Vegan Options at Starbucks (Updated 2021)

If you’re vegan or partially vegan, you’ll be well aware of what a struggle it can be to order food or drink when you’re out and about. There are some restaurants, cafes, and chains that are great for this, and others that aren’t so good. 

How do you know what to order when you go somewhere? We’re going to look at some vegan options at Starbucks.

You have a reasonable amount of choice when you visit a Starbucks and look for vegan drinks. All the basic drinks are vegan, and Starbucks has a choice of vegan plant milks you can opt for instead of regular dairy milk. You may also want to mention being vegan to the barista so they can let you know about any unsuitable ingredients.

What Are The Top Vegan Drinks At Starbucks?

starbucks

So, what should you order when you next drop into a Starbucks?

The Best Vegan Iced Drinks

Note: Before ordering a cold drink that would usually contain or be topped with whipped cream, make it clear you don’t want this – many of these drinks come with it as a standard.

  • Ombre Iced Coffee: choose vegan milk.
  • Iced Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Latte
  • Dunkaroos Frappuccino: request with non-dairy milk.
  • Samoa Cookie Frappuccino: ask for coconut milk and caramel syrup instead of caramel sauce.
  • Iced Shaken Espresso: ask for this with or without a vegan milk option.
  • Java Chip Frappuccino: ask for vegan milk and no java chips.
  • Matcha Lemonade
  • Vegan Dragon Drink
  • Iced Golden Ginger Drink
  • Violet Drink
  • Pink Drink

The Best Vegan Hot Drinks

Note: Before ordering a hot drink that would usually contain or be topped with whipped cream, make it clear you don’t want this – many of these drinks come with it as a standard.

  • Steamed apple juice: totally vegan with no need for any modifications.
  • Plain Tea Or Coffee: You may already be aware that the standard, basic drinks are automatically vegan. If you get a plain tea or a normal coffee, you won’t have a problem with it unless you want milk. If you want milk, you can ask for almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or oat milk – Starbucks offers all of these.

You can also add certain syrups if you choose to, and we’ll cover those later.

  • Smore’s Hot Chocolate: order with a vegan milk option and this is fine for you.
  • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: again, order with a vegan milk option, and ask for the caramel sauce to be exchanged for caramel syrup, which is vegan.
  • Classic Hot Chocolate: with vegan milk, this is perfect for vegans.
  • Toffee Coconut Hot Chocolate: best drunk with coconut milk.
  • Cinnamon Dolce Creme: as long as you remove the cinnamon dolce topping and choose a non-dairy milk, this is another great option.

Which Syrups Are Vegan?

You may already have identified a few of the syrups that are likely to be vegan, but it’s worth double-checking. You should always ask your barista, just in case Starbucks changes one of its recipes in the meantime.

The hazelnut syrup is, unsurprisingly, vegan. The vanilla syrup and the Irish crème syrup are also good options, as is the mocha sauce.

However, the white mocha, the pumpkin spice, and the pistachio syrup are all sadly non-vegan as they contain dairy. As a rough rule of thumb, if the syrup is clear, it is vegan, while the opaque syrups are not. It’s still a good idea to check, though!

The full list of vegan syrups includes:

  • Toffee nut syrup
  • Peach syrup
  • Fudge syrup
  • Caramel (and the sugar free version)
  • Hazelnut (and the sugar free version)
  • Vanilla (and the sugar free version)
  • Almond syrup
  • Gingerbread syrup
  • Macademia syrup
  • Simple syrup

Which Toppings Are Vegan?

So, what about the fancy toppings you can add to your drink? To many people, Starbucks is all about the cool extras you can pile on top of your beverage, but which of these are vegan and how do you know what you can have?

You might be surprised by some of these, as many aren’t suitable, but there is a handful that are perfectly safe to add to your drink.

You might want to try:

  • Strawberry sauce
  • Waffle pieces
  • Pumpkin spice topping
  • Brûlée topping
  • Mocha cookie crumble
  • Chocolate drizzle
  • Vanilla sugar

It’s really nice being able to choose some additional extras for your drink, so don’t miss out because you’re unsure. Remember, you can always ask if in doubt. The barista should be able to help you!

Which Drinks Can I Definitely Not Have?

Unfortunately, there are a few things on the Starbucks menu that you probably want to avoid because they aren’t vegan and they can’t be customized or adjusted to become suitable for vegans. We’ll do a brief rundown so you know what to be cautious of in the store.

Firstly, anything that contains white mocha is not suitable. You should also avoid hot chocolates that aren’t the classic hot chocolate with slight alterations (e.g. remove the dairy).

You can’t have caramel drizzle, toffee nut drizzle, salted toffee drizzle, butterscotch drizzle, toffee nut sprinkles, or gold chocolate curls either, so leave these out of your drinks.

It is also wise not to order a Salted Caramel Brownie Cream Frappuccino, as this won’t be suitable for you, and you should avoid Cereal Latte too because this contains honey – don’t get caught out by the unsuitable ingredient not being dairy! Sometimes animal products are in unexpected places.

What About Food?

If you’re planning to eat at Starbucks, you might be feeling a little nervous. Their range of vegan-friendly foods is relatively small and you may find it harder to find something that takes your fancy than when it comes to getting a drink. However, there are still some suitable options for you, so don’t worry too much!

Vegan Sandwiches/Meals

You can’t eat most of the offerings when it comes to their sandwiches, but you do have two choices: the vegan wrap with falafel and slaw, or the vegan winter sandwich. These are both tasty, but Starbucks definitely needs to step up its game in the provision of vegan sandwiches. There’s no reason for such a scanty offering!

You can also order some more snack-like savory foods, such as:

  • Chickpea bites and avocado protein box
  • Lentils and vegetable protein bowl with brown rice
  • A vegan bagel, with avocado spread, hazelnut butter, or almond butter to spread on the top

Vegan Breakfasts

Sadly, your breakfast offerings aren’t noticeably better. You can choose between their mango; lime fruit pot, their fruit mix pot, or their five-grain oatmeal, with either nuts, fruit packs, or jam for a topping. They do also now offer classic oatmeal and blueberry oatmeal, which are vegan according to the ingredients list.

Again, that isn’t a very impressive range of options, but you do have a few choices, so hopefully at least one will suit your tastes.

Vegan Desserts/Treats

If you’re just after a sweet nibble, you may be eyeing up the rows of cakes hungrily, but you don’t have a huge range of choices even here.

You might want to try one of the following:

  • Starbucks smoked almonds
  • Starbucks peanut and cashew bar
  • Vegan chocolate and raspberry cake
  • Starbucks dark chocolate bar
  • Starbucks almonds, cashews, cranberries, and raisins.

Again, we think Starbucks could improve on this and give their vegan customers a bit more choice when it comes to something tasty to munch alongside their coffee. As the menu does change fairly regularly, it’s a good idea to double-check what food you can and can’t eat.

Sometimes, a food may have been made vegan for you to enjoy – which is always a wonderful experience – and sometimes, a food may have lost its vegan status. 

You may also want to discuss how food is prepared; it has been revealed that although Starbucks has produced a Beyond Breakfast Sandwich that was supposed to be vegan, these were pre-assembled with non-vegan ingredients (egg and cheese). Staff would remove these ingredients upon request.

Most vegans would rather not have egg or cheese touching something they are going to eat, which makes this a non-vegan option from our perspective, in spite of how it may be advertised. You may wish to check whether this is the case with other Starbucks offerings.

Conclusion

Starbucks does have some great vegan options to order from, especially in the drinks. Their range of plant milks makes it possible to order many drinks in a vegan fashion, and they have plenty of choices in both the hot and cold drinks.

Their food leaves something to be desired for vegans, who may find themselves struggling to get a decent meal that they can enjoy, but hopefully, they will expand their offerings in the near future. It is so easy to provide vegan food now, and as many more people start to switch to a vegan or mostly vegan lifestyle, it is definitely in demand!

Here Is Our #1 Recommendation For Vegans

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Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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