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Spice Up Recipes: 5 Best Substitutes for Allspice

What if I told you there was a spice that tasted like a cross between cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper? That’s allspice in a nutshell.

Also known as pimenta, this delightful spice is used in sweet and savory dishes around the world.

Allspice is especially popular in Caribbean cuisine, where it is used to flavor everything from jerk chicken to rum punch.

But what if you’re out of allspice and need a quick substitute? In this article, we’ll take a look at the five best substitutes for allspice.

What’s Allspice?

Allspice is a spice that gets its name from its similarity to a mixture of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

It is native to Jamaica, where it is also known as pimento.

Allspice has a long history of use in both cooking and medicine.

The earliest recorded use of allspice dates back to the first century AD when Pliny the Elder described it as a “Jamaican pepper”.

Allspice is commonly used in baking, especially in recipes for pumpkin pie and gingerbread.

It can also be used to flavor savory dishes such as curries and stews.

When used in cooking, allspice imparts a warm, aromatic flavor.

It is also sometimes used as a replacement for cloves or nutmeg.

Allspice can be purchased whole or ground.

Whole allspice berries can be stored for up to two years, while ground allspice should be used within six months.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Allspice

If you find yourself without allspice, don’t fret. There are several substitutes that can be used in its place.

1 – Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cloves

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are all common spices that are used in baking and cooking.

They all have a distinct flavor and can be used to add depth and flavor to dishes.

Cinnamon has a warm, sweet taste that is perfect for baked goods.

Nutmeg is slightly earthy and musky, making it a great addition to savory dishes.

Cloves have a strong, pungent flavor that is often used in Indian cuisine.

All three spices can be bought pre-ground or in the whole form.

When using whole spices, it is best to toast them in a pan before grinding them into a powder.

This helps to release their flavors and aromas.

If you don’t have allspice on hand, a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves can be used as a substitute.

Just use equal parts of each spice.

This spice blend is perfect for adding warmth and depth to any dish.

2 – Whole Allspice Berries

Whole allspice berries are the dried, unripe fruit of the evergreen allspice tree.

These small, dark brown berries have a strong, pungent flavor that is reminiscent of a combination of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Allspice is commonly used to flavor pickles, pies, and other baked goods, as well as savory dishes such as curries and stews.

When substituting whole allspice for ground allspice, use about half as much of the whole berries.

To grind the berries yourself, use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder.

First, toast the whole berries in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes to release their flavor.

Then, let them cool slightly before grinding them to a powder.

Enjoy your homemade allspice in all your favorite recipes.

3 – Cloves

Cloves are a spice with a distinct, pungent flavor.

They are often used to flavor meats, especially in Asian cuisine.

Cloves can be added whole to dishes, or they can be ground into a powder.

Ground cloves are also a key ingredient in allspice.

While allspice is named for its similarity to a mixture of spices, it is actually made from just one spice: dried, unripe berries from the Pimenta dioica tree.

This tropical evergreen is native to Central America and the Caribbean islands, and its berries have a flavor that is similar to cloves.

As a result, cloves can be used as a substitute for allspice in many recipes.

When substituting cloves for allspice, use half as many cloves as you would allspice.

This will ensure that your dish has the right flavor balance.

4 – Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a spice that comes from the nut of the Myristica fragrans tree.

It has a warm, sweet taste with a hint of pepperiness.

Nutmeg is often used in baking, and it can also be grated and sprinkled over dishes like eggnog and pumpkin pie.

When used sparingly, nutmeg can add depth of flavor to a dish.

However, it can quickly become overpowering, so it is important to use it sparingly.

If you don’t have allspice on hand, you can substitute nutmeg in many recipes.

If you are using ground nutmeg, use one-quarter to one-half teaspoon of nutmeg for every teaspoon of allspice called for in the recipe.

When substituting the whole nutmeg, use one whole nutmeg for every two teaspoons of allspice.

5 – Pumpkin Pie Spice + Pepper

Though it may seem like a small change, adding pumpkin pie spice to your pepper can make a big difference in the flavor of your dish.

The warm, sweet spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves will enhance the natural sweetness of the pepper, while the pinch of black pepper will add a touch of heat.

The result is a well-rounded flavor that is both familiar and unexpected.

And because pumpkin pie spice is so versatile, it can be used as a substitute for allspice in many recipes.

So if you’re looking for a way to add some extra flavor to your cooking, reach for the pumpkin pie spice the next time you need allspice.


In conclusion, allspice is a great spice that can add depth and flavor to many dishes.

If you don’t have allspice on hand, you can substitute cloves, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice.

Each of these spices will add its own unique flavor to your dish, so experiment to see which one you like best.

And remember, when substituting spices, it is important to use them sparingly.

A little goes a long way when it comes to flavor.

So start with a small amount and add more to taste.

With these tips, you’ll be able to spice up your cooking in no time.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Allspice

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes

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  • Cinnamon Nutmeg, and Cloves

  • Whole Allspice Berries

  • Cloves

  • Nutmeg

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice + Pepper


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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