pumpkin smoothie

Pumpkin Spice Beyond the Pie

Time to bring that jar of pumpkin pie spice front and center in your pantry! Try these 10 creative ways to put its seasonal flavor to delicious use.

“When I begin creating a new product, I first write a detailed description of the flavor I have in mind,” says Myrna Adolfo, a member of the Panera Bread® Food Team. For the Pumpkin Spice Latte, she decided on an espresso with flavor from real pumpkin, then accented with “a pleasant spice background, sweet vanilla notes, and a hint of cinnamon.” 

Panera recently brought a similar flavor profile to its bakery-cafes with the seasonal Pumpkin Pie Bagel. “With its moistness and cinnamon-crunch streusel, it’s more of a pastry experience than a bagel experience,” says Tom Gumpel, head baker at Panera Bread. 

You too can bring the spice of pumpkin pie to a variety of foods—for breakfasts, snacks, desserts, and even savory side dishes. Try these tastes or create some of your own.

Pumpkin Spice “Tea Latte”

Put pumpkin pie spices—such as a cinnamon stick, ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and half of a vanilla bean (pod and seeds)—in a tea ball infuser and place it in 2 cups steamed milk for about 5 minutes. Add the spice-milk to cups of freshly brewed hot tea, and top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Pumpkin Smoothie

Blend together 2 ounces of pumpkin puree with 6 ounces of almond milk, soy milk, or fat-free milk and a little pumpkin pie spice to taste. Sweeten with honey or agave nectar as desired. For a thicker smoothie, replace some milk with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. For a frosty drink, add ice before blending.

Pumpkin Spice Butter Cookies

First make some Pumpkin Pie Sugar by combining ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar with 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Next, make your favorite butter cookie or sugar cookie recipe and lightly dust the top of the cookies with Pumpkin Pie Sugar before or after baking.

Pumpkin Pie French Toast or Pancakes

Stir ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into every 2 cups of French toast custard (egg-milk mixture) or 2 cups of pancake batter before cooking.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Add a dollop of pumpkin puree and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to a serving of cooked steel-cut oats. Sweeten to taste.

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

Add a dollop of pumpkin puree and ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to vanilla yogurt. Top with a handful of cinnamon-flavored cereal. 

Pumpkin Pie Sweet Potatoes

Bake sweet potatoes until they’re nearly done; then slice halfway through each and add a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice and a drizzle of honey or caramel sauce. Continue baking until the potatoes are done.

Pumpkin Pie Rice

When making instant brown rice, melt 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine in the saucepan and stir in 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, then add water, salt, and rice per package directions.

Pumpkin Pie Popcorn

Drizzle popped popcorn with butter and sprinkle with Pumpkin Pie Sugar (see above) to taste. Toss to coat.

Pumpkin Spice Nuts

Beat 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon of water until frothy. Add 1 pound of California almonds (or other shelled nuts) and toss to coat. Spread the nuts on a lightly oiled baking pan and dust them with Pumpkin Pie Sugar (above). Bake at 250°F for 15 minutes; then reduce the heat to 200°F and bake until the nuts are caramelized, about 45 minutes longer.