If you’re reading this, you are most likely two things: a human being and slightly caffeine-addicted. A ketogenic diet doesn’t mean you have to stick to a no carb black coffee (although that’s Matt’s favorite).
However, you’ll want to think twice before chugging a flat white or your sweet frappuccino.
Here, we tackle the secret sugar sources, sneaky “skinny” substitutions, and swaps that will make your keto-friendly Starbucks drink a success.
The HUGE list of keto friendly foods.
Need to Know Before You Go
Planning to just strut into your local Starbucks and hope for the best? We like your confidence, but think again! Keto dieters need to know a few things before heading out to place their keto coffee orders. Otherwise, anyone could blow this low carb diet in just a few sips!
Here’s the scoop — please note that we are basing all of our information on a 16 oz. Grande, not a Venti.
Most Drinks Come With Sugar
Sugar: it’s everywhere! No, seriously, you’ve probably noticed since starting the keto diet that there’s sweetener in everything. Most drinks on the Starbucks menu come with sugar. One obvious place you’ll find it is the classic syrup.
This classic syrup automatically comes in iced coffee and iced tea, which you’d probably assume are unsweetened. Nope, iced coffee has 20 grams of sugar! So, even if you’re ordering a simple drink, know that you’ll need to specify to keep it sugar-free.
Say No Whipped Cream
While whipped cream is delicious and there are plenty of keto options available, they are not available for Starbucks drinks. Whipped cream is full of fat, but it’s also full of sugar and carbs!
Repeat after me: just say no whipped cream for a low carb Starbucks treat. (Same goes for the caramel drizzle).
Avoid a Lot of Steamed Milk
Ok, so you’ve said no to whipped cream and classic syrup. Great work, you keto Starbucks warrior!
But you’ll still want to avoid milk. That means a “skinny mocha” still has 20g of net carbs if you make it with steamed milk and sugar-free syrup (which we’ll get to next). Here’s how many net carbs are in one cup of each type of milk:
- Nonfat milk — 12 grams of carbs
- Two percent milk — 13 grams of carbs
- Whole milk — 12 grams of carbs
- Half and half — 10.4 grams of carbs (by the way, breve means steamed half and half)
- Heavy whipping cream — 6.6 grams of carbs
- Unsweetened almond milk — 1 gram of carbs
These carb numbers from milk’s sugar content, are why we recommend going with almond milk, or, at most half heavy cream and half water, so you get a good fat to carb ratio. Just ask for a light pour; your Starbucks barista might tend to go a little crazy with portions sometimes.
Note: we don’t recommend coconut milk unless you have an allergy to dairy.
Skinny Does Not Mean Low-Carb
While it would be a dream to walk in and just order whatever “skinny” drink you wanted, staying in ketosis at Starbucks just isn’t that simple. The amount of steamed milk and all those pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup (or your personal fave flavor) means most skinny drinks still have around 19g of carbs.
Don’t assume that just because a drink is skinny, it’s keto-friendly or low carb.
Sugar Free Syrups Have Carbs
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just because it’s sugar-free syrup doesn’t mean it’s carb-free too. Each pump contains 1 net carb, due to artificial sweeteners like sucralose.
So before you go bananas on syrups, specify how many pumps you want.The typical grande gets four syrup pumps, so you’ll probably want to ask for one or two instead of leaving it up to your barista.
Starbucks Sugar Free Syrups — 1g Net Carbs per Pump
- Sugar-free vanilla
- Sugar-free hazelnut
- Sugar-free cinnamon dolce
- Sugar-free caramel
- Sugar-free peppermint (seasonally available)
- Skinny mocha sauce
Keto Starbucks Coffee Drinks
Ok, now that you know the basics, here’s how to order keto Starbucks drinks like a pro.
2 Pump Sugar Free Iced Coffee — 3g Net Carbs
Nothing beats that mid-afternoon slump for us like a nice keto Starbucks iced coffee. Order it like this:
- Grande iced coffee, with no classic syrup. (A cold brew would work too).
- Two pumps of whatever sugar free syrup is your favorite.
- If you prefer it unflavored, here’s a great liquid Stevia you can carry with you and add in for sweetness.
Keto Cinnamon Dolce Latte — 5.3g Net Carbs
This is one of the classic coffee drinks, and here we’ve given it a ketogenic twist. This has all of the yum and none of the crazy sugars or carbs:
- Order an Americano, but with only ¾ water instead of all the way full.
- Ask for the last ¼ to be filled with a large splash of heavy cream, steamed. This gives you the creamy latte feel.
- Finally, ask for two pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup.
Low Carb Mocha — 5.3g Net Carbs
Everyone knows that the chocolatey goodness of mocha can’t be ignored. Since a “skinny mocha” is still high in carbs and sugar, here’s what to order to keep it keto-friendly:
- Order an Americano with ¾ water and ¼ heavy cream (your new go-to keto latte or cappuccino base).
- Ask for no whipped cream and no vanilla syrup — yep, they put both mocha sauce and vanilla syrup in a mocha.
- Ask for 2 pumps of skinny mocha sauce, maybe add one pump of sugar-free peppermint if you want a holiday treat — just add 1g net carbs.
Keto Starbucks Tea Drinks
Can’t stand the idea of giving up your favorite hot tea or refresher? Don’t worry, there are plenty of keto drinks for tea-lovers.
Pink Drink — 4.5g Net Carbs
If you know about it, you probably love the famous Pink Drink, which is why it’s on our keto Starbucks roundup. Here’s how to get a keto Pink Drink. Your taste buds say thank you.
- Ask for a grande Passion Tango, iced. Make sure to say no classic syrup!
- Ask for 2 shots (not a splash) of heavy whipping cream.
- Ask for 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla.
- Bonus: you can throw in some of our favorite MCT oil for extra keto goodness. (Check out our other recommended supplements here).
2 Pump Sugar Free London Fog — 5.3g Net Carbs
Who doesn’t love the taste of Earl Grey tea and the creaminess of a London Fog? No one. Here’s how to get this fall favorite:
- Ask for an Earl grey tea bag (or two, if you’re feeling wild).
- You’ll also want to do ¾ hot water and ¼ heavy whipping cream, just like we recommended for a keto latte.
- Finally, ask to swap the regular vanilla syrup for two pumps of sugar-free vanilla.
Chai Tea Latte — 3.7g Net Carbs
Most tea lovers know the spicy goodness of a Chai Tea latte. However, thanks to the sugar syrups and carb-heavy milk, a typical Chai tea latte runs around 60g of carbs.
Here’s the keto swap, which comes out to under 4g net carbs:
- Be sure to ask for the tea bag, not Chai tea syrup. This step is crucial to cut down on carbs for this drink. (It’s also helpful for a green tea latte.)
- You’ll also want to get two ounces of heavy whipping cream.
- Finally, two pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup brings out the flavor of the tea.
- Variations: make it a “dirty chai” if desired by adding a shot of espresso, or ask for two tea bags for extra spice.
Low Carb Starbucks Frappuccino — 5.5g Net Carbs
The trick here is avoiding the liquid Frappuccino base, which is basically just a giant splash of gloopy sugar. However, for a few more carbs than these other drinks, you can still hit the spot without paying the price of 70-something grams of carbs! Here’s our version:
- Ask for an iced coffee, no classic syrup, with extra ice.
- Next, ask for three (yes, we’re getting crazy) shots of your sugar-free syrup of choice.
- Now, you’ll need three shots of heavy cream.
- You’ll need to get the baristas to blend it, frappuccino style. It’s worth saying again here that you don’t want any frappe base or syrups.
- Just say no to any drizzles, whipped cream, or other temptations. You can do it!
Starbucks Keto Food
While most food at Starbucks is off-limits, like pastries or cake pops, there are a few things you can munch on in a pinch. (If you can wait until you get home, try our pimento cheese or bacon egg cups for keto-friendly treats). If you can’t, here are a few options for a keto Starbucks snack.
Try an Eggs & Cheese Protein box, but stick to the eggs and cheese only. You could also try the Cheese & Fruit Protein Box and only eat the cheese. As you can see, this isn’t the easiest place to eat on the ketogenic diet.
Are the Starbucks Egg Bites Keto Friendly?
Somewhat. The Bacon and Gruyere have 2g of sugar, 20g of fat, and 9g of carbs. The Egg White and Red Pepper bites or Ham, Cheddar & Peppers are slightly higher in carbs, but still acceptable for some people. While this isn’t ideal, if you are intentional in the rest of your meals, this won’t automatically bust your keto diet.
However, steer far away from the Chicken Chorizo Tortilla variety. These contain tortilla strips! Honestly, it may just be safer to pack one of our favorite protein bars.
- While there are many available options for a keto Starbucks treat, it’s important to be aware of the hidden sources of sugar and carbs.
- Be sure to ask for no classic syrup, avoid milk, say no to whipped cream, and keep sugar-free syrup to two or three pumps.
- Snacks at Starbucks are few and far between, so stick to cheeses or the Bacon and Gruyere Egg Bites. Eating at home may be the better option here.
- Thankfully, we’ve still found lots of ways to get our coffee or tea fix while on a keto diet. Keto Starbucks ordering takes thought, but is easy once you get the hang of it!
- With these tools, and a good look at Starbucks’ nutritional information, you can start customizing your own Starbucks treats, keto-style.
Schiffman, S. S., & Rother, K. I. (2013). Sucralose, a synthetic organochlorine sweetener: overview of biological issues. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 16(7), 399-451. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219506