I love, love, love a good Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks during the fall.  The warm drink, the spices, the pumpkin…it’s part of what epitomizes fall for me (basic girl, I know!).  However, since I’ve started living a healthier lifestyle, I don’t indulge in the PSL much (I do have a few throughout the season…but with modifications).  So I came up with my own recipe for Dairy-Free Pumpkin Creamer to add to my coffee at home.  It’s WAY healthier than lattes you’ll get at Starbucks and other coffee shops or what you’ll get in store-bought creamers.  It’s also so easy to make and with ingredients that I usually always have in my pantry.

Why not just drink the PSL?

The Calories

A Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte has 380 calories in it. That’s a lot of calories for a drink! That’s almost enough calories for a full meal.  I don’t count my calories or macros, but I am mindful of them.  I would rather get my calories from whole foods that actually provide nutrients my body needs.

And most of these calories come from sugar!  I will get to that more in a sec’.

The Dairy

PSLs, and all regular lattes for that matter, contain dairy.  This isn’t a problem for everyone, but for many it is. Dairy can cause a variety of symptoms for those that have an intolerance or a sensitivity to the milk sugar lactose or to the milk protein casein.  It can cause digestive problems, like stomach pains, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and constipation.  It can also cause acne, headaches, and more.

Conventional dairy, that’s not 100% grass-fed, has a high Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio, which leads to inflammation.  Conventional cows are also given added growth-hormones.  Those hormones are in the milk, enter our body, and can mess up our own hormones.

Inflammation can show up in many ways.  For me, it shows up as eczema on my hands.  Since working on healing my gut, I can tolerate dairy better.  But I still avoid it the majority of the time to keep eczema from popping up again and to keep other issues from developing.  So when I do order a latte, I opt for almond milk in it.

If you can handle dairy well without any of these problems, opt for organic, grass-fed milk when possible.

The Sugar

Even though I can handle a little dairy every once in a while, the sugar is the main reason I avoid the PSLs.

The Grande size contains 50 grams of sugar!!! That’s a crazy amount for a drink or a dessert.  According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily intake of sugar is 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women.  And in my opinion, that’s more than we SHOULD get.  But 50!  That’s two days worth for me.  

Where is the sugar coming from?
  • The Pumpkin Sauce – the main ingredient is sugar, followed by condensed milk (more sugar!), and then pumpkin puree, flavors, and preservatives
  • The milk – lactose in milk is a form of sugar
  • The whipped cream – made of heavy cream (which contains more lactose) and sugar
  • The vanilla syrup – basically pure sugar with some vanilla and preservatives

I’m sure we all know that sugar causes problems.  It increases blood glucose and can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart problems, and other diseases.  It also hurts our immune system.  It, causes tooth decay, and can cause headaches.  I experience the headaches when I drink a PSL or eat anything that’s high in sugar.

Learn more about the effects of sugar and tips for reducing your sugar intake here.

Bottom Line

There’s no denying that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are yummy!  However, I look at them as a treat.  I will treat myself to a few during the fall season.  However, consuming them regularly is not healthy for anyone.

Next time you need a caffeine fix and crave the delicious PSL, try it with almond milk, ask for half the flavor syrup, just get a coffee with the pumpkin flavor in it, or (the WAAAAAYYY cheaper option) brew your own cup at home and add this Dairy-Free Pumpkin Creamer!

dairy-free pumpkin creamer in mason jar

How to Make Dairy-Free Pumpkin Creamer

You can still enjoy the delicious pumpkin spice flavors in your coffee with this recipe.  My recipe for dairy-free pumpkin creamer uses coconut milk instead of dairy milk.  And it has a far less sugar content that the PSL.  It’s lightly sweetened with honey.  And it’s Paleo-approved.  Check out my post to find out what Paleo is and why I love this way of eating.

What You’ll Need:

Milk – I’ve used coconut milk and almond milk for this.  The coconut milk is a little creamier.  But it’s your preference which one you use.  If you’re using coconut milk, use 1-13 oz can, and if you’re using almond milk, use 1 1/2 Cups.

Pumpkin – Use 1/4 Cup organic pumpkin puree (with pumpkin as the ONLY ingredient).

Honey – Use 1 Tablespoon honey.  I use raw, local honey when I can.  But I ran out of that, and just ordered this organic honey from Harris Teeter (love their drive-up pickup!).  You can omit the honey if you want it to be sugar-free, or add a little more if you like it a little sweeter.  1 Tablespoon is just the right amount of sweetness for me.

Spices – Use 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Ingredients for making dairy-free pumpkin creamer

What To Do:

1.  Simmer

Add the ingredients to a small pot and simmer on a burner over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes.  This helps liquify the pumpkin puree and combine the ingredients.  Stir frequently while it’s simmering.

The coconut milk and almond milk are not going to be as thick and creamy as the dairy milk that’s in the PSL.  But if you want it to be creamier, you can add some more coconut cream (not the watery part) from the coconut milk.

simmering dairy-free pumpkincreamer

2.  Refrigerate

Once your creamer has simmered and mixed well, pour into a mason jar.  Let it sit out to cool down, and then refrigerate it.

3.  Make Your Coffee

When you’re ready to make some coffee, just pour some of the dairy-free pumpkin creamer into your brewed coffee. I add about 3 Tablespoons to mine.  Use a milk frother like this one to make your coffee even more creamy and scrumptious!

coffee with dairy-free pumpkin creamer

Let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think!  Enjoy your pumpkin spice coffee and happy fall, ya’ll!

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