A healthy homemade Starbuck’s copycat Pumpkin Spice Syrup recipe
Make your own Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte or Iced Pumpkin Spice Coffee at home for the best taste and best price! It’s easy, delicious, and has no preservatives, food coloring, or processed sugar!
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Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
PSL’s are a pretty big deal in coffee land.
My husband manages a coffee products distribution warehouse, so he’s kind of an expert on the craze of these puppies. And it’s a CRAZE. They go through SO much pumpkin spice syrup it’s borderline ridiculous (okay, it’s full-on ridiculous).
The Pumpkin Spice Latte used to be my favorite treat drink. Until I started eating (and drinking) clean. After glancing at the ingredients once, I ordered an Americano and decided to pass on the PSL.
One of the top brands you can buy in stores (and at stands) lists these ingredients:
PURE CANE SUGAR, WATER, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM BENZOATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE (TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS), CARAMEL COLOR.
Now, it’s not too terrible, but it’s also not great. I don’t actually like to include cane sugar into my diet on the regular as it can spike blood sugar which can cause various health issues.
I’m also not a huge fan of food coloring. I think it’s completely unnecessary and is linked to free radical damage, along with cancer.
But to argue even more, most coffee stands are opting to use pumpkin sauce. Which, as it turns out, is WORSE for you.
One of the top brands uses corn syrup, sugar, and tapioca syrup in their pumpkin sauce.
Why?! Why do they need all three?! Is Buddy the Elf working there?
Plus it includes the preservatives and, still, the food dye. Ugh (insert eye roll).
So, as I do, I researched how to make my own pumpkin spice syrup. Because I wasn’t ready to give pumpkin spice lattes up all together.
Turns out, it’s really easy, really good, and actually beneficial to your health in small doses! Can’t. Beat. That.
But on top of it all, it’s much more cost effective!
A Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte costs $4.95 for a 16 oz at the time I’m writing this.
But I can make an entire 16 oz bottle of pumpkin spice syrup that will make at least 16 drinks for less than the cost of one PSL.
You can also use this syrup to make a cold brew pumpkin spice latte, a pumpkin spice frappe, pumpkin spice steamer…you name it.
Here’s the idea behind a simple syrup
The idea is to basically combine water and sugar and simmer it down until it thickens into a syrup.
Coffee syrups are often made with regular sugar, corn syrup, or sweetened condensed milk, and other things that are generally not great when trying to live a healthier, cleaner lifestyle (but I’m totally on board with indulging every once in a while!).
For pumpkin spice syrup, you’re adding pumpkin and those delicious Fall spices–cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves–to infuse the simple syrup.
(which means you can now make any kind of flavored syrup you want! Just make a simple syrup and infuse it with things like vanilla, lavender, cinnamon, peppermint, etc).
Want to know the full cost breakdown?
According to AOL Finance (yeah, I looked it up so I didn’t have to do extra math), when you brew your own coffee from whole beans it costs about 18 cents per cup.
I’m a fan of seeing savings, so if you’re like me, here’s the cost breakdown:
- Pumpkin: 7-26 cents (depending on if you made your own or bought it canned)
- Spices: 10 cents
- Coconut sugar: 75 cents
- Maple syrup: $1.88
- Water: free
Total: $2.99 for 16 servings of homemade pumpkin spice syrup (less if using homemade pumpkin puree)
For each cup of your own pumpkin spice latte, then, it looks like this:
- Pumpkin syrup: 19 cents
- Coffee (at $8 a lb): 20 cents
- Milk (cashew milk at $5 a gallon): 32 cents for ½ cup
Total cost per latte: $.71
$.71?! Less than a dollar. For reallllll.
That’s a pretty inexpensive Pumpkin Spice Latte. And I love to save money wherever I can to rock that budget.
Tips to make this pumpkin coffee syrup right for your taste
Adjust the spices and method
There are multiple ways you can make this syrup. If you like your syrup really strong, you’ll want all the spices and pumpkin to stew in the syrup mixture.
You can leave the spices and the pumpkin in the syrup, but it might have a bit of a gritty texture. I like to do it this way sometimes so that I get added nutritional benefits from the pumpkin and spices.
Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove are all excellent immunity boosters and antibacterials. Perfect for cold and flu season! You can just strain it out after making your syrup using an old (clean) t-shirt or fine mesh strainer.
My favorite time-saving hack is to use a coffee filter and kitchen string to make my own pumpkin spice “tea bag.” Just lay a coffee filter on the counter, place your spices on the filter, and tie it into a pouch. You don’t want the bag too tight against the spices, but to leave a little space for liquid to flow through. You DO still want to tie it tightly closed so that it doesn’t all leak out. Then put the pumpkin in another coffee filter as a pumpkin “tea bag.” It flavors the syrup with pumpkin, but doesn’t make it gritty.
Adjust your sugars
You can use so many options for the sugar component. I like my syrup on the less sweet side, so I only use 1 cup of sugar. If you like more of a syrup consistency, you’ll use a full 1 ½ cups. Sugars that work really well include honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or regular cane sugar. I like to use half maple syrup and half either coconut sugar or honey. Honey adds a great antibacterial and immune boosting component to the syrup.
If you want to sweeten it with stevia, I would start slowly and work your way up. I think if you’ve used stevia much at all, you know a little goes a llllllloooooooonnnnnnggggg way! In this recipe, you’d replace the sugar with ½ cup of water and your desired amount of stevia. It won’t create the same syrup consistency, but it will still be delicious.
What kind of pumpkin to use
I use sugar (or pie) pumpkins that I cook and puree myself.
You can check out how I make my own homemade pumpkin puree by clicking this link: How to Make Easy Pumpkin Puree
When I’m short on time or I don’t have pumpkins available to me, I use canned. My local Kroger sells it for really cheap ($2.09 for 15oz). That ends up only costing .26 for the two tablespoons of pumpkin needed. Still pretty darn inexpensive.
Note: (the best deal I have found is to buy organic canned pumpkin in bulk from Amazon)
Things you need to make your own Pumpkin Spice Lattes at home…
- 1 cup coconut sugar, cane sugar, maple syrup, or honey (or a mix of any of these sugars! If you like a more syrupy texture, use 1 ½ cups of sugar)
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 2 T pureed pumpkin, canned or homemade
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan OR put spices and pumpkin in a coffee filter and tie with kitchen string like a tea bag in the sugar water (easiest clean up everrrrrrrrr)
- Bring everything to a low boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15-30 minutes
- Strain (or remove “tea bag”) and allow pumpkin syrup to cool
- Enjoy 1-2 T with your favorite coffee drink or milk!
If you want the frothy milk but don’t want to invest in a milk steamer, check out this inexpensive hand held frother! Totally makes any coffee taste a bit more legit.
Got any questions? Tips you’ve found helpful? Share in the comments below!
Further reading on detriments of food dye: