Jump on the Pumpkin Spice Latte bandwagon with me, basic bitches! I know some of you are already eyeballing the holiday menu, but it’s still October, so say it with me – pumpkin is still in! This Starbucks dupe is surprisingly easy to whip up at home with just a few basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. So why wait in line at the coffee shop for this fall fave when you can be cuddled up at home in your favorite fall sweater instead?!
I Don’t Have an Espresso Machine – Can I Still Make This?
Absolutely! Two of the main ingredients of this drink are traditionally made with an espresso machine – the espresso of course, but also the steamed milk. But don’t worry – they’re super easy to recreate without an espresso machine too! For the espresso, a strong brewed coffee or instant espresso will work just fine.
As for the steamed milk, you would normally just use the steam wand of an espresso machine to both heat the milk and build the volume of the milk by creating a microfoam (the one where the milk looks glossy). When you’re in Starbucks, this is the part of the process where you hear that really high pitched gurgling/whistling noise. If you don’t have an espresso machine, all you have to do instead is heat the milk in the microwave to just before boiling, then use a milk frother to add volume. You want to increase the volume by about 30-50%, so that the 2/3 cup of milk you start with will turn into about a full cup of steamed or frothed milk. There are also some really great standalone milk steamers on the market for around $30 that will give you that same gorgeous microfoam you’d get from the steam wand of an espresso maker.
If you’re new to steaming milk with an espresso machine, check out this video or this blog post for tips. If you’re frothing the milk with a hand frother, check out this video or this blog post for tips.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at home:
Espresso – A full-bodied, fresh brewed espresso works great in this recipe, but if you can get your hands on a blonde espresso, go for that instead. It’ll help make sure the pumpkin flavor is able to shine through. And if you don’t have an espresso maker, a strong brewed coffee will work too!
Steamed or frothed milk – For this recipe, you need to use a milk that is capable of steaming or frothing up to build volume (preferably in the form of microfoam). Regular dairy milk is a safe bet, but if you’re dairy free, there are plenty of non-dairy options that will work. Soy and oat milk are usually pretty reliable, but check out my notes on the testing I did on a bunch of different brands/types of milk here. If in doubt, anything marked “barista” should work well.
Now for the part that really gives this drink its flavor: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Sauce! Here’s what you’ll need:
Sweetened condensed milk – This makes the sauce thick and creamy, as well as sweet. If you’re dairy free, opt for the coconut condensed milk that’s pretty widely available.
Pumpkin puree – Obviously this is where the pumpkin flavor comes in – don’t skip this one!
Pumpkin pie spice – You could also use your own mix of spices, but I like that pumpkin pie spice makes it easy for me.
Maple extract – You could absolutely use vanilla extract instead, but I prefer the extra little bit of fall flavor that you get from maple extract.
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Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
- 1 1/2 fl oz blonde espresso
- 1 1/2 fl oz pumpkin sauce, (recipe follows)
- 2/3 cup Fairlife Skim Ultra Filtered Milk, (5.3 fl oz)
- Pour the espresso and pumpkin sauce into a mug and set aside.
- Steam or froth the milk. If you have an espresso machine, use the steam wand to create a microfoam (milk should look glossy). If you don't have one, heat the milk in the microwave to just before boiling, then use a milk frother to add volume. You'll want to increase the volume by about 30-50%.
- Pour the steamed milk over the espresso and pumpkin sauce. You may need to stir a little bit before serving.
- Top with whipped cream and fresh ground nutmeg or cinnamon before serving, if desired.
Tips & Tricks
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tbsp maple extract
- Combine all ingredients except maple extract in a small pot over medium heat. Stir until combined and heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the maple extract.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.