Whether you’re an avid baker or just like to experiment in the kitchen, check out this allspice substitute.
Because there’s nothing worse than getting ready to bake a batch of cookies, only to find you’re all out.
Easy Allspice Substitute
A lot of holiday baking calls for allspice. But you’ll also find it in chilis, soups, and stews in the fall.
That’s because it’s warm, lightly spiced, and super complex.
But if you run out, you don’t need to stress. I have a very easy recipe for the best allspice substitute.
Plus, I’ll add a few ready-made substitutions you can use in a pinch.
But first, what is allspice?
What Is Allspice?
It’s easy to assume that ‘allspice’ is a mixture of all spices. Or at least a large number of them.
In reality, though, that isn’t the case at all.
Allspice comes from a single source: a berry that only grows in tropical climates. Such as those found in the Greater Antilles, Central America, and Mexico.
The allspice we use comes from the dried form of that berry before it’s ripe.
People pick unripe berries from the Pimenta dioica trees. Then, they let them dry in the sun.
After the berries turn dark brown, they grind them into a powdered form. That’s the allspice we use.
What Does Allspice Taste Like?
Allspice’s taste is how it got its name. It isn’t made from all spices, but it tastes like several of them.
When you try allspice, you’ll get notes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, and more. It’s sweet, spiced, and just a bit peppery.
That makes it a staple ingredient in many sweet and savory recipes. However, you’ll often find it in baked goods.
Despite its unique and complex flavor, allspice doesn’t hold that flavor for long.
Once it’s ground, it will lose its flavor faster than other spices.
So where possible, buy the whole berries and grind your own when you need it.
Homemade Allspice Substitute Ingredients
Since allspice tastes like a blend, you’ll need to mix a few things together to get the right profile.
But while you can go crazy with a million different things, I find this simple recipe with three key ingredients is all you need:
- Cinnamon. Allspice’s boldest notes remind most people of cinnamon. Therefore, cinnamon will make up the base of your substitute.
- Cloves. Cloves come from the evergreen clove tree. However, they aren’t berries. Instead, they come from flower buds and have a pungent, sweetly spiced flavor.
- Nutmeg. Nutmeg has a warm, slightly nutty flavor with hints of sweetness. It comes from the seed of a nutmeg tree and is a crucial component in recreating allspice.
Keep in mind that you need to use the ground form of each ingredient. You can purchase it fresh and grind it yourself or purchase ground spices.
How to Make Allspice Substitute
Making allspice is effortless. Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Grind each spice with a pepper grinder or mortar and pestle. If you purchase ground spices, you can skip this step.
2. Combine equal measures of each spice in a mixing bowl. Stir them thoroughly until all three are well mixed.
(Note: Some recipes call for a double portion of cinnamon. Follow this measurement if you want a stronger cinnamon taste.)
3. Transfer to a sealable container. Small glass jars with lids are ideal. If you don’t have any, clean old spice containers and use them.
That’s it! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Tips & Tricks
Making this substitute couldn’t be simpler. Even so, here are a few final tips to keep in mind:
- Adjust the recipe to suit your needs. Just be sure to use an equal amount of the ingredients. (Unless you want one flavor to come through more strongly than the others.)
- Don’t forget your funnel! Pouring ground spices into small jars can be tricky. Use a funnel to prevent spills.
- Add a dash of pepper. As I mentioned earlier, some people also compare allspice to pepper. If you want those peppery notes, add hlad the amount of ground black pepper.
- Strain the substitute if necessary. Once you mix everything, you may see larger chunks. If so, pour the mixture through a fine sieve to get rid of them.
- Shake before use. Remember to give the container a shake every time you want to use it. It helps re-mix any of the spices that might have settled.
How to Use Allspice
You can do just about anything you like with allspice!
I frequently add it to drinks and cocktails, particularly mulled wine and cider. It also tastes great in eggnog and coquito.
As I’ve already mentioned, you can add it to baked goods. Other popular dishes/recipes using allspice include the following:
- Baked apples
- Soups, stews, and chili
- Jerk chicken
- Jams and jellies
- Pumpkin spiced lattes
- Pumpkin pie
- Anything with pumpkin
- Hot chocolate
- Fruit crisps
When it comes to cooking with allspice, you’re limited only by your imagination.
How to Store
Place the allspice substitute in a sealable, airtight container.
Seal the lid tightly and place it in your spice rack or pantry. It should last for at least 6 months.
Be sure to add a label to the container. Otherwise, you might forget what’s in it!
Other Allspice Substitutes
To get the complexity of real allspice, a blend of spices is your best bet.
But if you’re in a rush or don’t have a lot of options, there are a few single ingredients you can use.
Cloves are pungent, spicy, warm, and slightly bitter.
They don’t have the same peppery finish as allspice, but they’ll bring the depth many recipes need.
How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of ground allspice with 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves.
2. Pumpkin Spice Mix
Since pumpkin spice mix often features spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, it makes sense you can use this in place of allspice.
It’s sweeter than allspice and doesn’t have the same peppery finish, but it’ll bring plenty of warmth.
How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of ground allspice with 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
3. Chinese Five-Spice Powder
As the name suggests, this blend features 5 signature spices. Specifically cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves, and ginger or pepper.
This is more savory than pumpkin spice, but it does bring the peppery heat you want from allspice.
It also has a decent kick of anise. So it’s not for every recipe.
How to Substitute: Swap 1 teaspoon of ground allspice with 1 teaspoon of five-spice.
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