A Taste of Autumn Any Time of the Year

Homemade pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream
nata_vkusidey/iStock/GettyImages

The pumpkin spice latte revolutionized the coffee world when introduced in 2003. Since then, it seems every coffeehouse, fast-food restaurant and casual-theme restaurant has its own version of the popular drink. Now it's your turn.

Total Time: 10 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 shots espresso, or 1/2 to 1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee, divided
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped to firm peaks
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the pumpkin and spice until heated through and fragrant – about 2 minutes – stirring the pumpkin constantly.
  2. Stir in the sugar and continue cooking until the pumpkin reduces to a syrupy consistency – about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla and milk and allow the mixture to heat through. Reduce the heat if you see the mixture about to bubble over.
  4. Using a stick blender (or regular blender), mix the pumpkin-milk mixture until frothy. Add one shot of espresso to each mug and pour in the pumpkin-milk mixture.
  5. Garnish with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick for each. You can also sprinkle a bit of pumpkin spice over the whipped cream, if desired. 

Tip

Whole milk produces the richest flavor in a pumpkin spice latte. You can, however, substitute 2-percent milk or even skim milk to similar effect.

Not a coffee drinker? No problem. Follow the recipe as described, but omit the espresso.

For a vegan variation, substitute soy milk or a rich nut milk, such as cashew, almond or hazelnut. Coconut milk works well, too, and adds a compelling exotic note to the flavor profile.

Like mocha? Good, because mocha pumpkin spice lattes are a delight. To make a mocha pumpkin spice latte, add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the pumpkin base.

To make your pumpkin spice latte a veritable dessert in a cup, add 1 teaspoon of hazelnut syrup and 1 teaspoon of toffee nut syrup to the pumpkin base.

If you want a taste of autumn in the summer, but don't want a hot pumpkin spice latte during triple-digit weather, allow the latte to cool, then chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and blend it with ice.