Fall coming over means switching from your regular cup of summer iced coffee to something warm and substantial. For just about everybody who’s a regular at You-Know-Who-Bucks, that drink is the Pumpkin Spice Latte, a delicious, creamy drink that’s nothing short of pure gold.
Our recipe, though, isn’t the usual pumpkin puree with a sugar packet you’ll see. It’s a naturally sweetened, lighter-but-just-as-delicious version that tastes just as satisfying but doesn’t give you the unhealthy sugar high you’d otherwise.
That sounds good, right? Keep on reading to know how you can easily make yourself a cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte at home.
Because honestly, who wants to be waiting in a drive-thru line?!
But First, What Are You Going to Find In A Classic Pumpkin Spice Latte?
The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is right up there as one of the coffee chain’s most famous drinks, not to mention everybody’s favorite warm drink for a rainy morning.
Pair it with a hot bagel from the inevitable donut shop around the corner, and you’re looking at pure satisfaction that will last you the entire morning.
Related: My top Picks for Starbucks Latte
The espresso (about 75 milligrams) also makes this drink a great pick-me-up for those slow mornings.
Suppose you’re curious about what makes this iconic drink so… well, iconic. In that case, it’s a combination of intensified pumpkin puree combined with heavy cream and 2% milk that gives the Pumpkin Spice Latte its texture.
When made at home, some people also switch out the sugar with maple syrup to give it a more consistent taste and make it healthier.
Ingredients For Our Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
Here’s what our pumpkin spice latte recipe includes (and a potential shopping list for you!):
- Milk: The one ingredient that shouldn’t surprise anybody is the standard, everyday 2% milk Starbucks uses for its drinks. It’s simple, rich, creamy, and flavourful, and it’s the first thing you’ll see on supermarket shelves anywhere. What more could you ask for?
Plus, you know, it’s good for you. Or so we hear.
- Pumpkin Spice Sauce (™): What Starbucks calls its Pumpkin Spice Sauce is a mixture of everyday ingredients like sugar, pumpkin puree, and condensed milk. When you’re making the drink at home, you don’t necessarily need to make this “sauce”: just adding the ingredients to your pumpkin puree’s more than enough.
Here’s a fun fact. The actual pumpkin bit in the “Pumpkin” Spice Sauce was only added after 2015 when customers complained the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte felt lackluster and not natural enough. Go figure, huh?
- Brewed Espresso: The espresso is where you get that noticeable buzz after drinking your latte. Most Starbucks versions of the drink will have about 75 milligrams, which is roughly half a cup of regular coffee. That’s a pretty fair measure to use in your homemade drinks.
- Maple Syrup/ Vanilla Syrup/ Vanilla Extract: Starbucks uses a combination of vanilla syrup and sugar for its lattes, which is what makes the drink so sweet. But at a whopping 39 grams of sugar, that’s really not good for you. Instead, we’re going to use natural maple syrup, and a couple of drops of vanilla extract to bring out the sweetness.
- Pumpkin Spice: Drinks need a topping, and your pumpkin spice latte’s going to be disappointing without that cute sprinkle of pumpkin spice on top. Normal pumpkin pie spice off the convenience store shelves is good enough.
- Whipped Cream: This might just be us, but you can’t go wrong with whipped cream.
Four Easy Steps to Making Your Pumpkin Spice Latte
Making a pumpkin spice latte isn’t the rocket science most baristas make it out to be. Here’s a simple breakdown of what to do:
- Heat the Milk
Start the process by pouring about 200ml of 2% milk into a small pot (pans work, but the shape’s all wrong. Heat it until it’s hot and simmering, but don’t boil it!
- Start Mixing the Ingredients
You should have your espresso pre-made to make this quicker. Pour it into a large mug (or jar, or whatever have you). Mix in the puree, pumpkin spice, vanilla extract, and maple syrup into the jug, and mix it well with a spoon or ladle.
- Froth Your Milk
Get any cheap milk frother, use it to froth your heated milk for about half a minute, and pour it over the mixture into the mug. We hold back on the foam, and instead, spoon it on top.
- Add A Topping
And voila, your pumpkin spice latte is ready in about 10 minutes! Make sure you add a topping though. We prefer whipped cream because… well, you don’t need a reason to have whipped cream, right?
The Coffee Options for Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Technically, if you’re making a latte, it has to have espresso in it. But here’s the good news: if you’re not a coffee fanatic with their own espresso maker, you can switch out the espresso with strongly brewed coffee. We won’t tell if you won’t.
Here are the options you have for coffee in your latte:
- Normal Coffee: Surprisingly enough, strongly made coffee works just as well. 2-3 tablespoons of coffee and a cup of water in any drip coffee machine, and you’re good to go.
- Keurig: Coffee enthusiasts who do have a lot of coffee equipment can use their Keurig coffee. You’ll want to use two pods to make a single cup of coffee to keep it strong.
The Expert Tips You Should Read Up On
- You can make a number of store-bought ingredients at home. Pumpkin spice, for example, needs a ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon of ground cloves, and ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger.
- To make your own whipped cream, use your milk frother on 2% for about 40 seconds, and give or take a few seconds until you start seeing peaks.
- Coffee crazies will definitely like freshly-ground beans for this drink (or for any coffee, really). Pre-ground coffee’s just a no-no.
Recipe Card for Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Small pot or rounded pan
- Milk frother
- And a cute mug to drink your latte in!
- 200ml standard 2% milk
- 3 Pumpkin puree
- 1 vanilla extract
- 1 maple syrup
- 2 shots espresso
- 1-2 pumpkin spice
- Heat the milk over medium-low heat until almost simmering.
- Make your espresso, and pour it into a mug when made.
- Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
- Stir well to make it an even mix.
- Use a milk frother on the heated milk for 30 seconds until foamy, and pour into the mug.
- Spoon the foam on top with a spoon.
- Sprinkle with extra spice or add whipped cream for a great topping.