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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte (Better Than Starbucks!)

Let me show you how easy it is to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at home that’s better than Starbucks… REALLY!

First, you’ll need to grab the Potassium Sorbate and Carrageenan out of your pantry to make the flavoring… Ha ha, just kidding!

Of course, you’d never use those ingredients in your coffee. But Starbucks does. 


When I first exposed the secret ingredients in the original Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte a few years back there was a media firestorm. Within days, my blog post made headlines from USA Today to Fox News. My phone was ringing off the hook while my post went viral on social media with more than a million shares. (1)

I was so happy that Starbucks FINALLY had to own up to the ingredients they were using at the time. Specifically the Class IV Caramel Color, which is linked to cancer. All of the media attention really helped get the ball rolling in getting Starbucks to change. Next thing you know, they dropped the Caramel Color altogether. Then, Starbucks published the ingredients in their drinks on their website for the first time in history. This was HUGE. Now everyone can see exactly what they are drinking at Starbucks. (2)

Although Starbucks’ ingredients have improved… they still use shady processed ingredients in their popular drinks like the Pumpkin Spice Latte: 

Potassium Sorbate: You’ll find this preservative in many of Starbucks drinks, including the PSL. This ingredient has been shown to be genotoxic to white blood cells, which could lead to cancer. (3)

Carrageenan: This ingredient in Starbucks whipped cream is a thickener linked to digestive issues and cancer. (4)

Natural Flavors: It’s not just pumpkin spices that make the PSL taste delicious. Starbucks adds Natural Flavors, which is actually a top secret formulation that contains preservatives, emulsifiers, solvents and other additives (which could be: sodium benzoate, glycerin, potassium sorbate, and propylene glycol – none of which are labeled or disclosed). (5)

Mono and Diglycerides: This emulsifier is a byproduct of oil processing – including canola and soybean oils – which may contain trans fat that is detrimental to heart health. (6)

Another reason to be wary of Starbucks…

They do not serve organic coffee at most Starbucks locations, which means (like all conventional coffee) it’s been sprayed with pesticides. Increased exposure to pesticides are linked to birth defects, nerve damage and cancer.

Starbucks also does not use organic milk. Their dairy comes from cows raised on GMO feed which is treated with synthetic pesticides. Whatever dairy cows eat can end up in their milk. And despite what you may have heard…illegal antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticide residues are commonly found in non-organic milk, but NOT in organic milk. (7) Even though no one is testing Starbucks drinks for these substances, it’s made with non-organic milk, so it is a possibility.

We all know Starbucks coffee ain’t cheap, but most people don’t know that regular consumption of their products can be a serious source of pesticide exposure and ingredients that sabotage your health.

This is why I had to remake the Pumpkin Spice Latte with an easy recipe you can use at home! 

My recipe uses basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry or can pick up at any grocery store.

I like to use all organic ingredients, which is actually cheaper than Starbucks in the long run after you invest in these ingredients to make dozens of organic Pumpkin Spice Lattes at home! 

To make the Pumpkin Spice Latte at home, all you do is add milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and maple syrup to a small saucepan. After it heats up, pour it into your cup of coffee. That’s it! 

You can make a big batch of the latte and store it in your fridge for 3-4 days, that way it will be ready when you’re in a hurry. Simply heat it back up… or pour it over ice. 

Food Babe's Pumpkin Spice Latte
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 2 cups dairy or non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ cup strong coffee (alternative: 2 shots espresso)
  1. In a small pot, add the milk, pumpkin puree, spices, vanilla, and maple syrup. Heat over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Stir frequently.
  2. Add ¼ cup coffee or one shot of espresso to two mugs. Pour 8 ounces of the milk mixture into each mug and stir to combine. Top with whip cream, if desired.


To give it that official Starbucks PSL taste, you can top it with whipped cream.

Just make sure yours isn’t made with Carrageenan and Mono and Diglycerides like Starbucks! Since most brands of whipped cream aren’t organic and contain gums and other additives, I like to make whipped cream with canned coconut milk. 

Food Babe's Coconut Whipped Cream
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) full fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons coconut nectar or coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place can of full-fat coconut milk into refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove the can from the refrigerator the next morning and flip upside down and open that end of the can.
  3. Pour liquid into a small mixing bowl and set aside, you will not be using this liquid for the recipe.
  4. Then after the liquid is removed from the can you will see the solid coconut cream on the bottom, scoop out and place in a large chilled mixing bowl with coconut sugar and vanilla extract. Whip coconut cream with beaters until a fluffy consistency is achieved.
Choose a canned coconut milk that doesn’t use BPA liners and that is organic like Natural Value or Native Forest. This coconut whip cream is really easy if you remember to put your coconut milk into the fridge overnight.


Know anyone who would love to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at home that is better than Starbucks? Please share this recipe with them, or perhaps bring them a cup.

Now you can enjoy this delicious fall drink without the controversial ingredients that Starbucks uses! Isn’t it awesome when you take matters into your own hands? It’s small changes like this that can dramatically change your health and your life. 



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4 responses to “Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte (Better Than Starbucks!)

  1. Hello,
    Thanks for the recipe! One prob with it however… you put ‘Serves: 8 mins. So how many does it actually serve? Hope you see this since that is pretty confusing there. God Bless!

  2. SO good! I cut the recipe in half to make myself a single latte and it was AMAZING. The taste was better than Starbucks (very authentic), much better for you, less expensive.. Every reason to make this instead of going out to the coffee shop! This will be my new go-to.

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