Year after year, we hold onto hope that Starbucks will finally make its Pumpkin Spice Latte vegan. And yet, the PSL remains one of the few drinks at the chain that is virtually impossible to veganize. Unfortunately, its star ingredient, the pumpkin spice sauce, contains dairy. We’ve done a significant amount of sleuthing, but even the most experienced barista cannot offer a secret hack to get around this dilemma—you simply can’t make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks without the chain’s pumpkin spice sauce. So, we’re opting out and sticking with these vegan pumpkin spice drinks you can get at other cafés around the US.
Starbucks is not alone in pairing pumpkin with dairy. We searched far and wide and found that it’s a common trend amongst chains.
Be aware that the pumpkin-based espresso beverages at Dunkin’ Donuts, Dutch Bros., and Caribou Coffee all contain dairy-based pumpkin syrups and sauces. Independent coffee shops may provide a more vegan-friendly atmosphere, but when pumpkin is involved, it’s always best to check the ingredients before ordering this cozy fall beverage. We wish you the best of luck in your vegan pumpkin spice-seeking journey.
3 vegan pumpkin spice drinks you can get at coffee chains
In 2020, all UK Starbucks locations put a vegan version of the PSL on the menu, complete with a dairy-free topping. Unfortunately, the coffeehouse chain hasn’t made any moves to do the same here in the US—and, we’re still paying extra for dairy-free milk. That being said, a handful of coffee chains across the country actually offer vegan-friendly, pumpkin-y drinks for fall.
1 Peet’s Coffee Pumpkin Latte
Peet’s has reliably served PSL-starved vegan patrons for years with this iconic beverage. It’s made with espresso, your dairy-free steamed milk of choice, and a vegan-friendly pumpkin syrup that’s reminiscent of pumpkin pie. The beverage is topped with a sprinkle of warm baking spices. Because no whipped cream is involved, all you have to do is ask for plant milk. At the moment, the chain is one of several that still charges extra for vegan milk.
The chain carries the Pacific Foods brand of almond, oat, and soy milk. We recommend getting it with oat or soy milk—both have a natural creaminess that complements fall beverages. It’s also available as an iced latte.
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
2 Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Pumpkin Latte
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf PSL rendition is not quite as straightforward as Peet’s, but it is still entirely possible to order a satisfying and vegan pumpkin-flavored espresso beverage here.
If you order it hot, just swap out the dairy milk for your preferred plant milk (soy, almond, oat, or coconut) and ask for no whipped cream. If you opt for the iced variety, ask your barista to use the pumpkin syrup in lieu of the powder, which, unfortunately, contains dairy.
3 Whole Foods Coffee Bar Pumpkin Latte
The coffee bar at Whole Foods is often overshadowed by the tantalizing array of vegan-friendly food stations, but come fall, it’s an excellent option to quell a pumpkin latte craving. The syrup is vegan-friendly and plant milk is always available (check your local store for options). Take advantage of the cinnamon shaker to add a bit more spice to this sweet drink. Not to mention, you can find plenty of vegan-friendly pumpkin spice treats throughout the supermarket itself.
Store-bought vegan pumpkin spice drinks
Although options for vegan-friendly pumpkin spice lattes in cafés are limited, there are ways to get your fix at home, such as flavored beans, canned lattes, and syrups. Here are your options for at-home, caffeinated vegan pumpkin spice beverages.
1 Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee
It may not be a canned or bottled latte, but Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee still provides warm, cozy fall flavors in a mug. This pre-ground coffee features notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, which pair well with a little bit of brown sugar and your preferred variety of dairy-free milk. See our guide to barista milks for our recommendations for plant-based milks that pair well with coffee and espresso. You can also froth up any of these milks and pour them over the coffee for a more decadent drink.
Learn more here
2 Starbucks Non-Dairy Pumpkin Spice Flavored Creamer
In lieu of plain or lightly sweetened vegan milk, you could pair your pumpkin-spiced coffee with pumpkin spice-flavored creamer. Starbucks’ dairy-free pumpkin spice creamer features a creamy oat and almond milk base, plus fall’s favorite dessert flavors—pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It may not froth, but this non-dairy creamer adds a velvety richness to your coffee and a splash of it goes a long way.
Learn more here
3 La Colombe Oatmilk Pumpkin Spice Latte
As far as we’re concerned, it’s iced—or rather, chilled—latte season all year round. La Colombe knows this. The coffee-maker’s vegan pumpkin spice latte features the company’s signature cold brew paired with nitrous-infused oat milk, and real pumpkin purée. The end result is a smooth drink that provides much-needed caffeine with cozy fall flavors.
Learn more here
4 Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte
Get a big glass of ice ready for this bottled pumpkin spice latte made with cold brew arabica coffee, almond milk, real pumpkin, and a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. It’s not too sweet, but pumpkin-y enough to satisfy your craving for a vegan PSL. We recommend topping it with dairy-free whipped cream for the full iced PSL experience.
Learn more here
Although Starbucks is holding out on us as far as vegan-friendly PSLs go, you’re certainly not up the river without a paddle. These pumpkin-spiced espresso drinks, bottled lattes, and coffees are sure to get you in the mood for fall.
For more vegan guides to fall food, read:
The Essential Guide to Starbucks Vegan Fall Drinks
27 Vegan Pumpkin Spice Products Worth the Hype
Everything You Need for Vegan Fall Baking