16 Starbucks Flavored Syrups, Ranked Worst To Best

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If you've ever perused a Starbucks menu, or checked out a customizations drop-down menu in their app, you know that Starbucks flavored syrups are abundant. Our latest count of current, seasonal, and recent syrups totals 16, and that's not counting sauces like pumpkin, mocha, or caramel drizzle.

With that many options, it's no surprise that Starbucks once posited that you could create over 87,000 unique drink combinations with their syrups, sauces, and ingredients. Just because you could create 87,000 different drinks, doesn't mean each one would taste delicious. That's partly because not every syrup is created equally. If you ask us, there's a clear hierarchy to the 16 different Starbucks syrups.

We've gone through and ranked the worst and best Starbucks flavored syrups. You'll see why we think cloying raspberry syrup has no business mingling with coffee, and why warm and balanced toffee nut syrup is a top-tier flavor that complements nearly everything. Keep reading for the full breakdown, and be prepared to head out on a coffee run when you're done. This list will make you crave a Starbucks treat.

16. Raspberry

This fruity syrup is polarizing, to say the least. If you're a fan of fruit flavors in your coffee, you may enjoy Starbucks raspberry syrup in a latte or frappuccino. We find it achingly sweet, with a cloying raspberry flavor that just does not complement coffee well. One thing the raspberry syrup does have going for it? It's no longer artificially dyed red; in the past, the candy red raspberry syrup could stain and ruin anything it touched.

If you're set on giving this raspberry syrup a chance, we think it's best paired with iced and hot tea drinks. One simple example is an iced black tea with a few pumps of raspberry syrup; you can opt for green tea if you'd prefer. There is quite a long list of drinks you can concoct at Starbucks with raspberry syrup, if you dare. This compilation names secret menu items like a raspberry caramel macchiato and an iced raspberry latte.

15. Funnel cake (seasonal)

This summertime flavor debuted with the strawberry funnel cake frappuccino, the first new Frappuccino flavor on Starbucks' menu in three years. Despite its unique name, there's no complexity to this flavor. It tastes straight-up sugary-sweet, and that's it.

Funnel cakes taste of fried ribbons of dough tossed with powdered sugar, with apt comparisons to a plain, crispy doughnut and sugar-tossed fritters. You won't find any of those flavor notes in this syrup, though distilling those flavors into liquid form sounds, admittedly, very difficult. The funnel cake syrup at Starbucks does a decent enough job of sweetening the frappuccino it was created for, which also boasts blended coffee, strawberry puree, whipped cream, and crunchy funnel cake pieces. We can't think of any other coffee drinks that the funnel cake syrup would improve more than other options on this list, so it's not going to rank very high for us.

14. Sugar-free vanilla

Starbucks once boasted a large lineup of sugar-free syrups to enhance coffees and teas, including sugar-free versions of hazelnut, mocha, caramel, and cinnamon dolce. Unfortunately, these flavors have all since been discontinued. If you're looking for a sugar-free option, you're left only with sugar-free vanilla syrup. Here's the thing: Sugar-free vanilla may be a lifesaver for people with specific dietary restrictions, like diabetics or individuals following the keto diet. If you're avoiding sugar, it's nice to have at least one option to sweeten a beverage and add some fun flavor. An option like sugar-free vanilla allows people with special dietary restrictions to access fun drinks like a vanilla latte, vanilla cold brew, or vanilla iced coffee.

To us, though, this syrup tastes intensely artificial, with an underlying alcohol flavor that lingers on the tongue. The bottled Starbucks sugar-free vanilla syrup is maligned for many of the same reasons. One reviewer explains, "This has a very strong unpleasant after taste."

13. Irish cream (seasonal)

We want to like this syrup, we really do. Irish cream is such a great pairing with coffee. Unfortunately, the Irish cream syrup at Starbucks tastes too much like a facsimile of the real deal. It, like some of the other lower-ranking items on this list, has an underlying taste of alcohol that lingers on the tongue — and not in a good way, like a boozy Irish cream.

More than that, it lacks some of the warm flavors that make Irish cream distinctly delicious. There's no hint of nuttiness, or an oaky flavor from whiskey. The syrup is sweet, and if you add some cream to your drink at Starbucks you'll get the creamy element, but the similarities end there.

The Irish Cream Cold Brew that this syrup was made for just isn't as satisfying as a few glugs of Irish cream in your coffee. For what it's worth, Kat Thompson at Thrillist claims the drink doesn't taste very festive, but she still finds it delicious.

12. Caramel

While you'll find this syrup at the base of many classic Starbucks drinks, like the caramel frappuccino, this flavor has a reputation for an intensely artificial taste. We find the caramel syrup at Starbucks to be cloyingly sweet and laden with an underlying flavor of rubbing alcohol. It has very little of the warm, burnt sugar flavor you associate with true caramel.

We will concede that the caramel syrup "hides" well in certain drinks, like a caramel frappuccino. It blends in (pun intended) well with the frappuccino base, whipped cream, and decadent caramel sauce. Now, add the caramel syrup to a cold brew or iced coffee, and it's not so effectively hidden. The artificial caramel flavor and intense alcohol notes hit you hard.

The bottled Starbucks caramel syrup available for purchase has much of the same flavor profile. One reviewer complains of a "horrible artificial alcohol smell, taste and after taste" at Starbucks Coffee At Home.

11. Peppermint (seasonal)

This syrup pairs beautifully with mochas and hot chocolate. A minty, bittersweet peppermint mocha (hot or iced) will put us in the holiday spirit real quick. In fact, the peppermint mocha was one of the earliest handcrafted holiday drinks to grace Starbucks menus, debuting way back in 2002. Are you wondering which drink was the first? It was the eggnog latte, which made its debut in 1986! The peppermint mocha is the most popular holiday beverage in Starbucks history. If you spot people enjoying a drink in those red holiday cups, there's a good chance it's a peppermint mocha.

So why does the peppermint syrup fall so far on our list? The problem with this syrup is that it's a bit of a one-trick pony. Can you think of many coffee or tea drinks beyond a mocha or hot chocolate where peppermint syrup works? There aren't many.

One exception? The secret menu thin mint frappuccino, made by adding peppermint syrup to a mocha cookie crumble frappuccino.

10. Apple brown sugar (seasonal)

This syrup is the base of the apple crisp macchiato, which, despite the potential for things to go very wrong, tastes remarkably reminiscent of apple pie and coffee paired together. It's surprisingly good.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper at Taste of Home highlights how the apple crisp is pleasantly not-too-sweet, where apple "is a co-star here, and in my opinion, that's good." The apple brown sugar syrup is laden with caramel undertones and just a hint of apple fruity flavor, but it's not overwhelming. The apple brown sugar syrup at Starbucks doesn't score higher on our list for a similar reason as peppermint syrup. It's just not that versatile. Sure, you can enjoy it in the macchiato it was created for, or perhaps add a few pumps to iced coffee. The apple brown sugar syrup doesn't shine on its own, though, and with limited applications, it doesn't rank very high for us.

9. Brown sugar

Brown sugar syrup debuted in spring 2021 with a new drink, the iced brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso. This syrup has a caramelized brown sugar flavor that works well with espresso, and despite its sugary flavor, it's not too sweet.

The drink brown sugar syrup was made for, the iced brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso (yes, it's a mouthful!), features blonde espresso, brown sugar syrup, oat milk, and cinnamon powder. Gabbi Shaw at Insider calls the drink "a rush of brown sugar and cinnamon, mixed with the creamy texture of oat milk." She did note that the drink was made inconsistently between two different Starbucks she visited.

The brown sugar syrup tastes great in that shaken espresso beverage, but we think it works in a lot of applications if you feel like customizing your drink. Try adding it to iced coffee, cold brew, or a frappuccino for a just-sweet-enough caramelized flavor.

8. Honey blend

The honey blend syrup at Starbucks is essentially honey diluted with water, give or take a few ingredients. It's added to drinks like the honey almond milk cold brew and the honey oatmilk latte.

This lightly-flavored syrup delivers gentle honey notes, and complements many coffee and tea drinks at Starbucks really well. You can use it as a replacement for classic syrup (their basic sweetener) in most drinks if you'd like to shake things up with a little honey flavor. We find it pairs really well with non-dairy milks like oat milk and almond milk, better than classic sweeteners for some reason.

Pro tip? Order the honey bee cold brew off the secret menu. It's cold brew lightly sweetened with honey blend syrup and vanilla syrup, and then topped with almond milk, vanilla sweet cream foam, and honey drizzle. Emily Weaver at Yahoo! claims it's "the equivalent to sipping on summertime and sunshine." We're convinced. 

7. Hazelnut

Starbucks hazelnut syrup is subtle and nutty, with a pleasant sweetness. It pairs perfectly with iced coffee, hot lattes, and even in a frappuccino for something different. If you pair it with mocha sauce, you'll enjoy a flavor akin to the ever-popular Nutella. It also pairs well with non-dairy milks, like coconut milk.

Unfortunately, you may have to wait a while before you'll get your hands on a drink made with Starbucks hazelnut syrup, due to nationwide ingredient shortages. Since the summer of 2021, Starbucks has had to put a temporary hold on at least 25 ingredients used in their stores, due to pandemic-era supply chain issues. Hazelnut syrup is one of the much-loved ingredients temporarily out of stock at stores across the nation. 

The ingredient shortages vary across regions, so different Starbucks will have different supplies for each item. If you come across hazelnut syrup at your local Starbucks, enjoy it! It's a coveted ingredient these days.

6. Cinnamon dolce

Perfect for fall and winter, cinnamon dolce syrup adds subtle spice and brown sugar notes to any coffee drink. We love this drink year-round, though! You can enjoy this syrup in a classic cinnamon dolce latte, served hot or iced. It's also delicious in frappuccino form for something indulgent, or added to iced coffee and cold brew. There are all sorts of secret menu concoctions that add cinnamon dolce syrup for a spiced note in drinks.

Coffee review blog Know Your Grinder calls the cinnamon dolce latte a drink "you'd associate with a bit of cold, winter fires, and snuggling." We'd have to agree. Sadly, cinnamon dolce syrup is one of the ingredients impacted by current nationwide shortages. If you're lucky enough to find cinnamon dolce syrup at your local Starbucks, be sure to add a few pumps to an iced coffee for us. Don't skip the hit of half and half!

5. Sugar cookie (seasonal)

Buttery and richly flavored with the essence of sugar cookies, this newcomer holiday syrup isn't as sweet as you'd expect. It's the base of the new sugar cookie latte, the first non-dairy drink in the Starbucks holiday beverage lineup.

The sugar cookie latte, which is great iced or hot, is made with blonde espresso, sugar cookie syrup, almond milk, and festive red and green sprinkles. The sugar cookie syrup actually shines through as a unique flavor in this latte, which is why we give it high marks. It really makes a drink taste like sugar cookies, in the best way.

You can order the sugar cookie latte (even though it's marketed with almond milk, feel free to sub in whichever milk you prefer), or you can add the sugar cookie syrup to an iced coffee. We think two pumps of sugar cookie syrup is the perfect balance of buttery sweetness in our iced coffee, but that's just us.

4. Chestnut praline (seasonal)

Looking for a warming, sit-by-the-fire flavor for your coffee? Add chestnut praline syrup, or better yet order the chestnut praline latte. This beloved holiday flavor is widely celebrated for its praline-forward notes. You'll enjoy the gentle sweetness, paired with the flavor of candied nuts.

Stephanie Bernstein at Spoon University explains in her review that the chestnut praline latte "offers the holiday taste without the sickening sugar rush afterwards – a drink you can enjoy for your daily caffeine fix and not just for dessert." We love the holiday vibes that the chestnut praline syrup delivers, redolent of spice and warmth. The chestnut praline latte comes topped with spiced praline crumbs, essentially crystallized bits of sugar that totally amp up the holiday treat vibes.

The chestnut praline latte is available hot or iced, and is delicious either way. We think the chestnut praline syrup works equally well in cold brew, iced coffee, and frappuccinos.

3. Toffee nut

Warm, nutty, and with brown sugar undertones, toffee nut syrup makes an excellent hot latte or iced coffee addition. We love it in a toffee nut latte, or as a nutty addition to cold brew with some cream.

If you pair toffee nut syrup with a mocha, you have a chocolatey, nutty situation that's just delightful. The same goes for a hot chocolate, if you'd prefer to cut the caffeine. There are all sorts of frappuccinos where toffee nut provides a delicious candied nut undercurrent, like the secret menu nutter butter frappuccino, made with hazelnut, cinnamon dolce, and toffee nut syrups, and a whole banana. The toffee mocha macchiato is another favorite, combining caramel, toffee nut, espresso, steamed milk, and topped with mocha drizzle. You can find a full list of toffee nut-based concoctions here

Sadly, toffee nut syrup is another ingredient that's scarce at Starbucks throughout the country due to nationwide product shortages. We hope this top-tier syrup makes a full comeback soon.

2. Classic

The classic syrup at Starbucks is their version of simple syrup. It's liquid sugar that easily blends with iced drinks, and complements hot drinks when you'd like to add something sweet. Be careful though, each pump of this syrup amps up the sweetness quite a bit! Classic syrup complements a wide range of drinks, from hot coffee to iced tea to cold brew. You can also skip the addition of classic syrup if you've already added flavored syrups and sauces to your drink, unless you prefer your drinks quite sweet.

Even the bottled stuff is pretty good. In an Amazon review for the bottled classic syrup from Starbucks, one customer writes, "This product brings you true Starbucks vibes. I made cold brew using Starbucks Verona blend and added this syrup plus some milk. Tastes JUST like Starbucks. Granted my home made cold brew isn't as good as theirs, but the syrup really helps it hit the mark."

1. Vanilla

This is one of the most popular syrups at Starbucks, and one of our favorites. Its simple flavor complements so many drinks, from iced coffee to hot macchiatos, lattes, and tea-based drinks.

You'll find Starbucks vanilla syrup in these drinks and more: vanilla latte, caramel macchiato, vanilla frappuccino, vanilla bean creme frappuccino, London fog tea latte, and vanilla sweet cream cold brew. It's one of the most popular offerings on the Starbucks menu, for good reason. This syrup is among the most versatile options on the menu, as vanilla goes with most anything. 

The bottled Starbucks vanilla syrup is just as good. One reviewer on Amazon swears by pairing Starbucks vanilla syrup with Starbucks vanilla flavored coffee grounds at home. "I will NEVER go back to just using granulated sugar in my coffee again. I find that it adds an additional smooth Vanilla Flavor, to the already fantastic taste that Starbucks Vanilla Coffee has," they write.