It’s not quite fall, but that hasn’t stopped coffee chains from launching seasonal holiday beverages, including the famous Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. In this article, I reveal what’s inside Starbucks’ famous Pumpkin Spice Latte, if it’s gluten-free, and how it fared when tested for hidden gluten. Please see my disclosures.
Did you know that Starbucks offers 90+ foods and beverages that are gluten-free or made without gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats?
Now that fall is [almost] here, and depending on when you read this article, you might be curious if Starbucks’ most famous seasonal beverage, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, is gluten-free.
In this article, I’ll share what ingredients are inside the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and reveal how the famous beverage performed when tested for hidden gluten using my Nima Sensor.
I’ll also share if Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Caribou Coffee, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, and 7-Eleven are gluten-free.
Photo by Starbucks
What’s Inside a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte?
Starbucks’ famous Pumpkin Spice Latte isn’t labeled gluten-free but doesn’t appear to contain any gluten ingredients.
Outside the milk and espresso, it contains a pumpkin spice sauce made of sugar, condensed skim milk, pumpkin puree, vegetable juice, natural flavors, annatto, salt, and potassium sorbate.
It’s also topped with whipped cream (which I usually forgo) and a pumpkin spice topping comprised of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove.
Starbucks also offers a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, a Pumpkin Spice Creme Frappuccino, and a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, all made without gluten ingredients.
Testing Pumpkin Spice Latte for Hidden Gluten
I used my trusty Nima Sensor to test a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte for hidden gluten.
Nima is a portable gluten-detecting device that enables you to test a small portion of your food or beverage for hidden gluten.
I added a bit of latte to a single-use Nima test capsule, and after about two minutes, Nima revealed a smile, which means it didn’t find any gluten.
Are Other PSLs Gluten-Free?
You might wonder if Pumpkin Spice Lattes from other restaurant chains are gluten-free, too. I did a little digging, and here’s what I found.
It might seem odd, but even 7-Eleven is getting in on the Pumpkin Spice Latte trend.
Unfortunately, 7-Eleven doesn’t post its allergens on its website, so I emailed the company to inquire about their PSL. Stay tuned.
Photo by 7-Eleven
Caribou is my favorite coffee shop to support, albeit there are very few Caribou locations near me.
When you enter a Caribou, you can enjoy a gluten-free beverage and two gluten-free breakfast sandwiches (Starbucks, pay attention!).
You can read more about what’s gluten-free at Caribou in my article, A Closer Look at Caribou Coffee’s Gluten-Free Options.
Caribou does not post the ingredients for its products. However, I contacted the company and asked about its Pumpkin Spice Latte.
The company says it contains black tea extract, brown sugar, cinnamon, citric acid, cloves, condensed nonfat milk, emulsifier, espresso, ginger, honey, milk, natural flavors, nutmeg, pumpkin puree, salt, sugar, water, and xanthan gum.
Dunkin’s Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte is topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and a dusting of cinnamon sugar. It can be served hot or cold.
It doesn’t appear to contain any gluten ingredients, albeit Dunkin itself is a restaurant many people following a gluten-free diet avoid due to the significant presence of gluten (via donuts) and the potential for airborne flour and cross-contamination.
According to Dunkin’s Allergen and Ingredient Table, the ingredients in Dunkin’s Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte include the following:
Skim Milk; Pumpkin Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk (Nonfat Milk, Sugar), Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Molasses), Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Mono and Diglycerides, Disodium Phosphate, Salt; Brewed Espresso Coffee; Whipped Light Cream: Cream, Skim Milk, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Mono and Diglycerides, Carrageenan, Dextrose, Natural and Artificial Flavor; Caramel Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk (Nonfat Milk, Sugar), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavors, Salt; Vanilla Flavor: Natural Flavors, Fruit Juice For Color; Topping: Sugar, Cinnamon, Cinnamon Oil.
Whew, that’s a lot of ingredients right there; however, none appear to be gluten.
Photo by Dunkin
Not to be out-pumpkin-ed by its rival, Dunkin, Krispy Kreme also offers a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
However, I would never walk into a Krispy Kreme store since the entire place is covered in gluten, but if you find yourself in one, you can at least enjoy the Pumpkin Spice Latte because it doesn’t contain any gluten ingredients.
Krispy Kreme’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes are made from Milk, Espresso (Brewed Espresso (Water, Espresso Coffee)), Flavored Sauce (Sugar, Water, Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk, Tapioca Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Natural Flavors, Caramel Color, Nutmeg, Salt, Clove, Xanthan Gum, Gellan Gum), Whipped Cream (Cream, Skim Milk, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Mono and Diglycerides, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Carrageenan), Seasoning (Spices, Sulfiting Agents).
While it doesn’t contain gluten, per se, be mindful that Krispy Kreme is a highly contaminated restaurant. While Dunkin’s donuts are baked outside the restaurant, Krispy Kreme bakes them fresh in-store daily. Airborne gluten is a real issue at Krispy Kreme.
McDonald’s offers a McCafe Pumpkin Spice Latte freshly brewed with pumpkin and cinnamon flavors.
The beverage does not appear to contain gluten ingredients and has a much simpler ingredient list than Dunkin.
It contains milk with vitamin D3 added, water, espresso, and a pumpkin spice flavor syrup that is made of the following ingredients: Fructose, Water, Nonfat Dry Milk, Propylene Glycol, Contains 2% Or Less: Caramel Color, Natural Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (preservative), Xanthan Gum, Salt, Sucralose, Extractives Of Annatto (color).
Ready for Pumpkin Season?
Just because you follow a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out on pumpkin spice lattes. Plenty of companies are making lattes without gluten ingredients.
When ordering from any of these restaurants, be sure to disclose your “allergy” and ask them to use clean hands and sanitized surfaces when making your beverage in order to minimize the risk of gluten cross-contamination.
Now get ready to enjoy the flavors of fall with a gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Latte from your restaurant of choice.
You might enjoy these articles:
- These 90+ Foods and Beverages at Starbucks are Gluten-Free
- A Closer Look at Caribou Coffee’s Gluten-Free Options
- Gluten Cross-Contamination: 10 Most Important Things You Need to Know
- Where to Find Gluten-Free Pumpkin Beer
- Nima Sensor Controversy Boils Over When Influencer Puts McDonald’s French Fries to the Hidden Gluten Test
- What You Need to Know About Nima Sensor Before You Buy – Perspective from a Celiac & Nutrition Professional
- Copycat Gluten-Free Krispy Kreme Donuts