Yes, it's possible to make your own vegan pumpkin spice latte, no need to leave the house! All you need to prepare this hot, cozy drink is a handful of simple ingredients (it's made with real pumpkin, no pumpkin syrup required) and a few minutes, plus, it’s so QUICK and EASY to make, it’s simpler than you may think.
This diy vegan Starbucks copycat recipe is the perfect way to warm up on chilly days. I've included an iced version and a creamy, kid-friendly, no-coffee version so no one has to miss out.
Did you know that Starbucks' version of the pumpkin spice latte is NOT vegan? Sure, you can order it with one of their plant milk options BUT, the pumpkin syrup they use contains dairy.
As of the fall season of 2023, it's not possible to get a vegan pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.
That may change one day, but until then, what are those of us who are vegan or dairy-free supposed to do? We make our own! (And even if they do offer a vegan psl in the future, why not still make our own? It's DELICIOUS!)
And yes, there may be smaller coffee shops that can make you a vegan pumpkin latte, but why spend so much when you can whip one up at a fraction of the cost using simple ingredients you know are 100% vegan?
You'll love this version of the iconic drink because it's comforting and filled with warm pumpkin flavour and even though it's a homemade version, it's anything but basic.
If you love taking it easy on your wallet and not leaving your house by making coffee shop drinks at home, then you'll want to check out these other quick and easy vegan drinks:
Ingredients You'll Need
As mentioned, you need just a few pantry ingredients to make this dairy-free pumpkin spice latte. (The coffee shop version contains many more ingredients than this!)
Ingredient and Substitution Notes
Dairy-Free Milk - Any type of milk can be used but make sure it's unsweetened and unflavoured since this will allow you to control the sweetness and flavour of your drink. You can use one that is sweetened if that's all you have, you'll just need to adjust the amount of sweetener accordingly.
To make your drink extra creamy, you can use a barista blend of non-dairy milk (oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc.) which is thicker and creamier than regular plant-based milk because it contains less water. You can also use canned lite coconut milk for a creamier version, but I don't recommend using full-fat canned coconut milk or your drink will have a strong coconut flavour.
A traditional latte has foamed milk on top, but it's optional for this recipe. I recommend using oat milk, soy milk, a dairy-free creamer, or a barista blend milk for this part since they will foam up easily.
Coffee - Usually, espresso is used in lattes, but you can also use strong coffee if you don't keep espresso on hand. You can also use instant coffee or decaffeinated coffee if you prefer a decaf pumpkin spice latte.
Pumpkin Purée - This recipe is made with pumpkin purée and not with pumpkin spice syrup. Unflavoured, unsweetened canned or homemade pumpkin purée is what you need. If you use canned pumpkin, the only ingredient on the label should be pumpkin. I don't recommend using canned pumpkin pie filling because it contains spices and sugar and you may have a hard time balancing the flavour of the drink. If you want to make this latte but you don't have pumpkin, you can use puréed sweet potato or even puréed butternut squash since the flavours are similar.
Pumpkin Pie Spice - This spice blend is essential to achieving the pumpkin flavour, but if you don't have a pre-mixed blend, you can make your own, see the recipe notes on how to make it.
Sweetener - I use pure maple syrup as a sweetener, however, if you don't have any, you can use vegan brown sugar, coconut sugar, cane sugar, or regular sugar to taste (see the "Recipe FAQ" section below for more info on vegan sugar). I give a range in the recipe, start on the low end of the range and adjust to suit the level of sweetness you prefer. Sugar alternatives will work, too.
Vanilla Extract (optional, not shown in the image above) - If you'd like, you can add a little to further enhance the flavour, but it can be left out and your drink will be just as delicious.
Pumpkin spice lattes are usually topped with foamed milk and sometimes whipped cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. You can use one or the other or BOTH but feel free to customize your topping(s), how about one of the following?
And any of these pumpkin treats would be great to enjoy on the side.
How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions in the recipe card at the end of this post.)
Start by brewing your coffee or espresso and then pour the hot coffee into your mug and set it aside.
Next, make the milk mixture by adding the rest of the ingredients, except the sweetener, vanilla extract, if using, and the foaming milk, to a small saucepan and whisk them together.
The spices will float at the top, you'll need to whisk very well to get them to incorporate into the mixture.
Heat until the mixture is steaming, don't allow it to boil.
Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the sweetener and vanilla extract (if using).
The mixture will be hot, so carefully taste a little and if you need more sweetener adjust as needed.
If you will be topping your latte with milk foam, heat the foaming milk then using a handheld milk foamer, whisk the milk until it's foamy. Pour or spoon it over the top of the drink. A whisk can also be used, see the "Frothing the Milk" section below.
You can also top it with dairy-free whipped cream and/or a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, or ground nutmeg over the foamed milk or whipped cream and to make it even more fancy looking, serve it with a cinnamon stick.
Not sure which brands make vegan whipped cream? Read this article: "Is Cool Whip Vegan" to get a long list of brands to look for at your grocery store.
Frothing the Milk
There are several types of milk frothers available, from inexpensive to very pricey. Unless you're a regular latte or specialty drink maker, I would recommend a simple, handheld milk frother.
When it comes to frothing plant-based milk, the types that will foam up the best are store-bought barista blends, oat milk, or soy milk. Always make sure the milk has been heated, cold milk will not foam up well.
If you don't have a handheld frother, you can use a small whisk. Whisk the heated milk vigorously to add air to it and make it foamy. This method takes a little longer and the foam isn't going to be as thick but it will be good enough to go on top of your latte.
Another way to froth the milk is to add it to a blender (regular or high-speed) and blend, you can use a French press pushing the plunger up and down until the milk is foamy, or blend the milk with an immersion blender.
For more info about frothing milk, read this article filled with tips on how to froth milk.
- If you don't drink coffee or if you want to make it a kid-friendly pumpkin spice latte, make it without coffee. Just replace the coffee with ¼ cup of milk. When the coffee is left out, you may need to add less sweetener.
- Make it a decaf pumpkin spice latte, by using a decaffeinated coffee or a coffee substitute.
- Make it an iced pumpkin latte by adding the coffee, pumpkin, and spice to a small pot, whisk, and heat until it's steaming. Fill a glass with lots of ice, pour the cold milk into the glass, and then add the coffee mixture and stir. Add the vanilla, if using, and then sweeten to taste.
For more delicious vegan drinks you can make at home, browse through these vegan drink recipes.
Tips for Success
- Use unsweetened, unflavoured milk. This will allow you to control both the sweetness and flavour.
- Heat the mixture only until it's steaming. All types of milk can scorch and boil over quickly, so remove it from the heat before it starts to boil.
- Make sure your pumpkin pie spice is fresh for the very best flavour.
- Adjust the amount of sweetener you add to suit your taste. Carefully taste your drink before you add any additional sweetener and then adjust accordingly.
- Adjust the strength of the coffee to suit your taste. The recipe calls for strong brewed coffee so the coffee flavour comes through well and isn't overpowered by the pumpkin spice, but if you prefer it to be even stronger, use espresso. If you want something less strong, just brew the coffee to be weaker.
- For an extra creamy drink, use your milk frother or a whisk to froth the drink after you pour it into the mug and before you pour the foam or add the whipped cream on top.
- If you don't have a handheld milk frother, you can whisk the milk vigorously with a small whisk until it's foamy or you can add the milk to a blender and blend for a few seconds.
- Use oat or soy milk for the foam or use a dairy-free barista blend milk since these types of vegan milk will foam up the best, make sure it's heated or it will not foam well.
- Read through the recipe before getting started and read through this post from top to bottom for lots of tips to make this fall favourite drink perfect, every single time.
- Follow the recipe exactly as it’s written for the very best results.
The creamier the milk, the better. Oat and soy are good options but you can also make yourself a delicious almond milk pumpkin spice latte. Use the plant milk you prefer and what you have on hand. The only one I would not recommend is canned full-fat coconut milk (unless you don't mind your latte having a strong coconut flavour).
As of August 2023, the pumpkin syrup used in Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte still contains dairy. So currently, there is no vegan pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.
I would describe it as a milky drink with the flavours of pumpkin pie and a touch of coffee flavour. The whipped cream and/or foamed milk make it smooth, creamy, and extra delicious.
It's a blend of warm fall spices that gives pumpkin pie its classic, recognizable flavour. This blend can be made at home by mixing several spices (typically cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sometimes ground cloves and allspice) or it can be bought pre-made from a store.
Some brands use animal bone char to process their sugars, making them not vegan, but luckily, some brands don’t use this process, like Wholesome Sweeteners, Trader Joe’s brand, Whole Foods’ 365 brand, and Redpath (Canadian brand). If you can’t find any of these, your best bet is to look for organic sugar, which will always be vegan.
If You Make This Recipe...
Let me know! Please leave a comment and star rating below or you can post a picture on Instagram and tag me so I can see it. (I’m @delightfuladventures on Instagram)
Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte
- ¼ cup (60ml) brewed strong coffee or espresso
- 1 cup (240ml) dairy-free milk
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- sweetener to taste
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- ¼ cup dairy-free milk for foaming (optional)
- dairy-free whipped cream (optional)
- pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or ground nutmeg for garnish (optional)
- Pour the hot coffee or espresso into a mug and set aside.
- Add the dairy-free milk, pumpkin purée, and pumpkin pie spice to a small pot and whisk until everything is combined.
- Place the pot over medium-high heat and heat for 2 ½ - 3 minutes or until the mixture is steaming. Whisk occasionally, don't allow it to boil.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the sweetener, stir, taste, and adjust as necessary. Add the vanilla, if using, and stir. Pour the milk mixture into the mug with the coffee and stir.
- OPTIONAL: Heat the foaming milk and using a milk frother, froth the milk until it's foamy. Pour onto the top of the drink OR top with dairy-free whipped cream.
- OPTIONAL: Sprinkle cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or ground nutmeg on top for garnish.
- Please read all of the information and FAQ info above, as well as the notes below before making this recipe.
- This recipe makes 1 ¼ cups of pumpkin spice latte. Double, triple, or quadruple as needed. If you need to make a large amount, multiply the recipe by the number of servings required and it can either be made as the recipe is written or warmed slowly in a slow cooker / crockpot without the coffee. Brew and add the coffee just before serving.
- For the best results, use unsweetened, unflavoured dairy-free milk to control the flavour and sweetness. If all you have is sweetened milk, you will need to adjust the amount of sweetener accordingly.
- If you don't have pre-made pumpkin pie spice, mix and use the following: ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon with a pinch of ground ginger, and ground nutmeg.
- Keep a close eye on the milk mixture while it's heating, milk can scorch and boil over quickly, so only heat until it's steaming and remove it from the heat before it starts to boil.
- Any sweetener will work, use your favourite, like maple syrup, brown, coconut, cane, or white sugar.
- For an extra creamy drink, use your milk frother or a whisk to froth the drink after you pour it into the mug and before you pour the foam on top.
- To make it in the microwave, do step 1, then mix all the ingredients you would have added to the pot in a mug and microwave in 25-30 second intervals, whisking in between each interval, until it's steaming. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't boil. Proceed with step 4. You can also reheat it using this same method.
- Nutrition info is for the full recipe prepared as written without whipped cream and using unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk for both the drink and foam and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup as the sweetener. The data below is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is determined on this website.