Does Starbucks Caramel Have Dairy? (What brand caramel does Starbucks use? + More Information)

A pump or two of caramel syrup or caramel sauce is one of the best ways of elevating your Starbucks drink. But what happens when you are looking to have non-dairy options? Does Starbucks caramel have dairy?

Well, yes and no. There are two main caramel options available at Starbucks; caramel syrup and caramel sauce. The caramel syrup does not have any dairy in it, but the caramel sauce does. Every time I get a matcha latte, I ask my barista for two pumps of caramel syrup, and when I want it iced, I get a drizzle of caramel sauce instead. However, there are times when I am looking to have gluten-free and non-dairy foods and drinks, and during such periods, I skip the caramel sauce altogether. If you are looking to enjoy a caramel flavored drink without having to consume dairy, you can always go for the caramel syrup which is just as good as the sauce – but with fewer calories.

What is in Starbucks caramel?

Below is a detailed breakdown of the ingredients in caramel syrup and caramel sauce.

Caramel syrup

What brand caramel does Starbucks use?

This non-dairy sweetener is made using sugar, water, citric acid, natural caramel flavor, and potassium sorbate which is a preservative. Caramel syrup is essentially runny, and because of its few ingredients, it comes with few calories.

Sugar-free caramel syrup contains a compound called sucralose, also commonly known as Splenda.

Caramel sauce

Starbucks brand caramel

Caramel sauce contains several more ingredients and is made from corn syrup, corn starch, sugar, invert sugar, cream, heavy cream, skim milk powder, water, natural caramel flavor, and potassium sorbate. From the list of ingredients, it is clear that this sauce has dairy ingredients, and has more calories than the caramel syrup.

There are two versions; light caramel sauce and dark caramel sauce, and both of them have dairy.

What brand of caramel does Starbucks use?

Starbucks uses its own branded caramel syrup and sauce. The syrups and sauces are however, believed to be made by a company called Fontana, and it is the same company that manufacturers all other sauces and syrups for Starbucks.


If you are on a strict non-dairy diet or just prefer not to have dairy in your food and drinks, you do not have to skip your daily caffeine fix from Starbucks. You can have a couple of pumps of caramel syrup, and make sure not to confuse it with caramel sauce when making your order.

FAQ Section

Is caramel vegan at Starbucks?

Yes, caramel syrup at Starbucks is vegan as it does not contain any animal-based products. However, caramel sauce is made using dairy products such as butter and is not vegan.

Is Starbucks caramel safe for high cholesterol?

If you have high blood cholesterol, you are advised to refrain from taking caramel syrup or caramel sauce. They both have high sugar content which is not ideal for high cholesterol. You can, however, have sugar-free caramel syrup since it does not have sugar, and even though it is not the best alternative, it may be the better option for you.

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