While I’m not sure who originally created the PSL, I do know that I’ve come to look forward to the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte each fall when it’s back on the menu. Thanks to this homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe, I can enjoy my favorite drink anytime of the year!
Pumpkin Spice Latte
I remember trying the pumpkin spice latte for the first time when I was 15. It was love at first sip. The PSL, as it’s lovingly coined, just confirms everything that’s good and right about the fall season.
All those warm spices – pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon – incorporated into a creamy pumpkin spice drink recipe that can pick you up on the worst of days.
When I lived in New York City, pumpkin spice coffee was my jam. I’d pick up a pumpkin latte almost every day as an afternoon pick-me-up.
There were two Starbucks shops within a 1 block radius of the building I worked at, and treating myself to a pumpkin spice latte every afternoon was the highlight of my day.
Estimating that a PSL is almost $4 a serving, I probably spent about $100 a month just on this guilty pleasure, and that doesn’t even include my morning cup of joe that I got when I’d get off the subway.
It’s kind of mind-boggling to know how much our caffeine addiction can cost us, but I find it more disconcerting that I didn’t beat Howard Schultz to the creation of the monopolizing coffee giant that is Starbucks.
If Mr. Schultz hadn’t beat me to the idea, I’m pretty sure I could have convinced those Shark Tank millionaires to invest in me with this homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Ingredients
There are a variety of ways you can create a homemade pumpkin spice latte.
You could make a pumpkin spice latte recipe without purée (i.e. no pure pumpkin in it), and instead rely on just pumpkin pie spice to deliver your pumpkin flavor.
Some make a pumpkin spice latte syrup recipe, as this is what Starbucks essentially does. If you’re looking for a copycat Starbucks pumpkin spice latte recipe than that would be the way to go.
Starbucks relies on pumpkin syrup rather than any real pumpkin in its pumpkin latte. I find that the syrup can be too sweet though.
When I’m at Starbucks, I’ll often ask for them to reduce the pumps of syrup down to one pump, which is why I don’t use a syrup recipe to make my homemade pumpkin spice latte.
In a real pinch, I’ve made my drink without pure pumpkin and simply relied on pumpkin pie spice, but I really think the pumpkin purée is needed for that true pumpkin flavor.
Pumpkin Latte Recipe
To make my pumpkin latte, I use my Nespresso machine. Making a homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe with an espresso machine just simplifies the whole process.
My particular machine has an accompanying aeroccino milk frother, which makes warming up the milk for this recipe a cinch. But even if you don’t have an espresso machine, you can still create this pumpkin spice coffee at home.
To create a pumpkin latte, you’ll need milk of course. The key here, however, is to flavor your milk with the pure pumpkin and warm spices.
The pumpkin-flavored milk itself is enough to win over anyone. I obtained the original recipe for this milk concoction from Farmgirl Gourmet, and have been using it ever since.
I like that this homemade pumpkin spice latte is not as sweet as the syrup-y version that you get at Starbucks. This latte recipe is also all natural, so no artificial flavors or scary chemicals to worry about.
If you’re making this pumpkin spice latte at home and want to turn it into an iced pumpkin spice latte recipe, just follow the directions as is then chill the beverage. You could also check out my recipe for a pumpkin spice frappé.
Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
As mentioned, all the ingredients in this latte are natural. No artificial flavors or preservatives here.
But even more than that, just when you think a homemade PSL can’t get any better, you should know that each serving is only 90 calories!
I know, what!?
So while a pumpkin spice latte may not be the healthiest drink out there, creating one at home at only 90 calories a cup is pretty great. It makes this special fall coffee beverage a little less indulgent.
A serving of this homemade pumpkin spice latte is equivalent to the 8 oz size of a Starbucks “short” that contains 210 calories, and the 90 calories includes a couple tablespoons of whipped cream. So yay for saving money and saving calories!
You will definitely have leftover “pumpkin milk” if you’re just making this recipe for yourself, as I estimate this recipe makes about 4 servings of milk.
I just refrigerate mine to use for the rest of the week if I’m only brewing a single serve coffee for myself.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
A warm, pumpkin-flavored latte. Copycat of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 4 tbsp pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3 1/2 tbsp sugar or more to taste if you like it sweeter
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups strong freshly brewed coffee (1/2 cup coffee per person)
- whipped cream for topping
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm your milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, and spices. Whisk until everything is dissolved and combined (but not boiling). Use a spoon to test sweetness. If you want it sweeter, add more sugar to taste. If you're using something like an espresso machine with a milk frother, you'll want to whisk all these ingredients together in a bowl, then pour the resulting pumpkin milk into your frother to warm and froth.
Once the pumpkin milk is hot, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. If you don't have an espresso machine, use this time to use a handheld frother to give your milk that extra frothy finish.
Pour half a cup of brewed coffee into your mug and pour about half a cup of the pumpkin milk mixture. Top with whipped cream and a slight sprinkle of cinnamon. Do this for all 4 servings, or if creating a single serving, refrigerate the rest of your pumpkin milk for later.