Falling leaves, cooling temperatures, getting out the cozy sweaters, and the appearance of winter squash, apples and root vegetables at the grocery store means that autumn is underway. Another sign to add to the list of autumn essentials: pumpkin spice. It’s easy to make at home and is an incredibly versatile spice to have in your pantry.
What Is Pumpkin Spice?
While it may seem that pumpkin spice has been around forever and a day, it’s a relatively new seasoning blend. There is the odd reference to pumpkin spice in cookbooks from the late 1800s, yet it wasn’t until the 1950s that the blend was packaged and sold to be used more widely, beyond recipes that contained real pumpkin in them.
In 2003, a well-known coffee company (you know the one we mean!) introduced its Pumpkin Spice Latte and that’s when pumpkin spice hit the big time. And we’re not just talking lattes – pumpkin spice has permeated throughout the food market, earning just over $500 million in sales in 2019.
This unique spice blend is a mix of:
- Cinnamon (the most dominant flavour)
Culinary Nutrition Benefits of Pumpkin Spice
It doesn’t just taste delicious!
- Cinnamon is excellent for balancing blood sugar levels
- Ginger is highly anti-inflammatory and supports immune health
- Nutmeg and cloves are rich in antioxidants, plus they have anti-viral and anti-microbial actions
- Allspice has anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties
Basic Pumpkin Spice Recipe
This blend is very easy to make at home (you probably already have everything you need) and you can adjust the spice ratios depending on what you like.
You can easily double or triple this recipe and it will keep well if sealed properly all season long.Print
17 Ways to Use Pumpkin Spice Mix
Now that you’ve got your homemade blend in your pantry, time to start using it! Bonus points for using fresh pumpkin, too.
Homemade Lattes (or Dairy-Free Elixirs)
Add a special hint of spice to your elixirs, which you can transform into health-building beverages with a few key ingredients.
Recipe to Try: The Best Pumpkin Spice Latte With Coconut Whipped Cream by Meghan Telpner (*ACN Founder + Director)
Homemade Nut or Seed Milk
Fresh nut or seed milk is a staple liquid in our kitchen (or stashed in the freezer from batch prep), and it’s one of the first recipes we teach our students in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program. Pumpkin spice is a great way to flavour the final product!
Recipe to Try: How to Make Nut and Seed Milk
Pumpkin spice was first called ‘pumpkin pie spice’ because this is how it was primarily used. It’s a classic!
Your entire home will smell heavenly with pumpkin-spiced baked goods cooking in the oven! We also love adding chocolate chips to our pumpkin-spiced cookies.
(And you can never have too many gluten-free cookie recipes! Try one of these 27 recipes with vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, grain-free and Paleo options.)
(Plus bake up more muffin goodness with these 20 Best Gluten-Free Muffin Recipes!)
Pumpkin spices offer warmth to your gluten-free bread recipes – and they don’t have to be overly sweet, either.
(Adore bread but don’t have enough solid gluten-free options? Try one of these Gluten-Free Bread Recipes.)
Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Dairy-free ice cream may be enjoyed most during the summer, but with the warming qualities of pumpkin spices you can dish it up throughout the fall and winter.
(Want more? Try these 20 Best Dairy-Free Ice Cream Recipes.)
Do you like the idea of healthy and delicious from-scratch cooking but think it’s impossible to achieve with a busy life? Our self-paced online course, Everyday Culinary Nutrition, teaches you practical strategies you can incorporate into your everyday eating that positively impact the health and well-being of your family, reduce your household food and packaging waste, and save you money.
You may have tried dairy-free pumpkin soup already, but have you added pumpkin spice to the pot? We definitely recommend it!
(Slurp up our favourite dairy-free soup recipes here.)
Cashew Cream or Whipped Coconut Cream
Pumpkin-spiced cream makes a great topping for gluten-free desserts, oatmeal, chia pudding, fresh fruit or smoothie bowls.
Pancakes or Waffles
Make breakfast that much more flavourful by sprinkling spices into your waffle or pancake batter.
Recipe to Try: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles by Babe Hackett (*Culinary Nutrition Expert)
We like assembling chia pudding a few days ahead so that we have a batch of tasty, pre-prepped, portable breakfasts and snacks ready on hand. The pumpkin spices take them to another level!
(Tired of eating the same old, same old breakfasts? These 12 Energizing Breakfasts can help you feel full of vitality throughout the day!)
Gluten-free oats cooked in coconut milk and pumpkin spice and heaped with nut/seed butter and fresh or dried fruit is the ideal breakfast for the colder months.
Toasted Nut/Seed Mixes
Season your nuts or seeds, or create your own trail mix, with the deliciousness of pumpkin spice. The addition of your favourite natural sweetener and some coconut oil can add depth to the flavours.
Create a pilaf with your favourite gluten-free grains by mixing in sautéed onions, garlic, ginger and then adding in pumpkin spice and sea salt. Finish with some dried fruit and you’ve got a delectable side!
Recipe to Try: How to Cook Beans and Grains
(Grain-free? Try making it with cauliflower rice.)
Pumpkin spices aren’t just for sweet dishes. A number of popular seasoning blends and cultural foods feature cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. You can swap in your pumpkin spice mix in a variety of one-pot dishes like tagines or chilis, or try it in Jamaican-style jerk dishes.
Pumpkin Spice Smoothies
Create a smoothie that tastes just as sweet as pumpkin pie without the added sugars, ensuring we maintain stable energy all day long.
Recipe to Try: Pumpkin Pie Smoothie by Caitlin Iles (*Culinary Nutrition Expert + Program Coach)
(Here are 20 of our favourite dairy-free, nutrient-rich protein smoothie recipes – all of them are the perfect candidates for tomorrow’s breakfast!)
Energy Bites and Granola Bars
Healthy, quick, easy and can be lunchbox-friendly (depending on the nut/seed butter you choose). What more could you ask for in a bite-sized snack?
(Sometimes you just want a little nosh, right? Bite-sized snacks are perfect for when you’re feeling snacky, having guests over for a party, or for little mouths you need to feed.)
With all of these ideas and options, your autumn is sure to be packed with pumpkin-spiced deliciousness!