How to Make Pumpkin Spice Latte Drinks: Your New Favorite Recipe (Without Syrup)

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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Want to know how to make Pumpkin Spice Latte drinks that are delicious and healthy?

Want to know how to make Pumpkin Spice Latte drinks that are delicious and healthy?

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s impossible, but I’ve got the perfect solution. I’ve also included my favorite pumpkin muffin recipe since it’s very fitting for the time of year and is guaranteed to get you in the mood for Halloween.

Falling for Fall: Halloween and Pumpkins

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved fall, and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

For far too long, pumpkins were just seasonal decorations and jack-o’-lanterns to me. But now, every year, I look forward to pumpkin season.

It’s when the real fun begins.

You can bake pumpkin bread, roast pumpkin in the oven, make pumpkin stews, fill and bake pumpkins, prepare pumpkin soups and even extract the fresh juice for pumpkin drinks.

In case you haven’t already guessed, I’m a huge fan of this versatile vegetable. Did I mention pumpkin curry yet?

The Hokkaido, aka the red kuri squash, is my favorite pumpkin because its skin becomes so beautifully buttery in the oven.

Besides the delicious Hokkaido, though, Cinderella pumpkins and squash varieties like butternut and turban aren’t bad choices, either.

This past fall, I discovered the kabocha — a very small pumpkin that you can fill with cheese and bake in the oven. Come on, what’s not to love about that?

You’ll need fresh pumpkin juice for the fall coffee recipe in this article. Not only will the juice from the Hokkaido and other very large pumpkins taste great, but you’ll usually be able to get a decent amount from these varieties. Keep in mind that you’ll get sweeter juice and flesh from small pumpkins, but you’ll spend more time extracting enough for your needs.

Every fall, our living room table looks like this — but it isn’t long before the attractive seasonal decorations are all eaten up.

A selection of decorative Halloween pumpkins on display

So Many Lattes, So Much Sugar: Starbucks, McDonald’s and Friends

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or on a desert island for the last few years, you’re probably familiar with the Pumpkin Spice Latte phenomenon. Thanks to Starbucks and other chains, this sickly-sweet concoction has barely anything to do with pumpkin and very little to do with coffee.

Some say the enduring popularity of the Pumpkin Latte comes from Americans’ nostalgia and love of Thanksgiving. I can’t say whether or not that’s true, but I do know that it’s often simply a case of pouring in enough sugary syrup to make the coffee and espresso drinks taste good.

So I wanted to figure out how to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte that’s sensibly and reasonably sweetened.

In this case, that means treating ourselves to a teaspoon of agave nectar. I only use fresh spices in this homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte, too — without any of that other artificially flavored goo.

The goal is to make an enjoyable drink made from natural ingredients. One that doesn’t require skipping two meals to justify the calories.

It should also taste great — we want the coffee, pumpkin and spices working in harmony to create a delicious flavor profile. We’re not just going to be masking the taste of bad coffee!

Plus, I hate throwing food away. That’s why my Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe comes with a bonus recipe for pumpkin muffins, so I can use all the pulp leftover from the juicing process. I also collaborated with Mauricio from to create this awesome recipe.

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Latte Drinks

Let’s dive right in.

In this recipe, I’ve used 60 milliliters (4 tablespoons) of fresh pumpkin juice. If you don’t have a juicer, you can put the pumpkin in a blender and squeeze the juice out of the puree. Bear in mind, you’ll need a very juicy pumpkin for this method.

Another option is to first gently bake the pumpkin in the oven before pureeing it. The thing is, you’ll sacrifice some vitamins doing it this way.

I used the Krups EA8808 super-automatic espresso machine for this recipe, but only because it’s what I was reviewing at the time. Of course, you could also use a portafilter machine.

The juicer we used is called the Omega NC800HDS, but others would do the job just as well. I especially recommend cold-press juicers with spiral augers because they squeeze the juice out slowly, preserving valuable micronutrients — all the healthy stuff we want.

As always, it really all comes down to the coffee and espresso. So for this Pumpkin Spice Latte, I used one of my favorite espresso blends, though I recommend experimenting with a few different blends until you find one that works best with the pumpkin and spices.

Ingredients: Pumpkin Spice Latte

Here’s a list of the Pumpkin Spice Latte ingredients:

  • 60 milliliters (4 tablespoons) freshly pressed pumpkin juice

  • 200 milliliters (7 fluid ounces) freshly frothed whole milk

  • 40 milliliters (8 teaspoons) espresso — I used two Ristrettos from the Krups EA8808

  • 1 pinch nutmeg

  • 1 pinch tonka bean — be careful because it’s very intense

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon — I love cinnamon

  • 1 pinch red pepper

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper — be generous if you like a bit of heat

  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar — sugar warning!

  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch grated clove

If you’d like to make a vegan Pumpkin Spice coffee, you can replace the milk with a milk substitute. I’ve found this recipe works just as well with almond, soy or oat milk. Using lactose-free milk is no problem, either. With this recipe, everyone wins.

Method: Pumpkin Spice Latte

Juice the pumpkin, putting the leftover flesh in the fridge for later. If you don’t like muffins, you can also use it to make fritters or a soup instead.

Pour the pumpkin juice into a glass. Next, thoroughly mix the spices with the agave nectar (you can also use apple nectar, a type of reduced apple juice). Once you have a smooth paste, gently stir it into the pumpkin juice.

Please take extra care with the amount of tonka bean you use because it’s very aromatic. It’s my favorite spice to use in German stollen fruit bread at Christmas, but too much can overwhelm all the other flavors.

Mixing the spices with agave nectar

Now add the hot and frothy milk to the drink. I programmed the EA8808 for 35 seconds. For those of you using a portafilter machine, though, that’s about 200 milliliters (7 ounces) of steamed milk.

The crowning glory of this drink is the espresso, which you should pour on top. One shot is good, but two is even better!

Arne standing with pumpkins, the Krups EA8808 and a Pumpkin Spice Latte

Visually, you’ll end up with a striking Pumpkin Spice Latte that you can either stir or drink as is in layers. Not only does the look of the drink fit perfectly with the fall season, but it also very much highlights the pumpkin and the coffee. As a very full-bodied and naturally aromatic drink, the taste of espresso pairs really well with the natural sweetness of pumpkin juice.

On warmer fall days, you might want to consider making an iced Pumpkin Spice Latte. Prepared with cold milk and ice, this complex pumpkin coffee is surprisingly refreshing.

How to Make Pumpkin Muffins

Now that you’ve learned how to make Pumpkin Spice Latte drinks, it’s time for the accompaniment.

Since we’ve already set aside our “leftovers” from juicing the pumpkin, we now need to add a few more natural and healthy ingredients to make our delicious muffins. And once again, we’ll use our aromatic tonka bean (these aren’t always easy to get, so you could use mahlab or extra nutmeg instead).

Ingredients: Pumpkin Muffins (Yields 12 Muffins)

Here’s a list of the pumpkin muffins ingredients:

  • 300 grams (10.5 ounces) rolled oats

  • 350 grams (12 ounces) pumpkin pulp — or pumpkin puree

  • 120 grams (4 ounces) apple puree — also made with the juicer

  • 2 eggs

  • 230 milliliters (1 cup) whole milk — or a milk substitute of your choice

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar

  • 12 walnut halves


  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 pinch grated clove

  • 1 pinch tonka bean

Method: Pumpkin Muffins

It’s so very easy. First, mix the oatmeal with the pumpkin and apple puree.

A closeup of the oatmeal, pumpkin and apple puree mix.

In another bowl, thoroughly mix the milk and eggs with all the other ingredients.

Whisking all the ingredients together

Next, combine the contents of both bowls, then divide the mixture evenly between 12 muffin cups. Garnish the top of each muffin with a walnut half.

Placing a walnut half on top of a muffin

Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. From my experience, the muffins tend to darken on the top quite quickly — so to prevent them from burning, cover them with aluminum foil if necessary.

A close-up of freshly baked pumpkin muffins

Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely, and then enjoy!

These beauties have all the flavors of fall that I love so much and provide the perfect accompaniment to a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. Not to mention they’re the ideal Halloween treat and go a long way to satisfying any pumpkin addiction.

What’s your favorite seasonal drink? I’d love to read your comments and suggestions, as well as any experiences you might have had with my recipes. I think it’s about time for a nice recipe using good chocolate. Any ideas?

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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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