While allspice is one of the most popular spices in the world, it's an easy one to run out of. Unlike other spices, ground allspice loses its flavor quickly, and whole allspice berries are a hassle to grind. But there's no need to panic if you're out of allspice. Several other spices can be used as an allspice substitute.
Below, we've rounded up the best substitutes for both whole allspice berries and ground allspice. Whether you've discovered your ground allspice has gone stale or you've run out of allspice altogether, these handy allspice substitutes can help you save a recipe in a pinch.
But first, let's learn a bit more about allspice itself.
What Is Allspice?
Thanks to its versatile flavor, allspice is one of the most popular spices around the globe. While it's easy to assume that it's a blend of all spices, allspice is actually a single spice and not a mixed spice. Instead, its name comes from its ability to be used in all dishes, as it's commonly used in both sweet and savory recipes.
Allspice is a potent spice made from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica plant, a tropical tree native to Central America. The small, green allspice berries are picked before they're ripe and traditionally dried in the sun (though lower-end spice brands may use other methods). When dried, the brown allspice berries look strikingly similar to dried peppercorns.
Allspice quickly loses its flavor and fragrance, especially when ground, so we recommend storing your allspice as whole berries. For maximum flavor, whole allspice should be ground using a coffee grinder or pepper grinder immediately before use.
What Does Allspice Taste Like?
Allspice is a delicious spice that earned its name from its complex flavor, which is often described as a blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. The flavor and aroma of the distinct spice are quite strong, so a little goes a long way in the kitchen.
What Is Allspice Used In?
Though allspice is used worldwide in both sweet and savory dishes, it's best known for its prominent role in Caribbean cuisine. It's often called pimento, pimento dram, Jamaica pepper, or myrtle pepper on the ingredient list of Jamaican jerk seasoning and other Caribbean food products. In addition to Caribbean cooking, allspice is also used in Middle Eastern, European, and Midwestern cuisine.
Because of its versatile flavor, allspice is used for everything from seasoning meat and seafood to deepening the flavor of stews to enhancing the aroma of bread and baked goods. Here are a few common uses:
Pickle brines for fish and vegetables
Pumpkin pie and other pumpkin desserts
Winter beverages like mulled wine and spiced apple cider
Spice rubs for barbecue meats and vegetables
Mincemeat pie filling
Soups and stews
Best Substitutes For Allspice
Because of its complex flavor and aroma, the best substitute for allspice isn't a single spice but a blend of spices. Layered together, these other spices can closely recreate the depth and flavor of allspice.
DIY Blend of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cloves
Making your own pumpkin spice mix with a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves can be an excellent substitute for allspice in a wide range of recipes. Allspice itself has flavor notes reminiscent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, so combining these three spices can help you achieve a similar taste profile.
To prepare your own pumpkin spice mix, simply combine equal amounts of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Use the same quantity of this homemade spice blend as specified in the recipe that calls for allspice. To replace 1 teaspoon of allspice in your recipe, you can use the following combination of ground spices: 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
A combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves can work wonders when a recipe calls for ground allspice in baked goods like cakes, cookies, or muffins. Use equal parts of each spice or adjust the ratios based on your personal preference. This blend adds warmth, depth, and a hint of spiciness, mimicking allspice flavors.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Another great allspice substitute is pumpkin pie spice. The fall-friendly spice blend contains ground allspice itself, along with ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves. Thanks to its warm flavor and mouth-watering aroma, this ground spices blend works particularly well as a substitute for allspice in baking and sweet recipes.
Pumpkin pie spice is an ideal substitute for allspice in baked goods and sweet dishes. Whether you're making pies, cakes, cookies, or bread, using pumpkin pie spice in place of allspice can provide a similar warm and aromatic flavor. To use pumpkin pie spice as an allspice substitute, add the same amount of the spice blend as the recipe calls for allspice.
Apple Pie Spice
Apple pie spice can be a suitable substitute for allspice in various recipes, particularly those that call for a warm spice flavor profile. Allspice is a spice that resembles a combination of flavors, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Apple pie spice typically consists of a similar blend of spices, making it a convenient substitute in many cases.
When considering the best uses for apple pie spice as a substitute for allspice, it is important to remember the recipe's dominant flavors. Apple pie spice is commonly used in desserts, especially those featuring apples, and it pairs well with cinnamon. Therefore, it works exceptionally well as a substitute for allspice in recipes such as apple pie, apple crisp, spiced apple cake, and more.
However, it's worth noting that while apple pie spice can be a good substitute for allspice in certain recipes, it may not be ideal in dishes where allspice is a more prominent flavor or used in savory dishes. In such cases, it's best to use a combination of other spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to mimic the flavor profile of allspice more accurately.
Similar to ground allspice, ground cloves have a sharp flavor that stands out in dishes. The potent spice can be used to substitute allspice in a variety of savory recipes like casseroles and curries, and it can even be used to flavor drinks like mulled wine, cider, and chai tea.
Because cloves are stronger than allspice, you'll want to use half the amount of ground cloves as the recipe calls for ground allspice to avoid overpowering the delicate flavors of the dish.
Ground Cinnamon And Ground Black Pepper
Ground cinnamon combined with a dash of ground black pepper can serve as a flavorful substitute for allspice in various culinary applications. The combination of these two spices creates a unique profile that closely resembles the warm and aromatic notes of allspice.
In sweet baked goods like cookies, cakes, muffins, or sweet bread, you can use a blend of cinnamon and black pepper to mimic the flavor of allspice. Start with a 1:1 ratio of cinnamon to black pepper, and adjust to your taste preferences. This combination adds a pleasant spiciness and complexity to your treats, reminiscent of allspice's distinctive taste.
A blend of cinnamon and black pepper can work well when preparing warm beverages like mulled cider, hot chocolate, or spiced tea that call for allspice. Simmer your beverage with a cinnamon stick and a pinch of black pepper for a flavor similar to allspice. Adding allspice to the drink imparts a sense of warmth and depth, creating a cozy and comforting experience.
Cinnamon paired with a hint of black pepper can be utilized as a substitute for allspice in certain savory recipes. When making spice rubs or marinades for meats like chicken, beef, or game, a combination of cinnamon and black pepper can add complexity and a touch of spiciness. Begin with a small amount and adjust according to your taste.
Nutmeg can be a fantastic substitute for allspice in certain culinary scenarios. The warm and aromatic flavor of nutmeg shares similarities with allspice, making it a suitable alternative in many recipes.
Nutmeg works exceptionally well in baked goods that call for allspice. When preparing cookies, cakes, pies, or bread, you can replace allspice with an equal amount of freshly grated nutmeg. It adds a delightful depth of flavor and imparts a cozy, comforting aroma to your creations.
If you're whipping up desserts like custards, puddings, or fruit-based sweets, nutmeg can be used as a substitute for allspice. Its warm and slightly sweet profile complements these dishes perfectly, providing a nuanced flavor that enhances the overall taste experience.
Chinese Five Spice
Chinese Five spice can be a flavorful substitute for allspice in certain recipes, particularly those that can accommodate its distinct and aromatic profile. Allspice is known for its warm, slightly sweet, and peppery flavor, while Chinese Five Spice offers a unique blend of flavors, including star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. When considering a substitute, it's essential to consider the dominant flavors and the dish's overall character.
Chinese Five Spice is the best allspice substitute in recipes with an Asian or fusion cuisine influence or in dishes where its complex flavor profile can complement the other ingredients. Some examples of recipes where Chinese Five Spice can be used as a substitute for allspice include stir-fry dishes, slow-cooked braised meat dishes, Asian-inspired marinades, and more.
Allspice berries substitutes
Cinnamon Sticks, Whole Nutmeg, and Whole Cloves
Cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, and whole cloves can be combined to create a suitable substitute for allspice berries. Allspice berries possess a flavor profile reminiscent of a harmonious fusion of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. You can replicate the flavors of allspice berries by using these three spices in their whole form.
If you have ground allspice available, it serves as a direct substitute for allspice berries. Ground allspice is made from grinding the dried berries, so it retains the distinctive flavor profile of allspice. Use an equal measure of ground allspice to substitute for the amount of allspice berries specified in the recipe.
Cardamom and Cloves
Combining ground cardamom and cloves can create a flavor profile reminiscent of allspice. Cardamom adds a unique aromatic and slightly citrusy note, while cloves provide a warm and spicy flavor. You can opt to use them in equal quantities or adjust the proportions to your preference.
Ginger and Cloves
Ginger and cloves, when combined, can offer a flavor profile that resembles allspice. Ginger adds a zesty and slightly pungent taste, while cloves contribute warmth and spice. Use equal parts ginger and cloves, or adjust the amounts based on your flavor preference.