This vegan-friendly Pumpkin Spice Latte is made with spiced, lightly sweetened REAL pumpkin, steamed milk (or coconut milk), and espresso.
Does anything scream “Fall!” more than the Pumpkin Spice Latte? Well yes, probably. The mornings get chillier, the leaves start to turn, and we all start scrambling to remember where we stored warmer clothes (or is that just me?) Pumpkins and other squash begin proudly flaunting their brightly colored skins, daring us to take them home and devour them. And of course, I do.
The other, albeit unofficial, start to delicious autumn goodness is when Starbucks begins selling its Pumpkin Spice Latte. At $5-$6 a cup, however, it’s a pricey habit to maintain. Even if you have the cash to guzzle down one of these spiced coffee drinks daily, the chemical flavoring and excessive sweetness mean that this drink isn’t exactly the healthiest option. Instead, try this recipe for a Pumpkin Spiced Latte with REAL pumpkin. Making this latte is quick– the most time-consuming, 10 minute part of the recipe can be completed ahead of time, meaning you don’t need to wake up any earlier to enjoy pumpkin deliciousness at home before starting your day.
Making a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home
To make this decadent fall drink at home, start by making a spiced, lightly sweetened pumpkin purée. Feel free to roast your own pumpkin, but for time purposes, I use canned. Since the purée can be made in batches, and then stored in the fridge to reuse for more lattes later, this recipe makes enough purée for about 4-5 lattes. Store any extra in a sealed container in your fridge, warm up the amount you want as you’re brewing espresso, and use it all up within a few days. If you’re a Pumpkin Spice Latte maniac, and drink one every day, feel free to make larger batches of spiced pumpkin purée.
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To make the purée, heat the pumpkin, spices, and cream (or coconut milk*) in a small saucepan. Sweeten to taste with sugar (or whatever sweetener you prefer), and set the purée aside. Next, you need to make espresso. If you don’t normally make it– espresso is just finely ground strong coffee made under extreme pressure. You’ll need an espresso maker for this part, but if you don’t have one– go ahead and substitute a strong dark coffee until you can get your hands on one.
To make espresso, I use the Dedica coffee grinder and pump espresso machine from De’Longhi. They sent me these sleek beauties when I was mixing up my chili mocha recipe, and I’ve been an espresso-making maniac ever since!
The next step in your coffee process is steaming the milk. If you have a machine to do this for you– you’re golden. If you don’t, you can heat up your milk on the stove top (or more quickly in the microwave), and then use an inexpensive hand-held milk frother, an electric milk frother, or an immersion blender to build froth. Does all this sounds too complicated? Try making your drink with regular coffee and warm milk.
Finally, scoop 2-3 TB of pumpkin purée into a mug (use more or less pumpkin depending on how strong you want the flavor). Pour the brewed espresso over the pumpkin and stir it together. Top it off with the steamed frothy milk. Enjoy your homemade latte, and go spend the $6 you just saved on those flashy, mouth-wateringly bright fall squash at the market.
*Note: Normally I’d say– substitute milk with any milk substitute you prefer! For this, however, you’ll ideally be frothing or steaming your milk, and coconut milk froths better than soy, cashew, or almond milk. If you don’t care about frothing, go ahead and use whatever milk substitute you prefer. If you do care, get a full-fat, or ‘first pressing’ coconut milk from a can (I like Trader Joe’s or Thai Kitchen’s coconut milk). Coconut milk in refrigerated cartons is not as thick and does not froth well.
Also Note: If you’re worried about time– It takes me about 5 minutes to brew espresso and steam milk at home, and the purée, which doesn’t take long to heat up in the first place, can be mixed up ahead of time and quickly reheated if necessary. Using a stove-top espresso maker and heating the milk on the stove might take a few minutes longer. If you have a machine that brews the espresso and froths the milk automatically, preparing your PSL would probably be even faster than 5 minutes.
Want more pumpkin? Try this oatmeal:
Pumpkin Spice Latte with Real Pumpkin
Makes 2 lattes, plus extra Pumpkin Spice Purée
Pumpkin Spice Purée:
- 1/4 cup pumpkin purée (either canned or freshly roasted)
- 1/2 cup milk OR full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp clove
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp sugar, to taste
Pumpkin Spice Latte:
- 3 TB pumpkin spice purée
- 4 oz brewed espresso (more or less as desired)
- 1/2 cup milk for frothing (use at least 2%, skim won't froth well) OR full-fat coconut milk
- To Serve (Optional): whipped cream, extra cinnamon
In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients for pumpkin spice purée, stir, and heat on medium until hot. If you aren't sure how sweet you want the purée, add the sugar last and sweeten to taste. Set purée aside.
Next, brew espresso and steam milk. If you don't have a milk steamer, heat milk on stovetop and use a hand-held frother or immersion blender to create some froth (froth optional).
Scoop 2-3 TB of the pumpkin spice purée into 2 cups. Pour half the espresso in each cup, and then stir to help blend the pumpkin and espresso. Pour milk into each espresso, holding back the froth with a spoon. Top with foam.
Optional: Top lattes with whipped cream and dust with more cinnamon.
Leftover pumpkin purée can be saved for 2-3 more lattes.
Recipe inspired by: Bon appétit