Best Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe (Better Than Starbucks) | The Rising Spoon

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Best Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe (Better Than Starbucks)

Learn how to make a cozy homemade pumpkin spice latte on the stovetop in minutes using a blend of canned pumpkin puree, extra strong coffee, your favorite sweetener & milk, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract. This easy recipe tastes decadent but is secretly healthy since it has half the sugar of the Starbucks version. {gluten-free, paleo & vegan}

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
I can't begin to describe how excited I am to share this recipe with you guys! 

Last week I made my own homemade pumpkin pie spice. It took all of five minutes and was much less expensive than buying the tiny, pre-mixed bottles from the grocery store. 

I've used it many times since then for recipes like roasted butternut squash soup, maple spice pumpkin butterpumpkin apple harvest muffins, leftover pumpkin pie milkshakes, and today's pumpkin spice lattes, of course.

My Quest For The Best Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe 

Since it was my first time concocting this drink at home, I perused the internet and bookmarked two or three recipes. I eventually settled on one particular recipe that labeled itself as "healthy" and included a beautifully shot and styled photograph. 

Looks can be deceiving folks. It was cringe-worthy. 

After my first three gulps (I thought it would get better) I spit it into the sink and dumped my cup. The ratios were all wrong. Not enough milk, sugar, or vanilla and WAY too much pumpkin pie spice. 

Easy & Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
Lesson learned: just because a recipe looks delicious on Tastespotting or Foodgawker, does not mean it will actually taste good.

Thankfully, during my second attempt, I chose another recipe that included a lot of positive comments. This time, though, I tweaked the recipe to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which happens to make the drink paleo & vegan-friendly. 

Why use almond milk? Because...

Almond Milk + Vanilla = Pumpkin Spice Latte Heaven  

Trust me here, guys!

I could have used cow's milk or coconut milk, but almond milk mixed with vanilla extract takes a pumpkin spice latte to a whole new level of delicious

The toasty almond flavor + fragrant vanilla really compliments the warm fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice & cardamom).

I usually make homemade unsweetened almond milk and add my own homemade vanilla extract. It has less sugar & calories than the store-bought cartons and none of those weird emulsifiers (like carrageenan) that often upset people's stomachs. Plus the vanilla carries through more without the extra sugar. 

However, if you don't want to make your own almond milk (I promise, it's easy) then look for a brand called MALK in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store near all the dairy products. They're the only brand I've found that doesn't use any emulsifiers, just nuts, water & flavorings (like vanilla extract or sea salt). 

And if nut milk isn't your thing, use whatever milk strikes your fancy! My favorite type of dairy milk is actually RAW whole cow's milk fresh from a local dairy. It's flipping amazing tasting and my stomach loves it. Pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized store-bought milk? Not so much. 

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte

When you hear the word "latte" you might envision a large, expensive espresso machine with built-in milk frother. 

That's fine & dandy if you're a coffee connoisseur, but we don't need anything fancy like that to make these homemade pumpkin spice lattes. 

Pinky promise.

The core elements of this recipe are very strong coffee or espresso and the hot pumpkin spice milk.

If you don't make the coffee strong enough or use enough of it, you'll end up with a mug of hot pumpkin spice flavored milk that has a mild coffee taste lingering beneath it. Tasty, but not what we want.

Tips For Making Strong Coffee For Your Pumpkin Spice Latte:

  • If you have a normal grind-to-water ratio you use for drip, French press, or pour-over coffee, simply increase the amount of coffee used while keeping the water the same OR reduce the water and keep the grinds the same. You want your brewed coffee to be super dark & completely opaque when poured into the mug. 
  • For homemade espresso that won't break the bank, pick up an inexpensive stovetop espresso maker (also called a Moka Pot). They're typically only $20 and make delicious Italian-style espresso. It'll take about 8-10 minutes to make a small batch from start to finish. I used one for years to make a strong cup of coffee for myself every morning. I now use the pour-over method but want to pick up another one for hot homemade drinks like this.
  • One of the easiest ways to make a strong, potent, smooth coffee is the cold brew method. If you plan ahead (it needs to infuse for at least 12 hours) you can use a fresh batch of homemade cold brew coffee before you stick it in the fridge OR simply reheat the cold stuff on the stovetop until it's steamy.  

Once you have the extra strong coffee or espresso hot & ready, it's only a matter of whisking the pumpkin spice milk ingredients together on the stove until they're well combined and steaming.

Tips For Making The Pumpkin Spice Milk: 

In a small saucepan (or stockpot if you're multiplying the recipe for a group of folks), stir together canned 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling as we're going to be adding spices ourselves), maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener), pumpkin pie spice, and your favorite milk. (Note: If your milk is already sweetened, you can reduce the sweetener used by 1 tablespoon.)  

Let that heat up on medium-low until it's hot & steaming, but not boiling. Remove the pan from heat and stir in some vanilla extract. Believe it or not, this is a key ingredient to getting that classic pumpkin spice latte taste. If you can't tolerate the alcohol in the extract, use a bit of vanilla bean paste instead. (Note: If the milk you used is plain, you'll want to increase the vanilla extract amount to 2 tablespoons.) 

From here, simply portion your hot coffee or espresso into mugs (this recipe is enough to make 2 smaller mugs or 1 large mug) and pour the steamy pumpkin spice milk over it. Because the drink contains pumpkin puree, it will naturally settle to the bottom. So, if you're sipping on it slowly, keep a spoon nearby for stirring it every once in a while. 

If desired, top the pumpkin spice lattes with homemade whipped cream or coconut milk whipped cream and a generous sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, Ceylon cinnamon powder (a.k.a. true cinnamon), or vanilla-infused granular sugar (see recipe card below for links to make it).

Love Pumpkin Spice Lattes But Your Loved Ones Don't? 

Fact: There are a lot of pumpkin haters (they're usually on Team Apple during the fall season) but that doesn't mean they have to stand around watching you drink a glorious pumpkin spice latte with nothing in hand. 

Fix 'em one of these two easy stovetop drinks to keep 'em happy while you're getting your pumpkin fix!

Easy & Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Psssst...If you happen to make one of my recipes or DIY crafts and share it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest make sure to use the hashtag #therisingspoon and tag my account @therisingspoon so I see it! It helps me so much to get feedback on my creations and it totally makes my day.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe & Video Tutorial:

Yield: 1-2 servings

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 5 MINStotal time: 15 mins
Learn how to make a cozy homemade pumpkin spice latte on the stovetop in minutes using a blend of canned pumpkin puree, extra strong coffee, your favorite sweetener & milk, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract. This recipe tastes decadent but is secretly healthy since it has half the sugar of the Starbucks version. {gluten-free, paleo & vegan}



  1. Brew 1-2 cups of fresh strong coffee (I prefer dark roast). Alternately, you can reheat homemade cold brew coffee (it will be strong & very smooth) or if you have an espresso machine, pour 2 fresh espresso shots.
  2. In a small pan set over medium heat, measure in the pumpkin puree and sweetener, then slowly stir in the almond milk. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the pumpkin and sweetener dissolve and the mixture is steaming. (Do not let it boil.) Remove from the burner and mix in the vanilla extract and slowly add the pumpkin pie spice while stirring so it doesn't clump.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of coffee into a medium to large mug then pour the pumpkin spice milk mixture into the mug until it reaches the top. Note: If using espresso, add the milk mixture first, then pour the espresso over the top.
  4. Stir well, garnish with whipped cream (regular or dairy-free), sprinkle with ground cinnamon or extra pumpkin pie spice, and serve immediately.
Created using The Recipes Generator
Notes & Tips
  • If using sweetened vanilla almond milk, reduce the sugar to only 1 tablespoon instead of two.
  • If using plain milk, increase the vanilla extract to 2 tablespoons.
  • If you let the drink sit for a while, or you have leftovers, the pumpkin puree will naturally settle to the bottom of the mug/container. If this bothers you, just give it a good stir to recombine. :)

Adapted from The Kitchn's Autumn DIY Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte

Click Here to Pin This To Your Fall Recipes Board on Pinterest!

Learn how to make a cozy homemade pumpkin spice latte on the stovetop in minutes using a blend of canned pumpkin puree, extra strong coffee, your favorite sweetener & milk, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract. This easy recipe tastes decadent but is secretly healthy since it has half the sugar of the Starbucks version. {gluten-free, paleo & vegan}

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