Do dairy-free Starbucks drinks taste as delicious as they look? If you’re craving an oat milk caffeine jolt or drooling over Starbucks’ refreshing rainbow drinks, let’s find out how to have it all dairy-free!
Before Starbucks, coffee was simple.
If you didn’t brew it at home, you could grab a cup from the nearest deli or gas station. Or rush to the break room at work, hoping that someone remembered to make a fresh pot and refill the sugar packets.
Then, a beautiful thing happened.
A Seattle-based coffee house with a strange mermaid logo popped up in our neighborhoods and we heard the siren’s call.
Suddenly, we wanted more than our basic coffee.
We started craving the whole Starbucks experience. It offered a cozy, bookstore atmosphere with eclectic seating and relaxing music, free WIFI, efficient but friendly baristas, and a wide variety of coffees and teas.
A true Starbucks aficionado could successfully recite all the customized details of their beverage (and those of their friends) and get the exact combination they ordered, complete with misspelled name on the cup.
(For the rest of us, thankfully, we have the Starbucks app.)
And Starbucks continued to thrill us with choices.
Even though soy milk has been around for a while, Starbucks cups warmed the hands of vegans everywhere when they introduced coconut milk (2015) and almond milk (2016).
When oat milk appeared as a menu item in 2021, we gave a collective sigh, put away our ceramic coffee mugs, and headed to our nearest Starbucks location.
If you’re just realizing that you can finally get your beloved plant-based milk in your favorite Starbucks drink, take a minute to shriek or look for your wallet. Or both.
And when you’re ready, let me take you on a whirlwind tour of the most delicious, dairy-free Starbucks drinks that you’ve been missing out on.
The best part is that there are so many to choose from!
NOTE: Although Starbucks offers many plant-based alternatives, they cannot guarantee that any of the products are free from allergens (e.g. dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, and wheat) since they use shared equipment to store, prepare and serve their products.
Tips on Ordering Dairy-Free Starbucks Drinks
Whether you’re ordering via the app, pulling in at the drive-thru window, or strolling up to the counter, ordering is easy.
Are you looking for something hot and soothing or cool and refreshing? Next, figure out what size you want.
Now, let’s design your drink!
Hot and Iced Coffees
If you’re in the mood for coffee, there are plenty of dairy-free and vegan options. There are no animal-derived ingredients in any of these products:
- hot brewed coffee
- iced coffee
- cold brew
- Caffè Americano
- unflavored latte
- espresso beverages
If you’re looking for more dairy-free or vegan items, options for milk alternatives include soy, coconut, almond, and oat milk. If you’re getting more than a ‘splash’ of one of these dairy-free products, there is an additional charge for these types of milk.
Your next decision is a little more difficult: do you want hazelnut, caramel, or vanilla syrup? All three are dairy-free.
Ingredients to Avoid for a Dairy-Free Drink
Do not choose drinks with these ingredients because they contain dairy:
- Skip the whipped cream, but you can make your own vegan whipped cream when you get home!
- Pumpkin Spice Sauce, White Mocha Sauce, Caramel Sauce, and Caramel Brulée Sauce (try this vegan caramel drizzle recipe instead)
- Starbucks’ specific brand of Java Chips, which resembles chocolate chips
Dairy-Free Drinks For Tea Lovers
Even though Starbucks is famous for its coffee drinks, tea has always been part of the menu.
All Starbucks teas, hot and cold, are dairy-free as long as you replace the default whole milk with one of the plant-based milk products. (Strict vegans may want to skip the chai latte because the sweetener contains honey).
Is Starbucks Hot Chocolate Dairy-Free?
Every chocoholic knows that you don’t need a snowy, wintery day to enjoy a decadent hot chocolate. And you don’t need cow’s milk either!
When you order your Starbucks version, simply swap out the regular milk for vegan milk and skip the whipped cream. The mocha sauce does not contain any dairy.
Starbucks Dairy-Free Signature Drinks
Although you can customize any drink, the Starbucks menu offers six specialty drinks with a dairy-free base:
- Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso: Made with Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso (a lighter version of their usual roast that mixes well with dairy-free milk), brown sugar syrup, cinnamon powder, oat milk, and ice.
- Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso: This combines the Blonde Espresso with chocolate malt powder and non-dairy milk. One taste tester adored the combination of chocolate and espresso.
- Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso: A sweeter, more caramelized vanilla taste might be just what you’re looking for. This is currently my favorite drink made with nondairy milk.
- Iced Honey Almondmilk Flat White: This drink also uses Blond Espresso but with ristretto shots for a smoother taste. Note that this is not one of the chain’s vegan drinks as it contains honey. Always be sure to check the website’s ingredient list for each drink before ordering if needed.
- Pink Drink: As pretty as it looks, this herbal tea also has a burst of flavor. Fresh bits of strawberry, along with a hint of acai and passion fruit mix with coconut milk for a light, refreshing taste.
- Dragon Drink: This exotic drink features green coffee extract, blended with mango puree, pieces of dragonfruit, and coconut milk for a creamy texture. It started as an item on the ‘Secret Menu’ when fans discovered they could add coconut milk to the original Mango Dragonfruit Refresher to create a creamier beverage. The coffee giant embraced the trend and now it’s part of the permanent Starbucks menu.
Make Your Own Starbucks-inspired Dairy-Free Drinks
As enticing as the drinks are, you can also skip the coffee chain and recreate these divine concoctions at home:
- GoodFoodBaddie’s Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espresso - grab your drink shaker and large mason jar because this recipe is super fast.
- The Tolerant Vegan’s Matcha Latte recipe with green tea powder is delicious but also full of nutrients.
- To make your own Dragon Drink, Moon and Spoon and Yum shows you where to get each luscious ingredient to build this tropical treat.
And here’s a new flavor: try adding a shot of espresso to my Banana Almond Butter Cacao Smoothie for a rich, nourishing drink with no added sugar.
Find more inspo in this collection of Starbucks copycat recipes (note: some are dairy-free and some are not).
So if you want a coffee experience that doesn’t involve gas stations or stale pots of murky brew, take a worthwhile trip to pick up one of these dairy free Starbucks drinks. Or have fun making your own version at home - you already have the ceramic mug!
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