Is the Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte Vegan?

September 18, 2023

Identifying whether or not the Caramel Brulee Latte is vegan is a complex task.

This is largely due to manufacturers, even our beloved Starbucks, often concealing the true nature and sources of their ingredients.

Fear not, dear reader, for this article aims to unravel the truth and help you sustain your compassionate vegan lifestyle.

Is the Caramel Brulee Latte Vegan?

Regrettably, the Caramel Brulee Latte is not vegan. Unlike many drinks at Starbucks, you can’t just order non-dairy milk and nix the whipped cream to make this vegan. The Caramel Brulee sauce itself contains skim milk powder.

Is the Caramel Brulee Latte Cruelty-Free?

While the latte may be tasty, unfortunately, the Caramel Brulee Latte is not cruelty-free. The dairy industry is notorious for cruelty to live animals. We simply can’t call it cruelty-free.

Additionally, Starbucks is not a non-GMO company, so many of its ingredients, such as sugar and corn syrup, come from GMOs, which are tested on animals.

What is the Caramel Brulee Latte Made Of?

Before diving into the vegan analysis of each ingredient, let’s list what you’ll typically find in a Caramel Brulee Latte:

  • Milk
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel Brulee sauce
  • Brewed espresso
  • Caramel Brulee topping


Milk is an animal product obtained from cows. It serves as the main liquid base for many Starbucks drinks, including the Caramel Brulee Latte. Since it originates from animals, it is not vegan. You could replace this with plant-based milk, but since there’s also milk in the Caramel Brulee sauce, the drink would still not be vegan.

Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is also derived from cow’s milk and is often added as a topping on many Starbucks holiday drinks. Despite its creamy texture and delicious taste, it is not vegan because it comes from an animal source.

Caramel Brulee Sauce

Caramel Brulee Sauce gives the latte its signature sweet caramel flavor. The ingredients in Starbucks’ Caramel Brulee sauce are sugar, water, skim milk powder, natural flavor, salt, potassium sorbate, and sodium bicarbonate. It is not vegan.

Brewed Espresso

The Starbucks Blonde Espresso roast forms the coffee base of the drink. It’s vegan because it contains only coffee beans.

Caramel Brulee Topping

This topping adds extra sweetness to the drink. Its ingredients include sugar, corn syrup, natural flavor, fruit and vegetable colors (apple, purple carrot, hibiscus). At first glance this looks vegan, but sugar is often processed with bone char, and who knows what natural flavors are? Plus, the sugar and corn syrup are probably GMO.

Vegan Drinks at Starbucks

Adapting drinks from one of your favorite brands to your vegan lifestyle is not as easy as you might think, despite the availability of plant-based milks.

Yes, there’s an array of dairy-free milks and vegan-friendly ingredients available at your local Starbucks that can help you create a cozy vegan drink. However, with the possibility of sugar processed through bone char and GMO food ingredients, strict vegans will want to make savvy, careful choices at Starbucks.

If you don’t mind iffy sugar and GMO, here are a few alternatives to the Caramel Brulee Latte:

  • Chestnut Praline Latte With Almond Milk: Substitute dairy milk with almond milk and ask for no whipped cream.
  • Irish Cream Cold Brew With Coconut Milk: Use coconut milk in place of cow’s milk and omit the Irish cream cold foam.
  • Peppermint Mocha With Oat Milk: Omit the whipped cream and chocolate curls and use oat milk instead of dairy milk.
  • Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte: This drink is typically vegan as long as you request no sugar cookie topping.

Remember, always check for hidden non-vegan ingredients like certain syrups or toppings.


While the Caramel Brulee Latte is a beloved treat on the Starbucks Holiday menu, it falls short of vegan and cruelty-free standards due to ingredients like milk, whipped cream, and Caramel Brulee sauce.

But don’t despair, as vegan (ish) alternatives are available that allow you to enjoy the holiday spirit in a compassionate manner. Every vegan drink ordered is a step towards a kinder world, one sip at a time.