Starbucks and Panera are adding real pumpkin and getting rid of artificial ingredients in their respective versions of the pumpkin spice latte. But nothing beats this DIY version whipped up by our food director.
Let's free-associate for a minute. If I say "autumn," and you reply, "pumpkin spice latte," good news: Your favorite fall beverage just got a health upgrade.
Starbucks and Panera Bread came out with announcements this week that they're changing up their PSL recipes; both restaurants will now make them with real pumpkin. On top of that, Starbucks says they'll omit caramel coloring, while Panera will serve drinks made "entirely without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup," The Associated Press reports.
That's certainly a plus, no matter which you prefer. But we decided to go one better, and give you a pumpkin spice latte that you can enjoy any time of year at home. Plus, when you make your own, you control the level of sweetness and spice and whether to use organic ingredients. Plug in that blender and get ready to sip your way to pumpkin perfection.
Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte
2 Tbsp. canned pumpkin puree
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or ¼ tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. each ground nutmeg and ground ginger)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk of choice (I use homemade cashew milk)
1 cup hot, strongly brewed coffee
1 to 2 tsp. raw honey (or more to taste, if desired)
1 Tbsp. unsalted grass-fed butter (such as Kerrygold) or coconut oil, optional
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and salt and cook, stirring, until warmed and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and milk and cook, whisking, until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer pumpkin mixture to a high-speed blender and add coffee, honey and butter, if desired. Blend until well mixed and frothy. Drink immediately.