If you don’t have any on hand when you’re in a pinch, try this recipe for the best allspice substitute!
If you like to bake, especially during the holidays, you’ve likely seen allspice in recipes. But what is allspice, exactly?
Is it just what it sounds like: a mixture of all the spices you have on hand? Or is it something else? What does it taste like? What’s in it?
All of those are excellent questions, and I’ll answer them for you right here, right now.
I’ll also show you how to make your own allspice, how to use and store it, and give you some tips and tricks. So stick around to learn more about this fragrant, flavorful seasoning.
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. It’s 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’ i’s ground, it will lose its flavor faster than other spices.
Many refrigerate it to prolong its life, to limited effect.
Instead, keeping the berries whole until you’re ready to use the spice is better.
Then, grind just the amount you plan to use with a pepper grinder.
The ingredients in real allspice are simply that: allspice.
However, if you plan to make a substitute at home, you’ll need a few other things.
You can make a reasonably good substitute by combining allspice’s three main flavors. Here’s what you’ll 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: You need to use the ground form of each ingredient.
You can purchase it fresh and grind it yourself or purchase ground spices.
You typically find them on the baking aisle.
How to Make Allspice Substitute
Making allspice is an effortless task. 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 ground black pepper. You can use half the amount of everything else or the same amount for stronger peppery notes.
- 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.
And remember: You can use this spice in sweet and savory dishes!
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!
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