Pumpkins used to be one of autumn's unnoticed traditions, showing up as jack o'lanterns at Halloween and pumpkin pies over the holidays. Then coffee chains popularized the pumpkin spice latte as an autumn treat, and now pumpkin and especially "pumpkin spice" are an inescapable and much loved part of fall. These 10 recipes showcase some of the best – and often, easiest – seasonal pumpkin spice treats.
Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice
At this time of the year, a lot of recipes call for pumpkin spice or pumpkin pie spice as if it's a single seasoning. Spoiler: It's not. It's just a mixture of popular warm spices, prepackaged for convenience. You pay a premium for that convenience, though, and the spices aren't necessarily at their freshest by the time you use them. You can save some money and have the freshest possible flavors by making your own homemade pumpkin spice mixture. As an added bonus, you can play with the proportions of the spices to create a custom blend that suits your personal taste.
Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn
Popcorn is more or less the "Official Snack of Watching Movies." Logically, then, this pumpkin spice caramel corn recipe would be the perfect snack to munch on while you're watching your favorite holiday movies. You can eat it once it's cool enough to handle, or if you're self-disciplined, you can pack some into airtight containers for gifts or for eating later.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins
A coffee and a muffin is a great way to start your day, but how about a coffee in a muffin? That's what you get with this quick and easy homemade pumpkin spice latte muffin recipe. You can make them ahead of time to have ready in the morning, but the whole recipe takes just 30 minutes from start to finish so there's plenty of time to make them fresh on a weekend morning. If you have a latte habit, you'll already know how nicely the earthy note of espresso plays with the sweetness of the pumpkin, and these tasty treats give you another way to savor that combination.
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookie
The only thing better than a good chocolate chip cookie is a bigger one, and the only thing better than that is a giant cookie. If you want to take it even one step further, how about a giant pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookie? Yeah, you heard that right. This oversized treat is baked and served in a cast iron skillet, giving it beautifully crisp edges to contrast with the soft, gooey, melty chocolate interior. Cut the cookie into wedges and serve it warm with scoops of ice cream or whipped cream, and drizzles of caramel or chocolate sauce.
Pumpkin Spice Milkshake
We all know pumpkin's rich sweetness works well in baked goods, but it also has some untapped potential in less-obvious sweets and treats. One of those is this pumpkin spice milkshake. Like any milkshake, anyone with a blender can pull it together in a matter of moments. From there, you can choose to enjoy it as-is, or go completely over the top with garnishes and sauces the way it's done in trendy gastropubs and cafes around the world. Either way, it's a remarkably easy path to some serious self-indulgence.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
It's hard to believe it's only been a few short years since pumpkin spice lattes became a canonical sign of fall, right up there with the arrival of colorful leaves and Christmas advertising. There are really only two problems with them: They're only available for a limited time, and buying too many of them can really cut into your holiday budget. You can solve both of those problems by learning to craft your own homemade pumpkin spice lattes. It takes just a few minutes to whisk together the fragrant, frothy pumpkin-scented milk that transforms a plain espresso shot into the latte of your dreams.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
There's something irresistibly appealing about the combination of cool autumn air and warm, aromatic spices. In fact, it's almost worth going out and getting cold, just to come into a warm kitchen and smell fresh baked goods like these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Ordinary cinnamon rolls are already appealing enough, but these add pumpkin puree and extra spices to the filling so they're perfectly seasonal and even more addictive. They're best eaten fresh, so share them around.
Pumpkin Spice Granola
Starting your day with coffee is great, but sometimes you need something a little more substantial in your belly. If you're a cereal eater, this pumpkin spice granola is a seriously tempting alternative. It's filled with nuts, seeds, whole oats and warm spices with the natural sweetness of pumpkin and maple. If you're not a cereal-for-breakfast person, it's equally good layered into parfaits or broken up and scattered over cakes and muffins as a topping. You might also find yourself eating entirely too much of it straight out of the jar as a snack.
Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer
Sometimes life can make things hard for you. Consider the cruel irony of jonesing for your pumpkin spice coffee jolt, but not having the energy to go get one – never mind make one – until after you've had some coffee. Well, all of you in the "not a morning person" camp can take heart: You can whip up a batch of pumpkin spice coffee creamer ahead of time, and have those rich autumn flavors at your fingertips as soon as you stumble out of bed. The recipe works equally well with real dairy or non-dairy ingredients, so it's also great for vegans or the lactose-intolerant.
Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin pie is a classic autumn dessert, and cheesecake is a classic anytime dessert, so it makes sense that combining the two creates an instant classic as well. That's what you get with this creamy pumpkin cheesecake recipe. It takes just a few minutes of surprisingly simple preparation, and then 90 minutes or so in a low oven. It also boasts the single biggest advantage you can ask of a holiday recipe: It freezes beautifully, so you can make it as much as a month or two ahead of time. For an even tastier variation, try replacing the crust's graham crumbs with gingersnap crumbs.