Nothing quite hits the spot like a cool, creamy Frappuccino in flavors like caramel, strawberry, cinnamon dolce, and even rocky road. But what’s a vegan to do when most come standard with dairy milk, whipped cream, and random animal-based ingredients? VegNews’ resident vegan barista gives the inside scoop on the 10 best Frappuccinos that can easily be made vegan.
For vegan Frappuccinos, you’ll always want to replace the standard two percent milk with organic vanilla soy, single-origin Sumatran coconut milk, or no-sugar-added almond milk (which will cost you a pesky upcharge, for now). Avoid caramel sauce and Frappuccino chips, both of which are made with dairy; opt for clear, water-based syrups (sauce-based beverages such as White Mocha, seasonal Smoked Butterscotch, and Pumpkin Spice are made from milk—but the chocolate mocha is okay); and steer clear of whipped cream. By keeping these guidelines in mind, you’ll be sipping creamy and indulgent goodness in no time.
You can order these drinks by name and all year long.
1. Caramel Frappuccino
The most popular flavor among the entire line of blended beverages, the standard Caramel Frappuccino can be made completely vegan by substituting the dairy for soy, coconut, or almond milk and omitting both whipped cream and the caramel sauce topping. Adding another syrup (I suggest the cinnamon dolce or toffee nut) only ups the decadence.
2. Matcha Green Tea Crème Frappuccino
Another classic, the Matcha Green Tea Frappuccino boasts verdant matcha powder swirled with milk, ice, and liquid cane sugar for a delightful, coffee-free beverage. The creamy, emerald green drink is even better if you add a splash of raspberry syrup on top.
3. Strawberry Frappuccino
There was some hubbub a few years ago regarding the ingredient that made Starbucks’ strawberry purée so vibrantly red. The coffee-giant responded by removing the carmine (crushed beetles—blech) additive and replaced it with fruit and vegetable juice for its ruby hue. Now, you can sip a vegan milk-version of this fruity option, sans whipped cream and dairy milk, without fear of lurking non-vegan ingredients.
4. Espresso Frappuccino
Are you a coffee lover at heart? If so, this no-frills option will satisfy your cravings while delivering a serious jolt. Non-dairy milk is blended with the standard Frappuccino Roast coffee (a unique blend made for cold beverages that includes micro-ground Espresso Roast), ice, and a freshly pulled shot of espresso. And you don’t even have to remember to ask for no whip. Easy!
5. Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino
While once a summertime only treat, popular demand coaxed the company to make this Cookie Monster drink a permanent item on the menu. Easily veganize it by asking for non-dairy milk and no Frappuccino chips or whipped cream. You’re left with a thick, coffee-infused mocha frap topped with a luscious mocha drizzle and crunchy cookie crumble. To truly gild the lily, ask for the cookie crumble to be swirled into the drink to replace the chips.
6. Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino
Not a coffee lover at heart? This popular vanilla-infused blend is for you. Aromatic, real flecks of vanilla bean get whirled in with milk and ice for an almost milkshake-like treat. Sip on it as is; add a fresh, hot shot of espresso on top affogato-style; or use it as a blank canvas for a number of fun hacks. Which brings us to …
Sweet, highly-customized concoctions not standardized or a part of a “secret menu,” ordering these beverages by name may result in a confused look from your barista. Instead, be ready with a recipe and ingredient list, and you’re set.
7. Caramel Banana Vanilla Bean
Enjoy this banana pudding-inspired treat by ordering a standard Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino and having a whole, fresh banana blended in. For an extra indulgent treat, substitute one scoop of vanilla bean powder for a pump of caramel syrup. Bonus tip: the whole banana will add volume to your finished drink, so try ordering a grande in a venti cup to make sure nothing goes to waste.
8. Chocolate Cinnamon Dolce
Give bittersweet dark chocolate a spicy-sweet cinnamon snap by ordering a Mocha Frappuccino and adding pumps of cinnamon dolce. Caution: the cinnamon dolce sugar topping contain dairy, so refuse it if a barista offers it. Instead, try nutmeg on top.
9. Rocky Road
For this summertime creation, order a Mocha Frappucino with limited-edition marshmallow syrup (half a pump for tall, one and a half for both grande and venti sizes), toffee nut syrup (half a pump for tall, one for larger sizes), and mocha sauce (one pump for tall, two and three for larger sizes). Food safety guidelines will prohibit nuts being blended in, but you can ask your barista for a pack of the nut medley usually served with oatmeal for a creative stir-in.
10. Red Velvet Cake
A secret menu favorite, this decadent drink is nearly vegan. The standard version is made with Frappuccino chips, mocha sauce, raspberry and vanilla syrups, and whipped cream. It may sound like a Frankenstein concoction, but it works. To veganize, simply ask for no Frappuccino chips and no whipped cream, swapping out the cows’ milk for your favorite non-dairy alternative. It’s rich, indulgent, and because it’s caffeine-free, definitely worthy of an after-dinner sip.
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