Pumpkin Spice Latte – A Healthier Version of the Starbucks Favorite

Labor Day weekend. Kids back to school. The Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Who knew the latter would become synonymous with all things fall?

Ten years ago, Starbucks almost didn’t launch what would become their most successful seasonal beverage of all time… the Pumpkin Spice Latte. With a cult-like following, this drink, with its multiple Facebook Fan Pages, has sold more than 200 million units since its induction in 2003.

But, let’s talk about its nutrition. A grande (16 oz.) with reduced-fat milk will set you back a 380 calories with whopping 50 grams of sugar!

Talk about a coffee/sugar buzz! Not to mention all the artificial flavors that are in the pumpkin syrup.

There has to be a better way to make a pumpkin spice latte!

One of my greatest passions is making the healthy lifestyle taste good. Who wants to spend the rest of their life with boiled chicken and steamed broccoli?! Yuck! I love taking “unhealthy” recipes and converting them to something we can feel good (or relatively good 🙂 ) about including in our diets.

If we want to practice healthy eating for a lifetime, we might as well ENJOY it.

So, after much tinkering, I’ve put together this healthier version of the Starbucks Pumpkin Latte. From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy every last sip!


  • 1 shot of espresso or 4 oz. of very strong coffee
  • 3/4 cup of milk of choice (taste best with raw cow or coconut)
  • 3 TB organic pumpkin puree (where to buy)
  • 1 TB of real maple syrup (where to buy)
  • 5 drops of stevia (or you can add another 1/2 TB of maple syrup)
  • 1/8 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice* (cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, cardamom) – (where to buy)
  • 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract (where to buy)
  • Pinch of coconut sugar for topping (where to buy)

* You can make your own pumpkin pie spice by mixing 50% cinnamon, 35% ginger/nutmeg, 10% clove, 5% cardamom.

Nutritional Info

This beverage is equivalent to a tall size and contains 185 calories with 22 grams of natural sugar versus Starbucks’ version with 330 calories and 40 grams of mostly refined sugar. If you want to make a grande size, increase your ingredients to: 2 shots of espresso or 6 oz. strong coffee, 1 1/4 cup of milk, 4 TB pumpkin puree, 1/4 tsp. of pumpkin spice/vanilla extract each, 1 1/2 TB maple syrup, and 7 drops of stevia.


pumpkin-spice-latte-coffeeIf you don’t have an espresso maker and like lattes, I highly recommend investing in this machine. It’s inexpensive and think about it this way… You’ll recoup your costs with just 20 visits to Starbucks. I bought one and use the milk steamer regularly for Griffin.

If you aren’t interested in purchasing one, you can still make this drink. Just concentrate your regular cup of Joe to 4 ounces of liquid. This will create a similar intensity of an espresso shot.

Once you have your coffee ready, put in mixing glass and add your pumpkin, spices, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Use an immersion blender (another awesome investment) to whip together. If you don’t have one, use a blender.

As an FYI, we played with the pumpkin and spice/vanilla extract ratios and while 1/8 tsp of the latter seems skimpy, we found it was just right. By adding more, you overwhelm the pumpkin flavor.

Meanwhile, add your stevia to your 1 cup of milk and heat with your espresso maker. I like mine nice and frothy but do to your liking. If you don’t have a machine, you can put milk in a saucepan over a medium flame. Once the milk is simmering, remove and put in blender. Stir on high to create a nice foamy milk. Pour into a vessel and gently pound on the counter a few times. Let it sit for a minute and then use a spoon to separate the liquid from the foam of your milk. This will help you achieve the nice frothy top of a latte beverage.

Pour into mug of choice and dust the top with a pinch of coconut sugar.

Here’s me making a version of my pumpkin spice latte on the Dr. Oz Show

Enjoy the season and this tasty drink!


About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


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  1. That looks awesome!

  2. What kind of coconut milk? Like the kind that comes in a can or Tetra Pak that is sort of thick? Or the more liquid version that is usually in the cold section by alternative milks?

  3. This sounds rich and delicious. Unfortunately in Adelaide (South Australia) Starbucks never took off, so I couldnt buy one here if I wanted to! Will have to give this one a try but I would probably add the extra maple syrup instead of the stevia for a treat! Shared it to my facebook page xx

  4. when it comes to the recipes from the Starbuck’s then one expect a lot from that and this one is simply awesome it just modified the taste . now i can tell my friends and family for this as well , thank you !!

  5. You’re about to get even MORE recognition! Thanks for sharing with us Genevieve. It makes our lives as natural mamas so much easier.

  6. Can’t wait to make this! Your email made me so happy today because I love pumpkin flavored everything month. Wahoo. I’m doing whole 30 right now so I’ll have to wait until October 1st to make one of these. Do you have a nice pumpkin drink for little ones? Probably can make this without the coffee for my 4 year old so she can have a “pumpkin latte” at home with me?

  7. I love your pumpkin spice latte and have been making it daily! Will you be coming out with a Christmas Egg Nog latte or smoothie too?

  8. I wish I would have left out the stevie entirely. I think it ruined the whole thing. I use stevie every day in my coffee, so it’s not that I’m not used to that taste.
    Under the stevie taste, this seems fantastic though! Tomorrow.

    • Stevia * stinking autocorrect

  9. I just made this recipe and it’s F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!!!! I love it sooo much!!! I never tasted the ones from Starbucks, cause I love their Frappuccino so much that I never taste anything else there, but with this recipe, I will never try theirs!!! It’s so good and comforting, thanks!!! 😀

  10. I too was a fan of Starbuck’s Christmas Peppermint Mocha. Found out the Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha was a bunch of chemicals & simulated tastes. So I created my own. My recipe for Starbuck’s Christmas Peppermint Mocha: 1 Cup of STRONG brewed coffee. 1tsp of peppermint Extract. 1tsp of Organic/GMO Free Mint Chocolate Syrup (Whole Foods). Steamed Vanilla Coffee Cream or Soy (alternative) milk of choice. Combine all. Add Organic Whip Cream (Whole Foods) & a sprinkle of crushed mint dark chocolate on top. Yummy. Any ideas how to make it better please post. Thank you.
    FYI: Mint chocolate syrup is really sweet.

  11. This is AMAZING. I followed the recipe for the grande size and used almond milk. I was a little worried about how that would affect the taste versus regular milk, but it tastes just like the PSL from Starbucks, but without all the scary stuff in it! Thank you!

  12. Starbucks PSL used to taste good to me, when I got only one pump of pumpkin in it. Now, even that tastes icky sweet and I don’t enjoy them anymore 🙁 This recipe made me so happy to find! I just threw it all in a bowl and used an immersion blender on it, then warmed it in microwave for a quick drink (son is napping, time is of the essence!). It tastes so much better than Starbucks, subtly sweet and dairy free which is the hardest part for me. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  13. Has anyone tried powdered pumpkin? I’ve been eyeing up Activz Organic Pumpkin Powder on Amazon and wondering if it would work well 🙂 Thinking I could premix all the dry add-ins (maybe even try organic vanilla bean powder, too), then just add a scoop to my morning coffee?

  14. I just made this a little simpler and it was so good! I put all the ingredients in a blender and then strained into a coffee cup with a fine mesh strainer. I also put it over ice and it was very thick, frothy and flavorful. I even used instant coffee instead of espresso or brewed coffee. I also used kefir instead of milk cause that’s all i had on hand. Next time I will try it blended with ice and make it a frappuccino! Thank you!

  15. Could you use Agave nectar or honey instead of the Stevia or would that change the flavor?

  16. For the milk, you can also heat in a saucepan and then whisk it with a basic wire whisk to get it nice and frothy. That is what they do in Italy for a low-tech version of steamed milk for drinks.

  17. Thank you, this is wonderful! My favorite version of almost anything has to have chocolate in it so I added some unsweetened dark cocoa. You have to try it, AMAZING!!

  18. I just made this, and I did take the extra step of straining the coffee/pumpkin/spice mixture. I am kind of one of those “texture sensitive” folks, so I was afraid of lumps. I believe when you pour the hot espresso over the spices, you get maximum flavor out of them anyway, so straining is not going to detract from the flavor. I used 100% real maple syrup as I am pre-diabetic and trying to avoid unnatural sugars. I used a handheld milk frother which gave lots of frothy foam for topping using a regualr saucepan to heat the milk. The drink is delicious, I think I may cut down on the spices just slightly, but that is a totally individual choice. Thanks for taking the time to post this, I will be enjoying these throught the Fall! FYI, I think this has a slight resemblance to Chai tea in an unexpected way!

  19. Sorry if this has already been asked and answered. I was wondering if anyone has tried to make a big batch of the blended pumpkin, spice, vanilla, and syrup mixture and stored in fridge in a squirt bottle. If I could just add this to my normal morning latte, it would be so fast and simple! Surely it would last for a week in the fridge for a week. And I could shake it up before using. TIA!

    • Ditto, would like to know if someone’s tried this with success. Think I will… Also, I would consider adding a pinch of salt to recipe. I add a pinch to my cup lately and it’s been lovely.

      • I was also wondering this!

  20. can you list the nutritional facts please? AKA carbs! I’m normally stay away from starbucks pumpkin spice lattes anyway because the carbs in them are 65+… its insane!!! if this drink is under 7 net carbs ill be in to try it! Thanks in advance!

    • Angie, unfortunately 1Tbsp maple syrup alone probably has roughly twice that amount of net carbs. Mamanatural says in the article that it’s 22g sugar. This is not a low-carb drink. Not nearly as absurd as Starbucks’ version, but by no means low carb.

  21. You should stop misrepresenting this as a Pumpkin “SPICE” latte replacement. This is a PUMPKIN LATTE. A “PUMPKIN SPICE” latte is not supposed to have pumpkin just the spices used in pumpkin pie/tarts/etc…

    • ::eyeroll:: WHO CARES….

      • LOL~ agreed, let’s take it easy! Maybe we need some decaf 😉

        • lol

    • Take it easy! I think you may need another cup…instant attitude adjuster!
      Be kind to one another…it is rewarding for all involved.

  22. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I have passed it to many people (acknowledging you as the creator of this awesome recipe). I love the idea of Thieves oil in it too. I am going to try that as well! Thank you again!!!

  23. Genevieve, I am a YL distributor, too, and I was just thinking one COULD add Thieves to this brew and make it even more healthy! I’m going to try it!

  24. I just made this after seeing the recipe yesterday. I’m newly gluten, dairy and soy free for medical reasons, so this was a perfect alternative to my Starbucks fave. (which I can no longer enjoy) I used coconut milk. This was so perfect!! It’s made my new way of eating a little more enjoyable!! Thank you!!! <3

    • Thank you! So glad that you enjoyed it!

  25. I noticed you like to use stevia. You should make a video on your reasoning and research you have gathered about it. Not trying to start a debate, I’d just really like to hear what you have to say about it!

    • Stevia is an all natural sweetener that comes from the leaf of a plant. It is one of the only sweeteners that does not disturb blood sugar, so it is excellent for pre-diabetics & diabetics. You can also find liquid stevia that has been infused with natural flavors like vanilla. Some brands of stevia tastes better than others, as it can have a earthy-bitter taste depending on how it is processed. One of my favorite brands is NuStevia. It is a white stevia that is processed in such a way that it greatly decreases the bitterness. I think it has the closest to sugar taste of any of the brands I have tried.

  26. I just found your FB page from a link someone posted for your healthy pumpkin spice latte recipe. I’m now following you on FB and will see if my daughter is familiar with it.

  27. You are the saver of the Pumpkin fans :). Great recipe, thank you!
    I am sharing on my FB page.

  28. Thanks for telling me about a new company. Their products sound great. Are you aware of Vani, the Food Babe?

    • Thank you for your comment! I am friends and a huge fan of Vani. 🙂 (And I appreciate her linking to this recipe – thank you Food Babe!)

  29. Thanks so much for sharing! I made this this morning and it was amazing! I absolutely love it.

  30. Wow! This is awesome!

  31. Yesterday I went to starbucks to have one Pumpkin spice latte. It was really good but also really sweet. So at home I was happy I found your recipe and since it is real autumn weather, cold, rainy, and I just baked a cake I gave it a try!
    WOW that was good and better then starbucks. All the spices….. delicious !!!

    I give you 5 stars and can’t wait to make it again 🙂

  32. good recipe, better when strained so you don’t get pumpkin fiber in the fancy delicious drink (at least I don’t like the pumpkin lumps)

    • Yes, if you drink too slow or don’t use a good blender, some of the pumpkin puree will settle at bottom. Good tip on straining as an option. I’ll add to recipe!

  33. Just made this with coconut milk…..freaking AMAZING!!! So much better than Starbucks! Thanks! 🙂

  34. Thank you thank you thank you! Tried this today and loved it! I am dairy free so I love having the option to make my own at home with coconut milk and no hidden dairy ingredients. It was amazing! Much better than the last attempt at making my own PSL. The kids had a pumpkin spice steamer and they enjoyed that too. My fall is looking much brighter now… It’s the little things! 🙂

    • Woo hoo! You made my day 🙂 Glad you enjoyed.

  35. Made it this morning and it was a great alternative… Thanks for sharing!

  36. These were so tasty, my husband and I already made them twice! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  37. I pinned this awhile back. My daughter made it this morning and raved so much that I had to make it too. A very popular Facebook post today. And what a great latte!!! Thanks

  38. yummm! I just mixed everything but the milk, then added the milk, then blended well. Created a great froth layer. Thanks for this recipe!

  39. Simply divine! Made this morning and its gonna be a regular occurrence in my a.m. Routine! Thanks Mama! So much better and better for you than Starbucks!

  40. Trying to wait for this Texas weather to cool down to take my first dive into fall-ish pumpkin spice everything….but this recipe is making it harder to wait! 😉

    • Hope you enjoy when the time is just right!

  41. This is an AWESOME drink… I am surprised that I just made a latte without an espresso maker !!

    • Thank you! My husband liked the regular coffee version more than the espresso version, so there you go 🙂

  42. Seems like a great recipe! I’m definitely going to be giving this a try. I just love fall and the pumpkin obsession it brings on.

  43. I am so going to have to try this! Never had a PSL, but I will have an opportunity to next weekend. But, I am dairy intolerant and really shouldn’t have one to begin with. So this is a great way to try one, and not have to deal with my yucky post-dairy sickness! Thanks! (Well, if I use coconut milk.:))

  44. The coffee-less version sounds delicious. I love warm, spicy pumpkin drinks (made even better with my favorite sweetener, maple syrup) in fall. We don’t officially get “fall” weather in the southwest until November but fall tastes always help me feel like the seasons are changing.

  45. I am so excited to see this recipe! For the first time last week, I bought a PSL from Starbucks. The first sip was ok, but then it got worse and worse. So much so, that I ended up forcing myself to drink it because I felt guilty that I had spent almost $4 on it!! And about halfway through I felt a headache coming on. 🙁 Needless to say, I won’t be buying another one. But I am so excited to try this recipe!!! 🙂 Thank you for posting this! I have shared it with some friends on FaceBook! 😉

  46. I had actually been bobbling the concept of making a home made pumpkin spice latte in my mind, recently. This looks and sounds great! I’m not a huge sweet fan, so I think I could cut back on some of the maple syrup and be fine 🙂

    Thank you for your thoughtful attention to nutritional detail!

    ~ Kristin

  47. Loved this! Was just daydreaming about how to make the Pumpkin Spice Latte paleo! Amazing!

    • I just made this latte and it is sooooo good! It has a fresh natural taste, much better than Starbucks. I will definitely be making these through out the Fall season and beyond I’m sure! Thank you for sharing this incredible recipe!

  48. Wow this looks delicious! I have never tried a pumpkin latte before, but my son who is 13 has had it several times and it is his favorite. He has asked me to get one before, but I didn’t and was kind of scared if it was a waste of money if I didn’t like it. But your recipe has inspired me! I am on a new diet, and will need to use almond milk instead of fresh milk that I love love love. I have never been a big coffee drinker, just once in a while. But I have started drinking bullet proof coffee this week as part of my effort to loose weight. I love it. Basically blend a cup of hot coffee with a spoonful of unsalted butter and a spoonfull of coconut oil and add stevia to taste. Blend until frothy. I know it sounds gross, but it is delicious! It looks and tastes like a Starbucks cappacino. Today, I played around with it even more and added vanilla extract and cocoa powder too. YUM! So you have inspired me to try adding pumpkin and spices too, but I’ll still keep it as “bullet proof” as I can. I will still ad the butter and coconut oil and leave out the maple syrup. The point in bullet proof coffee is to give the body fat for fuel while still keeping in a state of ketosis you acheived from “fasting” during the night. It gives you a clear mind from the caffene of the coffee and feeding the brain from healthy fats while avoiding the crash from high carbs. Right now, I am starting the day with this, then later eating a breakfast of protien, healthy fats, nonstarchy vegetables, and low carb fruits. Hope this information can bless someone. Thanks for sharing your recipe and for inspiring us to eat healthy!

    • My husband and I started drinking bulletproof coffee a couple weeks ago too. Love it! We use MCT oil, rather than coconut oil. Best to use grass-fed butter too if you can get it. Isn’t it good! Who’da thought??? I also add a little coconut milk to mine to make it a bit creamier. I haven’t tried cocoa or vanilla yet. For anyone who’s interested in learning more, google ‘dave asprey’ or the ‘bulletproof exec’.

  49. Is there any way you make the pumpkin part ahead of time? I have a espresso machine and make lattes all the time. But don’t know if I’d want to spend all extra time and dirty dishes blending the spices, pumpkin extra every time.

    • I bet you could mix it together and freeze it in ice cube trays. Two shy cubes should about equal this recipe, but you can measure to be sure.

    • We have an espresso machine so we make individual drinks. But I am too lazy to dirty all those dishes, so i just mix espresso, cream, pumpkin, spices and vanilla with a spoon in my cup and it tastes good (probably not as good though, but it gets the job done!) I don’t even add sweetener (Type 1 diabetic and stevia tastes too funky to me) and it still tastes good.

  50. I love pumkin

  51. How would this come out if it was made without the coffee? I don’t drink coffee and I usually get my lattes made without it. Would you substitute something for the coffee or just leave it out entirely and make the rest according to the directions? Thanks!!

    • A latte without coffee? It’s just flavored milk then…

      • I get a great Chai latte made without coffee. In fact, it’s the only latte I’ve found that’s usually made without coffee . . . it’s the only latte I’ll drink. 🙂 Guess I’ll have to experiment a little then . . .

        • Yes, you can make without coffee for sure! I would stick to recipe instructions but would increase my milk to 1 cup instead of 3/4 cup.


        • I also don’t drink coffee. Chai lattes aren’t made with coffee because Chai is a type of tea. It’s a Chai Tea Latte.

          At Starbucks you can order a “steamer” (steamed milk) with any flavor. The Pumpkin steamer is one of my favorites

    • You can use herbal coffee, it’s caffeine-free! 🙂

    • Dandy-Blend… it tastes most similar to coffee but it’s made from Dandelion and caffeine free. Health food stores should have it. We keep some on hand when we want a decaf drink.

  52. I would love to do this for my husband but where do I get pumpkin puree??
    Thanks so much. I love your blog and how informative it is, as well as being so helpful to someone new to trying to live and eat better.

      • Thank you! My eyes must be playing tricks on me again. 😀

        • I don’t know about that brand but they sell it at grocery stores.

        • They also sell it at Trader Joe’s seasonally, but it is in season now, I believe!

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