Pumpkin Spice Products Of 2023 We're Unsure About

With autumn quickly approaching, grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants are preparing their selections of seasonal products featuring the quintessential flavor of fall — pumpkin spice. The aromatic blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, and sometimes pumpkin itself is the undeniable mascot of the fall months. The smell alone evokes a nostalgic feeling of drinking a warm beverage with a cool breeze and crunchy leaves underfoot. It's no wonder then that pumpkin spice has become such a sought-after flavor combination to kick off the season. 

While most autumn lovers are big fans of the classic harvest flavor in items like coffee, beer, and baked goods, there are new releases every year that raise some eyebrows. A few of the more — let's call them "inventive" — pumpkin spice foods and drinks beg the question ... are we pumpkin spicing too close to the sun? In the name of all things good and autumnal, we've put together a list of pumpkin spice products that we're just not sure about. Feeling adventurous? Give them a try, but don't blame us if they're not the autumn treat you'd hoped for.

Wendy's Pumpkin Spice Frosty

It hasn't been officially confirmed yet, but there's a strong chance that Wendy's will be releasing a pumpkin spice version of its classic frozen dessert, the Frosty. An autumnal first for the fast food chain, presumably the Frosty would have the same texture and sweetness as Wendy's classic Frosty flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, but it would feature the addition of iconic pumpkin spice flavors. We can also assume it would have an orange hue in honor of the season, but we'll have to wait for an official announcement to be sure. Wendy's seemingly acknowledged the release of the pumpkin spice Frosty on X by tweeting an image of an orange skeleton donning the red Wendy's pigtail hair and holding a Frosty. It seems all but confirmed.

The question we have to ask ourselves is would a pumpkin spice Frosty be any good? Although pumpkin spice-flavored ice cream is nothing new, there's something about pumpkin spice ice cream alongside a hamburger and fries that doesn't sit quite right.

Hennings Pumpkin Spice Cheddar Cheese

If there is one thing we're sure pumpkin spice should never be added to, it's cheese. But not according to Henning's Wisconsin Cheese, which offers a pumpkin spice-flavored cheddar cheese. The company describes the product as "a taste of autumn" and made with "pumpkin spices blended in a creamy cheddar cheese." As with most cheeses, it's assumed that the cheese can be enjoyed on a fall-themed charcuterie board or in a festive grilled cheese, but those meal ideas don't exactly sound appealing. For inspiration, Henning's suggests using the cheese in recipes like sweet potatoes or pancakes with ginger snaps and pecans, which doesn't make things any clearer for us, as we're not sure how any cheese, let alone pumpkin spice cheese, goes in those recipes.

Maybe we're wrong, and pumpkin spice cheddar cheese is just something that has to be tasted to be appreciated. However, reviews lead us to believe it's as bad as we imagine it to be. A Reddit user warned to "be careful" of the fall-flavored cheese, calling it "very poor."

Jamba Pumpkin Smash smoothie

When you think of fall, do you think of a fresh yogurt smoothie? Neither do we. That's a large part of what makes Jamba's Pumpkin Smash smoothie an odd addition to the pumpkin spice family of products. The smoothie, which is exclusively sold during the autumn season, is made with 2% milk, frozen yogurt, and a pumpkin spice base, which according to the Jamba website includes traditional ingredients like pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. As with all of Jamba's smoothies, you can customize your fall-flavored drink with any of the chain's signature ingredients, but (for obvious reasons) many of the chain's top add-ins, like strawberries, pineapples, mangoes, bananas, kale, and various flavors of sherbet just don't fit with the flavor profile of the Pumpkin Smash smoothie. It's almost as if the Pumpkin Smash doesn't truly belong on the Jamba smoothie menu.

Regardless, the smoothie is a part of the chain's seasonal releases, joining the likes of other unique creations like last year's Merry Orange Cranberry Smoothie, which was made with cranberry and citrus flavors atop a layer of creamy coconut whip.

Chosen Foods Pumpkin Spice Avocado Oil Caviar

By far one of the strangest pumpkin spice releases we've ever seen is the Chosen Foods pumpkin spice avocado oil caviar. Although it seems like a string of random words, this product is just what it sounds like — caviar made with avocado oil and flavored with pumpkin spice. Let us explain. When you hear the word "caviar," you likely think of the expensive delicacy made with fish eggs that is used as a garnish or spread on everything from crackers to deviled eggs. However, there's more than one version of caviar in the culinary world. In addition to the fish eggs variety, there's a technique in molecular gastronomy called spherification, in which most liquids can be used to create flavorful caviar-like pearls.

Chosen Foods pumpkin spice avocado oil caviar is a completely fish-free caviar made with 100% avocado oil seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. The company recommends using it to top things like ice cream and pastries or mixing it into coffee drinks. Somehow, putting gelatinous, oily balls on our food doesn't seem like something worth spending money on, but you should decide for yourself. 

Boar's Head Pumpkin Pie Hummus

Like avocado in brownies, chickpeas just don't belong in desserts. Perhaps you agree to disagree, but when the first ingredient listed is "creamy steamed chickpeas," we don't think dessert. Boar's Head is challenging our dessert limits with just that in its Fall Spice Selection pumpkin pie dessert hummus. The company makes this hummus with classic pumpkin spice ingredients like real pumpkin, sugar, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. There are also less dessert-like ingredients, such as steamed chickpeas, sunflower oil, and olive oil.

As dessert hummus, you aren't expected to eat it with a tray of veggies like carrots and celery. Instead, you're supposed to use it in sweet recipes like cheesecake bites or toaster pastries that Boar's Head offers online in recipes featuring its product. More commonly, you can dip things like graham crackers, cookies, or fruit into it and enjoy a sweet taste while also getting the added health benefits of chickpeas. However, according to Women's Health, dessert hummus isn't as healthy as regular hummus because of the added sugar. With that in mind, is dessert hummus really worth it?

Veil Pumpkin Vodka

What's worse than a shot of straight vodka? A shot of straight vodka that tastes like pumpkin and nutmeg. But that's exactly what Veil has brought to liquor stores across the country with its limited-edition pumpkin-flavored vodka. Flavored vodkas are nothing new, but pumpkin spice-flavored vodka seems a bit out of control. Boasting a "pleasant aroma" of nutmeg, notes of pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie spices, and a "hint of pie crust," Veil's alcoholic approach to the pumpkin spice craze is a bold move, to say the least. 

Presumably, the vodka is meant to be used in festive fall cocktails, like a pumpkin pie martini. However, some reviewers say the vodka doesn't even taste like pumpkin. Others rave that it's just the right amount of spice and pumpkin for your end-of-the-day cocktail. Some even like to drink it straight. As for us? We're still going to need to be convinced.

Kernel Season's Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Popcorn Seasoning

Also jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon is Kernel Season's with its limited-edition pumpkin spice popcorn seasoning. The company, known for its wide array of savory and sweet popcorn seasonings, says the pumpkin spice variety is filled with all the traditional fall flavors you know and love, but we're not quite sold on the concept of pumpkin spice popcorn.

The seasoning is made with cane sugar, natural vanilla flavor, coconut oil, corn syrup solids, and pumpkin spices, including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Kernel Season's recommends using its pumpkin spice popcorn seasoning not just on popcorn but on other foods too. The company recommends trying it on things like pancakes, toast, and yogurt or mixing the pumpkin spice seasoning with one of its other limited-edition flavors, like the frosted sugar cookie popcorn seasoning. With a serving size of just 1/4 of a teaspoon, though, we're not sure you'll get much out of this one.

Sweet Chaos Pumpkin Spice Popcorn

Sweet Chaos is another company that believes pumpkin spice belongs on anything, including popcorn. The company offers many different kinds of sweet and salty popcorn varieties. In addition, Sweet Chaos sells a selection of drizzled dessert popcorn styles, which are sweet-flavored, candy-coated popcorn. The company has a limited-edition line of Seasonal Drizzles that all include iconic fall flavor profiles atop popcorn. Among the fall flavors from Sweet Chaos are maple brown sugar, candy corn, vanilla chai, and, of course, pumpkin spice. 

The pumpkin spice variety is made with popcorn that has been tossed in pumpkin spice, including cinnamon and sea salt. The seasoned popcorn is then drizzled with a sweet white confectionary coating. This mashup of flavors may seem good to some, but popcorn and pumpkin pie flavors don't match up for us. It's not that the idea of sweet popcorn in itself feels off. After all, classic kettle corn and caramel corn are iconic treats, particularly at fall festivals. It's that we don't need overly flavored pumpkin spice varieties to enjoy sweet popcorn.

Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat

Kit Kat is a classic Halloween candy that most people are excited to see in their trick-or-treat bags. The iconic and complementary flavors of milk chocolate and crispy wafers are undeniably delicious. But the company is known not just for its original version but also for seasonal versions of the classic candy. Special varieties include lemon, cinnamon, gingerbread cookie, and a marshmallow variety called Witch's Brew, just to name a handful. Not to be outdone by other pumpkin spice sweets on the market, Hershey's has also released pumpkin pie-flavored Kit Kats. The candy features the crispy wafers you know and love sandwiched with pumpkin pie-flavored cream. All of the candy is covered in orange-colored milk chocolate.

One of the most concerning aspects of the pumpkin pie-flavored Kit Kats is that they actually contain no trace of real pumpkins. On Hershey's website, a customer asked if there were any pumpkin ingredients in the candy due to an allergy. The response from Hershey's was, "Confirming that there are no ingredients in this product from pumpkin." That fact is a bit odd for a pumpkin-flavored treat and is almost as off-putting as the candy's neon orange color.

Dandie's Vegan Pumpkin Marshmallows

Dandies is a company that specializes in vegan marshmallows. As most marshmallows are made using gelatin, an ingredient derived from animal products, the vast majority of marshmallows on the market aren't vegan-friendly. The company is known for being vegan and for not using artificial flavors, colors, corn syrup, or gluten. Dandies marshmallows are also kosher and made with non-GMO ingredients. In addition to being vegan, Dandies offers a variety of seasonal marshmallow flavors, including maple, peppermint, and pumpkin. 

The pumpkin flavor is made with Dandies' go-to marshmallow ingredients like tapioca syrup, cane sugar, tapioca starch, and flavoring. The pumpkin variety features traditional pumpkin spice notes like pumpkin, cinnamon, and vanilla. While Dandies is a great option for vegans and those looking for a higher-quality marshmallow, we have trouble seeing where pumpkin-flavored marshmallows fit in any recipe. The company recommends using its marshmallows in classic recipes like hot cocoa or eating them straight from the bag. But imagining pumpkin spice hot chocolate or pumpkin spiced s'mores feels a little off.

Hefty Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Ultra Strong Trash Bags

If you think pumpkin spice products are trash, we've got news for you. Hefty has brought back its Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Ultra Strong trash bags for a limited time. The brand claims its trash bags will give pumpkin lovers' garbage the "cozy fall upgrade they never knew they needed." 

Scented trash bags are nothing new. Brands like Hefty, Glad, and grocery store brands often release trash bags that are tinted with fresh scents like florals, fresh linen, and the scents of popular cleaners like Fabuloso, Gain, and Febreze. In small spaces, scented trash bags can help minimize odor from the garbage. However, where laundry and cleaning product-like scents make sense for trash bags, the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin spice sounds downright unappealing. There's not a lot we can imagine that's worse than the smell of trash like rotten food combined with an aroma of pumpkin, cinnamon, and clove. We're not here to autumn shame, but can we all agree that pumpkin spice-scenting our trash is one step too far?