Fall is the season for cozy sweaters, colorful leaves, and of course, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). And even though the world panicked when Starbucks kept running out of their Pumpkin Spice syrup, there's no shortage of Pumpkin Spice Latte goodness: from the VIA pre-packaged pumpkin brew to the Pumpkin Spice Latte ice cream in stores in November, you don't have to go far to find a PSL.
Click here to Learn How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home
But with the fall treat comes a hefty price, and added-on calories and sugar. Besides schilling out $5 or so for a pumpkin drink, you get nearly 20 percent of your daily value of calories from fat from one 16-ounce Pumpkin Spice Latte, with whole milk and whipped cream. That's a whopping 410 calories for one drink￼! Even a Grande PSL made with nonfat milk and no whipped cream still adds up to 260 calories.
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More importantly, the key ingredient to a PSL - the pumpkin spice syrup - hides a slew of ingredients that make most people take pause. Some of those ingredients? Milk, condensed milk, artificial flavors, coloring agents, and potassium sorbate. And because of certain laws, Blisstree points out, the company doesn't have to spell out what those "natural and artificial" flavors really are, which can be big trouble for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or those who are vegan.
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So we set out to create our own Pumpkin Spice Latte without those pesky additives. Using fall's most sought-after ingredient, pumpkin, plus organic milk and natural sweeteners, our version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte tastes as natural as the pumpkin in it. We share our recipe, plus some at-home tips for recreating fall's hottest drink at home.
• ½ cup milk
• ½ cup coffee
• 3 tablespoons pumpkin purée
• 2 tablespoons agave nectar (more to sweeten)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
• ½ teaspoon cloves
Milk to Coffee Ratio
We recreated the PSL using nonfat milk, whole milk, and even half-and-half. You'll find that the nonfat milk won't create as much froth and bubbles as whole milk and half-and-half, but it will definitely cut back on the calories and fat.
For our PSL, we used a 1:1 ratio of milk to coffee; if you like more a milkier, pumpkin-y taste to your coffee, feel free to add more or less milk. Either way, it's best to use a strongly brewed cup of joe for your PSL - otherwise, you might as well be drinking a steamer.
It wouldnt be a Pumpkin Spice Latte without it, right?
For a lower-cal sweetener, we went with light agave nectar to sweeten our drink; and no drink would be complete without a splash of vanilla.
Averie of Averie Cooks explains what pumpkin pie spice really is: a mix of "warming spices," like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Lori Lange of Recipe Girl recommends ginger and allspice in her mix. For ours, we used cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for a spicy kick.
Add pumpkin purée, milk, and agave nectar to a small pot over medium heat and whisk quickly for about 5 minutes. Add in pumpkin pie spices and vanilla, and continue to whisk. Your spices may not totally dissolve into the milk; if you prefer a smoother texture, use less of the spices, or add it them at the end.
If you have less time on your hands, Recipe Girl recommends putting your concoction in the microwave for bubbling, frothy milk in less than 2 minutes. If you want to get really fancy, Averie of Averie Cooks puts her milk into a blender to make it frothy.
Once the milk is frothy and bubbling, add it to your mug. Pour in the coffee on top, and you're good to go.
Of course, there's always the option to add whipped cream and more spices on top for an extra pumpkin-y drink. After all, we like the taste of pumpkin. With our version, you'll get that true pumpkin taste without the syrups and sweeteners.
- Marcy Franklin, The Daily Meal
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