If you are in need of a Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute, you've come to the right place! Pumpkin pie spice is commonly made from cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and allspice, but there are a number of ways to replace it with a homemade version. Learn what each spice brings to the mix, plus options for more uncommon substitutes. Once you learn how to make your own pumpkin spice blend, you may never go back to storebought again!
- What is Pumpkin Pie Spice made of?
- What is the best Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute?
- 1. Cinnamon
- 2. Nutmeg
- 3. Ginger
- 4. Cloves
- 5. Allspice
- 6. Mace
- 7. Cardamom
- 8. Tonka Bean
- 9. Black pepper
- 10. Star anise
- 11. Apple pie spice
- 12. Spice combinations
- The best homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute FAQs
- What can I use pumpkin spice for?
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute
What is Pumpkin Pie Spice made of?
Pumpkin pie spice embodies the flavors of fall. As soon as this season arrives, it's time for warming drinks and delicious desserts filled with aromatic spices.
Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of multiple spices. The most common components include warming staples like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
However, you can substitute pumpkin pie spice for individual spices as well. Most mixtures contain larger quantities of cinnamon, followed by smaller measurements of the more pungent spices.
You may be wondering "what can I use pumpkin pie spice for?" Although you won't find pumpkin listed in the ingredients, this fragrant blend flavors baked pumpkin pies, no bake pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice loaves, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bundt cakes, and so on.
What is the best Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute?
If you don't already have a premade pumpkin pie spice blend, the best substitutes are either apple pie spice or homemade pumpkin spice!
Just remember that cinnamon is the primary component, while the other spices play a more supporting role. There are many pumpkin spice substitutes, but the following are the most common.
Since it is the main addition, the best singular spice to replace pumpkin pie spice is pure cinnamon. It also happens to be one of the most common household spices, so you'll likely already have some on hand!
Cinnamon offers a sweet, warming, and fall-inspired element. It's the prominent flavor found in most pumpkin-based treats like pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin tarts.
Cinnamon comes in both whole sticks and ground powder. For the most flavorful spice, purchase cinnamon sticks and grind them in a spice grinder.
I would like to point out that there are two types of cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon, carries the best flavor and nutritional profile.
The other kind is cassia cinnamon, which is a less expensive option. However, it tastes much more pungent and can be harmful to your liver. I recommend opting for Ceylon cinnamon whenever possible.
If you replace a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice with only cinnamon, start with a half teaspoon cinnamon. Taste it, then increase it slowly from there.
Next is nutmeg, which is known for its warm, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor profile. The pleasant aroma makes it an ideal choice for comforting fall and winter treats.
Nutmeg comes in both whole and ground forms. Just like cinnamon, I recommend purchasing whole nutmeg spice to grate yourself. Freshly grated nutmeg is much more flavor-intense, even providing hints of clove.
Not unlike clove, nutmeg is quite a powerful spice. In recipes calling for a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, start with a quarter teaspoon ground nutmeg. It's best to combine nutmeg with cinnamon if you have them on hand.
Ginger is another common pumpkin pie spice addition. The flavor is bright and peppery with slight citrus undertones. The spicy nature of ginger makes it perfect for mixing into fall and winter-style treats.
Ginger comes both fresh and ground. If you are making your own pumpkin pie spice to store, you will want to use ground ginger. However, I sometimes like to add freshly grated ginger directly into a recipe.
Similarly to nutmeg, start with a quarter teaspoon ground ginger when a recipe calls for a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. You can use ginger on its own, but I recommend mixing it with cinnamon.
The main difference between apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice blends is the addition of ground cloves. The sweet, bitter, and slightly astringent flavor gives pumpkin pie spice a very distinct taste.
You can purchase whole or ground cloves. Personally, I prefer to purchase mine whole and grind them myself. The aroma and flavor are much more vibrant this way.
With that said, pre-ground cloves are a more convenient option. Note that you may not need to use as much fresh clove compared to pre-ground clove.
More than any other spice, cloves will quickly overpower a recipe if you aren't careful. If you substitute a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice with a teaspoon ground cloves, start with an eighth of the amount called for in the recipe. You can also make a pumpkin pie spice recipe without cloves, but it will be more like apple pie spice.
For an all-in-one spice, look no further than allspice. Although it sounds like a blend of spices, it's sourced from a single origin — the dried berry of the pimento tree.
Native to Central America and Jamaica, allspice is common in most parts of the world and very easily accessible. It features notes of cloves, nutmeg, star anise, fennel, black pepper, and cinnamon, making it an excellent choice to replace store-bought pumpkin pie spice.
For a teaspoon pumpkin pie spice substitute, start with a third teaspoons ground allspice to pumpkin pie spice. While it's best mixed with cinnamon, allspice will hold up on its own quite well.
Mace comes from the same tree as nutmeg — Myristica fragrans. While nutmeg spice comes from the seeds, mace is sourced from the shell.
Because of this, mace makes a great replacement or addition to nutmeg in pumpkin pie spice. It provides a similar warming taste and flavor to that of nutmeg.
Since mace is slightly stronger than nutmeg, reduced the quantity added. For every teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in a recipe, add an eighth of the amount of mace. Increase the measurements to suit your taste preferences.
While cardamom is more typically found in apple pie spice, that doesn't mean it can't be added to pumpkin pie spice! It provides herbal, sweet, earthy, and fruity components with a complex aroma.
Cardamom pairs well with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, so it's a clear choice to try as a pumpkin pie spice substitute.
Similarly to the other spices in this list, you can find ground cardamom, cardamom seeds, or cardamom pods. For the most vibrant flavor, grind your own cardamom seeds.
In a pumpkin pie spice blend, only add cardamom as an adjunct to other spices like cinnamon and ginger. Start with an eighth of the amount of cardamom, then increase it depending on your needs.
8. Tonka Bean
A unique option to replace pumpkin pie spice is tonka bean. This lesser-known spice comes from Latin America, and it's used in many sweet and savory dishes alike.
Tonka bean provides a rather complex taste, combining flavors of almonds, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves, just to name a few. You can purchase tonka beans whole (in "bean" form), then blend them in a spice grinder or grate them as you would nutmeg.
The taste is quite intense, so it's best to start with a quarter or half of the amount as pumpkin pie spice. Too large of a dose can be harmful to your body. However, if consumed properly, tonka beans can have very positive health side effects.
You should be able to find tonka beans in most specialty grocery stores or Latin American food markets. If not, they're easy enough to purchase online.
9. Black pepper
Much like many chai masala recipes do, you can opt for black pepper to reduce the overall cost of this spice mix. It imparts spicy, earthy, pungent elements that emulate ginger.
As with the rest of the accessory spices, you will achieve the best results if you combine a pinch of cracked black pepper with a teaspoon of cinnamon.
10. Star anise
Star anise is definitely not a typical pumpkin pie spice ingredient, but it can be used to replace some of the flavors associated with this blend. Star anise pods are shaped like a star (hence the name) with eight points, each of them containing a tiny seed.
This spice has a strong, distinctive flavor with warm, sweet, and spicy notes. Many people compare star anise to licorice, clove, anise, fennel seed, and anise seed.
You should be able to purchase ground star anise or buy whole pods to grind yourself. Since it has such as strong flavor, you will have a hard time replacing pumpkin pie spice entirely with star anise. Use a small amount (around ⅛ teaspoon) with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
11. Apple pie spice
Since it is made up of very similar ingredients, apple pie spice makes the most convenient pumpkin pie spice substitute. If you happen to have apple pie spice on hand, use it in a one-to-one ratio.
For a flavor that more closely resembles pumpkin pie spice, add a tiny pinch of cloves to every teaspoon of apple pie spice.
12. Spice combinations
While each of the above ingredients can be used as a singular option, you will achieve a much more complex flavor profile with a combination of two or more spices.
If you have more than one of the above spices on hand, try mixing cinnamon and ginger, cinnamon and cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger and allspice, cinnamon and star anise, or cinnamon and black pepper.
The best homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
Now that you know each of the different substitutes for homemade pumpkin pie spice, you're probably ready to make your pumpkin pie spice recipe! This is my favorite blend, but feel free to tweak it until it's just right for your preferences.
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon: Ground cinnamon makes up the bulk of the mix. I prefer to grind my own Ceylon cinnamon sticks for the freshest results.
- 2 tablespoons nutmeg: I've found that a 2:3 ratio of nutmeg to cinnamon yields the best mixture. As with the cinnamon, use freshly grated nutmeg whenever possible.
- 2 tablespoons ginger: Just like the nutmeg, I prefer a 2:3 ratio of ground ginger to cinnamon for the perfect level of spice.
- 1 tablespoon cloves: Remember, cloves separate pumpkin pie spice from apple pie spice, so don't skip this one!
- 1 tablespoon all spice: Allspice is an excellent addition to your pumpkin pie spice, however, I find 1:3 ratio is enough of it
- 1 tablespoon cardamom: Although not as common, cardamom is a must for me! Try it out in your batch to understand what I mean.
How to make DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
Once you have grabbed out all of the ingredients, it's time to mix your sub for pumpkin pie spice!
- First, measure the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cardamom into a small bowl or container.
- Whisk the spices until well combined, then cover the jar and store it in a cool, dry place until you are ready to use your homemade pumpkin pie spice. For every 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, use 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice substitute.
💡Top Tip: Make your replacement for pumpkin pie spice (and all other spice blends) in smaller batches, especially if you are using freshly-ground spices. This will preserve the flavors best.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute FAQs
Just because you're missing a few spices doesn't mean you won't be able to create an equally delicious pumpkin pie spice substitute. As long as you use cinnamon for the bulk of the spice blend, try experimenting with any of the other spices. To yield 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix, use ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of any other spices eg. nutmeg, ginger, allspice etc. If you have more than one spice, start with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of the others.
Since pumpkin pie spice is mostly cinnamon-based, you can achieve a similar flavor by only using cinnamon. Of course, it won't have as much depth and intricacy as a traditional pumpkin pie spice, but it's better than nothing! Cinnamon will still deliver a warming, fall-inspired feel.
Yes, it is possible to make a pumpkin pie spice alternative without cinnamon. My recommendation is to replace half of the cinnamon with equal portions of ginger and allspice. These have a more pronounced flavor, so I suggest starting smaller and working your way up from there.
Both apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice are common blends. They are made up of similar ingredients, but apple pie spice usually contains cardamom while pumpkin pie spice contains cloves. Cardamom balances the sweetness of apples in apple pie incredibly well, which is why it's called apple pie spice. Pumpkin pie spice has a more pronounced flavor from the cloves.
If you can't find pumpkin pie spice but still want to impart similar fall flavors to your baking, look no further than apple pie spice! This blend has many of the same fragrant ingredients as pumpkin pie spice and makes an excellent substitute. For every 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, substitute 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice.
Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of several spices — one of them being allspice. On the other hand, allspice is a single-origin spice. It's often mistaken as a blend of spices like pumpkin spice or Chinese five-spice since the flavor is very intricate.
Premade pumpkin spice replaces the individual ingredients that are commonly added to pumpkin pie. These spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Although pre-mixed spice is more convenient, I believe making it yourself tastes better and offers more customization.
Pumpkin pie spice is traditionally made of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. You can easily substitute pumpkin pie spice with some or all of the individual spices listed in this recipe.
Cardamom is not always found in pumpkin pie spice. In fact, it's often found in apple pie spice. Adding it to pumpkin pie spice allows for a complex, earthy, and bittersweet flavor.
Pumpkin pie spice is a mix of several different spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. This results in a flavor that is sweet, spicy, warm, and earthy. It imparts complex flavors to pumpkin-based foods like pies, bread, and soups.
As we've thoroughly covered in this article, there are several options when it comes to homemade pumpkin pie spice substitutes.
The most common household blend consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. However, there are many others that range from cardamom to tonka bean. Use it for desserts, dinners, and more!
The best part about understanding each substitute and replacement is that you can now customize your own homemade pumpkin spice from home. This means you'll be able to mix all of your favorite flavors together to create your ideal balance of sweetness, warmth, and earthiness.
What can I use pumpkin spice for?
Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute
- 3 tablespoons (¼ cups) Cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons Nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons Ginger
- 1 tablespoon Cloves
- 1 tablespoon All spice
- 1 tablespoon Cardamom
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Measure the ingredients to ensure the correct balance in the pumpkin pie spice mix
- Whisk the spices until well combined
- Store the spice mix in a jar in a cool, dry place until you are ready to use it
- Make your replacement for pumpkin pie spice (and all other spice blends) in smaller batches, especially if you are using freshly-ground spices. This will preserve the flavors best.
- Whenever possible, I recommend purchasing whole spices eg. cinnamon or nutmeg and grating them yourself. Freshly grated spices have much more flavor
- Feel free to experiment with the spices and try different combinations
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