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  • Laura

Pumpkin spice latte (hot and cold)

I have a lot of mixed feelings about fall. On one hand, I love the back to school feeling of getting into new routines and habits. On the other hand, I hate that it means we are about to say goodbye to warm weather for the next eight months.

This year, I'm trying to embrace more fall things in order to enjoy the season and not rush into feeling sad about our impending winter. It probably comes as no surprise to any of you, but my favourite part about fall is the food! If something has either pumpkin or apple in it, you can sign me up right now. I have lots of great fall recipes coming up in the next few weeks, but for now I thought I would go basic and start with pumpkin spice lattes.

Let me start by saying, the classic Starbucks pumpkin spice latte is not something I enjoy. It is too sweet for my liking and at 380 calories (including 50g of sugar, yes you read that right) I would much rather eat a meal instead. If you are like me, I've also included at the end of this post some options of drinks you can order at Starbucks to satisfy that pumpkin spice craving with a bit less sugar. If you are a fan of the original though, you go and get one and enjoy the heck out of it! Fall only comes once a year so enjoy the treats that make you happy :)

Pumpkin cream

Whether you are making a hot or cold drink, both versions start with making the pumpkin cream. It takes a little bit of upfront work but something you can easily do in a bigger batch and use throughout the week.


  • 1 cup milk (see my discussion on options below)

  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree*

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (you can adjust this for your taste preference)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • pinch of salt (do not omit this, it makes a huge difference in the taste)


  • Add all the ingredients into a small pot a turn onto low-medium heat

  • Wisk until everything is combined and there are no clumps

  • Let 'cook' for approx. 10 minutes stirring occasionally, but make sure you do not let it come to a boil

  • Strain the cream using a fine mesh strainer, this is important as clumps will make it more difficult to foam

  • Store in an air tight jar in the fridge and use throughout the week

Macros for one serving (makes 4) using skim milk

48 calories - 2P / 10C / 0f

*Note - Two things for you to note here. First, make sure you are purchasing pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. They are two very different things and will not give you the same results. Second, usually pumpkin puree comes in a very large can. If you are worried about using it all, try portioning it out into little baggies and popping them in the freezer. That way they will last well into the winter and can be defrosted when you're ready to use. You can also use the remainder of the can for recipes like pumpkin bread, my favourite recipe is HERE. If you still can't commit to the full can, you can exclude it from this recipe.

How to make your coffee


  • Get your favourite coffee (hot or cold*) ready

  • If you are making a hot latte, heat 1/4 of the pumpkin cream on low in the microwave until your desired temperate

  • Use a frother** to froth 1/4 of the pumpkin cream and pour on top of the coffee

  • If you prefer to just use the pumpkin cream as a replacement for normal dairy, just add to coffee in desired amount and enjoy

*Note: If you are looking to make cold brew I recommend THIS tutorial or you can purchase cold brew in the grocery store. Alternatively, regular coffee you've let cooled down works just as well.

**Note: You have a few options for frothers, here are my recommendations:

  • I really like the nespresso frother (HERE) but it is the most expensive

  • There are much cheaper hand held options on amazon like THIS one that work almost as well

  • A blender does a reasonable job if you are in a pinch

  • A shaker cup or just shaking is a jar can also work, it will still be delicious but not nearly as foamy

What milk should I use?

This is a complicated question to which I must respond, it depends! I've made the guide below to help you select the best milk for your dietary preferences and how you are planning to consume your coffee.

1) Are you planning on frothing the pumpkin cream?

Dairy: if you eat dairy and are planning to use milk for this recipe, I recommend using skim milk. The higher protein content allows the milk to froth the best.

Non-dairy: unfortunately, non-dairy milk just does not quite froth as well as milk but I promise you there are ways to get it pretty close. I've had the best luck with oat milk, in particular brands that are labelled barista blend. If you can't find a barista blend I recommend an unsweetened original with as few gums and fillers as possible. Almond milk is the second best with the same recommendations for selecting one as oat milk.

2) Are you planning on using the pumpkin cream as a creamer (aka not frothing)

Dairy: I recommend using a higher fat percentage milk (3.25%) or a cream/half-and-half if frothing is not a concern. This will give you a much richer taste and you can use a lot less. If you are using cream or half-and-half feel free to half the recipe as you will find yourself only using a tablespoon or two per cup of coffee.

Non-dairy: oat milk is also my recommendation here but don't feel you need to select a barista blend, any type will work. If you have a favourite non-dairy milk though that you typically add to coffee, you can easily use that.

Starbucks 'maco friendly' copycats

Hot latte:

  • Americano with a splash of steamed milk

  • 1 pump of pumpkin syrup

  • Pumpkin topping (this is just the spices)

Cold foam latte:

  • Iced americano (you can do cold brew too but this is cheaper) with a splash of milk

  • Cold foam with one pump of pumpkin syrup

  • Pumpkin topping (this is just the spices)

Macros for both the hot and cold version, grande, using skim milk are approximately:

54 calories - 2p / 12c / 0f

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