Starbucks Caramel Sauce vs. Syrup: which one is stronger?

Though many Starbucks customers like adding caramel to drinks, some are torn between choosing caramel sauce and syrup. I used to think these two were the same since they both have caramel. I once ordered iced coffee at Starbucks and then added caramel sauce instead of caramel syrup and then realized that it did not dissolve as I expected.

After this, I started learning more about such Starbucks add-ons and created this post to inform you of the differences between Starbucks caramel sauce and syrup. By the end of it, you will also find out which is stronger.

What are the differences between Starbucks Caramel Sauce vs. Syrup?


Starbucks caramel sauce

Starbucks caramel syrup


Sugar, water, cream, butter, flavor, preservative, and sodium bicarbonate

Sugar and water, natural flavor, preservative, and citric acid

Taste profile

Less sweet but thicker

Sweeter and thinner

Caffeine content/Nutritional value

No caffeine

A pump of this sauce contains 30 calories. It is not dairy-free.

No caffeine

A pump of this syrup contains 20 calories. It is dairy-free

Availability/ Accessibility

It is hard to get outside Starbucks

It is available even outside Starbucks stores.


It is great for hot beverages

It mixes well with cold and hot beverages.

Starbucks Caramel Sauce vs. Syrup – How They Compare.

Starbucks Caramel Sauce vs. Syrup

What it’s made of (ingredients)

The caramel sauce from Starbucks is made up of cream, butter, flavor, sugar, water, sodium bicarbonate, diglycerides, and monoglycerides. The company also adds a preservative known as potassium sorbate to this sauce. The butter used to make caramel sauce from Starbucks contains corn syrup, invert sugar, cream and salt. These ingredients are what give the caramel sauce a thick consistency.

On the other hand, Starbuck caramel syrup is primarily made of water and sugar. It also contains citric acid and a preservative which prevents it from spoiling fast. Due to the ingredients used to make Starbucks caramel syrup, it has a thin consistency.

Starbucks caramel sauce, therefore, wins since it has more ingredients that make it richer than Starbucks caramel syrup.

Taste profile

Before you think of ordering caramel sauce or caramel syrup from Starbucks, you have to consider the drink you wish to take. Though both options can enhance the taste of most drinks, caramel syrup is sweeter than Caramel sauce. Starbucks caramel sauce is, however, more flavorful than syrup since it includes butter and cream. It mostly has a buttery taste.

Starbucks caramel syrup wins in this category since it is sweeter than Starbucks caramel sauce.

Caffeine content/nutritional value

Starbucks caramel syrup does not contain any caffeine, but you can use it to sweeten caffeinated beverages. A pump of caramel syrup has 20 calories, 5 grams of sugar, 5 grams of carbs, and 0 grams of fat. Since this syrup is sweet, you don’t need to add too much of it to a drink since this can also increase the calories you consume. Since Starbucks caramel syrup is dairy-free, anyone, even those on a vegan diet, can consume it.

Since caramel sauce from Starbucks has more ingredients than the syrup, it has a high-calorie content. Like the syrup, this sauce does not contain any caffeine. A pump of Starbucks caramel sauce contains 30 calories. Even if you like the taste of this sauce, you should take it in moderation. Since Starbucks caramel sauce has dairy, it is not the best for someone on a vegan diet.

Both products do not contain caffeine, but Starbucks caramel syrup wins since it has fewer calories compared to Starbucks caramel sauce.

Availability/ Accessibility

Accessing Starbucks caramel syrup is easy since you can buy it from anywhere. For instance, you can buy it from a grocery store or an online store such as Amazon. This is more available than Starbucks caramel sauce which is hard to get outside Starbucks. This is specifically made for Starbucks and is not sold in most stores.

Starbucks caramel syrup is easier to access than the caramel sauce.


These two products also differ in terms of their application. Starbucks caramel syrup is used to infuse the flavor of caramel into beverages. Due to its thin consistency, it distributes well in drinks and dissolves better, especially in cold ones. Feel free to sweeten cold drinks such as Caramel Frappuccino or latte with Starbucks caramel syrup. You can also use it in hot beverages. This syrup has a low density.

On the other hand, Starbucks caramel sauce is used as a topping or drizzle. Due to its thick consistency, the baristas add it to the interior of cups to make them more appealing and delicious. The caramel sauce has a high density. You can use this topping on hot beverages like Caramel Macchiato. Avoid using the caramel sauce on cold beverages since it will not dissolve well. Some people even use Starbucks caramel sauce to decorate desserts, ice creams, or cookies.

Starbucks caramel syrup wins in this category since it is more versatile than Starbucks caramel sauce. The syrup mixes well with both cold and hot beverages.

Starbucks Caramel Sauce vs. Syrup: A comparison overview

Starbucks caramel sauce – Overview

Starbucks Caramel Sauce

This is one of the toppings that Starbucks offers. It is a rich sauce that is made by mixing different ingredients such as water, sugar, butter, or vegetable cream and heavy milk or cream. Such elements, therefore, give it a smooth consistency. A pump of this sauce has around 30 calories.

You can order a coffee beverage from Starbucks with this sauce. This is a creamy flavoring that not only makes drinks look more appealing but also gives them more aroma and a buttery flavor.

Apart from being a topping, you can also ask a Starbucks barista to line the interior of your cup with caramel sauce. If you like Starbucks hot beverages such as Caramel Macchiato, you should consider ordering some of them with caramel sauce. Since Starbucks caramel sauce has dairy products, it is not the best for vegans.

What I liked

  • Its thick consistency
  • Mixes well with hot beverages

What I didn’t like

  • It is not easy to access outside Starbucks
  • High cost

Who it’s best suited for

  • It is best suited for people who take dairy products.

Starbucks caramel syrup- Overview

Starbucks Syrup

This is one of the syrups that Starbucks uses to sweeten drinks. It is made up of mainly water and sugar. Starbucks cooks the syrup to caramelize the sugar and concentrate the water. If you don’t take dairy products, you are free to add this syrup to your Starbucks drink since it is dairy free.

Due to the use of simple ingredients, a pump of this syrup has around 20 calories. Unlike the sauce, Starbucks caramel syrup comes with a thin consistency due to the inclusion of water in its making. It dissolves easily when you add it to a cold beverage. For instance, you can enhance the taste of iced coffee by ordering it with Starbucks syrup. This syrup has a low density and is quite versatile. You can also use it on certain hot beverages.

Though Starbucks makes use of its own brand of caramel syrup, it is believed to be manufactured by a company called Fontana. If you don’t live near a Starbucks store, you can access Starbucks caramel syrup at different stores such as Walmart, Instacart, and Amazon. Due to the versatility and ease of access to this syrup, some people use it on all kinds of drinks at home.

What I liked

  • It is versatile

What I didn’t like

Adding a lot of it can over-sweeten a drink

Who it’s best suited for.

  • Best suited for vegans since it is dairy free.

Final Verdict: So, Which is Better? – Starbucks Caramel Sauce vs. Syrup

Starbucks caramel syrup is better than caramel sauce. Though this syrup is thinner, it mixes well with both hot and cold beverages. It is also sweeter than the sauce. Since the syrup contains fewer ingredients and is dairy free, it has fewer calories. This also makes it suitable for people who don’t take dairy products. Starbucks caramel syrup is also better since it is not only available at Starbucks but also easy to access at other stores. Though caramel sauce mixes well with hot drinks, it is not the best for cold ones. Caramel syrup is, therefore, the clear winner.


What is the difference between caramel sauce and caramel syrup at Starbucks?

They differ in terms of their ingredients and consistency. While Starbucks caramel syrup’s main components are water and sugar, caramel sauce also has butter and cream. The syrup is also thinner than the sauce.

Is caramel sauce and caramel syrup used interchangeably at Starbucks?

No. Starbucks does not use these two interchangeably since they are not the same. They differ in terms of how they are made, their flavor, texture, and ingredients.

Is caramel sauce sweeter than caramel syrup?

No. Caramel syrup is often sweeter than caramel sauce. The sauce is, however, more flavorful than the syrup due to the inclusion of cream and butter.

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