What Is In Pumpkin Spice? And Does It Contain Pumpkin?

pumpkin spice

The pumpkin spice flavor used in coffee drinks and so many other foods popular in fall is typically a mixture of spices (or flavorings) including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and sometimes allspice.

Does pumpkin spice contain pumpkin?

It’s called pumpkin spice not because it has pumpkin in it but because it’s the spice mixture traditionally used to flavor pumpkin pie and other pumpkin-based baked goods (which is why it’s also sometimes called pumpkin pie spice).

In fact, many seasonal treats labeled as having pumpkin spice flavor don’t contain actual pumpkin—though some do. Starbucks added puréed pumpkin to the ingredients of its famous pumpkin spice latte in 2015.

In pop culture, the release and promotion of pumpkin spice products—often in early fall and, increasingly, late summer—is often considered a marker of the new season (and an example of how seasonal marketing begins earlier and earlier). It’s especially common around this time to encounter discussion and debate about the absence (or presence) of pumpkin in pumpkin spice.


Perk up with these coffee terms (whether or not you'd add pumpkin spice to them)!

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