Allspice is a versatile and aromatic spice that is used in both sweet and savory dishes. It has a complex flavor that is reminiscent of a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
While allspice can be purchased pre-ground, learning how to make homemade allspice powder is easy and allows you to control the freshness and flavor.
With just a few simple ingredients likely already in your pantry, you can make a batch of allspice powder in no time. This homemade allspice recipe is a great option when you run out of the store-bought variety or want to customize the flavor profile.
Read on for an easy recipe on how to make your own allspice powder right in your kitchen.
What Is Allspice?
Before diving into the homemade allspice powder recipe, let's take a moment to learn more about this unique spice blend.
Allspice comes from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica evergreen tree which is native to areas of South America and the Caribbean. Whole allspice berries are harvested when unripe and then dried in the sun. Once fully dried, the berries are very hard and resemble large peppercorns. To use allspice, the dried berries are finely ground to produce an earthy brown powder.
When the British first encountered allspice in the 17th century, they thought the flavor resembled a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Hence the name “allspice” was coined. Although allspice taste like other spices, it comes from just a single source.
Today, you can purchase whole allspice berries or pre-ground allspice powder. However, grinding the berries yourself results in the most flavorful spice. The complex notes of allspice complement both sweet and savory dishes in just about any cuisine ranging from Jamaican jerk chicken to pumpkin pie.
Key Takeaway: Allspice is made from grinding dried, unripe berries from the Pimenta dioica tree and has flavors reminiscent of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Allspice Powder Ingredients
One of the easiest ways to make homemade allspice powder is by combining other common spices likely already in your pantry.
With just three ingredients - cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves - you can closely mimic the flavor of allspice powder.
Nutmeg has an intensely aromatic, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with cinnamon. When making homemade allspice powder, use freshly grated whole nutmeg if you have it for the best flavor. But pre-ground nutmeg spice will also work.
Finally, cloves add a punch of spice and a subtle fruity flavor. Cloves can be used whole or pre-ground. Try to use freshly ground cloves for homemade allspice rather than cloves that have been sitting in your pantry for years.
So with just cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, you have everything you need to make your own batch of allspice powder! The specific ingredient amounts can be customized to suit your tastes.
How to Make Allspice Powder
Making your own allspice powder takes just a few minutes. Simply combine equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Measure out equal amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. A good starting point is 1 tablespoon of each.
- If you have whole nutmeg and cloves, freshly grind them. Use a spice grater or small food processor.
- Add the spices to a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork or whisk. Make sure the spices are well incorporated.
- Transfer the allspice powder to an airtight container. Label and store in a cool, dark place.
Be sure to mix the batch well before each use to distribute the flavors evenly. That's all it takes to make your own homemade allspice powder!
Now let's go over the process in more detail.
Step 1: Measure out the spices
The first step when making homemade allspice powder is to measure out equal amounts of each of the three spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
A common ratio is:
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
However, you can customize the amounts to your liking. If you want more of a certain flavor, simply increase that spice. For a spicier allspice blend, add more cloves. For a sweeter version, use extra cinnamon.
Small batches typically call for 1 tablespoon of each spice. For larger batches, you can scale up the ingredients - try 2 tablespoons each or 1/4 cup each.
Step 2: Grind whole spices if needed
If you have whole nutmeg and cloves, you will need to freshly grind them before using in the allspice powder recipe. Freshly grinding maximizes the flavor and aroma.
To grind whole spices:
- For nutmeg: Grate whole nutmeg pieces on a fine microplane or spice grater. You can also pulse small pieces in a mini food processor until finely ground.
- For cloves: Use a mortar and pestle or small food processor to crush the cloves into a fine powder.
If you only have pre-ground nutmeg and cloves, you can use those directly in this homemade allspice powder recipe.
Key Takeaway: Grinding whole nutmeg and cloves maximizes the fresh flavor but pre-ground spices can also be used.
Step 3: Combine and mix the spices
Once you have the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves measured out and ground if needed, simply combine them in a small bowl. Use a fork or small whisk to thoroughly mix the spices together.
Be sure to fully incorporate the spices so the flavors are evenly distributed. Mixing well in this step is key to achieving the perfect allspice powder blend.
Tip: For larger batches, you can combine the spices in a sealed jar or bag and shake vigorously to blend.
Step 4: Store in an airtight container
After mixing up a batch of homemade allspice powder, transfer it to an airtight container for storage. Glass spice jars or small mason jars work well. You can also use plastic containers or bags designed for spices.
Label the container with the name and date to keep track of your homemade creations. Store the allspice powder in a cool, dark cabinet or pantry.
Be sure to give the powder a good stir before each use to maintain an even distribution of the spices. Properly stored, the homemade allspice powder will retain its flavor for around 6 months.
Customize the Allspice Powder Recipe
One of the great benefits of making your own allspice powder is that you can customize it to suit your tastes. Here are some tips for personalizing your homemade blend:
- Adjust the spice ratios - If you want more of a certain flavor, add extra of that spice. For example, increase the cloves for spiciness or use more cinnamon for sweetness.
- Try other spices - Tailor your blend by adding spices like ginger, black pepper, mace, or cardamom. Start with small amounts and adjust until you reach your desired flavor profile.
- Use freshly ground spices - Grinding whole spices just before use results in the fullest flavor.
- Make it coarse or fine - For coarse allspice powder, grind the spices less. For finer powder, grind thoroughly. The texture you prefer may depend on the application.
- Smell and taste test - Before storing your homemade allspice powder, be sure to smell and taste a pinch. Adjust the recipe if needed to your preferences.
By tweaking the ingredients and grind size, you can create an allspice powder that suits your exact cooking needs. Experiment and take notes until you settle on your perfect blend.
Using Homemade Allspice Powder
Homemade allspice powder can be swapped into just about any recipe that calls for conventional allspice. With its warm, mildly spicy flavor, it pairs well with most ingredients.
Here are some of the many ways to use your homemade allspice powder:
- Sprinkled on oatmeal or sweet potatoes
- Added to cookie, cake, muffin, and bread recipes
- Rubbed on meats like pork, lamb, or chicken before roasting
- Whisked into pancake and waffle batters
- Stirred into curries, stews, and chili
- Blended into barbecue and jerk seasonings
- Mixed into pickling spice and brines
- Added to mulled cider and wine
- Sprinkled on desserts like coffee cake and cobblers
Start with small amounts of the homemade powder until you get a feel for the flavor concentration. A little allspice can go a long way in enhancing both sweet and savory recipes.
Storing Homemade Allspice Powder
To maintain the fresh flavor of your homemade allspice powder, proper storage is essential.
Here are some tips:
- Keep the allspice powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark cabinet away from light and heat. Glass jars or spice jars work best.
- Avoid humidity which can cause clumping.
- Give the powder a stir before each use to evenly distribute the flavors.
- Write the date on the container so you know when it was made.
- For maximum freshness and flavor, make 3-month batches.
When stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, your homemade allspice powder should retain its flavor and aroma for around 6 months. Be sure to give it a sniff test and if the smell is weak, it's time to make a fresh batch.
Key Takeaway: Store homemade allspice powder in an airtight, labeled container in a cool, dark place and use within 6 months for best flavor.
Homemade Allspice Powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- Measure out the ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a small bowl. Use equal amounts of each, about 1 tablespoon each.
- If you have whole nutmeg and cloves, grind them first before using. For nutmeg, grate on a microplane or spice grinder. For cloves, use a mortar and pestle or small food processor to crush into a powder.
- Thoroughly mix the spices together using a fork or whisk. Make sure the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are well incorporated.
- Transfer the homemade allspice powder to an airtight container like a glass jar or spice jar. Label and store in a cool, dark cabinet or pantry.
- Be sure to stir or shake the container before each use to maintain an even distribution of the spices. Enjoy!
- Customize the amounts of each spice based on your tastes and preferences.
- Make larger batches by scaling up the ingredient amounts equally.
- Grinding whole spices just before use provides the best flavor.
- Stored properly in an airtight container, the homemade powder will retain its flavor for about 6 months.
What's the best way to grind whole spices for allspice powder?
For whole cloves, use a mortar and pestle or a small electric coffee/spice grinder to grind into a fine powder. For nutmeg, grate on a microplane or spice grater.
Can I use a blender or food processor to make allspice powder?
Yes, a small food processor or blender can work to grind the whole spices. Just be sure to pulse it and don't over-process into a paste.
How long does homemade allspice powder last?
Properly stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, homemade allspice powder will retain its flavor for around 6 months.
Why make your own vs. buying pre-ground allspice?
Making your own allows you to customize the flavor and ensure the spices are freshly ground for optimal flavor and aroma. It also avoids preservatives and anticaking agents used in commercial spices.
What recipes work well with homemade allspice powder?
Homemade allspice powder shines in baked goods like gingerbread, banana bread, spice cake, cookies, muffins, and more. It also adds warmth to curries, stews, barbecue rubs, cider, and wine.
Can I substitute equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for allspice?
Yes, combining equal amounts of these three spices makes a great stand-in for allspice in most recipes. Adjust the ratios to taste.
Learning how to make your own homemade allspice powder opens up a world of flavor possibilities. With just three common spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves - you can easily whip up a batch of this warm, aromatic spice blend.
Customize the recipe to suit your tastes and enjoy fresher, bolder allspice flavor in all your favorite recipes from baked goods to curries. Store the homemade powder properly in an airtight container and it will stay fresh for months.