Keto Starbucks Hacks To Make Your Drink Low Carb

Updated Nov 10th, 2019 – Written by Craig Clarke

Staying in ketosis when you’re on the go can feel like an obstacle course, especially at Starbucks. Though many of the menu items sound like they may be keto-friendly, their nutrition labels tend to read more like a candy bar than a low-carb beverage. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your favorite Starbucks drinks while you are on the keto diet.

Instead, you can be your own at-home barista with the help of our ketoproof coffee options (like our Keto Pumpkin Pie Spice Latte) — or try customizing your Starbucks order to create a tasty drink that you know is keto-approved.

Throughout this guide, we’ll show you the tips and tricks you need to stay in ketosis when you’re on the go so you can enjoy your favorite flavors and the weight loss and health benefits of a keto lifestyle in one drink.


The Drinks

At first, navigating the menu through a low-carb lens can be overwhelming. Many ingredients that you may not associate with net carbs can add a significant amount to your drink, such as milk, half and half, “sauces,” “syrups,” and whipped cream.

To make your trip to Starbucks as easy as possible, we recommend sticking to the following list of delicious keto-friendly Starbucks drinks. Below the graphic, you can find a more in-depth explanation behind each:

Keto Drinks at Starbucks

1. Skinny Mocha

A short (8 oz.) Caffe Mocha comes with 14 grams of net carbs (which is surprising until you find out that pure sugar comes before cocoa on the ingredient list).

Instead of passing on this incredibly comforting combination of coffee and chocolate, try ordering a skinny mocha with these simple alterations:

  • Use the skinny, sugar-free mocha sauce instead of their regular Mocha Sauce.
  • Skip the whipped cream and milk.
  • Use heavy cream and water if you want to replace the milk or add some extra fat.

Estimated nutrition info for an 8 oz. keto-friendly skinny mocha without heavy cream*:

  • Calories: ~13
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Net carbs: 1 g
  • Protein: 0 g

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

2. Keto-Friendly Frappuccino

An icy cold frap is one of the most refreshing ways to get an energy boost at Starbucks, but the frappuccino syrup makes it more like a milkshake than a coffee drink.

To reduce the carbs in your frap, try this keto combo:

  • Start with a tall frappuccino cup
  • Fill to the bottom line with undiluted cold brew coffee
  • Fill to the middle line with heavy cream
  • Add 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla and sugar-free cinnamon dolce
  • Add a tall scoop of ice
  • Double blend to get the ideal taste
  • Optional: blend in 1-2 scoops of keto-friendly Starbucks protein powder if you want your drink to be more creamy or need help meeting your protein needs

Estimated nutrition info for a 12 oz keto frappuccino:

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 18g
  • Net carbs: 2.5 g
  • Fiber: 1 g for every scoop of Starbucks protein powder
  • Protein: 6 g for every scoop of Starbucks protein powder

3. Pumpkin Spice Latte, Keto Style

If you don’t have the time to make your own pumpkin spice latte at home, you can still go to Starbucks and get your fall flavor fix without kicking yourself out of ketosis.

  • Start with a grande iced coffee, no Classic syrup or flavored sauce
  • Skip the whipped cream and milk
  • Add 3 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Use half heavy cream and half water for a great creamy texture
  • Add pumpkin spice flavoring (you can do this yourself at the flavor bar)

It won’t come out tasting exactly like the traditional, sugar-filled pumpkin spice latte, but it will give you a lower-carb, keto-friendly option for when you are craving those comforting fall flavors.

Nutrition info for a 16 oz.  Keto-friendly Pumpkin Spice Latte (before the heavy cream)*:

  • Calories: 5
  • Fat: <0.5 g
  • Net carbs: <0.5 g
  • Protein: 0

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

4. Keto-Friendly London Fog

If your favorite drink is a London Fog, you can create it in a keto-friendly way at Starbucks — but don’t tell the baristas you’re ordering a London Fog.

Instead, your order will be something like this:

  • Start with Earl Grey tea
  • Add a pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Add a 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Nutrition Info for a 16 oz. Keto-friendly London Fog (before the heavy cream)*:

  • Calories: <5
  • Fat: 0
  • Net carbs: <0.5 g
  • Protein: 0

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

5. Keto-Friendly Pink Drink

You can transform this refreshing summer favorite into a low-carb drink that is both caffeine-free and sugar-free.

  • Order unsweetened Passion Tango iced tea without added sugar or water
  • Add heavy cream
  • Add 2-3 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup depending on your flavor preferences

Estimated nutrition info for Keto-friendly Pink Drink (without heavy cream)*:

  • Calories: <5
  • Fat: 0
  • Net carbs: <0.5 g
  • Protein: 0

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

6. Americano

An Americano is simply espresso and water, so as long as you skip the milk and sugar, you’ll have a keto-friendly drink that’ll boost your ketone levels.

The best thing about this drink is how easy it is to customize for keto. Here are some examples of how you can personalize your Americano:

  • Want some extra fat and flavor? Add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream.
  • For some sweetness, add your own keto-friendly sweetener.
  • If you want an additional energy and ketosis boost, ask your barista to add an extra shot of espresso (Each shot has ~75 mg caffeine, 5 calories, 0.5 g of net carbs, and 0.5 g of protein).

Nutrition info for a 12 oz. Americano*:

  • Calories: 10
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Net carbs: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

7. Low-Carb Latte

A basic latte is a coffee combined with steamed milk. Surprisingly, even an 8 oz. latte will come with 10 grams of net carbs because of the milk.

To get the flavor you want without the carbs, replace the milk with half water and half heavy cream and ask the barista to whip it up until your keto latte has a beautiful foam on top.

Nutrition info for a 12 oz. Low-carb Latte (before the heavy cream is added)*:

  • Calories: 5
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Net carbs: 0.5 g
  • Protein: 5 g

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

8. Iced Coffee

Like standard coffee, iced coffee has only a minuscule amount of calories, fat, protein, and carbs. If you need more fat or flavor, add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream.

Nutrition info for 12 oz. unsweetened iced coffee:

  • Calories: <5
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Net carbs: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

9. Low-carb Caramel Macchiato

If you are looking for something warm and comforting with the right amount of sweet, then you’ll love this keto-approved version of the Caramel Macchiato.

Though you can order it as a “skinny Caramel Macchiato with almond milk and no caramel drizzle,” It will be difficult to control how many calories, carbs, and fat you’ll be getting with the almond milk. A grande may have 6-8 grams of carbs in it, while a tall can have up to 6.

For those of you who want a better idea of the macros in your drink, try ordering your caramel macchiato like this:

  • Short Americano with the espresso shots on top
  • Fill 3/4 water and 1/4 heavy whipping cream
  • 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Extra-light caramel drizzle

Keep in mind, however, that this Starbucks drink is going to be higher in carbs than the previous options, so make sure it fits within your carb limit for the day.

Estimated nutrition info for the low-carb caramel macchiato:

  • Calories: ~125
  • Fat: ~11g
  • Net carbs: ~7g *
  • Protein: ~3g

* To decrease the carb content by 1-3 grams, skip the caramel drizzle.

10. The Keto Horchata

There are many different types of Horchata found throughout the world, but the most flavorful is the traditional Mexican variety made with rice milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. This combination of flavors is so surprisingly tasty that it’s worth trying at least once.

Here’s how you can order a keto-friendly Horchata at Starbucks:

  • Ask for a Venti shaken iced white tea with no sugar
  • Add two to three pumps of sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce syrup
  • Finish it off with heavy cream and cinnamon powder

Estimated nutrition info for a 24 oz. keto horchata (before the heavy cream)*:

  • Calories: ~2
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Net carbs: ~0.5 g
  • Protein: 0 g

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.


Keto Hacks for Starbucks

Keto Hacks for Starbucks

Even if your favorite drink isn’t on the low-carb Starbucks menu, you’ll still be able to find something you love. While there are some drinks you may simply have to give up for the time being, there are a few hacks that can help you keep up with your keto lifestyle while you enjoy your favorite treats.

1. Keep it Simple with the Right Roast

Do you just want a no-frills cup of coffee to kick off your morning? Unfortunately, ordering something as simple as an “iced coffee” may come with sugary syrup if you are not careful. Before trying a new drink always make sure there are no extra carb-ridden ingredients in the drink and in the coffee or tea blend used to make the drink.

Some simple keto-friendly Starbucks drinks you can rely on are:

  • Pike Place Roast
  • The featured blond roast
  • The featured dark roast
  • Nitro Cold brew
  • Clover brewed coffee

Other blends may also be keto friendly. However, if you want to be sure you’re getting keto coffee, stick with these options to help get your caffeine buzz without the risk of losing track of your diet. Just make sure to double-check that what you order is unsweetened with no additives.

If you’d like to maximize the caffeine content of your drink and stimulate more fat loss with your keto lifestyle, avoid adding any heavy cream, sugar-free syrup, or sweetener to your drink and opt for the most potent brews such as the featured blond roast, nitro cold brew, Clover brewed coffee, and pike place roast.

2. Watch the Syrups and Sauces

The secret sauce behind the most popular Starbucks drinks is almost always a sugar-filled syrup or sauce. Starbucks often uses 1-2 of their simple sugar syrups and sauces with each drink —  adding roughly 5 grams of

ketone-lowering carbs with each pump.

This is why it is important to make sure your beverage is unsweetened by asking for “no Classic or flavored syrups” when you place your order. If you are looking for a keto-friendly replacement, try substituting the Classic syrup with sugar-free syrup or add your own keto-approved sweetener.

Keep in mind, however, that their sugar-free syrups are not a completely carb-free solution. Their vanilla variety, for example, contains trace amounts of net carbs while their sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup contains 0.5 grams with every tablespoon.

The sugar-free syrups also contain artificial sweeteners, including sucralose, which may cause digestive issues and other side effects. Make sure you carefully consider the potential disadvantages of sugar-free syrups before deciding if they are the right choice for you. Luckily, there are better sweetener options for the keto lifestyle.

3. Pass on the Whipped Cream

In general, commercial whipped creams are filled with sugars. If you want a low-carb Starbucks drink , make sure you’re passing on the whipped cream. After trying some of the great keto drinks described above, you won’t miss it.

4. Watch the Milk

While heavy cream is usually an accepted addition to the keto lifestyle, the other dairy (and non-dairy) options at Starbucks can significantly increase the net carb content of your drink.

Use heavy cream where possible or stick with simple unsweetened drinks with no additives. This will help keep you in ketosis and boost your energy levels without having to guess how many carbs and calories you are drinking.

5. Check Out the Flavor Bar

The flavor bar allows you to become your own barista. Try using keto-friendly spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice mix to add another dimension to your coffee or tea. As your palate adjusts to your keto lifestyle, you may find that you don’t even miss the sugar.

6. Bring Your Own Cream and Keto Sweeteners

Starbucks drinks are far from standardized. If you ask for heavy cream, for example, you won’t know if you are getting a splash or several tablespoons.

To avoid drinking more carbs, calories, and fat than you intend, try ordering your heavy cream on the side or bringing your own. You can also request a specific amount of pumps of the sugar-free syrups or opt for your own keto sweeteners to add some flavor without losing track of the carbs in your keto Starbucks drink.

7.  Try Using the Starbucks Mobile App

The Starbucks app allows you to specify exactly what you want so your order doesn’t get lost in translation. You can customize virtually any aspect of the drink, from the number of espresso shots added to how many pumps of sugar-free syrup you want.

However, there is one downside to look out for — the app doesn’t update the nutrition information after you make adjustments.

8. Be Nice to the Baristas

Most Starbucks baristas will be happy to help you get exactly the drink you want, especially if you go in knowing what you want (or at least wait until they aren’t too busy before you order). If you’re polite and friendly, you’ll be more likely to get exactly the drink you want: one that will help promote ketosis and energize the rest of your day.

Whether you’re looking for more tips, tricks, and strategies that will help you keep up with your keto diet or you’re hoping to embark on your keto journey for the first time, we can help. Check out Keto Academy to learn more about the keto lifestyle: the basics, the benefits, and how to stick to that plan in spite of all the challenges making it difficult.