The Best Vegan Alternatives To Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte

It's 2022 — nearly 20 years after the launch of the now famed Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (via Business of Business), and this year, many vegans had their fingers crossed that the Seattle-based coffee company would finally offer a dairy-free version of their seasonal drink-turned-cultural-icon (via Vegetarian Times). But the August 30 launch came and went, leaving vegans in the U.S. no option to partake in the autumnal offering — even though a vegan PSL is available for purchase in the U.K. and Europe.

Even if you order a Starbucks PSL with non-dairy milk, both the Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam and the Pumpkin Spice sauce — the essential flavor behind the signature drink — contain dairy. And you can't get a vegan PSL at Dunkin' or McDonald's for the same reason. But that doesn't mean plant-based eaters can't enjoy a cruelty-free tawny-colored treat. There's more than one way to spice up a latte, vegan style.

Tweak Starbucks' at-home PSL recipe

The official Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe on the Starbucks website will get vegans as close to the real deal as possible. Start off by making homemade pumpkin spice syrup. If you're a vegan who eats sugar, the recipe exactly as written fits all your needs. If you're a strict vegan with concerns that your sugar may have been processed with animal products, you can always opt to use beet or certified organic cane sugar — neither of which are refined using bone char and both of which are guaranteed to be vegan (via The Spruce Eats). 

Next, heat and froth a plant-based milk of your choosing. Pour the pre-made syrup into your cup, add coffee (Starbucks uses its espresso roast as the base, but any coffee will work), and stir. Fill the rest of your mug with the non-dairy foam, and add a bit of flair with one of these PETA-recommended vegan whipped creams. Get extra fancy by finishing your latte with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Make this cup of coziness even spicier using Starbucks' limited-edition Pumpkin Spice Coffee (via Vegetarian Times).

Try a non-dairy pumpkin spice creamer

Why go through the effort of making your own pumpkin spice syrup when Starbucks already sells a Non-Dairy Pumpkin Spice Flavored Creamer? Just add this sugar-sweetened almond-oat milk to your coffee — hot or cold — and you'll be feeling more like fall by the minute. Devout vegans, beware: Starbucks Non-Dairy PSL Flavored Creamer contains "sugar," which likely means it probably contains a mix of both vegan and non-vegan sugar (via The Spruce Eats). 

New on the market this year, Elmhurst's Pumpkin Spice Oat Creamer offers vegans that classic PSL flavor in a rich base of oat milk and hemp cream. This limited-edition creamer does contain cane sugar, which is usually refined with animal bone char, but given Elmhurst's vegan certification from the American Vegetarian Society, this creamer is safe for even the most stringent of plant-based eaters.

Silk, one of the biggest players in the non-dairy milk game, also offers a Pumpkin Spice Almond Creamer. Vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free, this creamer contains vegan-friendly cane sugar and pea protein to give it some heft. Another name brand alternative with nearly identical plant-based credentials, CoffeeMate also boasts its own Pumpkin Spice Oat Milk Liquid Coffee Creamer. With more plant-based PSL creamers showing up on supermarket shelves, vegans should have no trouble finding an alternative.

Check out what Califia Farms has to offer

Whatever you're looking for in a plant-based PSL substitute, Califia Farms has it. On top of that, all of their pumpkin spice products contain actual pumpkin puree as well as vegan-safe cane sugar. If you love the taste of autumn but it's still 90 degrees out, pick up Califia Farms' Pumpkin Spice Coffee from the refrigerated section. Its ready-to-drink mix of almond milk and cold brew coffee will surely hit the spot.

For a quick and simple way to bring a dash of PSL to your cup, try Califia Farms' ​​Pumpkin Spice Almond Creamer made with almond milk and coconut cream. Whip it into your favorite fall desserts or pour it into your morning brew.

Are you a fan of froth? Give Califia Farms' Pumpkin Spice Oat Barista a whirl. Non-dairy milks with a "barista" distinction are specially designed to create microfoam — tiny, long-lasting bubbles that successfully mimic the behavior of dairy milk, even in the acidic environment of coffee (via Barista Institute). When it comes to recreating the texture of an actual Pumpkin Spice Latte, Califia Farms' barista blend does the trick. 

Make a DIY PSL

Love pumpkin spice but loathe the "basic" Starbucks vibe? Try this recipe from The Vegan 8, which claims to surpass the original. Simply place the recipe's seven ingredients — non-dairy milk, coffee, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, molasses, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and sea salt — in a blender and pulse until foamy. Put the latte on the cooktop for a couple of minutes while gently whisking, then pour it in a mug, and drink in decorative gourd season any day of the year.

The Vegan 8's recipe provides several unique advantages — neither the maple syrup nor the molasses are refined using animal products, and those natural sweeteners combined with the vanilla and salt bring a deep, earthy flavor to this homemade PSL. While the recipe notes it was a smash hit using cashew or lite coconut milk, you could also choose another barista blend non-dairy milk for even more frothing. Top it off with hand-whipped vegan whipped cream or one of several available store brands. Happy sipping!