Best pumpkin pie spice substitute: a collection of spices and spice blends that are great options for achieving that signature fall flavor! I've even included the recipe for a super simple DIY pumpkin pie spice blend so you can make it from scratch! Save yourself a trip to the store and give one of these pumpkin pie spice substitutes a try instead!
Best Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitutes
Pumpkin – the official flavor of fall. From pumpkin pie to pumpkin bars and even a pumpkin latte – nothing tastes quite like fall (except maybe apples, but that’s a debate for another time).
Many of the pumpkin spice-flavored desserts wouldn’t be the same without pumpkin pie spice. This special blend of several fall favorites creates the ultimate fall flavor. If you find yourself without this special spice, though, don’t worry. There are several wonderful and easy pumpkin pie spice substitutes!
- Best Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitutes
- What is Pumpkin Pie Spice?
- 1. Cinnamon
- 2. Ground Cloves
- 3. Nutmeg
- 4. Ginger
- 5. Allspice
- Multi Spice Substitutes
- 6. Cloves + Cinnamon
- 7. Black Peppercorns + Cinnamon
- 8. Ground Pumpkin Seeds + Cinnamon
- 9. Star Anise + Cinnamon
- 10. Cocoa Powder + Cinnamon
- 11. Ginger + Allspice
- 12. Ginger + Cinnamon
- 13. Cloves + Nutmeg
- 14. DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
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- 💬 Reviews
Moreover, while many people love the complex flavor blend of pumpkin spice, some prefer a simpler flavor. Therefore, you may choose to skip the blend and opt for a single favorite spice as a substitute. Whatever you choose, these spices are sure to give you a full fall flavor that is perfect for you!
What is Pumpkin Pie Spice?
Before I share with you the best pumpkin pie spice substitutes, it will help to know what pumpkin pie spice is. Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of several spices.
The most common spices found in this blend are cinnamon, ground ginger, number, ground allspice, and ground cloves. This blend can vary from brand to brand. However, most brands include at least 2 to 3 of these main spices. In addition, some blends will add cardamon.
Cinnamon is the primary spice in Pumpkin Pie Spice. Therefore, it is the best single spice to use as a substitute. Moreover, it is one of the most common spices to have on hand – making it an easy substitute when you are in a pinch.
Using cinnamon alone will provide the familiar warm fall flavor that most of us associate with pumpkin treats. However, while cinnamon is the primary flavor found in a pumpkin pie spice blend, it can be overpowering on its own.
To avoid adding too much fall flavor, start with half the amount of cinnamon (½ teaspoon of cinnamon = 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice). Do a quick taste test and then add more cinnamon if desired or needed.
2. Ground Cloves
Cloves are another spice found in a pumpkin spice blend. They have a distinct flavor that many people associate with pumpkin pie and other similar desserts.
In addition to their distinct flavor, they are quite strong. Therefore, you will want to use a small amount, especially if you are using them on their own.
While cloves can be purchased whole or ground, the ground version is best as a substitute. Start with ¼ the amount of what the recipe calls for in pumpkin pie spice (¼ teaspoon ground cloves = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice).
For the best results, combine cloves with another spice like cinnamon.
The warm flavor of nutmeg reminds many people of fall and holiday flavors. It is especially popular around Thanksgiving and Christmas as a topping for warm drinks like eggnog. It is also commonly found in pumpkin pie spice.
Like cloves, nutmeg is quite powerful. A little goes a long way!
Begin with ¼ the amount of nutmeg (¼ teaspoon nutmeg = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice).
The last of the standard spices in a pumpkin pie spice blend is ginger. While ginger is a common spice in this blend, it has a different flavor profile than cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
It leans more towards a brighter citrus flavor profile that is less earthy. However, it still has familiar warm flavor elements.
Unlike the other spices that help enrich the warm flavors, ginger adds a distinctly new flavor. Therefore, if you use too much, it can quickly overpower and change the flavor of the recipe.
Ginger is best used in support of other spices. If you only have access to ginger, though, you can use a small amount to boost the flavor of your recipe. Start with ⅛ to ¼ serving (⅛ teaspoon or ¼ teaspoon = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice).
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If you are looking for a single spice substitute that offers a more complex flavor, then consider allspice. Despite sounding like it is a blend of several spices, allspice is one single spice. It is described as tasting like a blend of cinnamon, number, cloves, and pepper.
This spice comes from the dried berry of a pimento tree. While these trees are native to Jamaica and Central America, allspice is used worldwide. It is especially popular in India and the Middle East.
Allspice is a good substitute for pumpkin pie spice when you want to enrich the warm, earthy notes of a dish. It can work in both sweet and savory dishes. However, its strong flavor lends itself to savory dishes.
Begin with using ⅓ the amount of allspice (⅓ teaspoon allspice = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice).
Multi Spice Substitutes
While each of the individual spices found in pumpkin pie spice can be used independently from one another, they are best used when combined.
If you have all the spices mentioned above, you can jump to the recipe below to make your own DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice blend. However, if you only have two to three spices available, you can follow the suggestions below for a simpler pumpkin pie spice blend substitute.
6. Cloves + Cinnamon
These two spices provide a distinct fall flavor that many won’t even notice it’s not pumpkin pie spice. Mix in two parts cinnamon with 1-part ground cloves to equal 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice.
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon + 1 teaspoon ground cloves = 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.
7. Black Peppercorns + Cinnamon
Black peppercorns lend a more earthy taste that resembles the flavor profile of allspice. Combined with cinnamon, you get a pungent and warm flavor that is great for savory dishes.
- Mix 2 parts cinnamon with 1 part ground black peppercorns (½ teaspoon cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns).
- Use this ¾ serving to replace 1 serving of pumpkin pie spice (½ teaspoon cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice).
8. Ground Pumpkin Seeds + Cinnamon
To enrich the pumpkin flavor of a recipe, you can use actual pumpkin seeds! Roasted pumpkin seeds work best as they are dried and easy to grind.
- Grind (unsalted) roasted pumpkin seeds in a food processor.
- Mix ground pumpkin seeds with cinnamon in a 2:1 ratio: 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds + 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Use in a 1:1 ratio for pumpkin pie spice.
If you want a heavier cinnamon taste, then swap the ratio for 2 parts cinnamon and 1 part pumpkin seeds. Still, use the mixture in a 1:1 substitute for pumpkin pie spice.
9. Star Anise + Cinnamon
Star anise is not commonly used in a pumpkin pie spice blend, but it has a similar earthy flavor to the other spices used. However, it is less common to have it in your spice cabinet. If you do have access to star anise, it is a wonderful substitute!
Mix equal parts star anise and cinnamon to equal 1 serving of pumpkin pie spice. ½ teaspoon star anise + ½ teaspoon cinnamon = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
10. Cocoa Powder + Cinnamon
The rich flavor of unsweetened cocoa powder is a fun way to add a new flavor to your fall recipes. While it is not specifically pumpkin in flavor, when mixed with cinnamon, it lends a rich, warm flavor.
Keep in mind that even in small quantities, though, it will add a bit of chocolate flavor to your dish.
Mix cocoa powder and cinnamon in equal parts to equal 1 measurement of pumpkin pie spice. ½ teaspoon cocoa powder + ½ teaspoon cinnamon = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
11. Ginger + Allspice
Allspice already resembles many of the flavors found in pumpkin pie spice – except ginger. Therefore, the simple addition of ginger brightens up the allspice and brings it a bit closer to the flavor of pumpkin pie spice.
Remember that these two spices are quite pungent on their own. To keep from overpowering your recipe, follow the ratio of ⅓ allspice in place of 1 serving of pumpkin pie spice: ⅓ teaspoon = 1 teaspoon. Then add just a bit of ginger (⅛ teaspoon to ¼ teaspoon).
12. Ginger + Cinnamon
The addition of a pinch of ginger to cinnamon enhances the flavors of both. The result is a more complex flavor that is closer to the blend of pumpkin spices.
Use the suggested ½ serving of cinnamon in place of 1 serving of pumpkin spice: ½ teaspoon cinnamon = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Add a bit of ground ginger: between ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon.
13. Cloves + Nutmeg
If you don’t like cinnamon but want the flavors of fall, then cloves and nutmeg are the best combination. These two spices are quite strong, though, so you want to start with about half a serving as a substitute.
Mix ground cloves and nutmeg in equal parts to equal ½ a serving of pumpkin pie spice: ¼ teaspoon ground cloves + ¼ teaspoon nutmeg = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. You can always add more, but it is better to start with less.
14. DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
If you have all the primary spices found in a pumpkin pie spice blend, then you can make your own! Follow the ratios below to create your perfect pumpkin spice at home.
- Ground Cinnamon - 3 tablespoons.
- Ground Ginger- 2 teaspoons.
- Ground Nutmeg - 2 teaspoons.
- Ground Allspice - 1 teaspoon.
- Ground Cloves - 1 teaspoon.
- Orange Peel (optional) - 1 teaspoon.
- Mace (optional) - ½ teaspoon.
- Ground Cardamom (optional) - ½ teaspoon.
Simply combine all the ingredients and whisk them together. Then, keep your homemade pumpkin pie spice blend in an airtight jar or container. Use in any recipe that calls for pumpkin pie spice.
We hope one of these spices or spice blends meets your needs! Don't forget to come back and let us know which pumpkin pie spice substitute you chose and how your recipe turned out!
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Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute: Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend (+More Easy Alternatives!)
- In a small bowl combine the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves (plus optional orange peel, mace, or cardamom) and whisk until well combined.3 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon orange peel, ½ teaspoon mace, ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Place the pumpkin pie spice in a spice jar or an airtight container until ready to use.
- Your spice blend will last up to 2-3 years when stored properly in a container with a tight-fitting lid. It is also best to store spices in a cabinet. *Note that spices will lose flavor over time and that the 2-3 year timeline for storing your spices can be affected by how old the spices were before being combined to make this homemade pumpkin pie spice mix.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!