14 Pumpkin Spice Products You Should And Shouldn't Buy

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The moment the first pumpkin spice products hit the shelves, it's a sure sign that fall is right around the corner. Pumpkin spice is a powerful bit of nostalgia that reminds us of the changing colors of leaves, cozy sweaters, stylish boots, fall festivals, and some of our favorite autumnal holidays. 

With that sort of nostalgia, it's no wonder that we go crazy for pumpkin spice products. But it's an uneven playing field out there. While there are some wonderful ones out there that make autumn all the better, we've also all encountered pumpkin spice products that we've thrown in the trash after one disgusting bite. 

Which pumpkin spice goodies should you take home and which should you leave on the shelf? The many choices can be dizzying but never fear. We've researched many of the top fall products so you can know which ones you should and shouldn't buy. Here are some of the most popular pumpkin spice products to buy this autumn, and a few you should leave behind.

Do buy: Pumpkin Spice Oreos

While Pumpkin Spice isn't on our list of best Oreo flavors, it's a favorite of Oreo fans who seek out everything pumpkin-spice flavored in the fall. Unfortunately, they've had to wait quite a while, as five years passed between Oreo's first release of Pumpkin Spice Oreos in 2017 and the next time they appeared in 2022 (via TODAY). Oreo's long-awaited seasonal flavor has fans tripping over their fall boots with excitement.

Pumpkin Spice Oreos feature two golden Oreo cookies stuffed with delicious pumpkin spice-flavored cream. However, Oreos contain both sugar and high fructose corn syrup, so some people find them too sweet. Two dyes in Pumpkin Spice Oreos, yellow 5 and red 40, are labeled as unsafe for kids by the Food Standards Agency in the European Union because of potential links to increased hyperactivity. Studies also show that yellow 5 may be linked to cancer when consumed in large amounts over time (via Healthline), though the amount in a few Oreos is unlikely to harm you. This flavor of Oreo is a limited edition flavor that's only available for a short time, so you probably won't get much of a chance to overindulge.

Do buy: Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

If you're wondering whether pumpkin spice goes well with cream cheese, the answer is a resounding "yes." Just imagine how good a pumpkin spice cheesecake might be, and you'll realize it's an excellent flavor of cream cheese. Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese is a pumpkin spice product you should buy to bring a little fall magic to ordinary foods like bagels or cream cheese frosting.

Unlike some other autumnal products, Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese contains real pumpkins. It also contains sugar and brown sugar, but with only 4 grams of sugar per serving, it's not overwhelmingly sweet. As per one reviewer, "This cream cheese has the perfect pumpkin spice. It's perfectly sweet, but not too sweet" (via Influenster) We also like that this product contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, or dyes.

Since it's the same price as the original Philadelphia Cream Cheese, you might as well give it a try this fall. However, if you can't find Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese in a store near you, you can also take a few minutes to upgrade plain cream cheese with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spices.

Don't buy: Nestle Toll House Pumpkin Spice Cookie Dough

We were excited to see that Nestle Toll House was ready for fall with its Pumpkin Spice Cookie Dough. After all, nothing embodies fall like the smell of freshly-baked cookies and pumpkin spice in your kitchen, right?

While some people seem to like these cookies fine, others were less excited. Some customers found the resulting cookies to be completely inedible, even going as far as calling them the worst they'd ever had. Yet, at just $3.12, this refrigerated dough isn't a huge gamble. Just be aware that you still might end up throwing them in the trash after they've made your house smell nice.

Nestle Toll House Pumpkin Spice Cookie Dough seemed to have potential since it doesn't have any preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors in the mix. However, we can't recommend them in good faith. For more control over your pumpkin spice cookie quality, why not try making some soft and chewy pumpkin cookies from scratch instead?

Do buy: Werther's Original Pumpkin Spice Soft Caramels

Werther's is a candy indulgence that delights many dedicated fans. Werther's Original Pumpkin Spice Soft Caramels are no exception. One reviewer noted that "Honestly, never in a million years did I think I'd be one of those crazed pumpkin lover people, but I must say I absolutely 100% love these Werther's chewy caramel delights!" (via Walmart).

However, you might be in for a surprise when it comes to the flavor, as some reviewers note that the caramels contain the flavor of actual pumpkin as opposed to the more expected pumpkin pie spices. If the idea of pumpkin spice soft caramels appeals to you, you'll be happy to know that these caramels contain real milk, cream, and butter, just like other Werther's products. You'll probably want to keep in mind the fact that it's difficult to stop at just one. A serving size is five pieces, which contain 12 grams of sugar. If you only eat one, 2.4 grams of sugar isn't so bad, but you can easily overindulge.

Don't buy: Great Value Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

If the Great Value Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows tempt you, we urge you to find some other pumpkin spice treat to fill your pumpkin-shaped sweets void. Very few people have anything good to say about them. One Walmart reviewer said, "It mostly tastes like chemicals and reminds me of some kind of medicine. Maybe like a chalky Tums but worse. [I] threw out the bag after eating just one!"

The label for the Great Value Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows noted that the contents contain tetrasodium pyrophosphate. You can also find this chemical in household and industrial cleaners, water softeners, metal cleaners, and in oil well drilling, though it is in markedly different amounts there as opposed to its use as a food additive (via New Jersey Department of Health). The USDA recently banned the chemical in organic food production because phosphate food additives are reportedly easier to absorb and exposure to high levels can negatively affect your kidneys, blood vessels, and bones (via Greener Choices). However, you would have to eat massive quantities of these marshmallows to feel such effects.

According to the ingredient label, these marshmallows may also contain traces of tilapia. Fish in marshmallows? The New York Times says manufacturers use fish gelatin rather than beef gelatin to make marshmallows kosher, though you're unlikely to taste the difference here.

Do buy: Hostess Pumpkin Spice Twinkies

Pumpkin Spice Twinkies may seem especially tempting if you're a fan of the original treats. Some Target customers certainly were, lauding the cinnamon-heavy spice mixture and noting that the treat wasn't overly sweet for most palates.

However, you shouldn't get this pumpkin spice treat thinking you're going to get a pumpkin pie-filled Twinkie. Instead, these Pumpkin Spice Twinkies are similar to original Twinkies except that the filling is infused with seasonal spices. We won't pretend this pumpkin pie spice dessert is a healthy treat, either. It contains a whopping 31 grams of sugar, which is more than most people should have in a day (via Harvard). 

These also contain polysorbate 60, which may have negative effects on reproductive processes and your organs, though only if consumed in high amounts. Thus, the FDA limits how much of it can be used in food (via Healthy Living). Since Pumpkin Spice Twinkies are well-loved and highly rated, we recommend giving them a try. Just don't eat them in excess.

Don't buy: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Mini Crullers

Krispy Kreme's pumpkin spice season includes the release of pumpkin spice lattes and several types of pumpkin spice doughnuts. However, the only place to find Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Pumpkin Spice Mini Crullers is in stores and online. Getting Krispy Kreme mini crullers of any flavor is nothing like getting a doughnut from a Krispy Kreme location, however. As per one reviewer, "the texture was weird and the taste was bad, nothing at all like the real donuts from the shop. I couldn't eat even one and gave the rest away" (via Google). 

Other reviewers said the pumpkin spice flavor was weak or nonexistent (via Walmart). The crullers also aren't well-packaged, as many found that the contents of their box of pumpkin spice doughnuts were reduced to crumbs or mush (via Amazon). Perhaps it's best to just keep Krispy Kreme Pumpkin Spice Mini Crullers off your list of pumpkin spice products to try this year.

Do buy: Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

Back in August 2022, before any leaves even considered falling off trees, Cheerios launched its pumpkin spice cereal. Of course, die-hard pumpkin spice fans were already posting fall memes on social media, perhaps disillusioned by the heat of summer. Pumpkin Spice Cheerios is a favorite Cheerios flavor, so it was a safe bet that fans would bite. One customer, who was already dreaming of the stuff in February, said it's "One of my all time favorites! I buy it every year! My kids even like it! It's not overly pumpkin or spice" (via Influenster).

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios is a fairly healthy cereal, given that it contains whole-grain oats and lots of vitamins and minerals. However, it also contains 12 grams of four kinds of sugar: sugar, honey, brown sugar, and brown sugar syrup. This amount is comparable to most other sweet cereals. Pumpkin Spice Cheerios also contains trisodium phosphate, sometimes used in cleaning products, though in very different concentrations. General Mills says it uses this FDA-approved chemical for texture and crunch enhancement and that very little of it is left in the cereal. So, you probably shouldn't be too concerned about it. Overall, we think you'll enjoy getting your pumpkin spice fix with this cereal.

Don't buy: Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin spice lovers looking for a plant-based premade pumpkin spice latte are likely to turn to Califia Farm and its bottled Pumpkin Spice Latte. It's a cold brew coffee blend that you are meant to enjoy either iced or heated. But how is it, really?

The main ingredients in Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte include almond milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Since the monk fruit sweetener in it is unlikely to raise your blood sugar levels, it's a pumpkin pie spice treat that may appeal to anyone looking at their sugar consumption. 

Unfortunately, most Target reviewers don't have anything good to say about it, noting that the bottle contains a gritty mess with little more than water and pumpkin spice, with little actual coffee in the mix. If you're looking for a bottle of cold brew coffee that effectively uses the pumpkin spice flavor, then you probably shouldn't bother with this one.

Do buy: Wandering Bear Extra Strong Cold Brew Coffee Pumpkin Spice

Wandering Bear has an excellent cold brew pumpkin spice coffee that contains the equivalent of two espresso shots in each six-ounce serving, so you can use it as the base for a variety of pumpkin spice drinks. Wandering Bear Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew contains natural and artificial pumpkin flavors. The only other ingredients are water, organic coffee, and pumpkin spice extracts, making it a darn good canvas for crafting your next pumpkin spice beverage.

We also like that it comes in a box with a convenient spigot, which also helps the coffee to stay fresh for a whole month after opening. With a six-ounce serving also coming in at only 10 calories, it may be appealing for those looking to cut back on their calories, too.

However, this brew is a little pricey. FreshDirect sells a 16-serving box for $41.79, which isn't a bad deal so long as you can manage the initial price. It all comes out to $2.61 per serving. Meanwhile, buying a single Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks will set you back $5.45 to $5.95 (via TODAY). With a 4.9-star rating from over 8,800 Google reviewers, we think you can't go wrong with this smooth and strong cold brew.

Do buy: Swiss Miss Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa Mix

Pumpkin spice hot cocoa can be hit or miss, but Pumpkin Spice Swiss Miss is a big hit with nearly everyone who tries it. Target reviewers say that the mix "has a great pumpkin spice flavor without being overwhelming." However, it received some dings for its elevated sugar content.

Exactly what is in Swiss Miss Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa? There are a few food additives involved, like disodium phosphate. However, WebMD notes that there's not enough disodium phosphate in most foods to be a problem for most people. Meanwhile, mono- and diglycerides are considered to be safe ingredients with no intake limit (via Bakerpedia). The main concern here is that the mix has a whopping 28 grams of sugar per serving.

If you can stomach the sweetness and don't mind a bit of extra work, the real magic comes from what you add to the mix. For basic pumpkin spice cocoa, you only need to add hot water. However, you can elevate your cocoa by using hot milk instead. Doing that and also including a shot of espresso gives you a pumpkin spice mocha. Just know that this seasonal Swiss Miss mix sells out quickly, so you may not easily find it on the shelves at your local grocery.

Do buy: Orgain Organic Protein Pumpkin Spice

If you're a protein shake person, choosing a pumpkin spice protein shake mix can help fulfill your pumpkin spice cravings while still helping you meet your dietary needs. Orgain Organic Pumpkin Spice Protein shake mix fits into quite a few dietary niches, given that it's vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free, kosher, and uses non-GMO ingredients.

The protein in this protein powder comes from peas, brown rice, and chia seeds. Amazon reviewers noted that this protein mix tasted just fine and was filling. Others prizes this mix for its creamy texture, which plays especially well in your morning coffee. Some reviewers don't feel that the pumpkin spice flavor is prominent enough, though others fixed the issue with a dash of cinnamon. So long as you're okay with stevia, we think you'll probably want Orgain Organic Pumpkin Spice Protein shake mix to turn your protein drinks into a fall treat.

Do buy: International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee Creamer

Of all the pumpkin spice creamers out there, the one that seems to universally "delight" the most people is International Delight Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer. Take our word for it: you are unlikely to end up regretting your pumpkin spice creamer decision with this coffee enhancer. Looking at the reviews on Walmart, even people who aren't the biggest fans of pumpkin spice flavor seem to like the stuff.

It's not too naughty, either. A tablespoon of this coffee creamer only contains 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of sugar. So, if you're adding a few splashes of creamer into your coffee instead of a quarter cup, it's a fairly low-calorie coffee additive that won't make your morning brew overly sweet, so long as you don't go overboard. International Delight Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer is a pumpkin spice product you should buy if you're a pumpkin spice coffee lover.

Don't buy: Califia Farms Creamer With Almondmilk Pumpkin Spice

If you're looking for a non-dairy pumpkin spice creamer, you'll be better off making your own instead of trying Califia Farms Creamer With Almond Milk Pumpkin Spice. Califia Farms unveiled its new pumpkin creamer in August of 2022. However, it hasn't gone over well with most Target reviewers. One said that the "first sip was horrendous. It tastes so chemically and lacks flavor. [It] just tastes like bland milk with a hint of very artificial pumpkin spice." Another threw theirs away because it "smells and tastes like raid spray!!"

With only 20 calories per tablespoon, no fat, and only 3 grams of sugar, this at least looks like a good choice for lactose-intolerant pumpkin spice lovers. It even uses real cane sugar instead of artificial sweeteners, which some can find offputting. However, given that so many consumers found this creamer disgusting, we cannot recommend this pumpkin spice product.