common spice substitutions

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Out of your favorite spice? This list outlines effective ways to substitute for spices with ingredients you have in your kitchen! This list is super handy and worth having in every kitchen for ease of access. This is why we’ve put together this spice substitution chart which cutlines over 25 easy ways to substitute for common spices in a pinch.

common spice substitutions

Common spice substitutes


For one teaspoon of allspice, replace with one teaspoon of whole allspice or a mixture of a ¼ teaspoon cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon nutmeg + ¼ teaspoon ground cloves. Read more about other allspice substitutes here.

Black pepper

For one teaspoon of black pepper, replace with one teaspoon of white pepper or one teaspoon of papaya seeds. Check out more black pepper replacements here.

Cayenne pepper

If you have no cayenne pepper, replace it with 1 ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Read about more cayenne pepper substitutes here.

Chili powder

If you need something to substitute for 1 teaspoon of chili powder in a recipe, a suitable mix is a combination of  ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper + ⅛ teaspoon of paprika, ¼ teaspoon of cumin, ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder + ⅛ teaspoon of oregano. Read about some more chili powder substitutes here. 

Chipotle Powder

It is possible to substitute 1 teaspoon of chipotle powder with one teaspoon of smoked paprika. Check out more chipotle powder alternatives here.


One teaspoon of cumin can be replaced with either ½ a teaspoon caraway or ½ a teaspoon of coriander.


One teaspoon of cardamom can be substituted with either one teaspoon of allspice or one teaspoon of apple pie spice. Read more on cardamom replacements here. 


An easy alternative for one teaspoon of coriander is one teaspoon of caraway. Check out some other coriander substitutes in this post.


If you have no cinnamon available, it is possible to swap out one teaspoon of cinnamon with ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon oil or ½ teaspoon of nutmeg. IF you have none of the substitutes listed here, check out these other cinnamon substitutes here.

File powder 

When you have no file powder available, replace 1/2 a tablespoon with 3 cups of okra. You can read more about some other file powder substitutes here.


If you’re making a recipe that call for fenugreek but you have none a couple of great alternatives for one teaspoon of fenugreek is either a ½ teaspoon of maple syrup or ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds.

Garlic powder 

For everyone teaspoon of garlic powder you need to replace in a recipe ½ a teaspoon of garlic flakes or 2 large garlic cloves.

Ground Ginger

3/4 teaspoon of ground ginger can be substituted for 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger. And, if you have no fresh ginger, then check out these other ground ginger alternatives right here.

Ground cloves 

One teaspoon of ground cloves can be replaced with one teaspoon of allspice. Out of allspice as well? Try these other ground clove substitutes for more ideas.

Lemon peel

If you happen to be making a recipe that calls for one teaspoon of Lemon peel but you have none, then one teaspoon of orange peel is an ideal substitute. There are some more lemon peel substitutes here if you have no lemon zest.

Mace powder 

For every one teaspoon of mace powder a recipe calls for, substitute with 1 tablespoon of mace blades or ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Also read more about mace powder substitutes here.

Onion powder

You can alternate 1 teaspoonful of onion powder with one teaspoon of dehydrated minced onion or ¼ of a fresh onion that is chopped. Also, check out these other substitutes for onion powder here.


One teaspoon of paprika can be replaced with 1 teaspoon of tomato powder or one teaspoon of homemade paprika made with bell pepper. There are a few more paprika substitutes worth checking out here.

Red pepper flakes

If you need 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a recipe and you’re out of this spice, if can be replaced with one teaspoon of crushed dried cayenne peppers or ½ teaspoon of Sichuan chili flakes.


One 1 teaspoon of sumac can be replaced with 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon zest + pinch of salt. Check out 6 more sumac stand ins here.


If you find saffron too expensive or you cannot find it, the substitute 15 saffron threads with ½ a teaspoon of turmeric or 15 threads of marigold spice.

Turmeric powder 

Making a dish that requires turmeric power but can’t find any? If so, one teaspoon of can be substituted with 3 teaspoons of turmeric roots.

Tamarind powder

To substitute one 1 teaspoon of tamarind powder, simply uses 1 tablespoon of fresh tamarind in its place. Check out these other tamarind powder subs here.

Vanilla bean

Can’t find any vanilla beans? It is easy to replace with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Also, feel free to check out some other vanilla bean alternatives here. 

White pepper

Out of white pepper? One teaspoon of black pepper can be alternated with one teaspoon of ground mustard or one teaspoon of ground ginger 

Chart With Substitutes For Common Spices

Allspice, ground1 teaspoon
1 tsp of whole allspice or ¼ tsp cinnamon + ¼ tsp nutmeg + ¼ tsp ground cloves
Black pepper1 teaspoon1 tsp white pepper or 1 tsp papaya seeds
Cayenne pepper1 teaspoon1 ½ tsp red pepper flakes
Chili powder1 teaspoon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper + 1/8 tsp paprika, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder + ⅛ tsp of oregano.
Chipotle Powder1 teaspoon1 tsp smoked paprika
Cumin1 teaspoon½ teaspoon caraway or ½ tsp coriander
Cardamom1 teaspoon1 tsp allspice or 1 tsp apple pie spice
Coriander1 teaspoon1 tsp caraway
Cinnamon1 teaspoon¼ tsp cinnamon oil or ½ tsp nutmeg
File powder½ tablespoon3 cups okra
Fenugreek1 teaspoon½ tsp maple syrup or ½ tsp fennel seeds
Garlic powder1 teaspoon½ tsp garlic flakes or 2 large garlic cloves
Ground Ginger¾ teaspoon1 tbsp fresh ginger
Ground cloves1 teaspoon1 teaspoon allspice
Lemon peel1 teaspoon1 tsp orange peel
Mace Powder1 teaspoon1 tbsp mace blades or ½ tsp nutmeg
Nutmeg1 teaspoon2 tsp mace
Onion powder1 teaspoon1 tsp dehydrated minced onion or ¼ fresh onion chopped
Paprika1 teaspoon
1 tsp tomato powder or 1 tsp homemade paprika (made with bell pepper)
Red pepper flakes1 teaspoon1 tsp crushed dried cayenne peppers or ½ tsp Sichuan chili flakes
Sumac1 teaspoon1 ½ tsp lemon zest + pinch of salt
Saffron15 threads½ teaspoon turmeric or 15 threads of marigold spice
Turmeric powder1 teaspoon3 tsp turmeric roots
Tamarind powder1 teaspoon1 tbsp fresh tamarind
Vanilla bean1 whole1 tsp vanilla extract
White pepper1 teaspoon1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp ground mustard or 1 tsp ground ginger

Download spice substitution chart

Download this handy spice substitution chart with substitutes for most of the popular spices we use everyday!

Spice Substitution Chart.pdf

More common food substitutes

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