How to make a frappuccino

Vitamix FrappuccinoPeople have been asking me how to make Frappuccinos at home. They tried, but got disappointingly separated ice and liquid, even using a Vitamix. I looked up the Starbucks list of ingredients, and found the secret ingredient: xanthan gum. In this post I will cover how to use xanthan, and also give a whole-food alternative for making satisfying frappes.

If you are a frequent drinker of Frappuccinos, you can save a lot of money by making them at home, plus you can customize them to be exactly how you like. They’re super easy too: a Vitamix will blend one in about 20 seconds.

Xanthan is made by fermentation, and it is used in a variety of foods, including sauces, dressings, and ice cream. Xanthan thickens without affecting flavor, and its liquid mixtures have the interesting property of being shear-thinning. In addition to stabilizing the ice-liquid mixture, xanthan also gives a Frappuccino a more satisfying mouthfeel.

Xanthan is available as a powder, and you may be able to find it in your grocery store in the baking section, as it is a common ingredient for gluten-free baking. Or you can get it online. A little goes a long way, so a jar will last a long time (that ~$9 linked jar is enough for ~340 Frappuccinos).

A small percentage of people report intestinal distress with xanthan, and I’ve read that some people prefer konjac glucomannan instead. However, xanthan has been used in foods for decades without any serious problems, and you’ve probably eaten plenty of it already (for sure if you’ve had Starbucks Frappuccinos). If you’d prefer not to use any isolated powders, I also have a whole-food recipe, which you can find below.

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I made a side-by-side comparison, blending identical Frappuccinos with and without xanthan. Here they are: with xanthan on the left, without on the right: Frappuccinos with and without xanthan gumThe difference is striking, both in terms of separation of liquid and ice, and mouthfeel.

The Starbucks ingredients also have another slightly unexpected ingredient, which is salt. A little salt helps balance flavors, even in sweet things.

Here’s the recipe that approximates the standard Starbucks Blended Coffee Frappuccino:

Traditional Frappuccino Ingredients

½ cup milk ½ cup strongly brewed coffee (double-strength), chilled

tsp xanthan gum

2.5 Tbsp sugar pinch of salt (¹⁄₁₆ tsp)

1 cup ice

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how to make a homemade caramel frappuccino

How to Make a Homemade Caramel Frappuccino

See how to make this homemade caramel frappuccino.

Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
how to make a homemade caramel frappuccino

How to Make a Homemade Caramel Frappuccino

See how to make this homemade caramel frappuccino.

Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. Start by brewing coffee and then let it cool to room temperature.
  2. In a blender add ice cubes, milk, caramel sauce and sugar then blend.
  3. Prepare your cup by lining the sides with caramel sauce. Pour your frappuccino in the cup and top with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

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