“Pumpkin Spice” Hot Chocolate (or Mocha or Latte)

6 Reviews / 5 Average
If you're a huge fan of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte during the fall, then you'll love this much healthier homemade version. I love that now the kids can also enjoy this yummy drink since I've included a hot cocoa version for them, too!
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Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate from 100 Days of Real Food

Just in case you aren’t feeling the spirit of autumn yet here’s one more reason to get you in the mood. Every year there’s lots of talk about Starbuck’s famed “Pumpkin Spice Latte,” but why leave the kids out of all the fun? I don’t know about you, but my children have not graduated to lattes quite yet, which is why I came up with this “Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate” drink for them instead. And since it has cocoa in it you can easily add a shot of espresso to turn it into an adult “Pumpkin Spice Mocha” (or Latte) as well…which means there is something for everyone. Enjoy!

pumpkin spice chart

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107 thoughts on ““Pumpkin Spice” Hot Chocolate (or Mocha or Latte)”

  1. 5 stars
    I just made this using the latte recipe with maple syrup. It is an amazing recipe!! So yummy on a blustery Fall morning. Thank you for sharing this Lisa. :)

  2. 5 stars
    O M freaking G!

    I made this in my “pod” machine by mixing ground coffee w/ the cocoa and the spices (didn’t have PP spice per se so made my own w/ cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom), then loaded it into my DIY pod and pressed “GO!” I nuked the milk while the coffee brewed, and skipped the sweetener (learned from a barista that heating milk to 180’F caramelizes the milk sugars so it tastes sweeter & I can skip a LOT of the sugar).

    LOVING this! It’s never really fall this far South but I can pretend!

  3. I subscribe to Consumer Labs and they tested cocoa powders and dark chocolates and found high levels of lead and cadmium in many of them, including Hersheys Dark Cocoa. I stopped using it as a result and have switched to Bakers unsweetened chocolate bars which had the highest level of flavonoids and no lead or cadmium. I thought you might be interested in this information. I don’t think anyone wants to be exposing themselves or their families to lead and cadmium. It is very disappointing that so many of the chocolates and cocoa powders have lead and cadmium and are allowed to remain on the market. Consumer Labs is an independent lab that tests supplements and products that aren’t FDA regulated.

  4. This is great! It would be great to get a healthier spin on some of their holiday drinks like peppermint mocha and gingerbread latte and would love to know your take.

  5. I’ve made similar recipes and the spices are always gritty and and clump at the bottom of my cup. Any recommendations?

  6. I just made the hot chocolate for myself. Then made it for my husband. I was sooo jealous that he had a full cup to enjoy and I only had 1/2 cup left. I’m definitely making this again tomorrow. So good!

  7. The kids don’t have to miss out on Starbucks! Starbucks actually sells Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa, too, and in the smaller (& cheaper!) kids sizes.

  8. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Lori. We’ve not tried that but I imagine you could. You might have to do some remixing before reheating. ~Amy

  9. Can I make the hot cocoa “in bulk,” like a quart or two and keep it in the fridge to warm up in the morning?

  10. 5 stars
    I LOVE this thanks for posting. I just made a Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa. Awesome. I also realized if I travel with some cocoa and some pumpkin spice I could even have these on the road with just a cup of steamed milk. I too love the PSL however with all the chemicals i have gone with out this year. Thank you for this recipe list!

  11. Love this! I don’t have an espresso maker so I’ve been using very strong coffee and the smallest cup setting on my Keurig for the “shot.” Also, I made my own pumpkin spice mix using equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and allspice. Delicious!

  12. this recipe sounds yummy…however wondering if lisa has recommendation/suggestion for making a hot chocolate mix to put in some cute canisters for gifts? i love making things like that for neighbors, teachers, etc. as gifts. i’d love to have any ideas or suggestions! thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Erica and Betsy. It might be difficult to find a dry mixture that follows the rules. But, you could certainly improve upon what you typically would find in store bought mixes (many contain hydrogenated oils) with just good cocoa, organic sugar and maybe a bit of salt. You could do a real food hot cocoa kit which could include a good cocoa and some local honey. This blogger has some ideas: http://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2012/12/homemade-instant-hot-cocoa-made-with-real-ingredients-single-serve-and-frugal-gift-idea/. And, here are some other ideas Lisa has had in the homemade gift category: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/12/02/real-food-tips-12-homemade-holiday-gifts-that-aren%E2%80%99t-cookies/. Hope this helps. ~Amy

  13. 5 stars
    I’m wondering if anyone has tips on how to get the pumpkin pie spice to dissolve?

    I’m using freshly steamed milk and coffee but I still end up with a collection of spice at the bottom of my cup.

    I’m using this pretty much every day now. :)

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Vanessa. I always have a bit at the bottom, too. I just stir often. :) ~Amy

  14. I’ve started making my own pumpkin lattes at home a while now…alot cheaper and healthier as i can use all natural ingredients….I add a tablespoon or two of canned pumpkin ( not canned pumpkin pie filling) and to make pumpkin chai latte I heat a little water with my chai tea bag, with pumpkin then add steamed/hot milk and then add a dash of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon
    ….voila perfect for fall

  15. Ok really silly. I bought the same espresso machine as you but its used. I know how to make it but I dont know how much 1 shot or 2 shots is. Can u help???

    1. I double brewed mine to make an ‘espresso’. What you do is brew a strong cup of coffee, and then pour what you just brewed back into where the water normally goes, and then brew another strong cup. It’s the closest thing I’ve been able to do at home to espresso. Hope that helps!

  16. Isn’t this missing the pumpkin portion?? Isn’t that what makes it a PUMPKIN spice latte? Otherwise, it’s just like buying/brewing flavored coffee?

    1. That’s taking it too literally, I think. “Pumpkin pie spice” is a tasty thing (mix) on it’s own. Personally, I don’t want pumpkin in my coffee.
      But if you insist?

  17. This tasted like warm spiced milk. No cocoa taste at all. I love Starbucks Pumpkin Lattes and this was not even close. What in the world did I do wrong? Is that really correct to only put 1/4 tsp. of cocoa in 3/4 cups of milk?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Amy. You need to adjust it to your taste…add more cocoa if you like it a little more “cocoa-y”. Jill

  18. Made myself a “latte” using this today. Made some substituions (maple syrup instead of honey, unsweetened, plain almond milk instead of milk), added more than a shot of coffee and left off the whipped topping. It was very tasty; might try the “mocha” from a different post tomorrow! :)

  19. How do I change this to just make delicious home made hot chocolate…leave out the pumpkin spice, double up on cocoa instead and leave out honey?…Also would vanilla almond milk be a good substitution for milk?

  20. Coffee shop pumpkin drinks taste like pumpkin, which this won’t. It will just be a spiced hot chocolate or mocha.

    1. There are other recipes that actually add pumpkin puree. They make it a bit sludgy, IMO, but they are still tasty and still real food.

  21. Nutrition info would be awesome, if you could find a way to compile it quickly. I know those nutrition builders are clumsy, though.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Melissa. Sorry, we don’t calculate the nutrition information for our recipes. Jill

  22. Christal Espelage

    Do you have any clean recipes for an iced coffee? I like hazelnut, but anything healthier than the kind I get now (McDonald’s hazelnut iced coffee), would be great :)

  23. I am thinking about making a batch of this “syrup” to share at my MOPS group. Is it ok if I print out the recipe to share?

  24. I havent been able to find Pumpkin spice over here. Is it a US thing? I read somewhere, probably on this site somewhere, that it has cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves in it, all items that I keep in the cupboard. What sort of ratios should I use to make my own?

  25. I’m really starting to get sick of the way processed grains make me feel, to the point where I’m feeding the leftover donuts my husband bought this weekend to the squirrels (and don’t get me started on the Halloween candy). Meals I can do the real way, but snacks, for my 18-month-old especially, have been hard to navigate. I’m going to try treating him more like a grown-up and offering him this hot chocolate now that it’s the season.

    I know I’ve said this before, but whenever I think of real food I think of you — you’re the angel on my shoulder!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Thank you! I got it at Pier 1 last year (part of a set), but I think they still sell them.

  26. I made this yesterday for myself and my kids after playing outside in our first snow of the year, and we all loved it! How great that we can enjoy hot chocolate with barely any sugar! Thanks!

  27. The recipe looks wonderful and one I will most certainly make. However rather than use milk, I will use a milk substitute such as coconut mile or almond milk. I’m surprised to see the use of milk in the recipe given the studies that are out there about the use of growth hormones given to cows and that we ingest through milk consumption. Follow any of Dr. Mercola’s writings on the concerns with milk and also GreedMedingo.com

    Conventional milk contains the recombinant bovine growth hormone, designed to dramatically increase milk production. As far back as 1937, the administration of bovine growth hormone was shown to increase the milk yield in lactating cows by preventing mammary cell death in dairy cattle. As cancer is the immortalization of the cell, you can understand why interfering with mammary cell death may increase the risk of breast cancer (and others).
    IGF-1 in rBGH milk is a potential risk factor for both breast and gastrointestinal cancers. | GreenM
    This toxicological article on GreenMedInfo.com concerns – Unlabeled milk from cows treated with biosynthetic growth hormones: a case of regulatory abdication.

  28. this is such a delicious recipe—I had it both saturday & sunday morning!! I used organic agave nectar from trader joes mixed with the ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa. I made like a syrup on the bottom of my mug. I also put the pumpkin pie spice over my coffee grounds to enhance the flavor while brewing. If you mostly make it a coffee treat, with low fat milk—it ends up only being around 100-120 calories.

  29. I didn’t have any pumpkin spice i made hot chocolate. We use the real COCOA it’s very strong , taste much better, we get it from Haiti. We don’t use hot chocolate powder. we broiled the water with cinamon stick ,put milk , vanilla extrat and the cocoa. Delicieux !!!!!!

  30. I just made this. I used agave syrup instead of honey and it was delish. Just thought I would let people know since there was only one comment on how the recipe actually was. Yum!

  31. Hi Lisa,

    Do you have a pumpkin bread recipe? My youngest daughter loves baking with me and I think this would be a great way to spend a cold Sunday after church. Lil cocoa and baki


  32. Try adding an 1/8 cup pumpkin puree per serving! Just whisk it in or blend together… it makes the texture a bit thicker, but it’s soooo good and adds nutritional value and boosts the drink to the next level. The only way I’ll make a pumpkin spice drink now, even with the extra step- it’s worth it!

  33. Just found your site and really commend you for all your efforts– especially your effort to share your learnings, your enthusiasm, and your commitment to teaching your children and all the others who will visit your web site about the value of eating ‘real food’. The recipe for the Pumpkin Spice sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to make a few for our kids later this week. I will, however substitute the Hershey’s Chocolate for a ‘fair trade’ brand. If you are not familiar with Hershey’s child/slave labor practices . . . you might want to investigate. As Michael Pollan states, we vote with our fork.

  34. I just made this for my 7 year old daughter and myself as it is a very cold, windy day here in Wisconsin. This is wonderful!! I got out our snowman mugs and made a batch for us to sip in front of the fire. Who says eating real food isn’t delicious?

  35. I liked the sound of this until I read that it has only 1/4 tsp of cocoa. Really, how can you call this hot chocolate? I’ll make my hot chocolate and add the other ingredients. Do like many of your recipes.

  36. OH YUM!!!! This is wonderful especially this time of year.

    Do you have any idea how to make a Carmel Latte? Would this recipe maybe act as a starting point?

    Thank you SO much for your blog and completely LOVING the new print function.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I am not sure about a carmel latte exactly, but I imagine it would be a carmel sauce (check Deliciously Organic’s blog for that) mixed with espesso and hot milk. Good luck!

  37. I am LOVING the “print recipe” button! Thanks! I have been enjoying your blog for over a year and it just keeps getting better!
    Heather in San Diego!

  38. I don’t drink coffee and so the one time a year I go to Starbucks I just order a pumpkin spice hot chocolate! I really don’t think there is a better combination than pumpkin and chocolate. So I will definitely be trying this recipe out at home! Thanks!

  39. I used to love starbucks pumpkin spice latte, but it tastes different this year, and now after reading your website and I am more aware of what I eat, I am less likely to drink it. I will be trying this recipe out, although I am not a hot chocolate fan. I wish I knew how to make my own pumpkin spice latte. :)Thank you for this recipe.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      For this to be a latte, make the “mocha” version, leave out the cocoa and add milk foam. I believe that’s the main difference, although I am certainly not a coffee drink expert!

  40. I used to love Stbx pumpkin spice lattes…then I found out what the “pumpkin spice syrup” was made of:

    Sugar, Condensed Nonfat Milk, Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk, Annatto (E160b, Colour), Natural and Artificial Flavours, Caramel Colour (E150D), Salt, Potassium Sorbate (E202, a preservative).

    Do you see pumpkin in that list of ingredients? Gross. And definitely not real food. Now I make my own and it is worlds better (and cheaper) than their version.

    1. There is no pumpkin in pumpkin pie spice. It’s a blend of spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) that gives pumpkin pie it’s unique flavor.

  41. Thank you so much for this recipe!!! Now that it’s been getting cooler, my husband asked how we are going to get through the winter without our swiss miss! :-) Now I have the perfect solution. Can’t wait to try it! I already have all the ingredients on hand! yay :-)

  42. Charlotte Locavore

    This sounds delicious! I often give my daughter cinnamon ‘lattes’, I don’t know why I didn’t think to make a non-caffeine version of one of my favorite fall drinks for her!

    I find Starbucks pumpkin lattes way too sweet, but I love Dilworth coffee’s pumpkin latte. They don’t use the syrup, instead they make the spice blend themselves. It is fantastic!

  43. This recipe looks delicious! I want to try it just for the fact that I won’t have to pay starbucks prices for a delicious warm fall drink!

  44. This looks amazing! I despise paying soo much for Starbucks pumpkin spice latte’s but they are so yummy. I am trying this tonight!

  45. WOAH. You are making my LIFE right now!!! I’m obsessed with pumpkin, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bread…pumpkin anything!

  46. Almost every day I want to write on here about how much I LOVE this website and your recipes (Been eating real since the Yahoo article was published). This one did it for me. We are going to the pumpkin patch today and can’t wait to get home and make this for my little one!! (And myself, of course!)

  47. I love this idea! I’m seeing so much fuss about the Starbuck’s pumpkin whatever and I feel left out because I don’t drink coffee. I already add pumpkin pie spice to my white hot chocolate, but that comes from a mix, which is definitely not healthy. And on top of that I add extra sugar. I’ll try your version soon!

  48. I’ll have to try this. I’m not really a fan of flavored lattes, but I’ll get a mocha on occasion, so perhaps this will put me on the pumpkin spice bandwagon. ;0)

  49. This qualifies as a latte in most coffee bars and it is not far from a hot chai tea either. Just add ginger and a tea bag. Sounds yummy; can’t wait to try it :)

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      My understanding was that the addition of the chocolate (cocoa/cacao) turns it into a mocha…I am certainly no expert though!

      1. “Mocha” is a mix of coffee and chocolate, so if you have a cup of coffee, you make mocha by adding chocolate. And if you have a cup of hot chocolate, you make mocha by adding… coffee! :)

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