What Starbucks drinks are celiac safe?

For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, navigating menu items at coffee shops like Starbucks can be tricky. While many drinks are naturally gluten-free, some contain ingredients with gluten. The good news is that Starbucks offers a variety of delicious celiac-safe options.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, vomiting and fatigue.

The only treatment for celiac disease is following a strict gluten-free diet. Even small amounts of gluten from cross-contamination can trigger symptoms, so vigilance is important.

Gluten at Starbucks

Many drinks on the Starbucks menu are naturally gluten-free, including brewed coffee, tea and iced drinks made with coffee, espresso or tea. However, some ingredients contain gluten or have cross-contamination risks:

  • Syrups and sauces – Some flavored syrups and sauces contain barley malt, wheat or other gluten sources. Caramel sauce, mocha sauce and pumpkin spice sauce are not guaranteed to be gluten-free.
  • Blended drinks – Frappuccinos are blended with powder mixes that likely contain gluten.
  • Baked goods – Pastries, cake pops and sandwiches are made with wheat/gluten-containing ingredients.
  • Oatmeal & yogurt – The oatmeal and yogurt contain gluten.
  • Cross-contamination – Shared equipment and small spaces raise the risk for cross-contamination with gluten.

How to Order Gluten-Free Drinks at Starbucks

To enjoy celiac-safe beverages at Starbucks, follow these tips when ordering:

  • Opt for drip coffee, cold brew, nitro cold brew, iced coffee, and hot or iced tea. Request it black or with dairy or non-dairy milk.
  • Avoid flavored lattes and Frappuccinos as the syrups likely contain gluten.
  • Ask for flavored drinks to be made with sugar-free syrup instead of regular syrups.
  • Specify that you have a gluten allergy so baristas take extra care to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Skip the whipped cream, which may have gluten from cross-contact with biscotti.
  • Avoid blended drinks as the powders contain gluten.
  • Pass on Starbucks oatmeal or yogurt parfaits, which contain gluten.

Gluten-Free Starbucks Drinks

Here is the inside scoop on which Starbucks menu items are naturally gluten-free and celiac-safe:


  • Hot or iced coffee
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Nitro Cold Brew

Coffee on its own does not contain gluten. Order it black or with dairy or non-dairy milk like almond milk or coconut milk. Specify no flavoring or syrup.


  • Hot or iced espresso
  • Americano

Espresso is also naturally gluten-free. Customize it with milk and no syrups or flavorings.


  • Hot, iced or frozen tea
  • Chai tea latte

Plain tea is a gluten-free choice. For chai tea lattes, request it made with sugar-free syrup instead of the regular chai syrup which likely contains gluten.


  • Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher
  • Strawberry Acai Refresher

The refreshers are made with fruit juice, tea and ice. Order them without inclusions like berries which may have cross-contamination.

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate made with hot water and dairy or non-dairy milk is gluten-free. Avoid mocha sauce topping due to gluten risk.

Steamed milk

Plain steamed milk is gluten-free. Avoid flavored syrups.

Off-Limit Drinks at Starbucks

Unfortunately, some popular Starbucks drinks are not celiac-safe due to ingredients that contain gluten or cross-contamination concerns:

  • Frappuccinos – Contains blended base powder with gluten.
  • Lattes – Flavored syrups likely contain gluten.
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte – Contains pumpkin spice sauce with gluten.
  • Mochas – Mocha sauce contains gluten.
  • Chai Tea Latte (regular) – Chai syrup contains gluten.
  • Oatmeal and Yogurt Parfaits – Oats and yogurt contain gluten.
  • Blended Crème frappuccinos – Powder contains gluten.
  • Protein Blended Cold Brew – Has gluten-containing ingredients.

Bakery items like cake pops, sandwiches, bagels and muffins also contain gluten and are not celiac-safe.

Tips for Ordering Gluten-Free at Starbucks

With some savvy ordering, you can customize a delicious gluten-free Starbucks drink. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Tell the barista you need a gluten-free beverage due to celiac disease or a gluten allergy.
  • Opt for plain coffee, espresso, tea, refreshers, and hot chocolate.
  • Avoid blended powder drinks and lattes with syrups.
  • Request dairy or non-dairy milk and no whipped cream.
  • Ask for sugar-free syrup instead of regular flavored syrups.
  • Skip add-ons like flavored powders, oatmeal or baked goods.
  • Let baristas know about any cross-contamination concerns.

Cross-Contamination Precautions

Since Starbucks uses shared equipment and small spaces, there is always some risk of cross-contamination with gluten. To minimize risks:

  • Order plain drinks made with few ingredients – like black coffee or tea.
  • Avoid blended drinks and cream-based drinks with many add-ins.
  • Visit the store at slower times when baristas have more time to take precautions.
  • Specify the gluten allergy to baristas so they change gloves and sanitize equipment.

Being gracious if a drink order gets messed up can go a long way. Politely explain the gluten allergy issue and ask them to remake the drink being extra careful.

Gluten-Free Food at Starbucks

Unfortunately, gluten-free food options are very limited at Starbucks. While oatmeal, bagels and baked goods are off limits, there are a few snacks you can enjoy:

  • Kind bars – Select gluten-free flavors like Almond & Coconut
  • packets – Ensure the flavor is marked gluten-free
  • Fresh fruit – Order a cup of apples, bananas or oranges
  • Celery and carrot sticks – Found in the protein boxes
  • Hard-boiled eggs – Also in the protein boxes
  • Justin’s peanut butter packets – Check for gluten-free
  • Moon Cheese – Cheddar flavor

For gluten-free Starbucks food, your best bet is to come prepared and pack your own snacks to pair with your celiac-safe beverages.

How to Check If Drinks Are Gluten-Free

Wondering if a certain Starbucks drink contains gluten? Here are some ways to find out:

  • Check the app – The Starbucks app lists ingredients and allergen info for menu items.
  • Ask a barista – A knowledgeable barista should be able to tell you if a drink contains gluten.
  • View the website – The Starbucks website has an allergen menu you can browse.
  • Call the customer service line – Speak to a Starbucks customer service rep who can investigate drink ingredients.
  • Read labels – Bottled Starbucks drinks have ingredient labels you can inspect.

If you ever have any uncertainty about drink ingredients, it’s always best to avoid it or customize it to be gluten-free.

Being Gluten-Free at Starbucks

It is possible to enjoy gluten-free favorites at Starbucks with some preparation and planning. Focus on customizing naturally gluten-free beverages like coffee, espresso and tea to suit your tastes. Try sugar-free syrups, dairy or non-dairy milk and no whipped cream. With some gluten awareness and care, Starbucks can still be a great option for those avoiding gluten.


Having celiac disease or gluten sensitivity does not have to mean missing out on coffeehouse drinks. At Starbucks, you can customize many naturally gluten-free menu items like coffee, espresso and tea to create something delicious that works for your diet. Follow some savvy ordering tips – like avoiding blended powder drinks or baked goods – and ask baristas to take extra care to prevent cross-contamination. With the many gluten-free options at Starbucks, you can still enjoy great drinks while living a celiac-safe lifestyle.

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