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Are you making a recipe that calls for allspice? If you are, and you have none on hand, chances are you’re looking for the best allspice substitute options that actually work. Fret not. Here, you will find the best allspice substitutes that can be used in case of necessity.
What is allspice?
Unlike what most people think, allspice is not a combination of all the spices. In fact, allspice is a single spice that comes from the small berries found on an evergreen tree of the myrtle family called pimenta dioica, native to the West Indies.
Yes, allspice is made from a single type of berry! This berry is dried, and either ground into a powder or used whole in both sweet and savory recipes.
Allspice does have a uniqueness to it, in that its flavor is reminiscent of a combination of three popular spices namely, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. It also has a hint of pepper. This explains the name allspice, and also explains why people would think it was a spice blend rather than a single spice.
There are quite a few easy ways to substitute for allspice in cooking. The best allspice substitutes include whole allspice berries, a DIY allspice mixture, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice with a pinch of black pepper and Chinese five spice.
Best allspice substitute options
Whole allspice berries
The most popular way to use allspice is in the powdered form. Therefore, one of the best substitutes for ground allspice is whole allspice berries.
It has a similar flavor to ground allspice – although the whole allspice berries have more flavor than store bought ground allspice. This is so because the flavors of this spice dissipates quickly once it is been pulverized.
To substitute whole allspice for ground allspice, use 1 teaspoon allspice berries to replace 1 teaspoon of ground allspice. Whole allspice can be used as is, in many recipes including stews, soups, brining, added to mulled wine and spiced apple cider.
If the dish calls for ground allspice, use a coffee grinder to grind the berries and substitute on a 1:1 ratio.
DIY allspice mix
If you have neither whole allspice nor ground allspice on hand, another easy substitute is a homemade allspice mixture featuring cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
To make this DIY allspice blend, add 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of ground cloves to a bowl and mix. For a recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon of allspice, replace with 1 tablespoon of this DIY allspice mix.
If you only have cinnamon on hand, you can also use this spice as a substitute for allspice. Cinnamon is often use alongside allspice in recipes like chicken noodle soup, carrot cake, pumpkin pie, cookies and even apple cider.
Therefore, if a recipe calls for both cinnamon and allspice, and you only have cinnamon on hand, use the amount of cinnamon spice specified in the recipe, plus some more to replace the amount of allspice the recipe calls for. Also, add a pinch of black pepper to add that peppery note to the dish.
Pumpkin pie spice + black pepper
Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground allspice and ground cloves. Thus makes this mixture a great substitute for allspice, as it has all the flavors of allspice already incorporated.
Substitute on a 1:1 ratio. This means you replace 1 tablespoon of allspice with 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. Also, feel free to add a pinch of black pepper to the dish for that peppery bite.
Chinese five spice
Another substitute for allspice is Chinese 5 spice. This spice mix is made from a mixture of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and ginger. Both allspice and Chinese five spice are spicy, sweet, warm spices that can work in baked goods, spice rubs, stir-fries and even fruit salads.
FAQs about allspice
Is allspice the same as mixed spice?
No. While allspice is a spice made from one type of berry from the Pimenta dioica tree, mixed spice is a combination of many spices including nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, coriander seeds, caraway, cloves, allspice, and mace.
Can I use mixed spice instead of allspice?
You can use mixed spice instead of allspice in certain recipes. Because mixed spice has some more complexity in its flavor from spices like coriander seeds, caraway, ginger and mace, use less in your recipe upfront, then adjust to your taste.