This pumpkin spice chai latte is made with real pumpkin, creamy, and is made under 10 minutes with only a few ingredients. It combines the two best fall flavors – pumpkin and chai. It has so much more flavor and is creamier than Starbucks pumpkin chai. You won’t be able to resist not making this for your festive fall pick-me-up!
This is a tea based drink – check out this pumpkin spice cold foam for a festive fall coffee drink! You’ll also love this pumpkin spiced whipped cream which is the perfect topping for any hot or cold drink.
Why you will LOVE this recipe:
- Spiced: Packed full of pumpkin spice, and even more spices to make it ultra flavorful.
- Velvety: The texture is rich and velvety, which works so perfectly with the spice of the pumpkin spice.
- Easy: It’s so easy to make at home and tastes way better than Starbucks pumpkin chai.
❔ How do I make a Starbucks pumpkin chai?
This recipe is inspired by the Starbucks pumpkin chai latte, but it’s way more flavorful, and creamier. You get all the flavor and creaminess without having it overly sweet.
Starbucks pumpkin chai uses flavored syrup to sweeten and flavor the drink. Starbucks doesn’t even use real pumpkin. Using real pumpkin in chai naturally gives it a velvety texture and body.
For a thick foamy topping like the Starbucks drink has, you can froth a bit of milk after making the chai latte and spoon the foam on top. Frothing the chai tea latte itself gives you a thinner layer of foam on top (which I prefer more).
📝 Key ingredients
This is a variation on a traditional chai latte but with a few ingredient shortcuts that will make it that much easier for you to whip up.
Pumpkin spice actually contains most of the ingredients found in chai. All you need to do is supplement with a few more spices and you have a flavorful, perfectly spiced chai.
- Pumpkin pie spice: This is a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. If you can't find it in stores you can make pumpkin pie spice yourself.
- Star anise: This beautiful star shaped spice gives minty flavor and undertones.
- Cardamom: Gives the chai herbal and warm flavors. It's a must to get that chai flavor.
- Ginger: Use dried ground ginger like I did for convenience, or use an inch of fresh ginger for brighter flavour.
- Tea: You can use looseleaf black tea or black tea bags, whatever you have on hand.
- Pumpkin puree: Homemade or storebought works great. Use the leftover pumpkin puree to make these vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or these pumpkin biscotti - the perfect pairing for this chai pumpkin spice tea latte recipe.
✔️ Ingredient substitutions
Dairy free: Use your favorite dairy free milk. Be careful not to bring the chai to a boil or it will curdle. Just heat until it starts to steam and turn it off.
Sugar free: Omit the brown sugar completely or substitute with your preferred sugar free sweetener.
Refined sugar free: Use honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup to sweeten.
Read through for all the tips you will need for success!
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below.
👩🍳 How to make pumpkin chai
To make chai, first you cook the spices and pumpkin puree until fragrant. Add the milk, simmer, add tea leaves, steep, and then strain. You can optionally froth the chai at the end or top with foamed milk.
Step 1: Combine spices, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan.
Step 2: Cook on medium-low heat until fragrant and darkened in color. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
Step 3: Pour milk into the saucepan and stir well to combine. Heat on medium heat until it simmers and rises up in the pan. Be careful so it doesn't spill over the edge of the pan.
If using plant based milk, do NOT bring it to a boil or it will curdle - just heat until very hot.
Step 4: Sprinkle tea leaves or drop tea bags into the hot milk. Cover with a lid and let steep for a few minutes.
Tip: To keep your tea from getting bitter, add the tea at the very end and let it steep off the burner. This prevents you from burning the tea leaves.
Step 5: Strain the chai tea through a strainer into a larger glass if you want to froth it. Otherwise strain it right into a large mug.
Step 6: Froth the pumpkin spice chai tea latte with a whisk and pour into a cup to serve. Alternatively, you can top with frothed regular milk for extra foam.
Tip: Line the sieve with cheesecloth to get all of the smaller particles out if you don’t like a bit of ground spices at the bottom of your cup.
🧊 How to make iced pumpkin chai tea latte
All you have to do is follow the directions as written in the recipe and let it cool a little longer. Pour it over ice and serve. If you're feeling extra festive, top with this pumpkin whipped cream.
❔ Can you boil almond milk?
I don’t recommend boiling almond milk because it can curdle and become chunky. Same goes for most but milks. Heat it gently and take it off the heat just before it comes to a boil. This happens because the proteins separate easier in nut milk than dairy milk.
Pair this recipe with these dairy free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for an easy allergen friendly breakfast or snack.
📖 Recipe FAQ
Yes, just don’t let dairy free milk come to a boil or simmer or it will curdle. I recommend heating it until very hot and steamy, then taking it off the heat before it simmers and comes to a boil.
If you can’t get a hold of it, you can make pumpkin spice using this easy recipe. If you’re allergic to any of the ingredients, just omit them from the recipe.
You can make pumpkin puree by roasting halved pie pumpkins or squash cut side down on a baking sheet until very soft.You can omit the pumpkin puree to make a chai latte. Leave the pumpkin spice in the recipe because it has most of the extra spices you need found in a chai tea latte recipe.
Ideally you should, but as a shortcut you can use previously ground spices. I make this most mornings in the fall and it’s so much easier to use pre-ground spices. Grinding your own spices will give you more flavor and is more authentic to a traditional chai.
Yes, let it cool a bit and pour over ice to serve.
🍂 Related fall recipes:
Check out my best pumpkin desserts for more easy pumpkin recipe ideas.
Did you make this recipe? I would love for you to rate this recipe and hear what you think in the comments below! Share your creation on Instagram and tag @flouringkitchen. Follow me on Pinterest to save and for more recipe ideas.
Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte
- milk frother or french press
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or sweetener of choice
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 green cardamom pods crushed or ground cardamom
- 1 star anise
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger or 1 inch piece fresh ginger for more spice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper optional
- 2 cups milk dairy or dairy free milk of choice
- 2-3 tablespoons loose leaf black tea or 2-3 black tea bags
- Combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spices in a medium saucepan.¼ cup pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 2 green cardamom pods crushed, 1 star anise, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper optional
- Cook on medium-low heat until fragrant and darkened in color. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
- Pour milk into the saucepan and stir well to combine. Heat on medium heat until it simmers and rises up in the pan. Be careful so it doesn't spill over the edge of the pan. If using plant based milk, do NOT bring it to a boil or it will curdle – just heat until very hot.2 cups milk
- Sprinkle tea leaves or drop tea bags into the hot milk. Cover with a lid and let steep for 2-5 minutes.2-3 tablespoons loose leaf black tea
- Strain the chai tea through a strainer into a larger glass if you want to froth it. Otherwise strain it right into a large mug. Line the sieve with cheesecloth to get all of the smaller particles out if you don't like a bit of ground spices at the bottom of your chai.
- Froth the pumpkin spice chai tea latte with a whisk and pour into a large cup or two small cups to serve. Alternatively, you can top with frothed cold milk for extra foam.