How to Make Pumpkin Spice Latte—Cheaper, Better, Faster!
Originally created by Starbucks, Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) has developed a cult following. It is so popular, PSL even has its own Twitter account! The downside is that PSL is so stinkin’ expensive. And you have to go there, wait in line, order, then wait some more.
At $5.75 for Starbuck’s venti PSL, that’s quite a price to pay! Now that the weather is turning crisp and fall-ish, I’m gearing up to make my own Pumpkin Spice Latte—cheaper, better, and faster.
Perhaps the most important ingredient in Starbuck’s PSL is “pumpkin spice.” Curiously, “pumpkin spice” has no pumpkin in it at all. It is simply a mix of the spices used to make pumpkin pie. As available as pumpkin pie spice is, in the spice aisle of most supermarkets, it’s not exactly cheap.
To pull off this DIY project, you need two recipes—one for Copycat Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte and also for Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix.
Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix (below), plus more to garnish
- freshly ground black pepper, a pinch
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar (sub with Splenda or Stevia )
- 1 cup half and half (whole milk, reduced-fat or skim milk if you must)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup hot espresso OR strong brewed coffee
- sweetened whipped cream for serving
Combine the half and half, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, pepper and vanilla in a medium microwave-safe bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and vent with a small hole. Microwave until the half and half. 1 is hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is foamy, about 30 seconds.
Pour the espresso or coffee into a large mug and add the hot, foamed mixture. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Yield: 1 large latte.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
(Printable recipe card below)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a small bow. Mix well. Store in an airtight container for up to one year. This recipe multiplies well.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie mix; pure puree
- ¼ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (see NOTES)
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar OK to sub with Splenda or Stevia
- pinch ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup half and half (see NOTES)
- ¼ cup hot espresso OR hot, strong brewed coffee
- 1 dollop sweetened whipped cream
- Combine half and half, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, pepper, and vanilla in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and vent with a small hole.
- Microwave until the half and half is hot, 1 to 2 minutes
- Whisk vigorously until the mixture is foamy, about 30 seconds
- Pour the espresso or coffee into a large mug and add the hot foamed mixture.
- Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tspn ground ginger
- ½ tspn allspice
- ½ tspn ground cloves
- ½ tspn ground nutmeg
- ½ tspn ground mace Can substitute ground nutmeg (See NOTE)
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well. Store in an airtight container for up to one year. Recipe multiplies well.
I make my own PSLs also, but use a homemade pumpkin spice syrup. It’s not the kind of thin syrup such as Torani; it’s a thicker style. I like it better than a thin syrup, and I also substitute the sugar in it with Splenda. It uses canned pumpkin, and is cooked it in a saucepan, which gets rid of the raw taste of the pumpkin. It lasts for 2 weeks in the fridge. I found the recipe online, and use it daily in my morning coffee. I also use Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice K-Cup Pods as they’re a light roast and I don’t like strong coffee. But you can use whichever coffee you prefer.
HOMEMADE PUMPKIN SPICE SYRUP
Yield: approx 2 cups
1 cup water (I found that I prefer it a little thicker so cut down the amount of water a little bit)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1 cup brown sugar or 3/4 cup Splenda
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Whisk together all the ingredients in a small-medium sized pot. (Make sure you leave a little room for the mixture to expand as it boils.) Turn the heat on medium-high. Whisk occasionally until it begins to simmer, then boil. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer/boil for 2 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from the heat, whisk again, and allow to cool.
You can use it immediately or allow the mixture to cool, then pour into a 2 cup mason jar and cover. Store in the refrigerator. It will be thick. You can shake the covered jar or stir to blend again if needed. It should last for about 2 weeks in the fridge.
I use approximately 2 Tbsp pumpkin spice syrup for a cup of coffee.