By/ Last Modified On June 19, 2023
You can’t travel far in the US without bumping into a Starbucks. Whether you like your coffee black, almond-flavored, or with a dash of pumpkin spice, they’ve got the market covered.
Today, we’re sharing the ultimate Starbucks gluten-free guide. Join us as we dive headfirst into the Starbucks gluten-free menu (and what you want to avoid).
Disclaimer: Starbucks Allergen Information
The Starbucks allergen control policy states that allergen information is provided on all packaged food and drink labels. To store, prep, and serve food and drinks within Starbucks locations, shared equipment is used, including:
- espresso machines
- steam wands
- pastry cases
While we list the best options for gluten-free beverages and food at Starbucks below, we cannot guarantee 100% certified gluten-free items due to the risk of cross-contamination. This is obviously a big concern for people with celiac disease or other severe food allergies.
Is There a Starbucks Gluten-Free Menu?
There is currently no separate gluten-free menu at Starbucks. For detailed ingredients and accurate allergen information, select “Full Nutrition & Ingredients List” on the Starbucks menu (available on the app or website).
This list also doesn’t take customizations into account (i.e., adding syrup to your latte). Therefore, the best way to identify whether a customization contains gluten is to find a drink that includes that specific item (like a frappe with the same syrup). Then, look at the ingredients. Alternatively, speak directly to the barista and ask to see the item’s ingredient label.
Gluten-Free Starbucks Drinks
What’s gluten-free at Starbucks? While we can’t guarantee that the following products are 100% celiac-friendly (due to cross-contamination), these are the safest gluten-free options at Starbucks.
The best thing about bottled Starbucks drinks is that their label clearly lists every ingredient. Options include:
- Clover Brewed Coffee
- Ethos bottled water
- Evolution Fresh Defence Up
- Evolution Fresh Orange Juice
- Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee
- Starbucks Frappuccino (all flavors except caramel).
- Starbucks Doubleshot and Starbucks Doubleshot Energy (all flavors except caramel).
- Vivanno Smoothies
Plain Hot Drinks
If you want a hot drink – but want to avoid close contact with the steam wand – try these gluten-free Starbucks drinks:
- Caffé Americano
- Hot black, green, or chai tea.
- Plain, freshly-brewed coffee with milk, cream, or a gluten-free syrup (listed below).
- Plain espresso shot
Note: Gluten-free coffee blends include Blonde Roast, Dark Roast, Pike Place Roast, and Decaf Pike Place Roast.
Hot Drinks With Steamed Milk
The biggest concern with hot drinks made with steamed milk is that the steam wand is only cleaned with a quick swipe of a cleaning cloth. This means that it isn’t efficiently sterilized between each drink preparation.
It’s also important to consider the variety of alternative milk. For instance, almond milk can contain gluten additives and oat milk can be cross-contaminated during the production process.
If the staff assures you that the steam want has been sterilized, here are our recommendations for hot drinks with steamed milk:
- Caffé Misto
- Caffé Latte
- Caffé Mocha, including White Chocolate and Peppermint Mochas (this doesn’t include the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, as the holiday sprinkles contain gluten).
- Caramel Macchiato
- Cinnamon Dolce Latte
- Flat White
- Hot Chocolate
- London Fog Tea Latte
- Matcha Tea Latte
Related: For a certified gluten-free hot chocolate experience, make your own hot cocoa at home with this easy recipe.
For a gluten-free lifestyle, iced drinks at Starbucks are the way to go. Here are our top recommendations:
- Iced Americano
- Plain black or green tea (not shaken).
- Iced Caffé Latte
- Cold Brew (no foam).
- Caramel Macchiato
- Iced Chai Latte
- Iced Coffee
- Iced Espresso (not shaken espresso).
- Iced Flat White
- Iced Mocha (e.g., White Chocolate, Peppermint)
Gluten-Free Starbucks Syrups & Sauces
Fortunately, several of the syrups at Starbucks are gluten-free:
- Caramel and sugar-free caramel syrup
- Cinnamon dolce syrup
- Coconut syrup
- Hazelnut and sugar-free hazelnut syrup
- Mocha sauce
- Peach syrup
- Peppermint syrup
- Simple syrup
- Vanilla and sugar-free vanilla syrup
- White mocha sauce
There’s a hot debate over whether the infamous caramel drizzle at Starbucks is gluten-free. According to the official website, the caramel drizzle is only made with sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream, milk, natural flavors, and salt. Therefore, it should be gluten-free.
As for seasonal syrups like pumpkin spice: According to the ingredients list, it has no gluten-containing ingredients. The main ingredients in pumpkin spice sauce are sugar, condensed skim milk, pumpkin puree, natural flavors, and salt.
Related: Know where gluten-free options thrive? At Disneyland!
Gluten-Free Starbucks Food
Does Starbucks have gluten-free food? Yes, but you should reach for pre-packaged options with a gluten-free label. Depending on your local store, your options might include:
- Deluxe Fruit Blend Salad
- Evolution Snacks with a gluten-free label
- Hippeas Chickpea Puffs
- Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Kind Bars with a gluten-free label
- Marshmallow Dream Bar (similar to a Rice Krispie treat)
- Packaged gluten-free cookies (at select stores)
But that’s it for Starbucks’ gluten-free food. Everything else is either stored all day in a shared pastry case or warmed up in the same oven as glutinous food. Even other packaged options like Protein Boxes contain either wheat crackers or bread.
Related: The Starbucks Madeleines might not be gluten-free – but our homemade Madeleine recipe is!
What Isn’t Gluten-Free at Starbucks?
If you’re a gluten-free consumer, here are the main things to avoid at Starbucks:
Blender & Shaker Beverages
It’s best to avoid all blended and shaken drinks, as they’re often prepared in blender jugs or shakers that aren’t thoroughly sterilized between drink preparations. A quick wash in-between doesn’t effectively remove trace amounts of gluten, dramatically increasing the risk of cross-contamination.
That means store-made Frappuccinos, shaken espresso, iced teas, refreshers, and shaken lemonades aren’t celiac-friendly.
The following aren’t celiac-friendly ingredients:
- Chocolate cookie crumble is made from glutinous cookies.
- Frappuccino chips and Java chips both contain gluten.
- Malt powder contains gluten and is used in drinks like Chocolate Cold Foam and Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso.
Green Juices and Smoothies
Green juices and smoothies at Starbucks may contain wheatgrass. Be sure to double-check if this is the case.
Anything in the Pastry Case or Oven
Basically, everything that’s cooked in the oven or kept in the pastry case contains gluten. Stick to pre-packaged food with a gluten-free label.
Related: Make your own gluten-free bakery items with this bumper list of gluten-free desserts.
Tips For Improving Your Next Trip to Starbucks
While perusing the menu and deciding what you want to eat and drink, follow these tips to minimize the risk of cross-contamination:
1. The Less Prep, The Better
Starbucks is famous for its fancy drinks, but less preparation means there’s less risk of cross-contamination. Avoid shared equipment (like the steam wand, shaker, and blender). If you can’t resist a shaken or blended beverage, you can always ask the barista to prepare it directly in the cup or over ice.
2. Ask For Clean Equipment
If you’re visiting Starbucks outside of peak hours, staff will likely be more accommodating to your food sensitivities. You can request that baristas use clean shakers or blenders that have been sterilized in the dishwasher.
3. Ice, Ice, Baby
Eliminate your risk and avoid shared equipment like the steam wand. Instead, ask for an iced beverage.
4. Opt For Pre-Packaged Food
The oven and pastry case aren’t friendly for gluten allergies. Always choose pre-packaged food with a gluten-free label to minimize your risk.
5. Speak Directly To The Barista
One of the best ways to minimize your risk of gluten contact is to speak directly to the barista. Inform them of your health condition(s) and ask if they can provide assistance. Be sure to give them a tip for being so accommodating!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Starbucks Have Gluten-Free Food?
Starbucks does have gluten-free food, but the options are minimal and include pre-packaged options (like the Marshmallow Dream Bar and Kind Bars).
Is Starbucks Coffee Gluten-Free?
Yes, freshly brewed coffee at Starbucks should be gluten-free as it doesn’t contain any glutinous ingredients. However, we cannot definitively confirm that other Starbucks coffees are 100% gluten-free because they’re prepared on shared equipment (and the steam wand may come into contact with gluten-containing items). A simple espresso shot or Americano is fine, but double-check the milk they use.
Is Starbucks Oat Milk Gluten-Free?
Starbucks often uses Oatly Oat Milk, a certified gluten-free option. Double-check that your local Starbucks is using Oatly, as not all oat milk brands are gluten-free.
Is Starbucks Oatmeal Gluten-Free?
We cannot confirm that Starbucks Oatmeal is gluten-free. Its ingredients include wholegrain rolled oats, steel-cut oats, oat flour, and salt. While they’re all gluten-free ingredients, the product doesn’t come with a gluten-free label. This suggests that it’s cross-contaminated with gluten during the production process.
Is The Starbucks Pink Drink Gluten-Free?
Yes, the Starbucks Pink Drink is gluten-free and dairy-free. The main ingredients are a strawberry acai base, coconut milk, and freeze-dried strawberries. Because it’s a shaken beverage, ask the barista to use clean equipment to help prevent trace amounts of gluten.
Are Egg Bites Gluten-Free?
While Starbucks Egg Bites don’t contain any glutinous ingredients, the company states that they’re “free from added gluten.” Just like with the oatmeal, we can assume that they’re not produced in a dedicated facility (and come with a risk of cross-contamination).
Good Luck Going Gluten-Free at Starbucks!
We believe that we’ve covered all the bases in this Starbucks gluten-free guide. While there are a number of options offered by this coffee giant, it’s important to remember that there are no guarantees. Be sure to follow our tips to minimize your risk. Happy sipping!
Know what pairs perfectly with coffee? A gluten-free bundt cake!