A keto diet can be the perfect approach for some people thanks to its numerous effects. The term is thrown around a lot, but what exactly happens when someone goes keto? According to Harvard Health, by reducing carbohydrates in the diet, cells must switch from using sugar as a fuel to using ketones. These in turn come from fat cells as they start to break down, aka ketosis. The swap isn’t immediate — it can take from two to four days — and people who follow a keto diet eat at most 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates daily.
While it might sound tough for carb lovers, Healthline reports that a keto diet can increase “good” cholesterol levels and reduce triglycerides, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure. The outlet adds that quick initial weight loss is another factor motivating many people to shift to this low-carb lifestyle.
You’ll have to adjust many aspects of your diet, but you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out if you decide to go the keto route. Increasingly, chain restaurants, recipe developers, and food products are considering keto diets. For all the Starbucks fans out there, we’ve collected a list of drinks that you can happily order at the coffee chain without derailing ketosis. Once you get the hang of it, you might even try ordering your own special creations — as long as the line behind you isn’t too long!
If you only go to Starbucks for the fancy multi-ingredient drinks then you’ll want to skip this suggestion, but roast coffee is arguably the origin of Starbucks’ success. The dark roast with its “bold, robust flavors” is one of their more popular offerings. Thanks to black coffee’s nutritional properties, it contains no significant levels of macronutrients and minimal vitamins and minerals, according to Healthline. A grande black coffee clocks in at 5 calories and 0 grams of carbs, which means that as long as you stick with unadulterated java, it won’t interfere with your keto diet. Even better, a study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology reports that drinking coffee in the morning raises ketone levels in the blood.
If you like coffee but can’t stand drinking it black, Natural Force has a few tips to ensure you stay on track: use natural sweeteners such as stevia or monk fruit, add cinnamon or other spices for extra flavor, and load up on heavy cream since it’s filled with fat. Don’t be shy about bringing keto creamers, protein powders, or other add-ins along when you go to your local Starbucks. The best part about a simple dark roast coffee is that it can be a great base for your favorite extras.
Coffee fanatics and purists will be on board with a classic espresso. Opt for a single shot or make it a double if you need the extra kick. Starbucks describes the drink as having notes of caramel, so you might even forget it only contains 5 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, a dose of caffeine, and not much else. It’s certainly an acquired taste but the great part about espressos is that you don’t have to keep sipping on a full cup to get your caffeine intake. A single shot (solo) is just 1 ounce which makes it a very effective way of consuming coffee.
While it’s not the ideal drink to order if you plan on lounging around on a comfy couch at your local Starbucks, sometimes a coffee is just a coffee. Plus, since you’ll barely have two sips, even if you aren’t accustomed to drinking black coffee, you’re less likely to add all sorts of extras into your drink as there’s not much of it to ingest. You might even begin to love the taste of black coffee and you’ll limit tempting high-carb add-ins — it’s a win-win!
If you’re okay upping your espresso carb count to 2 grams in order to enjoy a bit of extra decadence, an espresso con panna should be your next Starbucks order. The name spells out the ingredients (albeit in Italian), but all you have to know is that it’s a double espresso served with whipped cream. The drink isn’t a uniquely keto creation and in fact, it is regularly served in Italy (via CoffeeSphere).
Let’s be clear, we’re not talking about a venti-sized cup with one shot of espresso, topped to the rim with whipped cream. Since an espresso cup is small, you’ll only get about one spoonful of whipped cream, which is just enough to make your drink feel like a treat, but not so much that it gets in the way of ketosis. Plus, 2.5 grams of fat will help fuel your energy so you don’t get tempted by an impromptu craving for a piece of banana bread.
An Americano is just an espresso topped up with hot water, which means that there are only 1 to 2 grams of carbohydrates depending on the size (or shots of espresso in the drink). If you’ve never tried it, a drip coffee and an Americano are ultimately quite comparable in terms of taste. Spoon University explains that your average cup of coffee is brewed at a lower temperature over a longer duration which can subdue some of the bitterness from the beans. All the same, Starbucks’ dark roast is known for being quite robust so the difference in flavor is subtle.
Depending on how many espressos are in your Americano (more if you’re ordering a venti), you’ll have more or less caffeine than a regular drip coffee. Since the drink offers straight-up no-nonsense coffee, feel free to include a keto-friendly addition such as heavy cream, stevia, monk fruit sweetener, or cinnamon to make it your own.
Following a keto diet often requires a bit of creativity but thankfully, you won’t have to forego your daily Starbucks cappuccino. However, it will need a makeover since registered dietitian Amy Kubal explains to Well+Good that dairy milk contains carbohydrates in the form of lactose. Since a cappuccino is an espresso topped up with plenty of milk foam, you’ll want to swap the dairy for another option.
Unsweetened almond, soy, or coconut milk are all decent low-carb options to replace the classic. Each contains around 1 gram of carbs per cup according to Kubal, which is a definite improvement compared to 12 grams in one cup of whole milk. You’ll definitely want to skip alternatives like oat and rice milk which are not keto-friendly options. If you can’t imagine coffee without its traditional dairy counterpart, opt for half and half or better yet, heavy cream which is higher in fat and has a lower carbohydrate count (via KetoConnect).
It’s easy to get confused between all of the possible ratios of milk to coffee that make up the Starbucks menu. A caffè misto keeps it simple by using a one to one ratio of brewed coffee to steamed milk. If you’ve spent any time in France then you might be familiar with a café au lait which Roasty Coffee calls identical. Unlike a cappuccino or latte, a caffè misto has a subtler flavor since the shot of espresso is substituted by brewed coffee. For a bolder drink simply request a more robust brew, or go for something milder if you just want a hint of coffee.
Once again, you’ll need to adjust your choice of milk since regular dairy options contain far too many carbohydrates. Unsweetened almond, soy, or coconut milk are good choices, plus they’ll add a pleasant flavor to a fairly standard drink. Or, mix it up and ask for a splash of half and half topped off with your choice of non-dairy milk to get some of the rich creaminess.
Another excellent option on the Starbucks menu: the flat white. If you’re not especially familiar with it, a flat white is made with two short espresso shots topped with steamed milk. Indeed, unlike its frothy foamy counterpart the cappuccino, a flat white is in fact, flat. Though not quite as popular in the U.S., according to The Culture Trip, the origin of the drink is a point of contention between New Zealand and Australia, and it might have even been around in England prior to the dispute.
Since it’s regularly made with whole dairy milk, you’ll want to swap that out for a non-dairy alternative. We recommend trying it with almond milk for a subtly nutty flavor. If you’ve never steamed milk before you might not have considered the fact that non-dairy milks behave quite differently due to their composition. Thankfully, Perfect Daily Grind reports that coffee shops are having increasing success steaming almond milk thanks to specially designed products such as Almond Breeze’s Barista Blend.
A latte is probably among the more popular orders at Starbucks, thanks to the perfect balance of espresso and steamed milk, topped with a layer of foam. Well, we know that the milk isn’t going to be good for ketosis so you have a few options to turn this drink around. The first is to choose an alternative to whole milk. If it has to be dairy, try half and half or heavy cream for a high-fat ,low-carb solution. Alternatively, almond, soy, or coconut milk will do, but be sure to check that they are unsweetened.
Experimentation is at the heart of finding keto options that don’t feel like too much of a compromise. One Redditor recommends giving your latte a complete makeover and asking for an Americano (espresso with hot water) topped with a splash of heavy cream. It’s not the lowest carb option available, but some days you’re meant to make adjustments elsewhere and enjoy your coffee as you please.
A Starbucks cold brew has a lovely 0 grams of carbohydrates since it’s basically just cold black coffee served on ice. You won’t want to describe it that way to devotees since in fact, cold brew is made using a different technique than your standard drip coffee, namely, using cold water. Starbucks notes that their cold brew is made in small quantities on a daily basis so it’s definitely fresher than the refrigerated options you might find at your grocery store. Instead of pouring hot water over ground coffee beans, the beans steep in cold water for 20 hours. You could try to make your own at home, but Starbucks indicates that they use a special blend of beans cultivated for cold brewing.
Cold brew is touted as being milder, slightly sweeter, and significantly less bitter than coffee brewed at high temperature, however, the difference can be subtle depending on the beans. And while it is often praised as being higher in caffeine, that’s also up for debate. All the same, if you like drinking cold coffee, this is a great way to enjoy it. For a flavor boost, add a splash of heavy cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and you’re set!
Starbucks’ nitro cold brew is made by first steeping coffee beans slowly at low temperature as per a standard cold brew. However, nitrogen is pumped into the coffee and it’s served up frothy from a keg, affecting the texture and flavor. Starbucks describes the drink as being sweet — minus the sugar and carbs thankfully! Plus, the consistency is velvet-like which, for some coffee fans, provides an improved drinking experience.
The practice of infusing a drink with nitrogen didn’t begin in coffee shops, and craft breweries and Irish pubs have long used the technique with stouts, ales, and various beers to create a rich smooth mouthfeel. As for cold brew, nitrogen might have the benefit of balancing out the thinner texture that makes people unwilling to drink black coffee. If you can have your coffee taste creamy with a hint of sweetness by only adding nitrogen, why not? It’s carb-free after all!
Starbucks makes an iced skinny mocha drink, but the standard version made with espresso, milk, and skinny mocha sauce, contains 18 grams of carbohydrates for a grande. Sure it’s low in fat which makes it appropriate for certain diets, but that’s kind of the opposite of what you want if you’re following a keto regimen. There are a few ways to modify the drink to maintain the flavor while reducing the carbs and upping the fat content.
For starters, you could order a grande iced skinny mocha which usually comes with four pumps of syrup, and ask the barista to use one or two pumps. You’ll definitely want to swap out the low-fat cow’s milk for heavy cream or a non-dairy alternative. You’ll still get the flavor but only a fraction of the carbohydrates. The skinny mocha sauce is made with sucralose instead of sugar, an artificial sweetener that is a point of debate for many people on a keto diet, according to Mental Food Chain.
Another option recommended by The Macro Barista is to order a grande iced Americano with mocha sauce, sugar-free vanilla sauce, and a splash of cream. It comes in at 8 grams of carbs, so you might still want to reduce the number of pumps of sauce though. You’ll still get some mocha flavor except you’ll have a greater volume of black coffee compared to the usual drink.
A regular Starbucks London Fog tea latte is made with Earl Grey tea, vanilla syrup, and steamed whole milk. Oh, and a grande has 29 grams of carbohydrates — basically as much as your daily intake. Thankfully, you can still enjoy the citrus, bergamot, and lavender blend from the tea while keeping it keto. First of all, you’ll have to swap the regular steamed milk for half and half, heavy cream, or a dairy-free substitute in order to drop part of the carb count. Next, you’ll need to skip out on four pumps of regular vanilla syrup by using one or two pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup for added flavor.
Another option is to start with hot water and a couple of Earl Grey teabags. Top the drink off with some heavy cream and a pump or two of sugar-free vanilla syrup if you still want some sweetness. Be sure not to overdo it with the sugar-free sauce because it has the potential to increase your insulin level and get in the way of proper ketosis (via Wholesome Yum). If you want a bit of sweetener without using sucralose, skip the vanilla sauce and add some stevia to your drink.
A Starbucks Frappuccino is arguably one of the more tempting menu items the coffee shop has to offer. They come in dozens of flavors (especially if you take advantage of the secret menu), but the most basic option, the espresso Frappuccino, counts 43 grams of carbohydrates in a grande. Thankfully, you can still enjoy a similar blended ice drink without ruining your keto agenda, and Hip2Keto has an option that will come in at 3 grams of carbs — far more manageable.
The keto-centric website points out that you might want to place this order using the Starbucks mobile app or when the line is minimal since it comes off as a bit fussy. Nonetheless, you’ll be getting a drink that tastes creamy and decadent without all the extra sugar. Order an iced coffee with two pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup (or your sugar-free syrup of choice), blended with extra ice and heavy cream or unsweetened non-dairy milk. If you’re not fond of including sucralose in your diet, skip the syrups and use stevia or monk fruit sweetener to balance out the bitter coffee.
A classic grande caramel macchiato has three pumps of vanilla syrup plus a caramel drizzle, and let’s not forget plenty of steamed milk poured over an espresso. It’s definitely not a great keto option with 35 grams of carbohydrates! One Reddit user, who claims to be a Starbucks barista, shared some keto-friendly hacks with the community, including an option if you can’t give up caramel macchiatos.
According to the barista, you’ll want to order a skinny caramel macchiato, which means sugar-free vanilla syrup is used to make the drink. Top the cup with steamed unsweetened almond milk (or swap half of it for heavy cream), and the caramel drizzle is up to you. (Although, what’s the point of ordering the drink if there’s no caramel?) If you’re worried about the tally, we recommend one pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup, stevia if needed, and sticking with a light caramel drizzle.
Fans of fall will definitely want an option to enjoy their beloved PSL, and we have an iced one to suggest. Skip Starbucks’ iced pumpkin spice latte and its 47 grams of carbs for a grande, and have the barista make you a low-carb version. The standard is made with espresso, milk, pumpkin and vanilla syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove all served on ice with extra whipped cream and more pumpkin pie spice sprinkled on top — a definite no go!
You could stick to the same format and order an espresso with non-dairy milk, one pump of pumpkin syrup, and a splash of heavy cream with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Add a packet of stevia if you want to sweeten the drink up a notch. Alternatively, The Macro Barista recommends ordering an iced coffee with one pump of pumpkin sauce, three pumps of vanilla syrup (though you might want to cut it down to one sugar-free), extra pumpkin pie spice topping so that the flavor isn’t lacking, and opting for half and half instead of milk (an unsweetened non-dairy option will reduce the carbs further). The Macro Barista’s version comes in at 12 grams of carbs so if you make the suggested adjustments you might be able to cut the amount in half. A treat, but a delicious one no doubt!
Gingerbread lattes are definitely another seasonal favorite in the winter, but if you were hoping it was naturally low-carb, think again. With 40 grams of carbohydrates, this espresso with steamed milk, vanilla and gingerbread syrup, whipped cream, and nutmeg needs a keto makeover. Since the gingerbread syrup doesn’t have a sugar-free option, you’ll have to compromise if you want any hint of the classic flavor.
The Macro Barista indicates how to make an iced version with 7 grams of carbs, but the basic ingredients are the same for the hot version. Order an Americano with one pump of gingerbread syrup, two pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup, and a splash of half and half. You can cut the carbs further by replacing the half and half with heavy cream or unsweetened almond milk, and opting for one pump of sugar-free syrup if you want to go easy on the sucralose. Be sure to add plenty of powdered cinnamon on top.
This warm tropical drink is certainly a winner among coconut lovers. Unfortunately, Starbucks’ standard vanilla bean coconut milk latte counts 26 grams of crabs since it uses sweetened coconut milk and vanilla bean powder. The drink comes in either an iced or warm version so you can adjust your creation accordingly depending on your mood. Start with a cold brew or Americano, then add a pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup, one scoop of vanilla bean powder, and light coconut milk, The Macro Barista directs. According to the coffee pro, the drink will count 7 grams of carbs which is on the steeper side for keto, yet it is undeniably decadent so we’re inclined to say it’s worth it.
Of course, if you want to cut it down further, skipping the vanilla bean powder will reduce the sugar content but the flavor will also be lighter. Alternatively, make it a treat and instead, eliminate the sugar-free vanilla syrup to avoid consuming sucralose if you’re not a big fan.
So much for being a secret: Starbucks’ undisclosed menu gets plenty of attention. Case in point — the keto Pink Drink, a low-carb version of the Pink Drink. The classic is made with the strawberry açaí refreshers drink mixed with coconut milk and topped with freeze-dried strawberries. Unfortunately, 27 grams of carbs for a grande is well beyond the acceptable intake on a low-carb diet, which is why the keto option is popular.
Women’s Health breaks down the order: Ask for an iced Passion Tango Tea, a pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup to provide some sweetness, and heavy cream. But, a Starbucks barista on Reddit warns the community that it tastes nothing like the original, a feeling that many consumers confirm. Brit+Co compares the original Pink Drink to a strawberry Starburst and “party in your mouth,” whereas the keto version lacked flavor and tasted watered-down. The absence of rich creamy coconut milk certainly accounts for the discrepancy, though if you’re looking for something mild, then the keto Pink Drink can be a fun choice.
Unlike many of the options on this list which require an understanding barista who’s ready to follow your set of instructions, the keto White Drink has a bit more traction since it’s on the secret menu. Keto recipe creator @ketosny posts on Instagram, “If it doesn’t taste like peaches and cream, they made it wrong.”
Even though it’s more mainstream, you might need to refresh your barista’s memory by breaking down the order: an unsweetened peach citrus white tea with ice, some heavy cream, and a few pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup, per Business Insider. The source adds that depending on how much sucralose you’re ready to ingest, you may want to skip it altogether and add some stevia to sweeten the drink instead. In any case, this is the kind of drink that could satisfy your Starbucks and dessert craving at the same time.
Starbucks offers a horchata almond milk Frappuccino which contains the equivalent of two days of carbohydrate intake on a keto diet. Since a traditional Mexican horchata is often made with rice that’s soaked in milk with cinnamon and then blended with vanilla and sugar, a few adjustments are needed before you can enjoy the refreshing drink.
PopSugar shares the scoop on how to order a keto horchata at Starbucks: Ask for a shaken iced white tea minus the sugar, a couple of pumps of sugar-free cinnamon syrup, a splash of heavy cream for texture, and extra powdered cinnamon on top. If you want to sweeten it further, use stevia or monk fruit sweetener to minimize the sucralose. Hip2Keto recommends a similar creation, opting for iced black tea instead of white — the choice is yours. Whatever you do, be sure to add plenty of powdered cinnamon for some carb-free flavor.
Using one of its two sugar-free syrups, Starbucks offers an iced skinny cinnamon dolce latte on the regular menu. The creation consists of an espresso topped with fat-free milk, a couple of pumps of sugar-free cinnamon syrup, ice, and extra cinnamon sprinkles. While it’s fat-free and low in calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates in a grande is still pushing it when it comes to a keto diet. Since the carbs are mainly from the dairy milk, this is an easy fix. Simply swap out the standard cow’s milk for unsweetened almond, soy, or coconut milk.
Alternatively, create a brand new drink by asking for an iced coffee with a splash of heavy cream or unsweetened non-dairy milk, topped with a pump or two of sugar-free cinnamon ‘dolce’ syrup. You’ll definitely cut the carb intake by about half, making this drink a solid option for an occasional treat. Be sure to add plenty of powdered cinnamon on top and if you want it slightly sweeter, a packet of stevia or monk fruit sweetener.
Okay fine, sparkling water isn’t especially unique to Starbucks but sometimes you really just need a cold drink to quench your thirst. Instead of choosing ordinary flat water, sparkling water adds a nice twist thanks to the bubbles. Plus, many options contain additional minerals which your body actually needs. These can affect the flavor so if you aren’t a fan of drinking water because it lacks taste, sparkling water can help keep you hydrated and entertain your taste buds. For even more flavor, opt for sugar-free naturally flavored options such as Perrier with a hint of lime, which happens to be available at Starbucks.
While you’re staying hydrated and filling up from the carbonation, you might be less tempted to break your diet and get the giant chocolate chip muffin staring at you from behind the counter. No matter the reason, everyone could do with a bit more water in their daily intake, and bottles with resealable lids make it an easy task.
We’re not talking about the chai tea latte that has 45 grams of carbohydrates given the added sugar and honey in the chai concentrate (although we’ll give you some suggestions to imitate it anyways). Starbucks describes their simple chai tea as being bold and distinctive, brimming with cinnamon, clove, ginger, and cardamom aromas. Since the drink consists of two tea bags and hot water, we’re looking at an impressive 0 grams of carbohydrates and every other nutrient, minus a light hit of caffeine.
While the drink is decidedly straightforward by Starbucks (and keto!) standards, there’s nothing like a warm cup of spiced tea when the temperature is cool. If you’re looking for a touch more decadence, add a splash of heavy cream, almond milk, and some stevia. Or take it a step further and follow The Keto Minimalist’s advice by adding a pump or two of sugar-free cinnamon ‘dolce’ syrup. You’ll get a decent approximation of a chai tea latte with only 2 to 4 grams of carbs.
Black tea has long been a common option on any coffee house menu, but Starbucks’ iced version keeps the drink fresh and invigorating. Their iced black tea is made by shaking Teavana black tea with ice, infusing the drink with plenty of flavor. Delishably notes that the previous brand of tea used was slightly stronger, so reduce the amount of water if you like a bolder taste. Did we mention it has 0 grams of carbohydrates?
Sure it’s a fairly simple drink, but you can use it as a foundation for a number of creative twists if you’re looking for something extra. Ask for just a splash of lemonade or add a pump of sugar-free syrup or stevia if your sweet tooth is acting up. Alternatively, a bit of heavy cream or unsweetened non-dairy milk is a good way to add some richness to the drink.
The Starbucks iced green tea is part of the trio of unsweetened yet pleasantly flavored refreshing drink options at the chain coffee shop. You’ll get so much more than green tea with ice thanks to the infusion of mint, lemon verbena, and lemongrass that adds a decidedly herbal flavor to the drink. If you’re used to beverages that are heavily sweetened, it might take a moment for you to become accustomed to this simple sugar-free drink that’s also void of artificial sweeteners, but you’ll soon be hooked.
If you’re looking for more reasons to sip on this cool drink, Body+Soul shares that green tea might have some benefits that assist in weight loss on a low-carb diet. Keto or not, green tea has a number of characteristics that can improve your health, including a hearty dose of antioxidants and polyphenols (via Healthline). This iced green tea boasts zero carbs and plenty of advantages so you’ll be doing your body some good when you order it.
The iced Passion Tango Tea completes the trilogy of naturally unsweetened iced teas, which are easy to adjust based on personal preference. It also makes the teas undoubtedly keto, each containing 0 grams of carbs. If the name sounds familiar that’s because it’s the base for the keto pink drink. Instead of adding a bunch of extra flavors, not to mention carbs, the iced tea keeps the drink straightforward, and unlike most of the options on the list, it’s caffeine-free.
The drink is shaken with ice to give it a frothy texture, but it’s the flavor that will wow you. Hibiscus, lemongrass, and apple are combined to make this refreshing tropical tea. Hibiscus is no ordinary flower, and Healthline reports numerous health benefits including antioxidant content which can decrease the risk of cancer, as well as possibly lowering blood pressure, triglycerides, and even assisting in weight management. Aside from the positive health features, it tastes delicious and you can easily customize it with a splash of lemonade or a sprinkle of stevia.
The Peach Citrus White Tea Infusion is the foundation of another popular low-carb option: the keto white drink. Here, the beverage is served in a refreshingly light format, with — you guessed it — 0 grams of carbohydrates. Apples, rose hips, hibiscus, lemon, chamomile, and lavender are the main elements that make up the delicate flavor. The fruity blend is combined with Teavana white tea, and the whole lot is shaken on ice. You’ll definitely feel cool and calm as you enjoy this tasty drink, and a hint of caffeine will keep you on your toes.
The botanical aromas make this drink a pleasant sipper as is, but if you’re slowly coming off of a sweet beverage regimen, you have some leeway. Go ahead and sprinkle in some stevia or monk fruit sweetener, and if your daily carb allowance can handle it, the drink is commonly enhanced with liquid cane sugar.