This Pumpkin Spice Latte is real thing: and better than Starbucks! Cozy pumpkin spices and real pumpkin make this iconic drink.

When it comes to fall drinks, nothing tops the great Pumpkin Spice Latte. Of course you know this legendary Starbucks drink, which seems to be introduced earlier in the season each year (right?). But have you ever tried a real PSL? It’s not a super saccharine orange drink loaded with whipped cream. No, this one is an actual café latte: made with real pumpkin and pumpkin spices. Take one sip and it tastes incredible: like you just sat down at a fancy craft coffeeshop. Here’s how to make a pumpkin spice latte…better than Starbucks!

What’s in this pumpkin spice latte recipe?

This pumpkin spice latte recipe is a spin on the Starbucks special using the traditional technique for making a latte. There’s no whipped cream here: just delicious, cozy-spiced steamed or frothed milk. It’s so delicious, you’ll be hooked in no time. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Espresso
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Maple syrup
  • Whole milk (or oat milk for dairy-free)
  • Pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin Spice Latte

How to make a pumpkin spice latte: basic steps

There are just a few steps to making this drink, but various ways to do each one. Here’s the outline of how to make a pumpkin spice latte at home:

  • Step 1: Make a double shot of espresso (see the methods below).
  • Step 2: Mix it with pumpkin puree and maple syrup.
  • Step 3: Steam or froth the milk with pumpkin spices (see the methods below).
  • Step 4: Pour the steamed milk into the pumpkin espresso.

For the espresso

You’ll need to make espresso for a pumpkin spice latte: you can use strong coffee, but it’s just not the same! There are a few methods for making espresso with a machine and without a machine. Here’s what you’ll need

  • Espresso roast coffee: The roast is important to get the right dark, bitter flavor. Make sure to use a fine grind on the espresso when you make it.
  • Espresso machine: The best way to make espresso is with a countertop espresso machine: it makes the best espresso, hands down! But it’s pretty pricey.
  • Manual espresso maker, or French press, or Moka Pot (Bialetti):  Without a machine, you can use a small manual espresso maker: it’s cheaper and portable! French press espresso is great, or you can also make Moka Pot coffee for a dark, espresso like flavor.
How to make espresso

How to steam milk with an espresso machine (perfect PSL)

The tool you need to steam milk? An espresso machine with a steamer! This makes the most perfect micro-foam with the creamy “wet-paint” like texture that you need for a latte. But, you’ll need an espresso machine for this method. If you don’t have one, keep reading! Here’s how to steam milk for a pumpkin spice latte:

  • Hold the steaming wand just below the surface of the milk until it doubles in size. This makes foamy froth.
  • Move the wand lower near the side of the pitcher to create a spiral vortex. This makes the silky smooth microfoam bubbles and wet-paint texture that’s characteristic of a latte.
  • Steam until the milk reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit: use a thermometer or judge by when your hand can’t hold the pitcher for more than a few seconds. Go to How to Steam Milk for more details!
How to froth milk with a milk frother

How to froth milk

Don’t have an espresso machine for this Pumpkin Spice Latte? You can simply heat and froth the milk, which makes it nearly as good. You’ll need to heat the milk to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, then pick one of the methods below. We recommend reading How to Froth Milk for all the details for each method. Here are a few great tools for the home barista for frothing milk:

  • Handheld milk frother. A handheld milk frother is very cheap ($12) and works well. It gets the milk extremely frothy (you can also use it to make Cold Foam and lots of other lattes).
  • French press. If you have a French press, it’s great for making foam! It makes a nice frothy foam with bubbles slightly larger than the frother.
  • Whisk or covered jar. A whisk works too, or you can simply place the milk in a covered jar and shake. These methods aren’t quite as good as the first two, but they work in a pinch!

Once you’ve determined your espresso method and steaming or frothing method, you’re ready to go! Head down to the Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe to get started.

Use purchased or homemade pumpkin pie spices

Last note on ingredients! Many pumpkin recipes and pumpkin drinks use pumpkin pie spice blend, a mix of warming spices that are typically used in pumpkin pie. You can use a purchased blend, or if you can’t find it make it homemade. To make it homemade, mix together the following:

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pumpkin Spice Latte

Variation: make an iced pumpkin spice latte!

Like any good latte, this Pumpkin Spice Latte has an iced variation. Try the Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte! It’s much easier to make at home because you don’t have to worry about steaming or frothing the milk. Just shake up the milk with pumpkin spices, then pour it with the pumpkin espresso over ice. Go to Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte to make it!

More latte recipes

This Pumpkin Spice Latte is one in a long list of lattes you can make at home! If you love being your own barista (and we do), try these favorites:

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Pumpkin spice latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte (Better Than Starbucks!)


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This Pumpkin Spice Latte is real thing: and better than Starbucks! Cozy pumpkin spices and real pumpkin make this iconic drink.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 espresso shots (2 ounces or ¼ cup, or substitute strong coffee)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) fresh whole milk* (double for two servings when steaming)
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (double for two servings when steaming)

Instructions

  1. Make the espresso: Make the espresso using an espresso machine, manual espresso maker, French press, or Moka Pot. Go to How to Make Espresso for instructions.
  2. Mix the espresso: Use a spoon to mix the espresso with the pumpkin puree and maple syrup, stirring until the pumpkin is completely dissolved.
  3. Steam or froth the milk and pumpkin spices (double batch): Combine the milk and the pumpkin pie spice. Steam the milk with an espresso machine, or heat and then froth the milk using your method of choice (milk frother, French press, whisk or covered jar). It’s easiest to steam or froth 1 cup of milk for 2 drinks. Go to How to Steam Milk or How to Froth Milk for details on each.
  4. Serve: Pour the spiced milk into the center of the espresso, ending with light foam (using half the steamed or frothed milk for 1 drink). If desired, garnish with extra pumpkin spices.

Notes

*Whole milk works best; milk that is a few weeks old may not froth. You can also use oat milk for a vegan latte. The milk frother works well; for the French press pump vigorously until frothy, about 25 times. Do not overwhip, as the foam will deflate!

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Espresso
  • Cuisine: Coffee

Keywords: Pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin spice latte recipe, how to make pumpkin spice latte

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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