Starbucks Gluten-Free Drinks
Struggling to figure out what and how to order gluten-free at Starbucks? Below are Starbucks Gluten-Free Drinks to order and how to order to manage cross-contact.
NOTE: This was written with USA Starbucks fans in mind. As always, do your own research to determine safety and suitability for yourself.
Based on Spring 2019 Allergen Sheet (if you find a more recent one please contact me!)
Gluten-Free Starbucks Drinks
The following drinks are gluten-free at Starbucks with out asking for cross-contact precautions:
- Plain Coffee
- Iced Coffee
- Cold Brew
- Ice Chai
- Iced Espresso (not the shaken espresso and Starbucks double shot)
Basically anything that is made in a cup without flavoring can be gluten-free but always double check with your barista. You can also request your drink be made in a cup to reduce cross-contact if needed (more on that later).
Starbucks cross-Contact Precautions to Ask for:
Cross-contact is important to take seriously if you have celiac, and in some cases of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This is something I coach all of my clients on getting comfortable with. If you have celiac, here are the cross-contact precautions to ask for when ordering from Starbucks!
- For blended drinks: If you’re ordering anything blended ask them to wash the blender before preparing your drink because the frappuccino chips are not gluten-free.
- For shaken drinks: If you’re ordering anything shaken (which includes iced tea lattes) ask them to wash the shaker before preparing your drink because the new Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso has malt making the shaker a potential point of cross-contact.
- With drinks with cold foam: ask them to wash the blender first again, because not everything made in the blender is gluten-free.
- If you’re not sure if something will be blended or shaken, ASK!
- If you are ordering during a busy time, consider telling them you have an allergy and ask them to prepare your order in the cup. I say this because a few Starbucks employees told me that they weren’t sure how likely they’d be to wash a blender or shaker during busy hours so it might be better to play it safe. Also, it feels easier to ask for to me, than to ask them to stop their flow and go wash something.
- For flavored drinks: ask are your syrups gluten-free? Most of the time the classic, vanilla, white mocha, mocha, and hazelnut syrups are gluten-free at Starbucks but it’s good to double-check, especially since Starbucks hasn’t been super forthcoming on the gluten-free status of drinks.
What's Not Gluten-Free at Starbucks?
Want to know what’s definitely off-limits if you have celiac at Starbucks? Here’s what’s not gluten-free at Starbucks:
- Anything made in the oven
- Anything with Java Chips
- Caramel Frappuccino
Be mindful of the drinks with Oat Milk if you’re sensitive. Starbucks uses Oatly in the USA which does use certified gluten-free oats.
Checking Starbucks Ingredients
Starbucks is really playing it safe when it comes to making gluten-free claims about products and I think that’s because their drinks change so often it’s hard to have a plan to minimize cross-contact.
That being said, Starbucks directs your to their online menu on their App and Website to check the status of allergen in different menu items.
The problem is a lot of Allergen sections for their drinks on the Starbucks menu come up with “Not available for this item” which can make it hard to know the status. However, on the website you can see the ingredients to determine the safety on.
You can see in the attached picture the struggle I’m talking about. The main questionable ingredient in drink items is “Natural Flavors” which can contain a gluten-containing grain but usually is safe.
What’s interesting to me is that in the Ice Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso Drink is not gluten-free and the ingredients specifically declare that it’s not gluten-free because of the natural malt flavor derived from barley. Which implies to me, they’d likely declare other gluten-derived ingredients in the ingredients too. That’s just my thought process.
When In Doubt...
Gluten-free Starbucks drinks might not be super obvious so when if in doubt, order something simple like a coffee with cream and sugar.
What’s your go-to Starbucks order?
Disclaimer: As always, this post is not to take the place of you doing your own research to determine appropriateness, suitability, and safety of drinks ordered from Starbucks. Always confirm with the Barista and do your own research on the safety.