The Healthy Pumpkin Latte

Every autumn, enticing drinks show up in chain donut and coffee joints. You know the ones: Warm, toasty, cinnamony, sweet, addictively delicious. I don’t want to be a downer, but as a nutritionist it is my job to tell you what is in these drinks. What you do with this information is up to you. Are you ready?

Ingredients in one chain’s pumpkin spice coffee drink (Ingredients may differ from chain to chain): Skim Milk; Brewed Espresso Coffee; Pumpkin Spice Flavored Syrup: Condensed Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Artificial Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Mono and Diglycerides, Disodium Phosphate, Salt;

Fortunately, a healthier, more economical, more delicious homemade option is at hand. This comes from my latest book, The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook (Sterling) which just hit the bookstores. Feel free to make the drink weaker or stronger, milkier or blacker, spicier or less so and so on. You can even swap in strong black tea for the coffee.


Makes one large or two “regular-sized” servings


  • ½ cup milk (dairy, coconut, almond or any other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon granulated raw sugar, honey, coconut nectar, agave or other natural sweetener
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups hot brewed strong coffee (or black tea)
  • Optional: 1 additional teaspoon granulated raw sugar, honey, coconut nectar, agave or other natural sweetener
  1. In a small pot, whisk together milk, pumpkin, sugar, spice and vanilla
  2. Heat mixture over medium heat for about two minutes or until the mixture is hot and slightly frothy
  3. Pour the milk mixture into two tall mugs or large cups. Stir in hot coffee and, if using, optional sweetener. Stir and serve.

Note: You’ll see the drink includes a bit of pumpkin puree. Yes, this does healthy-up the drink, but it also gives it body and a satisfying creamy texture without the chemicals and sweeteners of chain store drinks. If you’ve opened a can of pumpkin puree to make this drink, rest assured that you can use the rest of the can wherever an entire can of pumpkin puree is called for. Or, freeze the puree in an ice cube try for individual-servings of this convenient superfood ingredient.

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