easier to froth. The thicker, the better.
More Hot Holiday Drinks
- Slow Cooker Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
- Boozy Caramel Apple Cider
- Instant Pot Apple Cider
- Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider
- Easy Crockpot Apple Cider
- Boozy Caramel Hot Chocolate
- Caramel Macchiato
For the Gingerbread Syrup:
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For each Latte:
- 2 shots hot espresso or ½ cup strong coffee
- 2 Tablespoons gingerbread syrup
- ¾ cup frothed whole milk
- whipped cream for serving
- ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg for serving
- Place the water, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt into a medium-sized saucepot. Stir to combine.
- Place over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Once at a low simmer, constantly stir for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside.
- Add espresso or coffee to your mug.
- Add gingerbread syrup and frothed milk. Top with whipped cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg, if desired.
- The gingerbread syrup is enough to make 9 lattes if you use 2 Tablespoons of syrup per latte. I believe this is the perfect amount of sweetness, but use more or less to your taste!
- The syrup will last up to about 1 month in the fridge in a sealed container. Before using, make sure to warm it again in a saucepot or in the microwave, stirring well to distribute the spices.
- Make sure to heat the milk to 170°F, or it will not froth properly. I love using a handheld frother, but you can also use a whisk, whisking vigorously until the milk is frothed. As long as it is at the correct temperature, it will froth and hold.