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Upgrade Your Pumpkin Spice Latte With These Easy Tricks

Different pumpkin spice drinks at Starbucks, sitting on a stone counter.

Pumpkin Spice Latte season is officially here! The beloved Starbucks fall drink is highly anticipated every year and delicious all by itself. But for even more flavor and variety, you can try these PSL hacks!

Starbucks hacks and secret menu items are everywhere for every drink imaginable, and PSLs are no exception. If you love your PSL but want to get a little creative this year, there are a few surprisingly simple ways you can ask your barista to upgrade your drink.

Next time you make a Starbucks run this fall, try one of these tips for a delicious new twist on a classic! Read on as we work through our favorite PSL drink hacks starting with the simple and subtle, then moving on to the more advanced PSL-makeover tricks.

Add Cinnamon Dolce Syrup

The easiest, most obvious PSL hack? Order it with a pump or two of Cinnamon Dolce syrup! Pumpkin and cinnamon are practically fall-baking royalty when it comes to signature flavors of the season and they are natural companions in and out of a latte cup.

The slightly sweet, slightly spicy flavor of the cinnamon syrup pairs perfectly with pumpkin spice. It’s super easy to remember (and low-hassle for your barista too!)

Add Caramel

There are a couple of different ways you can add rich, sweet caramel to your PSL. The basic option is simply to order it with a pump or two of caramel.

Tip: Upgrade even further: ask for a sprinkling of salt to turn your caramel PSL into a salted caramel PSL!

You might also ask for something like a caramel drizzle on top, although that won’t have the flavor permeating the same way as mixing the caramel into the drink itself.

Order With Coconut Milk

A Starbucks drink made with coconut milk.

Coconut milk is a popular Starbucks swap in any drink that uses milk, and it’s just as good in the PSL! Just ask for coconut milk to be substituted for regular milk.

That might not be a routine substitution for you, and coconut milk does alter the texture of the drink a bit compared to the frothing texture of regular dairy milk. But we’d encourage you to take it for a spin even if it’s outside your regular coffee comfort zone. The hint of coconut along with the spices and pumpkin is a surprising flavor combination that gives it a sort of fusion-cuisine vibe.

Add Hazelnut Syrup

Want to make your PSL taste even more like your favorite pumpkin pie? Place your order with an added pump or two of hazelnut syrup!

The sweet and slightly nutty syrup combines with the spicy pumpkin flavor to give it a little more dimension and a creamy flavor that resembles a classic pumpkin pie.

Order a Cinderella Latte

Who doesn’t love a good “secret menu” drink? One of the most beloved “secret” recipes on the fall menu is the Cinderella Latte, named after the famous white pumpkin coach from the fairytale.

The drink recipe originated with former Starbucks barista turned Instagrammer and small business owner @happiestteesonearth, seen below and clearly very excited about lattes, coffee, and Cinderella!

So how does one order this magical drink? You’ll probably want to avoid just asking for a “Cinderella latte”—it’s popular enough that there’s a chance your barista knows what it is, but it’s not an official Starbucks drink.

Instead, simply ask your barista to swap out half the pumpkin sauce with white mocha sauce.

Combine Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple Spice

The two icons of the Starbucks fall menu are the Caramel Apple Spice and the Pumpkin Spice Latte. But have you ever thought about combining the two? If you want a fall drink without caffeine, this combination is for you.

All you have to do is order the Caramel Apple Spice and ask them to add a couple of pumps of pumpkin sauce. The apple cider-based drink already includes cinnamon spice and caramel, so adding the pumpkin is all you need to do! Plus, the pumpkin and apple flavors actually go well together, especially with the spice tying them together.

Order a Great Pumpkin Latte

A pumpkin spice latte sitting among a bunch of pumpkins.

It’s the Great Pumpkin (Spice Latte)! Originally created by Bustle editor Emma Lord, this PSL upgrade is a punny delight. The idea behind the “secret menu” recipe is a pun on Peanuts and the iconic 1960s Halloween classic, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, we all know and love.

To make the drink, ask your barista to swap out half of the pumpkin sauce pumps for toffee nut syrup. The nutty syrup is a fun (and delicious) play on words: toffee nut, like Peanuts!

As always, be kind to your baristas, especially when requesting customizations. Also, keep in mind that stores may occasionally have shortages of certain items—have a backup plan in case your request isn’t available at the moment.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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