Pumpkin Spice Latte: A Nutritionist-Approved Recipe

As the summer days wane and even before fall sets in, the pumpkin spice season comes. If you haven’t already, you’re probably thinking of swapping out your cold brew for the decadent frothed milk and frothy whipped cream Pumpkin Spice Latte from your favorite local coffee shop. However, your go-to pumpkin spice latte may not have as much nutritional value as you’d hope.

What’s in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte?

For example, take a look at the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, also known as PSL. The grande 16-ounce drink — complete with whipped cream, pumpkin sauce, and pumpkin spice topping — contains 380 calories. This may not sound too bad for a delicious treat.

But as a registered dietitian and recipe developer, the sugar content is what really holds me back. The drink contains 50 grams of sugar. That is a lot. While Starbucks doesn’t say how much of it is added sugar, the Dietary Guidelines 2020 committee is advising people to cut back even more on added sugars — up to six percent of total daily calories.

For a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that’s a limit of 120 calories, or about eight teaspoons of sugar. This is a significant reduction from the current 10 percent of total daily calories recommended as the upper limit in current dietary guidelines.

Artificial flavors and colors

There are artificial ingredients, such as artificial flavors and colors, that many coffee shops use. (For the record, Starbucks now uses real pumpkin puree and a natural food coloring, annatto, in its pumpkin spice sauce.) There’s also the cost of these seasonal lattes.

Unsurprisingly, the Starbucks PSL is the most popular seasonal beverage, with 424 million units sold nationwide, CNBC reports. The Pumpkin Spice Latte is a multi-billion dollar business that your local coffee shop has capitalized on. (Check out these health benefits of coffee.)

Thanks to @amydgorin/instagram

A healthier pumpkin spice latte

Because I want you to enjoy the merits of a delicious pumpkin spice latte with no extra calories and added sugar — and without putting a dent in your wallet — I’ve created this simple, healthy, and delicious recipe that you can make yourself in the kitchen in a matter of minutes.

This pumpkin spice recipe is approved by nutritionists and contains only 110 calories per serving. Skip the whipped topping if you want to shave even more calories. Here’s the best part, too: This pumpkin spice latte has just 12 grams of sugar and offers a bit of protein and fiber to keep you feeling full for longer.

Pro Tip: If you are going to buy pumpkin puree, make sure you buy the variety that is plain pumpkin. While pure pumpkin is packed with nutritional benefits, pumpkin pie filling contains added sugar and spices.

By the way, you don’t need an espresso machine to make this latte. You can whip it up with a French press, or you can even use an espresso roaster.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe


  • 8 ounces barista oat milk
  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
  • Pinch ground cloves, divided
  • 4 ounces of espresso
  • ¼ cup lightly whipped topping

Travel directions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, and all but a dash of nutmeg and cloves. Stir with a wooden spoon. Heat until warm and remove immediately. Make espresso and divide between two mugs. Pour the milk mixture over the espresso. Finish with whipped cream and remaining spices. Makes two servings.

Nutritional value per serving:

Cal: 110 Fat: 2.5 g Sat Fat: 1 g Pro: 2 g Carbohydrates: 21 g Sugar: 12 g Fiber: 2 g Chol: 5 mg Sod: 75 mg

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