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This post was originally published in October 2017 and updated in September 2018 and August 2019.
You’re craving a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, but…you want to save money and skip out on all the artificial flavors and chemcials in the Starbucks version, so what is a girl to do?
Make our homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe, of course. It tastes way better than the Starbucks version, takes pantry staples, is more economical, and can be made in less time than picking one up from the coffee shop, so what do you have to lose?
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What is pumpkin spice latte?
Pumpkin spice latte is a pumpkin-flavored fall coffee drink originally created by Starbucks in 2003. The Starbucks PSL consists of espresso, foamed milk, and pumpkin spice sauce, which contains a small amount of pumpkin puree. The drink is usually garnished with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
Who invented pumpkin spice latte?
Peter Dukes, a former basketball player with degrees in economics and business, started working at Starbucks in 2001. Two years later, Peter and a team of Starbucks employees developed an espresso-based drink with pumpkin pie flavors. The drink has been an instant success since its introduction in 2003, and has even become a symbol of “basic” mainstream American culture.
What does pumpkin spice latte taste like?
My copycat recipe has subtle hints of coffee with a creamy, spicy, pumpkin flavor. The whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice on top boosts the autumn flavors.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Ingredients
This recipe takes eight simple ingredients, many of which you’ll have in your cupboard or fridge. No artificial flavors or colors in sight!
- Pumpkin puree for a real pumpkin flavor
- Pumpkin pie spice for the autumn aroma (don’t have it? Make some in 2 minutes with this recipe.)
- Black pepper for a hint of spice
- Vanilla extract for flavor and sweetness
- Brown sugar for sweetness
- Milk for foam
- Heavy cream for extra creaminess and foam
- Coffee because it’s a latte
Is pumpkin spice latte healthy?
Overall, a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte isn’t healthy. A grande PSL made with 2% milk and topped with whipped cream contains an astonishing 50g of sugar! It’s much healthier to make your own pumpkin spice latte at home, without all the extra sugar, coloring, and preservatives that are in the Starbucks version.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Calories
This homemade pumpkin spice latte contains just 302 calories, not including the whipped cream garnish. Even though it’s a little higher in calories than the Starbucks version, our recipe is made with high quality, all-natural ingredients and doesn’t compromise on taste.
How to Make Pumpkin Spice Latte Healthier
- Make your own pumpkin concentrate. Skip the sugary artificial pumpkin syrups and use real pumpkin puree cooked briefly with pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar.
- Reduce the sugar. My recipe uses 5 teaspoons of brown sugar per batch, but feel free to cut it down if you like.
- Use stevia or monkfruit instead of sugar. This will affect the flavor of the latte, so I’d only recommend this if you’re diabetic.
- Use lower fat milk. I like to use a combination of whole milk and heavy whipping cream in my pumpkin spice latte for a luxuriously creamy texture, but you can always use 2% milk. Don’t use 1% or skim milk; it has too little fat content.
- Omit the garnish. You’ll save a lot of fat and calories simply by omitting the whipped cream on top of the latte.
Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte
Use these ingredients for a skinny PSL and follow the directions as written in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Skip the whipped cream garnish to save extra calories and fat.
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (104g)
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, packed (60g)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 2 cups 2% milk or full-fat coconut milk (480 ml)
Do you serve pumpkin spice latte hot or cold?
You can serve pumpkin spice latte hot or cold; both ways are popular. My recipe gives the instructions for making a hot pumpkin spice latte, but see the directions below for making an iced pumpkin spice latte.
How to Make an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte
The easiest way to make an iced pumpkin spice latte is simply to pour the latte over crushed ice. You can also use cold brew coffee to make the latte, then pour it over ice.
Is pumpkin spice latte vegan?
Neither Starbucks’ recipe nor my recipe is vegan, but you can make a vegan version simply by swapping the dairy milk for full-fat coconut milk. Use coconut cream instead of heavy whipping cream.
Note on Non-Dairy Milks: it’s best to use coconut milk for making pumpkin spice lattes. Almond milk doesn’t contain enough fat to get a nice froth.
Is pumpkin spice latte gluten free?
The Starbucks PSL isn’t guaranteed gluten free. However, you can make your own gluten free pumpkin spice latte with certified gluten free ingredients.
Does pumpkin spice latte have coffee in it?
Yes, pumpkin spice latte does have coffee in it. The Starbucks version is made with espresso, while my recipe uses strong coffee instead.
How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte without Coffee
Want to make a caffeine-free latte for kiddos or for when you want to go to bed early? Here’s how to do it!
- Substitute decaf black tea for the coffee. This makes it similar to a London Fog, a latte made from Earl Grey tea and foamed milk.
- Omit the coffee entirely. Just keep in mind that the drink won’t taste the same; it will be much richer and sweeter.
How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte
Measure out the eight ingredients: pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, black pepper, vanilla, brown sugar, milk, cream, and coffee.
Put the puree, pie spice, pepper, and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes on medium heat until it begins to bubble and smells spicy.
Stir in the vanilla extract, then put the pumpkin mixture into a bowl.
Pour the milk and cream into the same saucepan and heat until simmering.
Add the pumpkin mixture and whisk until smooth.
Blend the pumpkin milk in a blender for at least 60 seconds on high speed until very well mixed and foamy.
Pour 1/2 cup of coffee into a glass.
Pour 2/3 cup of pumpkin milk on top and gently stir to combine.
Top with homemade whipped cream. (It’s super easy and tastes SO much better than store-bought!! Get the recipe here.)
Sprinkle on some pumpkin pie spice and enjoy!
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: just blend together ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Grab the recipe.
- Pumpkin Puree: replace the 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree with 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice syrup.
- Milk/Cream: use coconut milk instead of whole milk and coconut cream instead of heavy cream.
Pro Tips for Making Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Make sure to cook the pumpkin puree mixture. Briefly cooking the puree with spices brings out the flavor and aroma.
- Blend the pumpkin milk thoroughly. This step adds foam to the milk and prevents settling or separation of the latte.
- Use freshly brewed coffee or espresso, less than 20 minutes. The bitter taste of old coffee won’t improve the latte.
- Make the pumpkin milk ahead of time. It will keep in the fridge for a few days–just re-blend it before using.
- Turn it into an iced pumpkin spice latte in one step. Pour your freshly made latte over crushed ice and enjoy!
Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Emeril Lagasse 1-Quart Saucepan: this small pot is the perfect size for making PSLs.
- Vitamix Blender: this is our favorite blender! It’s easy to clean and to use.
- Stainless Steel French Press: make amazing coffee at home with this French press.
- Set of 3 Stainless Whisks: these sturdy whisks come in three convenient sizes.
Make a Starbucks-quality PSL at home with these other recipes.
- How to Make French Press Coffee: these tips will help you make some of the best coffee you’ve ever had.
- How to Make Whipped Cream: ditch the canned stuff and make your own with this easy recipe.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: this simple blend of four spices will make your PSL amazing.
The pleasure of a 5-star review for this pumpkin spice latte would be greatly appreciated.Print
Skip Starbucks this fall and make your own healthy and delicious pumpkin spice latte at home instead. This easy recipe shows you how to make this hot, cozy coffee drink with a few basic ingredients. You’ll definitely be coming back for a refill!
For the Pumpkin Milk Concentrate (3 cups)
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (104g)
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, lightly packed (60g)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4–1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk (240 ml)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (240 ml)
For the Latte & Decoration
- 2 cups freshly brewed strong coffee (or 1 cup espresso)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, for decoration
- Pumpkin pie spice, for decoration
Making the Pumpkin Milk Concentrate
- Place the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and black pepper in a small saucepan. Stir continuously over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, until the puree begins to bubble and sizzle and smells spicy. Mix in the vanilla extract, then spoon the mixture into a small bowl.
- Pour the milk and heavy whipping cream into the same saucepan and set over medium heat, whisking occasionally. When it begins to steam, add the pumpkin puree concentrate and whisk continuously until well blended and smooth.
- Pour the pumpkin milk into a blender and blend for at least 60 seconds on high speed.
- Use immediately, or pour into a glass jar, seal tightly, and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Re-blend the milk or shake well before using.
Assembling and Decorating the Latte
- Pour 1/2 cup of coffee and 2/3 cup of pumpkin milk into a glass or mug to make one latte. Gently stir to combine. Serve warm or poured over ice.
- Pour 1 cup of heavy whipping cream into a small mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Pipe or spoon the whipped cream on top of the latte, then sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice over it. Serve immediately.
- The pleasure of a 5-star review for this pumpkin spice latte recipe would be greatly appreciated.
- 👩🏻🍳 Want to see our latest recipes? Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
- Category: Beverage
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: homemade, starbucks