What’s Sugar Free and Keto Friendly at Starbucks?

What's Sugar Free at Starbucks?

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This week we are looking at What’s Sugar Free at Starbucks.  This was an important thing for me to figure out because it always seems like I end up at Starbucks for all kinds of meetings or social events and just black coffee with cream was getting a little old.  Sometimes you just want to order that Grande coffee in a venti cup with 2 pumps Sugar-Free hazelnut, 2 pumps Sugar-Free vanilla, 2 pumps Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dulce, 2 equals and 4 Sweet and Lows filled to the top with cream, with extra cream on the side, double cupped with no sleeve, a stir stick, and stopper put in the top like all the other people I’m there with.  (Just kidding, if anyone I’m with orders anything even close to this, I leave and delete their contact info from my phone.) 🙂

So Starbucks is a little different than the other restaurants we’ve covered in that all their drinks are assembled piece by piece so you can make most of their drinks sugar free just by requesting one of their sugar free syrups instead of what they normally put in there.  Currently the available sugar free syrups are Vanilla, Hazelnut, Cinnamon Dulce, and Mocha and they also have special Holiday flavors like Peppermint that are only available at certain times of the year and of course you can always ask to have your drink sweetened with Splenda.  Unfortunately, the whipped cream has sugar and there doesn’t appear to be a sugar free option for this.

So here are your Sugar Free options at Starbucks.

UPDATE: How much Sugar is in the New Starbucks Unicorn drink?

I got this question in my email today.  Short answer? A buttload.  Like, a massive truckload of sugar.  A 16-ounce Unicorn Frappe contains 410 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 59 grams of sugar, while the 24-ounce version has 500 calories, 18 grams of fat, and a mind-blowing 76 grams of sugar.  This isn’t a good choice if you are trying to cut out sugar, you would be better off eating an entire large pizza and honestly, I bet it would taste better.

Sugar Free Drinks at Starbucks

  • Frappuccino – Request it sugar free with one of the sugar free syrups listed above (Vanilla, Hazelnut, Cinnamon Dulce, or Mocha)
  • Fresh Coffee – Of course you can get this with cream and/or Splenda but if you want a little extra flavor, add one of the sugar free syrups
  • Kid’s Drinks – They will steam milk and add one of the sugar free syrups, just be sure they don’t put the flavored drizzle on top.
  • Iced Coffee – Again, same as the fresh coffee above
  • Hot Chocolate – Just order it with the sugar free mocha syrup and take off the chocolate sauce drizzle
  • Iced Tea – The Tea can be unsweet or sweetened with Splenda but unfortunately the lemonade is pre-sweetened so no Arnold Palmers

Sugar Free Food at Starbucks

  • Egg & Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich – Just remove the bread
  • Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich – Take bacon and bread off
  • Spicy Chorizo, Monterey Jack & Egg Breakfast Sandwich – Take the bread off but the Chorizo only contains dextrose, no fructose
  • Chicken Artichoke on Ancient Grain Flatbread – Just remove the bread.
  • Omega-3 Bistro Box – Just don’t eat the chocolate or cranberries in the trail mix
  • Protein Bistro Box – Just don’t eat the side of honey peanut butter spread or the pita bread.

Remember you can find the full list of restaurants we’ve covered here.  Thanks!

2nd Update:  Would you like to make most of these drinks at home?  Here’s how.  First, get yourself a decent coffee pot.  I use the Ninja coffee pot mostly because this easy frother makes for easy froth for your lattes. Next, get yourself some Starbucks coffee, then some sugar free Torani syrups for flavoring.  Then it’s just a matter of experimenting and getting the drink you want!  (At a fraction of the cost!)

3rd Update:  I sent a note to Starbucks to specifically ask which syrups they still carried that were sugar free.  Here is the response I got.

Hello Aarn,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks. I just finished reading your email and appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us.

Aarn, I will be more than happy to take care of your question.

Vanilla (available sugar-free)
Caramel (available sugar-free)
Cinnamon dolce (available sugar-free)
hazelnut (available sugar-free)
Peppermint (available sugar-free seasonally)

Thanks again for writing us. If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Have a lovely day!

Sincerely,
Maria E.
Starbucks Customer Care

UPDATE:

A Reddit user made a list of more great Keto friendly things you can see here but I will copy and paste it below as well because Reddit posts are notoriously hard to find after a few weeks.

As a Starbucks barista doing Keto, I’ve had to improvise a bunch during my time here! Here are some of the tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Drinks

Here are some of the drinks that I order

  • Iced Tea w/ an Infusion and no Liquid Cane Sugar.
    • This is my go-to order! In terms of teas, we have Black, Green, White, and Passion tea (an herbal tea).
    • We also have our infusions! In these guides, I always see the Iced tea mentioned but never the infusions. The infusions are really just herbal teas and they can completely change the flavor of your drink! We have Pineapple, Peach, and Strawberry (some locations may vary). You can combine and of them with the teas and it will likely turn out amazing! (I personally haven’t tried any of them with the passion tea)
    • When ordering, just ask for your tea with the infusion and unsweetened. For Example, “Venti Iced Green Tea with the Pineapple Infusion and unsweetened”
  • Hot Teas and Coffee
    • Our hot teas and drip coffee come unsweetened by default. You can get whatever you want. You can also ask them to steam a little bit of heavy cream on top. Make sure to specify a little bit, otherwise they might make it a “misto” Which is half coffee/tea and half heavy cream.
  • Iced Coffee/Cold Brew
    • There is a lot you can do with iced coffee and cold brew. Our Iced coffee get classic syrup by default, so be sure to specify that you want it “unsweetened.”
    • We currently have two sugar free syrups, Cinnamon Dolce and Vanilla. I personally recommend the vanilla (not a big fan of the cinnamon dolce). We also have a “skinny” mocha. The skinny mocha is sugar free, but it is sweetened with sucralose, which can affect blood sugar levels, so it’s best to consume this in moderation. By the way, it can successfully kill a chocolate/mocha craving. 🙂
    • If your are getting a sugar free syrup/skinny mocha, make sure to specify the number of pumps you want depending on the size. I recommend 2 for a tall, 3 for a grande, and 4 for a venti of sugar free syrups and 1 of skinny mocha in a tall/grande and 2 in a venti.
    • You can also ask for light Heavy Cream or light Almond Milk on top.
  • Keto “Pink Drink”
    • Now, let me start this by saying this taste absolutely NOTHING like our normal pink drink, so don’t expect it to. Although it is a close color and tastes very intriguing. In order to order it, ask for this:
    • [Tall,Grande,Venti] Iced Passion Tea with No Liquid Cane Sugar, [2,3,4] pumps of sugar free vanilla and light heavy cream on top.
    • If you want it to look more like the Pink Drink, You can ask them to add the Freeze Dried strawberries to it.
  • Keto Carmel Macchiato.
    • This drink will likely be higher in carbs than the previous options, coming in around 5-6 grams of carbs. Also, I wouldn’t recommend anything bigger than a grande. A grande would probably have 6-8 grams of carbs in it, a tall would be around 3-6. Also, the hot version will have more carbs than the iced version because there is more milk. Ask for it like this:
    • [Tall,Grande] Skinny Caramel Machiato with almond milk and no caramel drizzle.
    • if it fits your macros, you can ask for light caramel drizzle, which will add about 2-3 carbs to your drink.
    • Our almond milk has 5 grams of carbs per cup. A tall iced will likely have about 5oz of almond milk while the hot will have around 10oz.
    • You can ask for heavy whipping cream (around 7g of carbs per cup) but it will also have over 800 calories for a cup. Additionally, you can go half heavy cream half almond milk if you’d like.
  • Keto Mocha
    • This is a great option for those occasional Chocolate cravings. Half and Half steams a lot better than heavy cream, so if you can spare the carbs, go with “breve” over heavy cream (it will also have significantly less carbs.
    • How I order it: Short mocha with three pumps of skinny mocha. Breve
    • You can adjust the pumps of mocha to your taste.
  • Keto Doubleshot.
    • One of my go-to drinks that I still enjoy every time. I love this drink. A venti doubleshot will have five shots of espresso shaken with ice in a shaker then topped off with 2% milk. Simply substitute the 2% with light heavy cream or almond milk! I like to flavor mine with sf vanilla, but play around with the recipe to find what you like!
    • How I order: Venti Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice Unsweetened with almond milk and sugar free vanilla.

Things to Eat:

If you ever have to eat at Starbucks, im sorry! We don’t have that many options. Here are some of my go-tos though

  • The inside of a panini! I usually get either the turkey pesto panni or the chicken and double smoked bacon and eat the insides of it. The turkey pesto is relatively filling if you combine it with a drink from above.
  • Most Starbucks will have almonds, some sort of cheese, or a cheese and salami tray.
  • The Egg and cheese protein box. leaving the fruit.
  • The new meal sized BLT Turkey protein box. I leave the bread off.
  • On occasion ill get the Bacon sous vide egg bites, but very rarely. I usually rub a pat of butter on them and eat them. Beware that they do have 9g of carbs for both (11g from the egg white bites)
  • Edit: Moon Cheese!: These crunchy little cheese balls are amazing and are 100% cheese! I eat these every time my store gets it in but we always sell out! It truly is a godsend when you miss that “crunchy” texture! Also great in salad and other foods

General Tips:

  • If you think your Iced Tea is too watery, ask for no water! We usually put 50% tea and 50% water and then add ice! I personally never get water in my teas.
  • If you want Splenda or another sweetener in your tea, ask the barista to shake it into the tea, it will usually taste better because it will be more dissolved/incorporated in.
  • On that note, always make sure your tea is shaken! All us barista SHOULD shake the teas but sometimes we forget (and some baristas don’t at all) but it definitely WILL make it better! Especially with the infusions.

Things To Note:

  • Our Almond Milk only has 5g of carbs per 8 ounces, making it one of the lowest carb milk options we have.
    • Coconut milk has 8g per 8 ounces
    • Soy has 13g per 8 ounces
  • Our Teas and Iced Coffee’s come with syrup in the recipe, but we can remove it upon request!
  • We have two sugar free syrups currently available: Vanilla and Cinnamon Dolce
  • If you’re feeling fancy, we can make you a pour-over, which is where we brew a coffee fresh for you using the “pour-over” method. You can choose any of our coffees (some stores have more variety than others)
  • Our whipped cream is Heavy Cream and regular vanilla syrup, so it does have a good amount of carbs. However, it is fresh and delicious, so you can ask for just a little bit on top of your drink if it fits your macros.
  • Your barista is willing to help you! Just be nice and let them know you cannot eat sugar and ask them for a suggestion!

Things To Avoid:

  • Frappuccinos. It doesn’t matter if you get it “light”. The light base has 50% less sugar than the regular one, but it still have enough sugar to knock you out of ketosis. While you can ask for any drink blended, They won’t stick together and the liquid will separate from the blended ice.
  • Refreshers: Bottom line, our refreshers have a lot sugar. making them not suitable for Keto.
  • Stevia: Our stevia is mixed with fructose and has 2g of carbs per packet.
  • Breakfast Sandwich “Insides”: The eggs inside the breakfast sandwiches all have carbs due to the mixture used. This includes the wraps.
  • Any regular syrup: This one is kind of self-explanatory, But you’d be surprised how many people say they are low carb and ask for “only three pumps”. On average, each pump of our regular syrups have 4-6g of carbs.
  • White Mocha: There is no skinny version of this.
  • Matcha: Our matcha is a mix that comes pre-sweetened.
  • Chai: Our chai mix has a ton of carbs. Even the lightly sweet chai has carbs. However, our chai tea bags have no carbs.

Be sure to drop any questions in the comments! I’ll try to answer them all! I hope your guys found this helpful. Ill try to update this as I remember more details. Additionally, please feel free to comment what you get at Starbucks, I can add it to this guide to help other users!

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38 Replies to “What’s Sugar Free and Keto Friendly at Starbucks?”

  1. I was just at Starbucks and ordered a caramel carp with the sugar free caramel syrup. While the Barrista was mixing my drink I saw her squirt in something else. I asked what it was and she said it was a stabilizer. I asked if it had sugar in it and she said yes. She said the best they could do was to put in the light stabilizer which still contains sugar. Have you heard of this? Any suggestions?

    1. Hmm…I haven’t. Doing a little research, every time I see “Stabilizer” listed in a drinks ingredients it is broken down into things like Guar Gum or Xantham Gum. I can’t find anywhere where sugar is listed as an ingredient. Perhaps next time one of us is in a Starbucks, we can ask to see the ingredients on that stabilizer and see for ourselves. IF you get there first, please let me know. Here’s the ingredient list I’m looking at.

      http://globalassets.starbucks.com/assets/F6BF5832824F4B5883D8B365512CE742.pdf

    2. The sugar free vanilla pump and granular splenda available at Starbucks both contain Maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is a zero calorie sweetener but has a glycemic index of 80. It’d be easy enough with 2 packets of Splenda to kick a person out of ketosis. The pump is absolutely loaded with it, so any amount is a no-no.

    1. Ah… you are correct. The way it is written out on the ingredients list I thought the vanilla syrup was part of the drink and not the whipped cream. Thanks for bringing that to my attention and I’ll fix it now.

      1. Substitions “Heavy Cream” has no sugar. they won’t whip it but it is a good supliment. I’m a Ketogenic fan.

  2. I used to regularly order the iced coffee, but I often found they’re trained to add “classic syrup” to iced coffee without any mention of it. So I always had to specify “no classic” to keep the sugar out! Also, cream, like heavy cream that if you buy in the grocery store shouldn’t have sugar in it, appears to have sugar in at Starbucks. Although, it’s hard to tell from their nutrition information.

    Recently, a barrista informed me of the “cold brew” (a stronger version of the iced coffee) and it does not regularly come with classic syrup, so I was able to drop that line from my order. 🙂

  3. A grande Skinny Vanilla (SF syrup) late still has 15grams of sugar….likely from the milk so just be wary of what you’re ordering.

    1. That’s very true. Lactose is a sugar also, I just don’t talk about it as much because it does far less damage than other types of sugar but you should absolutely be aware of that.

    1. That would depend on what you are replacing. If whole milk or cream then yes but a lot of the drinks can be made with water so if you really want to eliminate sugar consider water

  4. A good option—especially in the during the summer when you really really really just want a frap—is to ask for an “Iced Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte blended in a vente cup.” They will look at you like you have two heads, but insist. Seriously. Because there’s no “stabilizer” in this “frap,” the blender doubles the size of the drink. Hence, asking for a grande in a vente cup. When I first invented it for myself, I realized half my espresso was going down the drain because the volume of the cup didn’t hold the blender-increased volume of the drink.

    When it’s a new barista, just to be sure I get what I am paying for, I sometimes even add “nonfat milk and sugar-free vanilla” as a comment even though I already ordered it as a “skinny.”

    If anyone from Starbucks corporate is listening and decides to have pity on those of us that sugar kills, please call it a “Kirsten” on the menu. ;^)

  5. Does anyone happen to kniw what ingredient they use in the SF Mocha to make it taste sweet. I won’t use Splenda or Sweet n Low because they are known carcinogens. Thanks

      1. Yes, they are….but in such huge amounts that you’d have to eat them by the truckload. The “urban legend” refuses to die because it’s true….though unlikely.

  6. I drink the Skinny Venti Mocha (3 pumps) Breve. What amount of sugar am I still getting? Guess I am terribly ignorant in thinking the SF was truly sugar free. Love the coffee and flavor, but must put need to keep sugar low a priority with this as with all else.

    The local sites here say they make their own and it is not available for sale via Starbucks. Yet, I find it presented otherwise on the Internet. What is the difference in their homemade (so to speak) and what seems to be available online?

    Thank you!!!

  7. Christine, they have many ingredients… they are 8 carbs each. The way I follow keto I would only eat them when I am in a bind. I do clean keto 7 carbs or less per meal… also you need to add fat… and the bacon and cheese is the one you would want, less carbs… the pepper bites have a few more carbs. That said if you aren’t doing clean keto or 7 or less carbs per meal this would likely be considered a good choice. I eat these when I am not prepared… and I also use my rewards for them 🙂 I only drink 4 espresso shots with my own sukrin and 3 oz heavy whip as a drink as Spenda isn’t clean and also makes me crazy dizzy. so my drinks are only $3 to begin with. Egg bites are about $4.50. Cheers!

  8. There’s no such thing as “sugar free mocha”, only a skinny mocha which is only 75% less sugar than the regular mocha syrup. Also, the sugar-free hazelnut has been discontinued by Starbucks. Starbucks’ Frappuccino roast that goes into all (minus creme-based) frappuccinos, is not sugar free nor is the base that is used.

    1. The almond milk they use is not the same as the 30cal/cup sugar free one we buy in the store. It is more like the lightly sweetened 60 cal one – so not good for keto. The coconut milk is also sweetened.

  9. I heard from a barista yesterday that if you use a heavy whipping cream base in your fraps you can avoid the sugar. The barista mentions that since she cannot have sugar, she makes it this way. I wanted to order my Skinny Mocha Frap this way. Can I avoid the sugar and stay in ketosis this way. If not, suggestions please.

  10. Hi, I worked in Starbucks. There is no such thing as a sugar free Frappuccino. While some of the flavored syrups are sugar free, the frappuccino base is always made with sugar (sugar is, in fact, the first ingredient of the frappuccino base).

    Starbucks is actually misleading customers by stating that some of the frappuccinos are sugar free, as all frappuccinos are made with a frappuccino base and the flavoured syrup is then added on top – ask to look at the ingredients list of the frappuccino base next time you’re in Starbucks.

    If you’re diabetic, or cannot have any sugar in your diet, you can’t drink any of the Starbucks frappuccinos, unfortunately.

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