Did you know that there are way more Starbucks hot chocolate options than are written on the regular menu?

Getting creative with your Starbucks order is a fast way to have fun but can feel overwhelming for newcomers with the abundance of cocoa recipes.

We have some hot tips to get you your chocolate fix - just read our tricks below.

1. Hot Chocolate (Classic Tasty Drink)

Starbucks Hot Chocolate

Created using a combination of steamed milk, mocha sauce, whipped cream, and chocolate drizzle, Starbucks’ classic hot chocolate is highly popular all year round. [1]

This drink is often the base for a lot of more elaborate flavors or editions, thanks to its thick, smooth, and comforting flavor.

Some folks have found that the recent adjustment to the hot chocolate recipe that removes the vanilla flavor makes the new drink too bitter; a few pumps of vanilla should remedy this issue for anyone longing for the old style.

To get down to the hot cocoa mix, Starbucks hot cocoa is available in all standard Starbucks cup sizes and temperatures.

In terms of nutrition, there are between 190-450 calories in each cup, depending on the size and customizations chosen [2].

There are also around 37 grams of sugar and 25 mg of caffeine in a grande, thanks to the syrups and powder itself.

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2. Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate

One of Starbucks’ more popular holiday drinks is peppermint hot chocolate.

You will typically see this winter drink start to pop up on the Starbucks menu during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When creating this delicious mix of peppermint and chocolate, baristas take the base hot chocolate drink and add three pumps of peppermint syrup.

This steamed chocolate milk combination is topped with whipped cream, mocha drizzle, and dark chocolate curls.

In terms of nutrition, the grande size of these Starbucks Christmas drinks tends to have around 530 calories, 69 grams of sugar, and 35 milligrams of caffeine.

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3. White Hot Chocolate

Starbucks White Hot Chocolate

Another popular Starbucks winter drink is white hot chocolate. [3]

It is made using a combination of steamed milk, white chocolate mocha sauce, whipped cream, and vanilla.

This white hot chocolate is available year-round and is another excellent base for other popular Starbucks hot drinks.

If you fancy this delightful treat in your next Starbucks cup, you can expect this staple of the seasonal Starbucks menu to have some sweet nutritional facts [4].

In terms of calories, the grande cup version has around 440 calories depending on your customizations, alongside around 55 grams of sugar.

This is a caffeine-free Starbucks drink as it is made with cocoa butter rather than the solids.

4. Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

Starbucks Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

Another sweet treat for the holiday season is the warm peppermint white hot chocolate.

This highly anticipated Starbucks menu item is often seen around Thanksgiving onwards and is extremely popular.

Baristas use the white hot chocolate as a base and add around three pumps of peppermint syrup before topping with whipped cream and adding dark chocolate curls.

You can also add some mocha sauce for a boosted dark chocolate taste.

The grande version of the peppermint hot chocolate tends to have around 530 calories or so and 69 grams of sugar, depending on the changes you make.

Additionally, there are around 35 milligrams of caffeine in a grande cup of peppermint white hot chocolate.

5. Toasted White Hot Chocolate

Starbucks Toasted White Hot Chocolate with Holiday Sugar Sparkles

Our final winter staple Starbucks item is the creamy toasted white hot chocolate.

This cozy beverage uses the white hot chocolate as a base before mixing in four pumps of toasted white chocolate mocha sauce and topping with whipped cream.

You can even add holiday sugar sparkles with crispy white pearls for a touch of magic.

The white mocha syrup brings home that melted marshmallow taste and pairs wonderfully with the white chocolate drink.

In terms of nutrition, a grande version of this tasty white chocolate treat comes in at around 430 calories, 57 grams of sugar, and no caffeine.

6. S’mores Hot Chocolate (Secret Menu)

Starbucks Iced S'mores Hot Chocolate Shaken Espresso

Kicking off our secret menu list is another marshmallow delight in the form of the s’mores hot chocolate.

While it is not an official menu item, it is easy to make with the right combination of syrups.

Using the standard hot chocolate as a base, you can ask for three or four pumps of praline or toffee nut syrup alongside some vanilla syrup.

Top with whipped cream and mocha drizzle to complete one of these comforting Starbucks hot drinks.

7. Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (Secret Menu)

Starbucks Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

The secret to the fall favorite pumpkin hot cocoa lies in the seasonal sauces.

Using the standard hot chocolate to start, you can ask your barista to add two or three pumps of pumpkin spice sauce.

Then, add some whipped cream and cinnamon powder on top and revel in the delicious hot chocolate flavors. Alternatively, we like to ask for a drizzle of cinnamon dolce syrup.

8. Mexican Hot Chocolate (Secret Menu)

Starbucks Iced Mexican Hot Chocolate

Those who love a little spice in their chocolate will love this twist on a classic.

You can also top it off with cinnamon powder and fall in love with this take on Starbucks hot chocolates.

For those who need a harder hit of caffeine, try adding a shot of espresso for a rich hot chocolate coffee drink.

Ask Barista For: A Starbucks hot chocolate with mocha sauce, white mocha sauce, cinnamon dolce syrup, and whipped cream.

9. Swirl Pow Hot Chocolate (Secret Menu)

Starbucks Swirl Pow Hot Chocolate

This swirly creamy treat is a fun one if you are looking for an alternative to the usual Starbucks drinks.

To order one of your own, simply ask for a hot chocolate with one and a half pumps of vanilla syrup and one and a half pumps of mocha sauce.

Top with whipped cream and the delicious caramel drizzle for the ultimate secret menu treats.

10. Cold Hot Chocolate Frappuccino (Secret Menu)

Starbucks Hot Chocolate Frappuccino

Sometimes you want that hot chocolatey hit even amid the summer heat.

To start, order a double chocolate chip creme frappuccino with around three pumps of vanilla syrup and whipped cream blended in.

Top with whipped cream and a mocha drizzle for a cool way to enjoy your hot chocolate fix.

If you can't wait to have a peppermint hot chocolate, you can also ask the barista to add a couple of pumps of peppermint syrup to your Frappuccino for an ice-y drink that tastes like Christmas.

What Can I Add To Starbucks Hot Chocolate Drinks?

Now that we’ve delved into what’s in Starbucks hot chocolate, we can dive into what exactly you can add to your hot chocolates on your next Starbucks run.

To shake things up, it is key to remember these customization options.

Size Is Key

Each Starbucks drink from the regular menu comes in one of a few different cup sizes. The list from smallest to largest, includes:

  • Short or child - 8 ounces
  • Tall - 12 ounces
  • Grande - 16 ounces
  • Venti - 20 ounces
  • Trenta - 30 ounces

Knowing what each Starbucks cup size is can be vital, especially for those looking to add extra syrups; it can help you avoid going overboard and getting something a little too sweet.

Dairy Alternatives

Starbucks has a wide range of milk types to aid customers with allergies or different preferences. The kinds of milk available typically include:

  • Heavy cream
  • Nonfat milk
  • 2% milk
  • Whole milk
  • Breve (half and half)
  • Almond
  • Coconut
  • Oatmilk
  • Soy milk

You can also ask for your hot cocoa drink to come with extra milk foam, milk foam, light milk foam, and no foam at all during the steaming process.

Some Like It Hot

Not many people seem to know that you can also ask your barista to adjust the temperature of your snickerdoodle hot chocolate.

While the standard temperature is around 160 degrees, it is possible to ask for an extra hot or Starbucks kid’s drink, which brings the heat to 180 or 130 degrees, respectively.

Get Creative

One of the key elements in secret menu creation at Starbucks is the syrups and drizzles.

How many pumps you add will depend on the cup size and the number of syrups you want.

Most of the baristas tend to aim for 2-4 pumps of syrup total for the standard to large sizes; try asking for half or one and a half pumps when mixing flavors.

To Top Things Off

Starbucks allows you to add a range of toppings to your order.

While your drink can be topped with Starbucks whipped cream, you can also choose from a range of drizzles, chocolate curls, powders, and sprinkles, depending on the time of year.

Marshmallows and other sweet treats can also be added for an even more magical touch.

Man Ordering at Starbucks Counter

How To Make Starbucks Hot Chocolate At Home


  • Semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • Heavy cream
  • Milk
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Chocolate syrup (optional)
  • Other syrup flavors or caramel drizzle (optional)
  • Cinnamon powder (optional)
  • Chocolate curls (optional)


  • 1
    Break the semi-sweet chocolate into small pieces if in blocks
  • 2
    Add the chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl along with the heavy cream
  • 3
    Heat the mixture for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between until you have a smooth melted ganache
Steamed Milk
  • 4
    Pour your milk into a microwave-safe jar with a lid
  • 5
    Microwave the milk in short bursts until it is hot but not bubbling
  • 6
    Shake the jar until foamy

Important note: be careful when unscrewing the lid as hot milk may spurt out.

  • 7
    Add your chocolate ganache to the milk along with the various syrups you would like
  • 8
    Mix until well blended
  • 9
    Pour your drink into a mug if needed
  • 10
    Top with whipped cream and any drizzles, powders, or chocolate curls you desire

Starbucks Hot Chocolate Drinks FAQs

Does Starbucks hot chocolate have coffee?

The base hot chocolate does not contain any coffee. However, it is possible to order a mocha or add mocha flavors for an added caffeine hit.

Is there caffeine in Starbucks hot chocolate?

The regular menu hot chocolate can have around 15-35 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the size and customizations. The white hot chocolate, however, has no caffeine.

Why can Starbucks hot chocolate taste bitter?

In a somewhat controversial move, Starbucks recently changed the hot chocolate base recipe to remove the vanilla syrup, leading the new style to taste a little more bitter.

What is the difference between mocha and hot chocolate from Starbucks?

A Starbucks mocha has a shot or two of espresso added to it, giving the beverage a caffeine boost and a rich flavor.

The standard Starbucks menu hot chocolate, however, does not have any coffee blended into it.

Conclusion - Get Your Chocolate Fix!

Ordering from Starbucks can feel overwhelming, especially for those wanting to try out the Starbucks secret menu hot chocolates for themselves.

We recommend getting creative with your syrup, drizzle, and topping options for a fun alternative to the regular menu warm drinks.

Take our tips into account on your next Starbucks run and see if you can get creative with other drinks - maybe you will even invent a secret menu item or Frappuccino of your own.


1. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/471/hot
2. https://globalassets.Starbucks.com/assets/94fbcc2ab1e24359850fa1870fc988bc.pdf
3. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/472/hot
4. https://www.starbucks.co.uk/nutrition

Chloe Page


Chloe Page
A lifelong mocha fan, Chloe is an award-winning writer with over eight years’ experience weaving words. Her journey in the coffee industry is highlighted by extensive research and interviews with coffee experts. In her moments of relaxation, you'll often find her sipping on Bird and Blend tea, thoughtfully scribbling in her notebook.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Bird and Blend Co Tea

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