10 Must-Try Pumpkin Spice Treats in OC That Are Better Than a PSL

These Sweets Will Have You Skipping the Starbucks Drive-Thru

The wait is over—fall is finally here, and we are so ready for it! There’s something about crisp morning air and cozy autumn colors that are nostalgically heartwarming. And best of all, pumpkin spice! Let’s be real: other seasonal specials don’t stand a chance against long-awaited fall flavors. It’s officially pumpkin spice season, and there’s so much more to be excited about than your morning drive-thru latte. From pancakes and cocktails to pasta and gelato, we’ve rounded up the ultimate guide to pumpkin spice and all things nice in Orange County. pumpkin spice treats

Outpost Kitchen

Pumpkin Pancakes

pumpkin spice treats - Outpost Kitchen
Credit: Jay Lewis

Outpost Kitchen’s pumpkin pancakes are back! This time, there’s some extra spice. Last year, Outpost released their limited edition stack of nostalgic pumpkin pancakes that definitely beat traditional boxed batter. Four light and fluffy fall flapjacks are topped with rum-glazed bananas, toasted pecans, cinnamon mascarpone, shaved dates and candied oranges for all the fall feels. Needless to say, these pancakes are a fall brunch staple. They pair perfectly with a flat white too.

Location: Costa Mesa

11/25

 

Coffee Dose

Basic Witch Latte

Credit: Jordan Shiley

Calling all basic witches! Coffee Dose puts a spooky spin on the traditional pumpkin spice latte. Ditch pre-made pumpkin syrups and opt for a house blend of espresso, oat milk, brown sugar, organic pumpkin puree and all the fall spices. Delicious hot or iced, the Basic Witch Latte is sure to put you in the autumn spirit. Feeling extra festive? Top your iced latte with pumpkin sweet cream. We’re telling you: basic is basic for a reason—everyone likes it! 

Location: Costa Mesa, Irvine and Stanton

 

Gelato Paradiso

Pumpkin Gelato

pumpkin spice treats - Gelato Paradiso
Credit: Johnny Nielsen

No matter the season, it’s always ice cream weather. Or in this case, gelato! The aroma of freshly made waffle cones fills the air of the string-lit alley at Gelato Paradiso’s Laguna Beach location. Watch through the window as gelato makers hand-craft small batches right in the shop! For the month of October, pumpkin is one of the flavors you’ll find them making each morning. To put it frankly, this melt-in-your-mouth creamy concoction is simply fab-boo-lous!

Location: Laguna Beach and Newport

11/30

 

Sapphire

Pumpkin Old Fashioned

Credit: Russ Bendel

Okay, so we all know about pumpkin spice lattes, but what about pumpkin spice cocktails?! Sapphire puts an autumnal twist on the traditional old fashioned cocktail. Made with Templeton Rye, pumpkin spice-infused simple syrup, Angostura bitters and muddled orange, Sapphire’s pumpkin old fashioned is reminiscent of crisp mornings in October. There’s also something about the autumn air that casts the most colorful sunsets, so we recommend sitting seaside on the patio for a festive fall evening—old fashioned in hand, of course!

Location: Laguna Beach

pumpkin spice treats

Vine Restaurant and Bar

House Made Sugar Pumpkin Ravioli

Credit: Russ Bendel

Ravioli is a staple comfort food, and pumpkin fillings make them the ultimate autumnal meal! Housemade sugar pumpkin ravioli is a Vine Restaurant and Bar tradition dating back to 2003. Locals wait all year for this decadent dish loaded with truffle goat cheese, crispy sage and hazelnut brown butter. Paired with a full-bodied red wine, the magic of this scratch-made ravioli almost fades too fast. Savor every last bite of this warming pasta dish.

Location: San Clemente

11/20

 

JD Flannel Donuts

Pumpkin Spice Donut

Credit: John Miller

Pumpkin spice donut? Donut mind if we do! JD Flannel Donuts is frying up roasted pumpkin cake rings all month long. Rolled in cinnamon sugar and topped with candied pepitas, the pumpkin spice donut is sure to kickstart your morning! Rather than focusing on quick convenience, owners John Miller and Dave Rhode commit to making gourmet and artisanal donuts from scratch with gluten-free options as well. Look out for their pumpkin cheesecake donut coming out in November!

Location: San Juan Capistrano

pumpkin spice treats

Casa Del Sol

Pumpkin Spice Margarita

pumpkin spice treats - Casa Del Sol
Credit: Anisa Marie Palomar

Margaritas are one of the most versatile drinks. Make them fruity, spicy, smoky or even pumpkiny at Casa Del Sol in Tustin! This October, Casa Del Sol is shaking up pumpkin spice margaritas on the rocks with El Jimador Tequila Blanco, house pumpkin spice and fresh-squeezed lime juice. The warming spices are brightened by zesty citrus in this limited-edition, fall-flavored cocktail. Sip your way through the evening as you sway to the award-winning mariachi band that performs every night.

Location: Tustin

J’Adore Cafe

Cozy Pumpkin Soup

Feel as if you are dining on the streets of Paris at San Clemente’s favorite cafe. With an emphasis on nutrition, this French-inspired bistro serves seasonal cuisine made with organic ingredients. Their cozy pumpkin soup—aka a hug in a bowl—will leave you feeling better than before! Served alongside a freshly baked baguette, this heart-warming dish perfectly harmonizes the creaminess of coconut and pumpkin with bold flavors of ginger and blue cheese. 

Location: San Clemente

pumpkin spice treats

Bruxie

Pumpkin Cheesecake Waffles and Pumpkin Pie Shake

 

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Shake up the season at Bruxie! Bruxie turns your favorite brunch staple into a meal for any time of day with their innovative waffle sandwiches. Their pumpkin cheesecake waffle is loaded with toasted candied pecans and a tangy cream cheese frosting to satisfy any sweet tooth. Create a dynamic duo by pairing the waffle with a pumpkin spiced shake. With shakes reminiscent of pumpkin pie in a cup and waffles up the wazoo, Bruxie is your one-stop shop for fall sweet treats. 

Location: Orange

pumpkin spice treats

Solstice

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

pumpkin spice treats - Solstice
Credit: Outshine PR

Solstice is a seasonal kitchen and bar that allows you to experience the flavors of naturally grown produce at its peak! This modern-American restaurant is known for its rotating menu boasting inventive and nutrient-rich dishes that showcase the diverse bounties of each season. And the best is yet to come with their autumn menu! Highlighting the best of fall flavors, Solstice’s pumpkin bread pudding is served alongside ginger gelato with a coat of coffee crème and drizzle of decadent caramel.

Location: Irvine

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Lover of the beach, food and fitness, Emily enjoys exploring all sunny Southern California has to offer! She has a passion for sharing about her favorite local gems and began writing for Locale in 2022. On the weekends, find her creating recipes for her food blog or out in Laguna!

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