The Key Ingredient For Copycat Starbucks Apple Brown Sugar Syrup

It's officially apple season, and Starbucks is here to celebrate with its apple crisp oatmilk macchiato and iced apple crisp oatmilk shaken espresso, the latter of which clinched the top spot in our ranking of the chain's 2023 fall menu items. Neither of these drinks would be possible without theĀ apple brown sugar syrup that provides all the yummy fall flavor. AndĀ the unexpected star of the show when it comes to apple brown sugar syrup is applesauce.

When ordered without modifications, a grande version of both of these drinks comes with three pumps of the seasonal ingredient. If you'd like to recreate these beverages at home (or if there comes a sad day when the syrup is discontinued), it's completely possible to make apple brown sugar syrup in your own kitchen. You won't be able to copy the exact taste of the Starbucks syrup, of course, which is made with sugar, water, the ever-mysterious natural flavors, salt, and preservatives; but applesauce and a few other ingredients will get you pretty close. Plus, you can whip up this sweetening syrup in just a few quick steps without cutting up any apples.

How to make apple brown sugar syrup with applesauce

Aside from the applesauce, you'll want to get out your brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to make apple brown sugar syrup. Go for unsweetened applesauce, since you're already adding sugar into the mix. If you don't like using brown sugar, you can swap it out with coconut sugar or cane sugar. And when it comes to the spices, feel free to go a little rogue. Leave out the nutmeg if you'd prefer, or add in apple pie spice (which typically has cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice), cloves, or vanilla extract.

Once you've decided on your intended mix, all you need to do to make the syrup is bring everything to a boil on the stove with some water, then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. Unlike if you used fresh apples, you shouldn't need to strain anything out, and the applesauce should meld into the syrup to create a thick consistency. Just like the Starbucks version, this homemade sweetener will have a subtle apple flavor. If you'd like to amp it up even more, try adding concentrated apple juice or apple extract. Give it time to cool completely; when you're ready, stir it into a homemade oatmilk macchiato or shaken espresso to make a drink reminiscent of the Starbucks fall favorites.