Making your own PSL will save you a ton of money (especially if you sip them allll fall), and this version also happens to be a little healthier, in case you’d like to save some calories too.
Why Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte?
Saving money is a major motivator. You’ll shell out around $5-$6 for a PSL, which really adds up. The price per cup of your homemade pumpkin spice latte depends on where you buy your ingredients and in what size, but it will always come out to be cheaper per serving (at least in the long run; if you have to invest in new equipment, it’ll take a little longer to break even).
It’s also healthier, as we mentioned. A grande Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte contains 50 grams of sugar, but if you use the recommended 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in this recipe, that’s cut down to 28 grams of sugar (plus fractional amounts present in the pumpkin puree). If you prefer, you can use another sweetener of your choice, from brown sugar to stevia.
This homemade version is also free of artificial ingredients and preservatives since it uses pumpkin puree rather than the “Pumpkin Spice Sauce” on the ingredients list at Starbucks. (That contains sugar, condensed skim milk, pumpkin puree, potassium sorbate, annatto, salt, natural flavors, and a little fruit and vegetable juice for color. Nothing terrible, but nothing you really need either.)
At home, you can make a vegan pumpkin spice latte if you want to—not possible at Starbucks thanks to that pumpkin spice syrup. If that’s not a concern, you can use 2 percent milk like Starbucks does, or even skim milk (these lower-fat milks actually froth up better than whole milk), or you can use an equal amount of oat milk instead. You can try other nondairy milks like almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk, but oat milk tastes and behaves the most like regular milk. (But whipped coconut cream makes a great vegan PSL topping.)
On top of all that, you can’t beat the satisfaction of pulling off a stellar copycat recipe! And one more bonus: No one is going to spell your name wrong on a cup…or skimp on the whipped cream.
How to Make a DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte
All the ingredients are probably in your pantry right now, from the real pumpkin (it’s OK if it’s a can left over from last Thanksgiving) to vanilla extract. A couple pieces of special equipment will make this even faster, but it’s still easy without them.
Bialetti Express 6-Cup Moka Pot, $34.95 from Amazon
The closest you can get to espresso on your stovetop.
And while a milk frother is another wallet-friendly tool that makes it easy to be your own barista, you can use a mason jar if you don’t have one.
PowerLix Handheld Battery Operated Milk Frother, $13.95 from Amazon
A handy dandy tool for recreating the coffee shop experience at home.
To froth milk without a wand, put the amount you need in a large jar with a lid and shake it for about a minute, until it’s foamy and doubled in volume. Then take the lid off and microwave the milk to stabilize the foam.
Ball Regular Mouth 32-Ounce Mason Jars, 2 for $18.99 from Amazon
Make sure it's a large jar so the milk has room to expand as you shake.
Homemade DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
This makes one grande size drink, but you can scale up or down as needed; click to view the full recipe to see how to make your own pumpkin spice.
- 2 shots espresso
- 2 cups milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- whipped cream to top (optional)
- Pour milk into a saucepan or small pot and heat (the ideal temperature is between 150°F-155°F).
- Make your espresso and pour into a cup. Add pumpkin puree and stir until thoroughly mixed in. Add the maple syrup, pumpkin spice, and vanilla extract and stir again.
- Use a milk frother to froth your milk for about 30 seconds and pour into the glass on top of the espresso mixture, piling the fluffiest foam on top (hold it back with a spoon while you pour).
- Sprinkle with a little extra pumpkin spice and gently stir to blend, trying not to disturb the top layer.
- Top with whipped cream for an extra decadent finish if you like.
What to Do with Your Extra Pumpkin Spice
Making your own pumpkin spice blend ensures it’s ultra fresh (and you can tweak the amounts of each spice to your personal preference—a little more cinnamon, a little less nutmeg), but you’ll have more than you need for this recipe. That’s a good thing!
Store it in an airtight jar for up to six months—if it lasts that long—and use it in any recipe that calls for pumpkin pie spice. Check out our pumpkin spice recipe ideas for inspiration, including other cozy autumn drinks like our Pumpkin Spice Milkshake recipe, our Spiked Pumpkin Spice Coffee recipe, and our Homemade Pumpkin Spice Liqueur recipe.
Header image courtesy of Olivia Geyelin