3 Syrups You Can Use For Plant-Based Starbucks Drinks

Starbucks has a lot of options for vegans or anyone who just prefers their drinks to be plant-based. There are many drinks on the menu that are made without any dairy, as well as quite a few that have non-dairy milk by default. Thankfully, even for many of the beverages that don't start off as vegan, they can be made that way with just a few easy modifications.

Perhaps the most obvious tip for veganizing any drink is to order it with a non-dairy milk. Starbucks has all of the most common options available at most of its U.S. locations, including soymilk, oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk. For many drinks, such as iced or cold lattes, all that's needed to make them free of animal products is to switch out the cows' milk they're normally made with for one of the alternatives instead. Other drinks will require a bit more customizing, such as ordering them without whipped cream or non-vegan sauces and toppings.

Another big plus for the availability of vegan drinks at Starbucks is that most of the company's flavored syrups are plant-based by default. These already flavor some of the brand's most popular beverages but can also substitute non-vegan sauces or be added to your favorite drink for a flavor boost. Starbucks' "Health and Wellness Fact Sheet" lists three syrups that do not contain animal-derived ingredients — caramel, hazelnut, and vanilla. There are, however, more syrups available to choose from that are also 100% plant-based.

More vegan flavored syrups available at Starbucks

Not to be confused with Starbucks' sauces, most of which are not vegan-friendly, all of the currently available syrups are vegan-safe. Along with the three flavors the company names in its fact sheet, the other syrups without any animal ingredients are brown sugar, caramel sugar, chestnut praline, cinnamon caramel, cinnamon dolce, gingerbread, hazelnut, peppermint, sugar cookie, sugar-free vanilla, and toffeenut. The brand's classic syrup is just another name for a regular simple syrup sweetener made with sugar, and it, too, is vegan.

As for seasonally available syrups that are usually only around during the holidays, one popular option is plant-based while another is not. Vegans can breathe a sigh of relief because the autumnal favorite apple brown sugar syrup is totally animal-free. Another all-time fave fall beverage at Starbucks is its pumpkin spice latte — but unfortunately, it's off the list for plant-based drinkers. While the difference between Starbucks' pumpkin sauce vs. syrup can be a bit confusing (the latte is made with a sauce, not syrup), the pumpkin sauce contains dairy ... sadly the PSL cannot be veganized regardless of which milk option it's made with.

There used to be even more plant-based syrups available but they have been discontinued. Starbucks used to offer almond, peach, macadamia nut, and pineapple-ginger syrups, but you can't get these any longer. There also used to be a raspberry syrup, which when it was discontinued in 2023 caused quite an uproar among its dedicated fans.

Starbucks drinks that don't have dairy and the toppings that do

If you don't want to have to think about it too hard, Starbucks notes that some of its drinks are already plant-based right on the menu — a number of which can be ordered either hot or cold. These include the coconut milk latte, hazelnut or brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso, and the honey almond milk flat white with blonde espresso — although it's important to note that many people do not consider honey to be vegan.

Iced options include cold brew with cinnamon almond milk foam and all of the fruit-flavored Refreshers, including the pink and dragon drinks. You can also get any unflavored latte, espresso, brewed coffee, cold brew, or caffe Americano with or without the addition of plant-based milk. The same goes for iced and hot teas. Those who do not consume honey should be aware that the chai tea concentrate used in chai tea lattes is made with honey.

As for what to avoid, there are some ingredients to look out for. The only vegan sauce option is the mocha sauce — all the other sauces are made with dairy. There is a difference between the caramel sauce and syrup — while the sauce (aka drizzle) has animal ingredients, the syrup does not.

Other toppings to skip if you don't do dairy are sweet creams (salted caramel, pumpkin, and vanilla), Irish cream foam, cinnamon dolce topping, protein powder, java chips, and dark chocolate curls.