I was sitting on the couch the other day while visions of pumpkin muffins, warm chai lattes and falling red leaves danced in my head. “Pumpkin chai lattes!” I exclaimed. “Why haven’t I had one of those?! Do those even exist?!” Sometimes inspiration strikes out of nowhere.
Then I consulted google, as food bloggers do in this situation, and yet again, I wasn’t the first person to come up with this brilliant concept. If you want one right now, you can order one at the Starbucks nearest you.
Regardless, I set out to create my own ideal pumpkin chai latte. I wanted a creamy, maple-sweetened latte made with real pumpkin and plenty of warming spices. I wanted a treat that I could enjoy in the morning (made with regular chai tea) or evening (made with decaffeinated chai rooibos tea). I wanted all that without a bazillion calories—not because I am a calorie counter, but because I don’t like to drink my calories.
I kept tinkering with the proportions of ingredients and finally nailed it on the fourth attempt. I brewed some strong chai tea and added extra spices because the chai lattes at coffee shops are almost never spicy enough for me. (Did you know that cinnamon is really good for you?)
I used a base of plain, unsweetened almond milk so I could add maple syrup (for that delicious caramel flavor) without making the drink too sweet. The pumpkin contributes some creaminess, but the blended latte still wasn’t as rich and creamy as a latte made with whole milk.
That’s when I thought to try adding a little bit of arrowroot starch, which I’ve used in my coconut milk ice creams (like this chai ice cream!) and more recently, in cream-less red pepper soup. Arrowroot powder was just the ticket—I got to enjoy a super rich and creamy pumpkin chai latte without feeling like I’d consumed a milkshake afterward. The whole drink clocks in at only 90 calories. Success!
For these photos, I wanted a creamy, foamy top, so I added coconut whipped cream to my lattes. It definitely made the drinks more rich, sweet and indulgent, but I quite honestly preferred them without. It was just a little too much for me.
I’ve overheard enough people ordering lattes to know that everyone’s particular about their drinks (half-caff almond milk latte with one pump sugar-free vanilla for Sally?), so I’m including the whipped cream in case that’s your jam. Just know that the whipped cream was not included in the nutrition facts. I honestly don’t know how to calculate the facts for the whipped cream since it’s made from the cream from a can of coconut.
Craving more warming drinks?
Try one of these:
Homemade Pumpkin Chai Latte
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Pumpkin spice chai latte made with natural ingredients: pumpkin puree, almond milk, maple syrup and spices. This creamy yet skinny latte clocks in at only 90 calories (without the totally optional coconut cream). I think you could also make a big batch of this, store it in the refrigerator and rewarm individual drinks on the stove (whisk well to recombine). Amounts listed below yield one latte so multiple up as necessary.
- 1 tea bag of spiced chai (or decaf spiced chai rooibos)
- ½ cup plain, unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice*
- 2 tablespoons real pumpkin purée
- 1 tablespoon real maple syrup or honey
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice blend (or ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger, dash of nutmeg, dash of cloves)
- Tiny dash salt
- ½ teaspoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch (optional, makes the latte super creamy)
- Optional garnishes: 1 cinnamon stick or star of anise, coconut whipped cream
Optional coconut whipped cream
- 1 can (14 ounces) full fat coconut milk, chilled at least 10 hours (the coconut milk MUST be full fat and MUST be refrigerated for at least 10 hours. Put a mixing bowl in the freezer to chill while you’re at it.)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup water to a gentle boil. Remove the water from heat, add the tea bag, and let it steep for 4 minutes. Before removing the tea bag, squeeze any water remaining out by pressing the tea bag against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon.
- Add the almond milk, pumpkin purée, maple syrup, vanilla, pumpkin spice blend and salt to the pan. Whisk in the optional arrowroot starch or cornstarch. Pour the mixture into a stand blender and blend for a minute or two, until the components are blended together and the drink is nice and creamy. (You can alternatively use an immersion blender, but I had much better results with my stand blender.)
- Pour the mixture back into your pan and gently rewarm on the stove, then pour it into a mug. Top with totally optional whipped coconut cream and/or garnish with totally optional cinnamon stick or star of anise.
- To make the coconut whipped cream: Pull out the chilled can of coconut milk and mixing bowl. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop the solid coconut cream into the chilled bowl (you can use the remaining coconut water in smoothies). Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon and gently blend again to combine. Use the coconut cream immediately or cover and store in the fridge for later (it will be soft at room temperature and more firm when cold).
*I used Califia Farms brand almond milk. Feel free to substitute your milk of choice for the almond milk. Keep in mind, however, that this drink’s nutrition information and allergen contents depends mostly on the milk you use—if you want a nut-free drink, choose a nut-free milk, etc.
More spiced pumpkin treats: gluten-free pumpkin oat pancakes, vegan pumpkin pecan scones and maple-sweetened pumpkin muffins.
Kate, I’m curious what is your go to brand for canned full fat coconut milk in your recipes?
Trying this recipe today!
Hi Rachel! I use Whole Foods 365 organic and it works well.
This was quite a nice recipe, although I did not particularly favor the drink! Family loved it though
Thank you for your review, Cat!
This was quite a nice recipe, although I did not particularly favor the drink! Family loved it though :)
Thank you so much for this! I’ve just made this, and I’m really enjoying my chai latte. Absolutely lush. The cornstarch is a great idea, it’s made it so thick and creamy – almost custardy rich. I didn’t make the coconut cream, but honestly it’s great even without any additional topping.
I’m glad you loved it, Saffie! I appreciate your review.
I have a friend that has a long standing tradition and makes a fresh pumpkin recipe daily during the month of October. I’ll share this post with her and give her some new choices! I’m going to start with the wedding cookies and the chai. What a great idea to add pumpkin into the chai…. I make my own so I’ll be using it in the recipe. I’m sure it will be amazing. Thank you.
Yum! I simplified it by microwaving the milk to warm it up a little and boiling water in a kettle. Used a date instead of maple syrup and then just added everything to the Vitamix and blended for a minute and a half to get everything smooth + hot. I forgot to add cornstarch but I think the date thickened it up as it was very creamy.
This is so delicious and easy to make. I opted for a 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup and frothed up some extra milk for the top instead of making the cream. Then added some sprinkles of pumpkin spice to the top. It’s perfect.
I’m glad you loved it, Lenore! I appreciate you sharing.
I use my frother which blends, thickens, and eliminates the blender step and arrowroot. LOVE this recipe. Delicious and so easy! Warms me up and satisfies my sweet tooth. Great substitute in the evening instead of alcohol.
I made this latte with arrowroot starch using the 2X scale. Really enjoy this recipe with the simple ingredients that are easy to find and kitchen tools. This is the very first hot drink I have made from scratch and I haven’t used arrowroot starch before. My beverage was definitely creamy however I did taste a bit of gritty/chalkiness. Do you have any thoughts on where I may have gone wrong. Would I have over-mixed or under-mixed in the blender. Not all of the arrowroot starch dissolved as I could see little tiny pieces when I poured the mixture back into the pot to rewarm. I also used coconut milk (from a carton). Also, with the 1/2c water to #of tea bags for all 3 scales the same amount of water, does this affect the strength of the tea. My beverage didn’t have enough chai flavour at 2X and I was wondering if it has to do with the brand of Chai Tea I bought. It was a new package of tea and individually wrapped.
This is my first time on your website and I am very glad to have found it on a google search for pumpkin chai tea lattes. Your website is also beautifully set up and the typefonts are great with a very nice uncluttered look. Thanks for all the tips as well as I am an amateur photographer and like taking food photos but not very successful as lighting is an issue so I really like your tips. Will definitely try other recipes for healthy recipes. All the best to you.
Hi Linda, I’m sorry to hear that was your experience. It could have been the amounts or not quite mixed enough. Tea can change, especially the steeping time. I appreciate you taking the time to comment on your experience!
Great recipe! The first time I made it I accidentally used almond extract instead of vanilla. But… I loved it that way. I’ve now made it with vanilla and almond and prefer the almond. Bonus- almond extract is much cheaper . Be warned, I’m not super into pumpkin spice stuff in general, so my suggestion may not work for the traditionalists out there. Also, I use an ikea battery operated milk frothier to blend it and find that it works beautifully. Love your website, Kate, we use it ALL the time.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Anne! I appreciate you takin the time to review.
I tried this and it was super good!! I added a little sugar because I wanted it to be a bit sweeter. The recipe was perfect and I cant wait to have this before work everyday :)
I love that you plan to have one before work everyday! I appreciate your review, Haylely.
I have had great success with many of your recipes (cheers to the pumpkin cheesecake mousse) that use maple syrup in lieu of sugar. Your site is naturally my first stop in the quest for a coffee based pumpkin latte that is not cloyingly sweet and even a bit healthy (grasping at the pumpkin). Do you have any recommendations to change this up for a coffee – maple – pumpkin pairing?
Thank you very much for all of the great recipes. They have helped make our first year of a “kind diet” rewarding, easy, and fun!
Thank you! I’m glad my blog is a go-to for you, Julie. I don’t have a suggestion right now without trying it. You could try the pumpkin without the chai.
This was incredibly delicious and so easy! I dont have an immersion blender so I just used my milk frother and it turned out awesome! Had a very nice foam on top so went without the whipped cream.