We tested every pumpkin-spice product we could find — and ranked them from worst to best

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Hollis Johnson

Pumpkin-spice mania is inescapable this fall.

From breakfast cereals to favorite candies, the flavor is everywhere. But is any of it good?

We ingested copious amounts of orange pumpkin-flavored food-and-drink products from Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, CVS, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Panera Bread to find out.

Here’s our ranking of the 35 pumpkin-spice products we tasted:


35. Trader Joe’s pecan-pumpkin instant oatmeal. The texture of the oatmeal combined with a weak flavor makes for a watery disappointment.

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Hollis Johnson

34. Pumpkin-spice candy corn. Incredibly gross. We couldn’t discern any “pumpkin spice” flavoring, just straight sugar — unsurprising, considering it’s candy corn.

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Hollis Johnson

33. Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin-N-Spice trail-mix granola bar. This granola bar lacks the taste of pumpkin spice. It’s essentially sugar-coated pumpkin seeds clumped together with trail mix.

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Hollis Johnson

32. Trader Joe’s country pumpkin-spice granola cereal. The actual granola is fine, but the dried pumpkin bits thrown in for taste don’t work.

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Hollis Johnson

31. Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax crunchy granola bars. There seems to be a trend with these granola products lacking pumpkin-spice flavor. But these bars do have a more seasonal spice kick than the Nature’s Path bars.

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Hollis Johnson

30. Pumpkin bagel from Panera. The bread doesn’t taste much like pumpkin, and it has a rather bland taste. The sugary frosting is the source of the cinnamon flavor, but we’re unimpressed.

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Hollis Johnson

29. Dancing Deer pumpkin-spice shortbread cookies. Although they are pumpkin-shaped, this product lacks the pumpkin flavor and tastes like a sugar cookie.

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Hollis Johnson

28. Entenmann’s pumpkin-donut holes. These may have the appearance of being pumpkin-spice-flavored, but it simply tastes like a glazed donut — a weird, orange-colored donut.

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Hollis Johnson

27. Trader Joe’s “This Pumpkin Walks into a … Cereal Bar.” The filling tastes more like apple flavor than pumpkin. The bread of the bar contains the spice, so it ends up tasting like cinnamon apple.

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Hollis Johnson

26. Keebler Fudge Stripes pumpkin-spice cookies. We didn’t taste the pumpkin-spice flavor in this product, but it does have a seasonal taste comparable to a ginger-snap cookie.

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Hollis Johnson

25. Trader Joe’s organic frosted pumpkin toaster pastries. This is comparable to the cinnamon-flavored Pop-Tart: The pumpkin flavor is absent.

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Hollis Johnson

24. Pumpkin-spice Peeps. We had different reactions to this product. Some thought it captured the pumpkin-spice flavor accurately, while others thought it tasted like a regular sugar-coated Peep. Regardless, you can’t deny the amount of pure sugar.

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Hollis Johnson

23. Kellogg’s pumpkin-spice Frosted Mini-Wheats. We could taste only the most subtle hint of pumpkin-spice flavoring in this cereal. Otherwise, it tastes like the original Frosted Mini-Wheats.

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Hollis Johnson

22. Siggi’s pumpkin-spice low-fat yogurt. This product is sour and bitter, which takes away from the pumpkin flavor — making it an interesting combination. We don’t think the flavor works well with the product, but it’s not completely terrible.

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Hollis Johnson

21. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Macarons. The consistency of this product is messy and contains a thick, pumpkin purée filling that takes over the delicacy of what a macaron should be like.

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Hollis Johnson

20. Nestle’s Toll House Pumpkin Spice Morsels. First bite — the taste is OK. But it has a suspicious aftertaste. This product has a strong pumpkin flavor, and in baking could be a tasty addition to a cookie.

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19. Pumpkin-spice-latte M&Ms. The flavor of this traditional candy completely stumped us until we realized that it contains a coffee taste and ultimately lacks a pumpkin flavor.

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Hollis Johnson

18. Hershey’s pumpkin-spice Kisses. Wow, these have a blast of pumpkin flavor! When you bite into it, it has a cream filling that doesn’t give a bad aftertaste, but the flavoring is too artificial and too much.

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Hollis Johnson

17. Hostess pumpkin-spice Twinkies. This is a very sugary treat, but it does capture the pumpkin-spice flavor nicely. One person said they like it better than the unflavored Twinkie! At least the spice flavors mask the sickly sugar filling.

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Hollis Johnson

16. Trader Joe’s pumpkin biscotti. While we expected this product to taste like a ginger-snap cookie, it did have a hint of pumpkin flavoring that went well with the cookie.

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Hollis Johnson

15. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin-O’s. This cereal is delightful. Not too sweet, and it captures a pleasant pumpkin flavor that’s suitable for a relaxed autumn breakfast.

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Hollis Johnson

14. Pumpkin-spice tea from The Republic of Tea. This hot drink smells like apple cider but has a light pumpkin taste. The flavor isn’t strong, but it’s enjoyable to sip on.

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Hollis Johnson

13. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea. This tea has a savory, thick pumpkin-spice flavor that is comforting and gratifying. In our opinion, it’s better than the previous tea.

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Hollis Johnson

12. Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin-spice donut. Now this tastes like a pumpkin-spice donut! Artificial flavoring or not, it tastes great.

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Hollis Johnson

11. Trader Joe’s pumpkin-spice chai-tea-latte mix. With the pumpkin-spice aromas of it filling the air, it also perfectly captures the pumpkin-spice taste and goes well with the light spiciness of chai.

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Hollis Johnson

10. Pumpkin-spice almond milk. The orange coloring threw us off at first, but this tastes like egg nog with a hint of pumpkin. Our reaction: It could be worse.

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Hollis Johnson

9. Pumpkin-spice Oreos. The texture and coloring of the actual Oreo is off-putting, but it tastes like a simple, sugar-infused Oreo with weak pumpkin flavor. Also, why didn’t they just stick with a chocolate cookie?

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Hollis Johnson

8. Pumpkin-pie bark. Mimicking the famous peppermint bark, this flavor is our favorite pumpkin-flavor chocolate! Not too rich and not too sweet. It begins with a rich chocolate taste, and slowly transitions to light pumpkin flavors.

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7. Noosa pumpkin-flavor yogurt. The pumpkin flavor is subtle yet sweet, creating a simple blend that goes well with the product. Also, decidedly less sour than most Greek–style yogurts.

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Hollis Johnson

6. Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter. With only a handful of ingredients, we almost thought it was healthy — until we tasted it. How can something so good be healthy? It’s naturally sweet and offers a unique pumpkin-spice flavor of which we couldn’t get enough of.

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Hollis Johnson

5. Chobani pumpkin-spice Greek yogurt. This is the most preferred of the yogurts we tried. The texture of the yogurt blends well with the flavors, and it’s not too sweet, leaving room for the pumpkin flavor to come through.

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Hollis Johnson

4. Trader Joe’s pumpkin-pie-spice cookie butter. This is amazing. It has the consistency of peanut butter but with a delicious pumpkin taste. It is well-balanced, and the cookie aspect adds an incredible richness.

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Hollis Johnson

3. Trader Joe’s pumpkin panettone. Yum! This fluffy Italian bread has creamy pumpkin flavors with hints of spice nestled within that creates a sensational taste experience. It’s light and sweet — nothing sickly sugary.

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Hollis Johnson

2. Trader Joe’s pumpkin-y pumpkin bites. These are delicious! Think of a pumpkin-flavored brownie with a rich flavor and gooey texture. They definitely got these right.

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Hollis Johnson

1. Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream. Everything about this is phenomenal. Our winner by a landslide! Not because it’s ice cream, but because the flavors actually blend well together — creating the perfect pumpkin-spice-flavor product. The pumpkin flavor is fresh and bright, and the spicing is subtle.

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Hollis Johnson