Vegan Starbucks Holiday Drinks: 2021 Guide

'Tis the season to put a vegan twist on your favorite holiday drinks.

vegan holiday starbucks

Treehugger / Photo Illustration by Catherine Song / Starbucks

Sweater weather, gift-giving, Christmas music already on the radio—the holiday season is indeed upon us.

Further evoking the holiday spirit with its signature seasonal red cups, Starbucks unveiled its latest collection of holiday drinks last week. The lineup features familiar favorites like the Peppermint Mocha and one brand-new, already-vegan creation: the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte. 

While the holidays aren't always easy for vegans—particularly when family members bring non-vegan dishes and desserts to the table—we have the inside scoop to help customers order their favorite Starbucks drinks with exclusively plant-based ingredients. Here are all their festive beverages and precisely how to make them vegan. 

Peppermint Mocha

If you’re craving mint chocolate, the Peppermint Mocha is for you. This holiday-menu staple combines Espresso Roast, milk, mocha sauce, and peppermint syrup. 

To ensure your drink is vegan, ask your barista to hold the dark chocolate curls and whipped cream, and choose either soy, almond, coconut, or oat milk to replace the dairy milk.

*Can also be ordered as an iced mocha and a Frappucino. Make sure to order with the same modifications.

Treehugger Tip

Avoid any drink with white chocolate—that includes Starbucks’ Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino. Both the toasted and the regular white chocolate mocha sauces contain condensed skim milk, which is not vegan.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Looking for a little less caffeine? When ordering the decadent Peppermint Hot Chocolate, swap the dairy milk with a plant-based alternative and leave off the dark chocolate curls and whipped cream. It will still taste exactly like a liquid peppermint patty.

For a festive hot chocolate beverage, this classic treat is your best bet. All of the drinks from the white hot chocolate collection (including classic, peppermint, and toasted white chocolate) contain a dairy-based sauce.

Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte

Unless otherwise labeled, sugar cookies typically contain milk, eggs, butter—often all three. But you won’t find any animal products in the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte. From the syrup to the sprinkles, every ingredient in this sweet pick-me-up is entirely vegan. 

*Can also be ordered as a hot latte and a Frappuccino. Make sure to request no whipped cream on the Frappuccino.

Treehugger Tip

If you find yourself in a Starbucks Reserve Roastery, try the Starbucks Reserve Christmas 2021 blend, a combination of beans from three different locations: Hacienda Alsacia, Starbucks' farm in Costa Rica, Sumatra, and Indonesia's Aceh region. Notes of citrus and spice come together to create a sensational cup of joe. This blend may also be available in select Starbucks locations.

Chestnut Praline Latte

Warm spices complement caramelized chestnuts in this smooth, nutty latte. Ideal when sipped by the fireplace. Hold the whipped cream and opt for your choice of plant-based milk. Make sure to keep the chestnut praline topping, which is delicious and totally safe for vegans. 

*Can also be ordered as an iced latte and a Frappuccino. Make sure to order with the same modifications.

Caramel Brulée Latte

This one is a bit tricky. The Caramel Brulée Latte technically cannot be vegan because the caramel brulée sauce contains skim milk powder. 

What you can do instead is replace the caramel brulée sauce with a combination of non-dairy caramel syrup and toffee nut syrup, hold the whipped cream, and replace the milk with a plant-based alternative. Keep the caramel brulée topping, which is vegan.

Irish Cream Cold Brew

The Irish Cream Cold Brew also cannot be made vegan as the Irish cream cold foam contains (you guessed it) cream and milk. However, the Irish cream syrup is free of animal products.

Swap out the cold foam for a couple of extra pumps of Irish cream syrup and add a splash of oat milk to regain some of that creamy sweetness.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are any of Starbucks' holiday drinks vegan?

    The Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte is completely vegan when ordered as is. All other holiday beverages, with the exception of the white chocolate drinks, can be made plant-based with modifications.

  • Are Starbucks holiday sugar sprinkles vegan?

    Vegans at Starbucks don't have to sacrifice their sprinkles. The red and green sprinkles atop the Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte are not made with any animal products.

  • Is the Chestnut Praline Starbucks drink vegan?

    The Chestnut Praline Latte can be ordered vegan by swapping out the dairy milk for a plant-based alternative: either soy, almond, coconut, or oat milk. Ask your barista to hold the whipped cream, too.