Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan? The Amazing Truth

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan? There are two things Fall is basically associated with: (1) Halloween; and (2) Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Our love for all things pumpkin spice has so grown so much that come Fall time you can find almost anything in a “Pumpkin Spice” variety. Don’t believe me. Well, how about pumpkin spice dog shampoo? Maybe you want some pumpkin spice peanut butter. Or maybe you are worried about those lines under your eyes – how about some pumpkin spice under-eye cream? Or my personal favorite – how about some pumpkin spice latte deodorant? Starbucks’ iconic Fall Drink even has its own dedicated Twitter page @TheRealPSL (it has 90.9k followers). According to CNBC Starbucks sells 424 million cups of the stuff worldwide each year. Whether you love it or hate it – you need to know – Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan? SPOILER ALERT – it still isn’t (at least not here in the US).

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan?

As a general rule, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte in the US is not vegan but it can be ordered vegan in the UK (as well as other European locations). This is because the pumpkin spice sauce used in the US contains dairy. However, the Pumpkin Spice Sauce used in the UK does not contain dairy – therefore in the UK, you can order a vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte by ordering with vegan milk.

What is a Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan

The Starbucks website explains the Pumpkin Spice Latte as “Our signature espresso and steamed milk with the celebrated flavor combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove”. Starbucks first released the drink in the Fall of 2003. Ironically, this first version of the drink contained no pumpkin in it. It wasn’t until a food blogger Vani Hari started investigating that it came out as not having any pumpkin in it. In 2015 Starbucks finally changed the recipe to use pumpkin puree.

What is in a Pumpkin Spice Latte?

A Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is made of Milk, Espresso, Pumpkin Spiced Flavored Sauce, Whipped Cream (optional and not vegan), and Pumpkin Spiced Topping (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves).

You can find an exact ingredient list breakdown on the Starbucks website here and I have included it below for ease of reference.

US Pumpkin Spice Latte Ingredient List

Milk, Pumpkin Spice Sauce [Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2 Or Less Of Fruit And Vegetable Juice For Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto, Salt, Potassium Sorbate], Brewed Espresso, Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Mono And Diglycerides, Carageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Pumpkin Spice Topping [Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfiting Agents]

What is the Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce made of?

From the above ingredient list, you can see the Pumpkin Spice Sauce is made from Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, and contains 2g or Less of Fruit And Vegetable Juice for Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto, Salt, Potassium Sorbate.

As you can see the second ingredient on the list is “Condensed Skim Milk”.

What about other Pumpkin Drinks at Starbucks?

At the time of writing Starbucks currently offers the following “Pumpkin” seasonal drinks “Pumpkin Spice Latte” and “Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew”. Sadly, both are these drinks are not vegan. This is because both drinks use the pumpkin spice sauce which contains dairy (this is even aside from the fact you would have to order the drink with non-dairy milk). There is no way the baristas can get around this – there are no alternative pumpkin spice sauces, and if you order it without well you don’t have any pumpkin spice.

Do you love Starbucks?

Do you love Starbucks? Have you ever wanted to know exactly what is vegan and is not vegan on their drink’s menu? If you do, then check out my review of the whole Starbucks Menu at How To Actually Order Vegan Starbucks Drinks.

Similarly, ever wondered if Tea or Coffee is vegan? If you have then you need to read my blog piece: Is Tea Vegan? Time To Know The Complete Facts and Is Coffee Vegan? How To Find Out The Truth.

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan – Good News for UK People

If you live in the UK, then there is some good news. For reasons, I could not find out why the UK version of the pumpkin spice sauce used in the drink does not contain dairy. This means all pumpkin spice drinks in the UK are vegan (if you swap the dairy milk for a non-dairy option). There is even an option for a vegan whipped cream topping at UK Starbucks locations which frankly blew my mind. Not sure why this is not the case in the US.

You can see the ingredient list for the UK Pumpkin Spice Latte which I found from Starbucks UK’s Autumn nutritional information pdf below. You will see the ingredient list clearly states, “vegan pumpkin spice sauce”.

UK Pumpkin Spice Sauce Ingredient List

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Sauce [sugar, water, inulin, pumpkin juice from concentrate (2%), salt, natural flavoring, stabilizers: carrageenan, xanthan gum; preservative: potassium sorbate, colors: paprika extract, carotenes; acid: citric acid]

What about other Starbucks Locations?

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan

In my research, I tried to work out if the difference was just a US vs worldwide locations thing for Starbucks (i.e. do Starbucks in France, Italy, etc also use a dairy or non-dairy version of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice sauce).

Doing some more research, I found out that in 2018 Starbucks launched the vegan pumpkin spice sauce in locations in the UK, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and Austria. I was not able to find out if it has been rolled out to any further international locations since then.

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan – What about other coffee brands?

If Starbucks doesn’t make a vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte then what about other brands? What other options are available for vegans?

Is Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan?

Dunkin’ Donuts is the second biggest coffee chain in the US. It’s Starbucks ’ biggest US competitor. If Starbucks doesn’t make a vegan pumpkin spice latte, then why would Dunkin’, right?

Dunkin’ Donuts does not make a vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte. Both Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte and Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew contain dairy in the pumpkin spice base. This means that neither drink can be made vegan even if dairy milk is substituted for non-dairy milk.

Is the Peet’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan?

Finally some good news. Peet’s pumpkin spice latte is vegan. This is because Peet’s pumpkin spice latte base does not contain dairy. It also does not come with whipped cream so to make this drink vegan all you have to do is order it with a non-dairy milk alternative. Peet’s Pumpkin Oat Cold Brew is also vegan. This drink consists of cold brew coffee with a layer of sweetened pumpkin pie spiced micro-foam made from oat milk.

One thing to watch out for is that I could not seem to find out what type of sugar Peets uses in their drinks. If it’s not raw or organic sugar, there is a chance it could have been processed with bone char.  I will leave that to your discretion as to whether that is something that could be a deal-breaker for you. If it is I list below more Starbucks alternatives including how to make a Pumpkin Spiced Latte at home.

Is Jamba Juice Pumpkin Blast Vegan?

More of a fan of a cooling pumpkin spice drink (especially if you are living somewhere where it is still 70 + degrees this time of year)? Jamba Juice has you covered – as of last year Jamba Juice offers their popular pumpkin blast in a plant-based version.  This Jamba Juice drink is made from Oatly oat milk (certified vegan), So Delicious oat milk frozen dessert (certified vegan), and their pumpkin spice flavor base.

When ordering makes sure to specify that you want the plant-based version.

Similar caveat – the pumpkin spice flavor base contains sugar. As is always the case with sugar that isn’t marked as organic or raw you don’t know if it was processed with bone char or not. This may make this a deal-breaker for you as well.

How Can I Make Vegan Pumpkin Spice Coffee at Home?

If any of the above are not just right for you then you know what they say: “if you want something done right, then do it yourself”. Here are some ways to create a Pumpkin Spiced Latte at home.

Use a Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Laird is my go-to powdered coffee creamer in the Fall. Made with organic coconut sugar and certified vegan what’s not to love? If you want to check it out you can find it here on Amazon here.

Alternatively, if you don’t like powered creamers check out Nut Pod’s Pumpkin Spice Creamer from Amazon here – it is really pretty good with coffee. I recommend pouring it in first before adding coffee and making sure to stir properly. It is made from almond milk, coconut milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, and ginger. Oh, and did I mention it’s certified vegan?

Use the Spice

Starbucks on their website lists a Pumpkin Spice Syrup recipe you can use to make at home. To make it you will need Sugar (use organic or raw sugar), water, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin puree. I’ll list the recipe below for you.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

  • 1 ½ cup Sugar (use organic or raw sugar)
  • 1 ½ cup Water
  • 6 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 4 Tsp Pumpkin Puree

Cooking Instructions

Step 1 – Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Step 2 – When the sugar is dissolved, add cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin puree. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 3 – Remove from heat and immediately strain through a cheesecloth.

Step 4 – Use 3 Tbsp of your Pumpkin Spice syrup when making your coffee to create a Pumpkin Spice Flavored drink.

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan – The Final Sip

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte vegan? No, it isn’t. The saddest thing is that it can be. Starbucks locations in the UK, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, and Austria all use only a vegan pumpkin spice-flavored sauce in the drink. This really begs the question as to why this hasn’t happened in the US. Sadly, if you live in the US and have a love for all Pumpkin Spice Lattes when it comes to Fall you really don’t have many options – Peet’s or Jamba Juice? Like with many things being vegan – if you want a Pumpkin Spice Latte you might just have to make it yourself at home.

Is Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Vegan

…now you know.

Beverage makers may change ingredients and/or manufacturing processes. Always double-check ingredients before purchasing any beverages.

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The Vegan Bev HQ Editorial Team - helping you find the best vegan drink out there!

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