Since its incorporation in 1955, McDonald's Corporation has not only become the world's largest quick-service restaurant organization, but has literally changed Americans' eating habits--and increasingly the habits of non-Americans as well. On an average day, more than 46 million people eat at one of the company's more than 31,000 restaurants, which are located in 119 countries on six continents. About 9,000 of the restaurants are company owned and operated; the remainder are run either by franchisees or through joint ventures with local businesspeople. In 1954 Ray Kroc, a seller of Multimixer milkshake machines, learned that brothers Richard and Maurice (Dick and Mac) McDonald were using eight of his high-tech Multimixers in their San Bernardino, California, restaurant. His curiosity was piqued, and he went to San Bernardino to take a look at the McDonalds' restaurant.




McDonald's Caramel Frappe

McDonald's Caramel Frappe
Copycat Recipe

1/2 cup instant coffee, brewed at 1 and 1/2 or double strength, frozen  (see note 1)
3 T caramel syrup (see note 2)
2 T granulated sugar (feel free to substitute your preferred low-cal sugar substitute…just be sure to check conversions – not all of them substitute tsp. for tsp.)
1/2 C whole milk (feel free to substitute 2% or skim.  Use whatever you have on hand.)
1/2 C heavy cream (feel free to substitute milk here, too, if desired. (see note 3)
1 C-1 1/2 C ice
Reddi-Whip or similar generic nitrogen- or isobutane-propelled sweetened whipped cream, if desired, for garnish (I usually try to skip this part if I’m being good.)
caramel ice cream topping (see note 4), if desired, for garnish (again, my no-guilt version skips this element)

Place frozen coffee, caramel syrup, sugar, milk, cream, and ice into a blender (see note 5) and blend until smooth.  Top with Reddi-Whip and drizzle with caramel topping.  Enjoy!

1. You can certainly use non-instant coffee if you have a coffee maker, and of course if you’re a caffeine-drinker, you’ll probably want to opt for the full-effect caffeinated variety.  Go for it!  I usually brew up a big batch (like, my 8 C measuring bowl full) at 1 1/2 strength, let it cool to room temperature, then portion it into these mini round Glad containers and stick them in the freezer.  Then, you’re good to go whenever you’re craving a frappe!

2. I’ve seen all kinds of different flavors of this syrup, including hazelnut, Irish creme, cinnamon vanilla, pumpkin spice...  I personally have no intentions of messing with the perfection that is the caramel frappe, but feel free to experiment with other flavors you like!  I found mine at my local Winco for less than $6, but I’ve also seen it at higher-end kitchen supply stores for more like $10 or $11.

3.  When you start subbing out the cream, the end result is less creamy.  Duh.  But, let’s face it, if I’m making these a few times a week, less creamy in the cup means less jiggly on the butt.  Or so I’m told.  Anyways, you can use all milk and no cream to make them, with a less creamy but still delicious result.

4. Any variety of caramel ice cream topping will work, but I personally like Mrs. Richardson’s butterscotch caramel best because it’s really nice & thick and it tastes & acts just like the stuff that McDonald’s drizzles on theirs.  If you love them like I do, you know what I’m talking about…When you get to the bottom of the frappe, your straw starts sucking up these nice, thick, mouthfuls of caramel.  It’s kind of the best part of the whole experience.

5.   You really do need an ice blender or smoothie maker to get the texture right for these.  I have a cruddy old blender from college that I tried, and it left big chunks of ice in there, more like iced coffee than a frappe.  Use a machine designed for making smoothies or efficient in dealing with ice.  This is one place where I love my Magic Bullet.  In my kitchen, my Vitamix will win almost any blender challenge over my Magic Bullet.  If I’m serving guests and making three or four at a time, I’ll use the Vitamix, but if I’m making a single serving I prefer my Magic Bullet because I can blend one at a time, right in the cup I’ll be drinking out of, and save myself a dish.


  1. I made 10 cups of Starbucks expresso, should I use a lot more coffee grounds to taste it good? And I found this foam caramel same price 4 oz more at walmart is that where I messed up?

  2. what is the difference between caramel syrup in note 2 and caramel icecream topping for drizzling?