Pumpkin Spice Latte

Make fall mornings better with a homemade pumpkin spice latte! Be your own barista and make an easy pumpkin spice syrup to add to your coffee drinks.

an homemade pumpkin spice latte in a brown metallic ceramic mug

I do not believe in the nonsense about millennials spending “too much” on coffee. Coffee is a vital life source and we need it, okay?

While I am all for splurging on coffee drinks when I go out, I try to have fun making them at home.

A few years ago we got a Nespresso machine and we haven’t looked back.

Now, when pumpkin spice season arrives, I can choose to get one when I’m out and about, or I can whip one up from the comfort of my own kitchen.

What is a pumpkin spice latte?

In case you’ve been living under a rock since 2003, the pumpkin spice latte is a Starbucks drink available in the fall season, sometimes even through the wintertime.

Commonly known as the PSL, it combines the flavors of pumpkin pie by layering espresso, pumpkin spice syrup, steamed milk and whipped cream for a truly delightful seasonal treat.

But it doesn’t stop there. Dunkin’ Donuts also has its own pumpkin spice latte that they bring out this time of year.

a hand holding a gold spoon dripping pumpkin spice syrup into a jar

Homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe

Making a homemade pumpkin spice latte is a real treat, and it’s very satisfying to do.

If you don’t have a Starbucks near you, then making your own PSL is even more satisfying. (Bonus points if you make some easy pumpkin bread to go with it.)

It’s easy to whip up a bunch of your own pumpkin spice simple syrup, or you can buy it. Then you can prepare a latte any way that you usually do.

You can easily customize the spice and sweetness level to your liking, all from the comfort of your home and for very little cost.

Another thing I love about pumpkin spice syrup is that you can use it in everything from coffee drinks to cocktails, like this pumpkin spice old-fashioned.

closeup of a pumpkin spice latte

Ingredients for an easy pumpkin spice latte

To make a pumpkin spice latte, you’ll need just a few ingredients. I aim to show you how to make yours like a copycat Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, but I do make a few modifications to make it my own. You can make yours your own too!

Pumpkin spice syrup: First whip up your own pumpkin spice syrup. It’s so easy to do and you probably already have the spices on hand. You can use pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice, or make your own. Then you’ll want to mix it on the stove with sugars and water, then strain out the spices. I’ve got a full tutorial for my pumpkin spice syrup for you.

If buying your syrup is what you prefer, then I found this Torani pumpkin sauce, this Torani pumpkin spice syrup and this Monin pumpkin spice syrup, which are probably pretty close to my recipe, although I’ve not tried them.

Espresso: Next you’ll need espresso. I recommend a darker or medium roast. Feel free to make decaffeinated espresso — it is practically the same in flavor.

  • If you’re using a Nespresso machine, the Ristretto capsules are my favorite because they are dark and pair well with the sweet pumpkin syrup and milk. If you’d like to keep decaf on hand, try these decaf capsules.
  • If you’re using another method (more on that below), you’ll need a high quality ground espresso. A really strong coffee will also work in a pinch.

Milk: Choose your favorite milk for your PSL. Whole milk is my go-to, but sometimes I will make my pumpkin spice latte dairy-free with lactose-free milk or nut milk.

A pumpkin spice latte with oat milk is actually really good because oat milk froths really well. Almond milk, soy milk or any other non-dairy would also be just fine!

My homemade pumpkin spice syrup contains no animal products, so if you choose plant-based milk then you can enjoy a vegan pumpkin spice latte.

Whipped cream: If you want to add whipped cream, go for it. I don’t usually do this for my PSLs, though Starbucks does, and you definitely may if you like! Homemade whipped cream is my fave if you go this route.

A sprinkle of spice: Lastly, a little sprinkle of spice makes it taste just like the coffee shop. You can go for pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon, or even cinnamon sugar. You only need a pinch.

an homemade pumpkin spice latte with mini pie pumpkins on a white background

How to make a latte at home

With an espresso machine

The easiest way to make a homemade pumpkin spice latte is with an espresso machine. Personally, I use this Nespresso machine (I have it in black).

I love having it on hand for easy lattes, cappuccinos and americanos. Sometimes we enjoy an affogato for dessert, which is espresso poured over ice cream.

An espresso machine is definitely the easiest way to make a pumpkin spice latte like Starbucks’.

Espresso machines are expensive, but when I added up what we were spending on coffee shop trips, it made the expense worth it to me.

Without an espresso machine

Don’t fret! You can still make a pumpkin spice latte without an espresso machine. You have a few options:

  • Aeropress: Learn how to use this easy method for making coffee and espresso with this tutorial. I have tried this before and it’s really delicious!
  • Stovetop espresso maker: You can make your pumpkin spice latte on the stove by making your espresso in this cute little pot!
  • Instant espresso powder: This is probably my least favorite method because I think fresh is better, but the instant stuff can still be good in a pinch, especially if you are traveling or can’t access these other methods.

Check out these tips for making a latte without an espresso machine.

Steamed milk

After you make your espresso, or while you are making it, it’s time to steam your milk. There are a few ways you can steam your milk of choice:

  • Milk frother machine: I use the Aeroccino that came with my Nespresso machine. This milk frother is similar and a much cheaper option.
  • Hand-held milk frother tool: Before I had an espresso machine, I used a milk frothing tool like this one. You’ll want to warm your milk first, then you can use this neat electric whisk that will get your milk nice and foamy.
  • Microwave: You can also steam your milk in the microwave! Always a great option if you don’t have the other tools.
  • In a French press: This tutorial shows you how to froth milk with a French press. This is another fantastic option

Steps for making a PSL

Once you have made your espresso and steamed milk, follow these instructions:

  1. In a latte mug, add the your espresso and as much pumpkin spice syrup as you like. I do 1/2 ounce because I like things on the less-sweet side. Stir together.
  2. Then spoon in the foam. If you know how to do latte art (lucky you!) then have at it here.
  3. If you’re adding whipped cream, that comes next.
  4. Sprinkle on your cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and enjoy!
closeup of an homemade pumpkin spice latte with a jar of homemade pumpkin spice syrup on a white background

Spiked pumpkin spice latte

Feel free to make yours a spiked pumpkin spice latte! Try adding 1 to 1 1/2 of these spirits and liqueurs to your coffee:

top view of an homemade pumpkin spice latte with a jar of pumpkin spice syrup and mini pumpkins

Fall coffee drinks

Fall is such a good cozy time for coffee drinks like this homemade pumpkin spice latte, but there are so many other good coffee drinks to try.

My autumn spice latte is essentially a pumpkin spice latte without pumpkin, so it’s a great option for the pumpkin-averse.

Try this cinnamon bun latte which combines coffee and a cinnamon simple syrup for a delicious start to the day.

Iced coffee with Baileys is a boozy iced coffee drink for those weekend afternoons when you need a little pick-me-up.

Chai lovers will adore having chai concentrate on hand to whip up easy dirty chai lattes.

If you love pumpkin spice, you’ll love this pumpkin spice mule cocktail. There’s no coffee here, but it pairs so beautifully with ginger so it tastes like a pumpkin pie cocktail.

Hope you enjoy this homemade PSL on a morning this fall!

closeup of a pumpkin spice latte

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Yield: 1 latte

A homemade pumpkin spice latte is just as good, if not better, than a store-bought one!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup brewed espresso or very strong coffee
  • 1/2 ounce pumpkin spice syrup, to taste
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, or your favorite milk
  • 1/4 cup whipped cream, optional
  • pinch of pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon

Instructions

    1. Make your espresso. Then add to a latte mug and add pumpkin spice syrup. Stir to combine.
    2. Make steamed milk. Use a milk frother machine or a milk frother tool to froth warm milk.
    3. Pour the milk over the espresso.
    4. Top with whipped cream, if desired, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 176mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 12g

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