pumpkin spice creamer taste test

We Tried 8 Kinds of Pumpkin Spice Creamer and This Was Our Favorite

Which PSC belongs in your PSL?
By Sarra Sedghi
September 18, 2021
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Come late August, two divisive words hit the food landscape: pumpkin spice. A spice blend consisting of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves (and sometimes a bit more), pumpkin spice spent the last decade or so in a capitalist renaissance. These days, it's ubiquitous even in places you don't expect it, like cream cheese, SPAM, and noodles.

But aside from baked goods and Trader Joe's, there's one singular item that catapulted pumpkin spice's flavor profile to mainstream success: coffee. Coffee culture, especially drive-thru coffee culture, turned pumpkin spice into a household name and pumpkin spice latte into an acronym.

Coffee creamer is not objectively bad — it's pretty much designed to be the opposite. And to be completely honest, none of these creamers were terrible except for when I tried them straight, completely aware of what I was getting myself into. But a few newcomers to the pumpkin spice creamer lineup did inspire us to determine which one reigned supreme once and for all. We tried eight different types of pumpkin spice creamer, all available at stores or online, to find the very best. Here's what we learned:

Best Pumpkin Spice Creamer at a Glance:

Best Overall: International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer
Runner-Up: Coffee mate Pumpkin Spice and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Coffee Creamer
Best Natural Pumpkin Spice Creamer: Chobani Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer
Best Non-Dairy Pumpkin Spice Creamer: Chobani Pumpkin Spice Oat Coffee Creamer and Coffee mate Natural Bliss Oat Milk Creamer

What We Looked For When Ranking Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Flavor: Just because something is heavily flavored doesn't mean we want to be overwhelmed. Our ideal pumpkin spice creamer needed enough spice flavor to embody the autumnal spirit, but not so much that it tasted like potpourri. We also took the varying degrees of sweetness into account.

Price: Clearly we're not expecting to pay Starbucks drive-thru prices every day, but does that mean we can't get our pumpkin creamer fix? No. Out of all the vices in the world, pumpkin spice coffee creamer is definitely one of the better ones to have.

Texture: Coffee creamer doesn't just flavor your coffee — it also provides a little thickness. Our ideal creamer would balance out the coffee's bitterness without diluting its consistency.

How We Tested Each Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Something you learn trying different coffee creamers is that, for the most part, there aren't very distinct differences in taste. The acidity in coffee neutralizes the eggnog-like sweetness in these creamers, which means that if you're really going to get into it, you've got to try them on their own. I tested the coffee creamers by sampling straight sips and stirring it into numerous cups of coffee over the course of many days, broken down, frankly, to what I could handle at one time. It's not for the faint of heart.

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international delight pumpkin pie spice creamer
Credit: Target

Best Overall: International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer

No surprises here — International Delight is no stranger to nailing flavors, and their pumpkin pie spice creamer delivers exactly what pumpkin spice is supposed to evoke. It's mildly creamy, with a nice texture that doesn't feel watered down, and it picked up a note I couldn't find in any of the other contending creamers: clove. There's a depth and slight earthiness to this creamer, but it doesn't come on too strong. And if that's not enough, in the absence of promotions, International Delight is the most affordable creamer of the bunch. 

Buy it: $3.39; Target

coffeemate and starbucks pumpkin spice creamers
Credit: Target

Runners-Up: Coffee mate Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Coffee Creamer

Coffee mate and Starbucks' pumpkin spice creamers are both very solid options, which makes sense given that they're both highly trustworthy brands. The few distinctions here are price and taste — Coffee mate's creamer is on the more saccharine side and comes at a lower price point; Starbucks, on the other hand, tastes less sugary but is about a dollar more. 

Buy it: $3.59; Target; and $4.69; Target

chobani pumpkin spice coffee creamer
Credit: Publix

Best Natural Pumpkin Spice Creamer: Chobani Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

Chobani's limited-batch creamer has a nice, complex taste, is completely kosher, and is made without preservatives, artificial ingredients, or GMO ingredients — and somehow, these pluses don't drive the price as high as you'd expect. Both the regular and oat varieties retail at $3.99, which is significantly less than Natural Bliss at $5.39. Chobani's one hangup is its availability. It's difficult to track down online; the creamer simply showed up at Publix, and I grabbed it. If you're lucky enough to find the stuff, pick up a carton. 

Buy it: $3.99; Publix

both alt milk pumpkin spice creamers
Credit: Instacart, Target

Best Non-Dairy Pumpkin Spice Creamer: Chobani Pumpkin Spice Oat Coffee Creamer and Coffee mate Natural Bliss Oat Milk Creamer

Chobani and Natural Bliss' alt-milk creamers both succeed for different reasons. Chobani's oat milk pumpkin spice has more of a full-bodied flavor, while Natural Bliss' is muted and smooth. Silk's almond milk pumpkin spice creamer couldn't compare to either of the oat creamers — something about its sweetness felt artificial in the Sweet'N Low sense. 

Buy it: $3.99; Publix and $5.39; Target

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