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Make your own pumpkin spice syrup!

By Thursday, October 09, 2014

Despite being 80 degrees in the Bay Area lately, seasonal fall flavors are everywhere. I had my first pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks last week and after seeing Erin at House of Earnest post a recipe to make your own pumpkin spice latte syrup, I had to give it a try myself.

First, I hit up my favorite Oaktown Spice Shop for vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks/chips. I learned that saigon cinnamon has a much stronger flavor than "regular" korintje cinnamon, which is usually the type you find in powdered form. Smell them to compare -- you really can tell a difference. (Another favorite spice shop is All Spice in Des Moines. They have such nice packaging and you can order online!)

Pumpkin Pie Spice Syrup Ingredients: vanilla beans, star anise, pureed pumpkin, cinnamon chips
Ingredients (l to r): vanilla beans, star anise, pureed pumpkin, cinnamon chips

I had all the other ingredients I needed, including the individual spices to make my own pumpkin pie spice blend. Using a recipe I found on The Kitchn, I mixed the spice blend, doubling the recipe to have extra.

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend: ginger, allspice, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon
Spices (clockwise, from bottom): ginger, allspice, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon

Then, I created the syrup. Erin had posted two different recipes -- one sweetened with dates and one with sugar. I did make both, so I could do a taste comparison, but I didn't like the date version at all. My sister Amanda, of Hammer & Heels blog fame, did like it but she tends to be healthier than me. Considering that I put an obscene amount of sugar into my cappuccino every morning, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. So, I've just included the recipe for the sugar version below.

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or equivalent cinnamon chips)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 vanilla beans (or one large bean, cut in half and then split, so the flavor can easily escape)

Combine the sugar and water in a small pan and cook on medium/low heat until the mixture is slightly bubbly and sugar is totally dissolved. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir constantly while heating up the pumpkin and incorporating it all together. Strain the entire mixture to get rid of any large bits (I used a strainer, but cheesecloth would also work), let cool, then bottle.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Syrup cooking on stove
Syrup cooking

I couldn't wait to try the syrup in my cappuccino this morning...and it was delicious! Since getting an espresso machine from C. for Christmas last year, I've gotten really good at making them at home and rarely buy coffee out anymore. I always say, the true test is when I go out for something and find it's not as good as what I can make at home...which applies to both food and coffee now!

Cappuccino and Pumpkin Pie Spice Syrup
Morning cappuccino and bottled syrup

One other thing that's made a huge difference in my not frequenting Peets as often (besides the knowledge that I'm saving $3-4 every day) was getting a fantastic travel thermos. I read somewhere about this Zojirushi thermos, and it really does keep hot drinks hot (not just warm, hot) for hours. It also seals and locks tightly enough that you can throw it in your bag and ride the train without fear of it spilling anywhere. It's amazing. 

Please leave a comment below if you try making this syrup yourself, or if you have any good recipes for pumpkin pie spice in general.

P.S. If you live in the Bay Area and would like some syrup for your own use, let me know! I have a couple extra bottles to give away...


  1. I would love a bottle if you still have extra! Pumpkin spice is the best! Also, the bottles you put it in are so fancy with their pretty labels.

    1. You win! I actually made C. do the labels for me -- he has better lettering skills than I do :)

  2. Would the pumpkin pie syrup be good on ice cream? ... or possibly, drizzled over warm gingerbread?

    1. What about warm gingerbread with a scoop of ice cream on top, then drizzled with this syrup? Obviously, I exercise restraint in my thinking :)

    2. How about warm gingerbread with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream, then drizzled with syrup and topped with a froth of whipped cream... and served with a cup of hot chocolate? :))

  3. Mmmm, looks amazing, and so pretty! The process looked like fun as well! I can imagine all kinds of uses for the pumpkin spice syrup, including fall cocktails. :) I love the Oaktown Spice Shop; they have a wedding spices set that I'm planning to gift to my sister and her fiance.

    1. We should definitely do a fall themed cocktail at our next dinner party!