Fiendishly Thrifty, In the Kitchen

Homemade Cold Frappucino Mix

Homemade Cold Frappucino Mix
Can’t beat those prices!

If you’re like me, you love Starbucks’ cold mocha frappucinos, the kind you find in the soda pop case at the convenience store. They are a summertime staple for me.

But they are pricey at $1.90 to $2.29 for a 9 oz bottle. Even if you catch a 4-pack on sale at the grocery store, or opt for the grocery store brand, they are about $1.30 each. A pallet of 12 at Costco puts the price at 93 cents each, 80-something if Costco is running a $2 to $3-off coupon, which they do a couple times a year.

I’ve found Aldi’s “Beaumont” brand are quite good, especially the French Vanilla flavor, and at an everyday price of 99c each it’s the best single bottle deal you will find anywhere. If you’re on the road and craving a frappucino, don’t stop at the gas station, stop at an Aldi store! They come chilled and are in the cheese section.

However, even at the lowest prices, it still adds up if you have a habit like I do, and when you see the big pile of glass bottles in the recycle bin, it starts to look pretty wasteful and consumerish as well. Oh, and all that sugar! So I figured there had to be a way to make them myself.

Googling yielded many recipes, but here is what I settled on, after some tinkering:

Cold Mocha Frappucino Mix

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • plus 1/2 cup sucralose (Splenda is the best-known brand)
  • 1-1/2 cups dry milk powder
  • plus 1/2 cup creamer
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup instant coffee

Mix all ingredients together well in a big bowl and transfer to a covered container or large Ziplock bag for use as needed.

To make one frappucino:  Combine 3 level tablespoons of mix with about 1 cup of very hot water in a clean, reused 9 oz. frappucino bottle (a funnel helps). Put powder in first. Shake well to mix, and then refrigerate until ready to drink. Shake well before drinking. The mix will make 24 cold frappucinos.

Recipe Variations

You can tinker with the recipe yourself, depending on whether your concern is primarily healthiness, flavor or price:

• If you want primo flavor, use Carnation powdered milk and Nescafe Taster’s Choice instant coffee. Use a fancy chocolate powder such as Ghirardelli.

• If you’re not so concerned about calories and sugar, use all sugar and no sucralose. This alone is a huge flavor boost. If you’re super concerned, use all sucralose (yuck). The rule is, use 1 cup total sweetener.

• For a richer blend, reduce dry milk to 1 cup and use 1 cup creamer. Just so total milk product is 2 cups.

• For a fancier blend, use your favorite flavored creamer. French vanilla, anyone? I imagine a well-known brand of creamer might give better flavor, too.

NOTE ON COCOA:  It doesn’t really matter what kind, but I would use regular process for the stronger flavor and save your Dutch process cocoa for baking, where it really shines. You can use drinking cocoa, but that will add extra sugar.

NOTE ON WATER:  I think hotter water gives better flavor. You might want to microwave warm tap water on the beverage setting (in a different cup) to get it super hot before pouring it into the frappucino bottle with the mix.

NOTE ON PACKAGING:  I looooove reusing the same few store-bought frappucino bottles over and over, and usually make 3 or 4 at a time. I find the frapps last at least a week or two in the fridge. It feels more like the real store-bought thing to reach in the fridge and pop open a single frappucino bottle, instead of pouring it out of a jug.

Now, For The Price Breakdown: Drumroll, Please!

Well, my goal was to save money, so my version is pretty much all off-brand ingredients, but you can get similar prices by buying name brand stuff in bulk at Costco, or their Kirkland brand, which is always very good. If you spring for Taster’s Choice and so forth, your price per bottle will go up by a few cents, but you will still be under 20c per bottle, since primo ingredients cost more, but definitely not TWICE as much as store brands.

My ingredient list:

  • Grocery store brand sucralose-$6.99/5-lb.bag
  • Grocery store brand sugar-$2.00/5-lb. bag
  • Grocery store brand powdered milk-$2.89/medium bag
  • Aldi’s store brand creamer-$1.99/12-oz. container
  • Grocery store brand baking cocoa-$2.50/8-oz. container
  • Aldi’s store brand instant coffee-$2.99/8-oz. jar

I arrived at cost per batch by measuring out how many cups each package of ingredient yields, since the dry weight doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the volume weight.


PRICE PER BOTTLE: 9.5c… that’s less than 10 cents per bottle!


2 thoughts on “Homemade Cold Frappucino Mix”

  1. Thanks for the tip – I think my daughter is going to love these in her lunchbag this fall. Nice meeting you today @ A2B3

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