Allspice is a unique spice used in both sweet and savory dishes. With its complex flavor profile reminiscent of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper, it adds warmth and depth to recipes. However, allspice may not always be on hand when a recipe calls for it.
The good news is you can easily recreate the flavor of allspice with ingredients you likely have in your pantry already. From make-your-own spice blends to simple swaps, these allspice powder substitutes will allow you to create wonderfully seasoned meals.
Why Use an Allspice Substitute?
There are a few reasons you may need a handy allspice alternative:
- You're out of allspice. Allspice is not a common staple in most spice racks. If you don't cook with it often, you may realize you're out when starting a recipe.
- Difficulty finding it. Specialty spices like allspice can be hard to locate depending on where you shop. Not all grocery stores carry it.
- You need whole allspice. Recipes sometimes call for whole allspice berries. Substituting ground allspice is an easy fix.
- Expired allspice. Ground allspice loses potency quickly. If yours is old, it may no longer have much flavor.
- Allergy or preference. Some people need to avoid certain spices, making a substitute necessary.
Key Takeaway: Relying on a substitute allows you to still enjoy recipes that call for allspice, even when you don't have it on hand.
Having a few allspice stand-ins in your arsenal means you won't have to omit it from recipes or make an extra trip to the store.
Allspice Substitute Options
From mixes of common spices to comparable blends, these simple ingredient swaps can deliver a similar warmth and complexity as allspice powder.
1. Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves
The easiest allspice alternative is also the most similar in flavor. Since allspice naturally tastes like a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, combining these three spices mimics its nuanced flavor.
To replace 1 teaspoon of allspice powder, use:
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
Mix the spices together thoroughly before using in place of allspice in your recipe.
Pros: This matches allspice's flavor profile the closest. You likely have these three spices all ready for baking.
Cons: It takes a few extra steps to measure and mix the spices. Cloves have a stronger flavor, so the balance may not be exact.
2. Pumpkin Pie Spice
The warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg paired with subtle cloves makes pumpkin pie spice an ideal stand-in for allspice in most recipes.
Pumpkin pie spice typically contains:
To use it, simply substitute pumpkin pie spice 1:1 for allspice powder. Since ginger adds some extra heat, start with 3/4 teaspoon per 1 teaspoon allspice and adjust if needed.
A pinch of black pepper can also help replicate the subtle peppery notes lost from the allspice.
Pros: Easy, precise substitution using a readily available baking staple. No mixing is required.
Cons: Ginger introduces some additional flavor not found in allspice. The balance of spices varies by brand.
3. Apple Pie Spice
Apple pie spice is another handy premixed baking blend that makes a quality allspice alternative. It contains:
Use an equal amount of apple pie spice in place of allspice powder called for in a recipe. It may slightly alter the flavor depending on added spices like cardamom but still produces a good result.
Pros: No need to combine individual spices yourself. Most bakers have this on hand.
Cons: A slightly different blend that doesn't perfectly mimic allspice. Brand recipes vary.
4. Cinnamon and Cloves
Missing the nutmeg? No worries! You can still get an allspice-like flavor from cinnamon and cloves alone.
Use a 3:1 ratio, replacing 1 teaspoon allspice with:
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
Complementary spices like allspice work well solo in small amounts. The cinnamon maintains the sweetness, while the cloves provide a touch of warmth.
Pros: Only requires two ingredients most cooks keep stocked. Easy ratio to remember.
Cons: The flavor will not have as much depth without the nutmeg.
5. Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Black Pepper
Here's another simplified combo for an allspice stand-in. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper recreate the sweetness, warmth, and subtle spice allspice lends to recipes.
For a 1:1 substitute, use:
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
The black pepper helps replace cloves while also mimicking the faint peppery tone of allspice.
Pros: Only needs 3 easy-to-find ingredients. Black pepper adds a savory element.
Cons: No clove flavor. Black pepper may stand out more than allspice.
6. Chinese Five Spice Powder
Chinese five spice powder makes an excellent allspice substitute in certain recipes because of its complex, warm flavor profile. It typically contains:
- Star anise
- Black or Sichuan peppercorns
Use an equal amount of five spice powder in place of allspice. The extra spices add dimensions that differ from allspice, but complement most recipes well.
Pros: No spice mixing needed. Adds bold, global flavors.
Cons: Stronger star anise and fennel flavors may overpower some recipes.
7. Garam Masala
Garam masala is another premixed spice blend that can work when you're out of allspice. Traditional garam masala may include:
- Bay leaves
Start by using 3/4 teaspoon garam masala for every 1 teaspoon allspice powder called for. The added spices from coriander and cumin give it a uniqueness that differs slightly from allspice flavor.
Pros: Provides complexity and global flair. No measuring multiple spices is required.
Cons: Stronger cumin flavor. Does not precisely mimic allspice taste.
8. Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Jerk seasoning mixes make a great allspice alternative in Caribbean recipes, barbecue rubs, marinades, and more. Traditional blends contain:
Use the same amount of jerk seasoning as allspice powder needed. The classic Jamaican profile shines through while closely matching allspice's intended notes.
Pros: Provides authentic island flavor. Designed to complement the same recipes.
Cons: Extra ingredients like garlic and onion may not work universally.
Mace is an underrated spice made from the outer covering of the nutmeg seed. Its sweet, earthy aroma bears similarities to allspice flavor.
Replace allspice powder with an equal amount of freshly ground mace. The unique flavor won't be exact, but it adds comparable warmth and sweetness.
Pros: Interesting substitution most people have not tried. Provides a creamy, earthy quality.
Cons: Mace is an uncommon spice that can be hard to find. The flavor is not identical.
10. Whole Allspice Berries
Don't have any ground allspice powder, but happen to have whole allspice berries? No problem - you can grind them into a fine powder.
To substitute, use:
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice for every 6 whole berries
Quickly grind the berries just before using them for maximum flavor and aroma. They resemble large black peppercorns.
Pros: Utilizes allspice you have on hand. Customize the coarseness as needed.
Cons: Requires extra steps to grind into a powder. Whole berries must be removed from dishes before eating.
11. Mixed Masala
Indian masala mixes provide an easy all-in-one allspice substitute similar to garam masala and five spice powder. Masala mixes like chai, vadouvan, or tandoori typically contain:
Use 3/4 teaspoon of your chosen masala blend in place of 1 teaspoon allspice powder. The combinations mimic allspice's warmth, though their individual spice balance varies.
Pros: Intriguing global flavors. Convenient premixed spices.
Cons: Prominent flavors like cumin stand out more. Difficult to find in regular grocery stores.
12. Middle Eastern Spice Blend
Middle Eastern spice mixes like baharat, ras el hanout, and others make delicious allspice substitutions. Ingredients may include:
Measure out an equal amount to use in place of allspice powder. The blends create depth and elegance reminiscent of allspice.
Pros: Imparts incredible Mediterranean flair. Contains many complementary spices.
Cons: Stronger spices like cumin can overpower. These specialty mixes can be difficult to source.
13. Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
If you want to recreate a similar flavor to pumpkin pie spice without ginger, try this easy homemade blend:
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cloves
- 1 teaspoon allspice (omit if out)
Mix the spices together and substitute 1:1 for allspice powder in recipes.
Pros: Allows you to customize your own flavor balance. Good for ginger allergy.
Cons: Takes a few extra minutes to measure and mix the spices.
Is allspice the same as mixed spice?
No, they are different. Allspice comes from a single dried berry that tastes like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg combined. Mixed spice refers to a blend of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
What's a good allspice substitute for jerk chicken?
For jerk chicken, use a jerk seasoning blend or Caribbean masala mix in place of allspice powder. This provides the authentic island flavors needed for the dish.
Can I use apple pie spice instead of allspice berries in mulled cider?
Yes, apple pie spice makes a great substitute for whole allspice berries in mulled beverages. Use the same measured amount and strain out the spices before enjoying your drink.
Is Chinese five spice a good substitute for gingerbread cookies?
Chinese five spice will work, but the star anise introduces a dramatically different flavor. For gingerbread, sticking with basic cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves is best.
Can I use garam masala in place of allspice in a rub for BBQ chicken?
You can, though the garam masala's cumin notes may be more pronounced. For BBQ, a jerk seasoning blend makes a better allspice alternative to keep the focus on warm, sweet flavors.
While allspice has a unique peppery sweetness, its flavor can be recreated in your kitchen with a few handy ingredients. Keep these allspice substitutes in mind so you can still enjoy your favorite recipes, even when missing this warm, aromatic spice.
From quick ingredient swaps like cinnamon and nutmeg to flavorful premixed blends, you can easily duplicate its complex taste. With options for both sweet baked goods and savory dishes, you'll never need to leave allspice out of a recipe again.