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Ultimate Guide to Starbucks Hot Chocolate

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Discover all there is to know about Starbucks hot chocolate menu with this complete guide. See all the flavors, how many calories it has, which ones have caffeine, and a list of all the best hot chocolate drinks you can get.
Starbucks hot chocolate in holiday cup.

Starbucks Hot Chocolate

Starbucks hot chocolate is a decadent winter beverage that combines steamed milk with rich dark chocolate sauce.

Each cup of hot cocoa is served with a generous dollop of Starbucks famous vanilla-sweetened whipped cream.

Additional toppings, like dark chocolate curls or holiday sprinkles, can be shaken on top, as well.

  • Starbucks hot chocolate drinks combine steamed 2% milk and chocolate sauce. They come with whipped cream, as well as other topping options like drizzles, sprinkles or pieces of real chocolate.
  • Starbucks hot chocolate drinks are super creamy since they are made with milk and sauce. They are never made with water or gritty cocoa powder.
  • Starbucks also has flavored hot chocolate drinks like peppermint hot chocolate. Additionally, you can get a secret menu Snickerdoodle hot chocolate with cinnamon in it.
  • Hot chocolate is a good choice for kids since the temperature of the steamed milk can be reduced.
Starbucks hot chocolate in a holiday cup with lots of whipped cream and chocolate curls on top.
Starbucks hot chocolate drinks are a creamy combination of steamed milk and chocolate sauce topped with whipped cream.

Chocolate Sauces at Starbucks

If you’re in the mood for a classic cup of hot cocoa, Starbucks always has regular hot chocolate and white hot chocolate on the menu.

Both varieties of hot chocolate are made with the exact same chocolate sauces used for making Starbucks mochas.

As a matter of fact, Starbucks hot chocolate is simply a hot mocha without any espresso in it!

Year-round, Starbucks has two flavors of chocolate sauce on the menu.

A third option is usually added during the winter months.

RELATED: How to Order the Original Starbucks Hot Chocolate Drink

Chocolate Sauce Flavors

  • Dark Chocolate Sauce
  • White Chocolate Sauce
  • Toasted White Chocolate Sauce (seasonal)
A hot chocolate in a grande Starbucks red cup with a big dollop of whipped cream on top.
Starbucks has three flavors of chocolate sauce, including dark chocolate, white chocolate and toasted white chocolate.

Looking for more hot drinks without coffee? Starbucks steamers are a great option. Seasonal favorites include Pumpkin Spice Crème, Chestnut Praline Crème and Caramel Brulee Crème.

Starbucks Hot Chocolate Nutrition

Wondering if Starbucks hot chocolate meets your nutritional needs? Here’s a closer look.


The amount of calories in a Starbucks hot chocolate depends on the type of chocolate sauce you select and whether or not additional flavored syrup like peppermint is added.

For instance, white hot chocolate has nearly 20% more calories than dark hot chocolate.

And peppermint syrup increases the calorie content by another twenty percent.

The lowest calorie hot chocolate at Starbucks is regular hot chocolate with 190 calories in a short size, 280 in a tall, 370 in a grande and 450 in a venti.


I recently contacted Starbucks customer service to get a definitive answer as to whether or not their handcrafted hot chocolate drinks are gluten-free.

They did not give me a direct answer, but directed me to the ingredients list.

Starbucks hot chocolate ingredients include milk, mocha sauce [water, sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, natural flavor], whipped cream [cream, vanilla syrup (sugar, water, natural flavors, potassium sorbate, citric acid)].

While it appears to be gluten-free, Starbucks does use shared equipment for all their drinks so it’s important to do your own research.


The standard milk used to make all varieties of Starbucks hot chocolate drinks is 2% reduced-fat milk.

In addition, every hot chocolate has whipped cream on top.

To order a hot chocolate at Starbucks without dairy, ask for it to be made with oat, almond, soy or coconut milk and leave off the whipped cream.


Some people wonder if Starbucks hot chocolate has coffee in it? It does not.

If you want hot chocolate plus coffee, order a mocha.

That being said, a classic hot chocolate contains a little bit of caffeine that comes from the chocolate sauce.

The caffeine content ranges from about 15 milligrams in a short hot chocolate up to 35 milligrams in a venti.

White Hot Chocolate and Toasted White Hot Chocolate are both caffeine-free Starbucks drinks.

A cup of Starbucks hot chocolate with the order label showing.
A cup of classic hot chocolate from Starbucks has a small amount of caffeine, but both white chocolate varieties are completely caffeine-free.

Hot Chocolate Sizes

Starbucks has four sizes of hot chocolate on the menu: short (8 fl oz), tall (12 fl oz), grande (16 fl oz) and venti (20 fl oz).

There’s also kids size which is the same thing as a short but it should come with the milk steamed to 130°F instead of the normal 160°F.

Kids size is also a little bit cheaper.

10 Delicious Starbucks Hot Chocolate Drinks

From classic to peppermint and toasted white, here’s a list of every handcrafted Starbucks hot chocolate on the menu.

With so many flavors of syrups, sauces and toppings it’s easy to customize your own favorite hot cocoa at Starbucks.

A few really delicious secret menu hot chocolates are included on the list, as well.

Cup of Starbucks hot chocolate sitting in the snow in front of a Starbucks holiday menu board.
Hot chocolate is available at Starbucks all year, but the winter menu adds some seasonal flavors like toasted white.

1. Hot Chocolate

Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream + Mocha Drizzle

This hot chocolate option is the perfect handcrafted beverage for anyone wanting to enjoy a classic cup of hot cocoa.

Ask for vanilla syrup in it, if you want it made like their original recipe!

RELATED RECIPE: Starbucks Hot Chocolate Copycat Recipe

2. White Hot Chocolate

White Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream

A twist on a traditional cup of hot chocolate, this even creamier version is made with white chocolate sauce.

3. Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Syrup + Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream + Chocolate Curls

This sweet peppermint-chocolate duo appears on the Starbucks holiday menu every year.

But did you know you can get a peppermint hot chocolate all yearlong?

Even though it’s not listed on the regular menu, Starbucks always has peppermint syrup and mocha sauce to whip up this classic beverage.

You’ll just have to substitute the seasonal chocolate curls with drizzle.

RELATED RECIPE: How to Make Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate

4. Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Syrup + White Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream + Chocolate Curls

Take a white hot chocolate up a flavor notch with the addition of peppermint-flavored syrup.

This caffeine-free hot beverage is a great holiday treat for kids.

RELATED RECIPE: Quick & Easy Starbucks Peppermint Syrup Recipe

5. Toasted White Hot Chocolate

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream + Holiday Sugar Sparkles

This festive Starbucks hot cocoa brings together carmelized white chocolate with steamed milk and whipped cream.

Tasting a bit like toasted marshmallows, this limited-time holiday drink is adorned with red sprinkles.

RELATED: 11 Starbucks Holiday Drinks that Don’t Have a Drop of Coffee

6. Original Starbucks Hot Chocolate

Vanilla Syrup + Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream + Mocha Drizzle

Hot chocolate lovers may have noticed that Starbucks hot chocolate doesn’t taste quite the same as it used to.

That’s because the recipe no longer has vanilla syrup in it.

To get a cup of Starbucks original hot cocoa ask for a combination of vanilla syrup and mocha sauce.

The extra sweetness is oh so yummy!

RELATED RECIPE: Starbucks Vanilla Syrup Recipe in 3 Easy Steps

7. Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa

Cinnamon Dolce Syrup + White Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream + Cinnamon Dolce Sprinkles

This Starbucks creation is no longer listed on the menu, but you can still order this off-menu drink.

To order a Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa, add some cinnamon dolce syrup to a white hot chocolate with cinnamon dolce sprinkles on top.

RELATED RECIPE: Starbucks Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate Copycat Recipe

8. S’mores Hot Chocolate

Chestnut Praline Syrup + Toasted White Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream + Chocolate Drizzle

Reminiscent of everyone’s favorite campfire treat, a secret menu S’mores Hot Chocolate brings together the flavors of graham crackers, marshmallow and chocolate.

Just order a toasted white hot chocolate flavored with chestnut praline syrup or toffee nut, and top the whipped cream with chocolate drizzle.

9. Tuxedo Hot Chocolate

Chocolate Mocha Sauce + White Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream

Can’t decide which hot chocolate to order at Starbucks?

Try a Tuxedo Hot Chocolate that’s an equal mix of dark chocolate sauce and white chocolate sauce.

Also known as Zebra Hot Chocolate, this beverage is the ideal combo of bittersweet and creamy.

10. Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa

Toffee Nut Syrup + Chocolate Mocha Sauce + Steamed 2% Milk + Whipped Cream + Caramel Drizzle + Sea Salt/Turbinado Sugar Topping

Every decadent sip of Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa brings together chocolate, toffee nut and caramel with a hint of salt.

If Starbucks doesn’t have salted caramel drinks on the current menu, you can still order this off-menu hot chocolate.

You just won’t be able to get the salt/sugar sprinkles on top.

Questions You May Have

Does Starbucks hot chocolate contain caffeine?

Classic hot chocolate from Starbucks has a little bit of caffeine that comes from the chocolate. White hot chocolate and toasted white hot chocolate are both caffeine-free.

Is there coffee in Starbucks hot chocolate?

Starbucks hot chocolate is made just like the traditional beverage by mixing chocolate with hot milk. It does not have any coffee added in.

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