Pumpkin pie spice has long defined the fall season. Once October arrives, everyone rushes to the supermarket to get a hold of it. This unique spice is found in various beverages and foods, and you can’t easily find a pumpkin pie spice substitute.
Because of the warm feeling accompanying its consumption, we attach pumpkin pie spice to autumn. We also associate it with family and home, which is another reason why many of us are fond of it.
That said, what exactly is pumpkin pie spice? And how can you substitute it? In this article, we’ll tell you all about pumpkin pie spices. So, read on!
Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of multiple spices; ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Although some mixes exclude a couple of spices, they must include at least two or three of the spices mentioned.
You can use pumpkin pie spice for baking pies, cakes, cookies, and muffins. Also, pumpkin pie spice is commonly used in flavoring the notorious pumpkin spice latte, which is a favorite fall beverage.
Yes, pumpkin pie spice is the same as pumpkin spice. These two phrases are usually used interchangeably.
Despite the name, pumpkin pie spice has no pumpkin in the mixture. However, you can add mashed pumpkin to the blend to complement the flavor. This enriches the taste since pumpkin spice works great with pumpkin.
That said, why does pumpkin pie spice have ‘pumpkin’ in its name? When it was first created, pumpkin pie spice was primarily used in pumpkin-based pastries. Later on, people start widely using it in desserts that don’t include pumpkins in their recipes.
McComek first created pumpkin pie spice in the year 1934. Although it was made specifically for pumpkin pie recipes, it became widely included in other dishes.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitutes
If you can’t find pumpkin pie spice, or you’re short on time to go shopping for it, there are a couple of substitutes that you can resort to instead. These include DIY pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, and cinnamon.
Homemade pumpkin pie spice is a great way to personalize your blend. For example, if you’re a cinnamon fanatic, you might want to add extra cinnamon, or less ginger if you find it a bit bitter.
You can easily blend your mixture using this standard recipe (which you can modify according to your preferences):
- Three tablespoons of ground cinnamon
- Two teaspoons of nutmeg
- One and a half teaspoons of ground allspice
- Two teaspoons of ground ginger
- One and a half teaspoons of ground cloves
Whisk these spices together until they’re completely blended, then transfer them into a jar for storage.
Apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice are made of the same ingredients, with a few minor changes. They’re both made from cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.
However, the key difference is that apple pie spice has ground cardamom, and pumpkin pie spice has ground cloves.
With that in mind, you can still make apple pie spice at home with a few ingredients. Check out the recipe here!
Cinnamon is present in large quantities in pumpkin pie spice. And so substituting pumpkin pie spice with cinnamon works fine for most desserts. Still, you can expect a slight change in flavor, since cinnamon alone won’t recreate the richness found in pumpkin pie spice.
Again, since cinnamon is the predominant spice, you can mix it with a small quantity of one of the pumpkin pie spices. For example, for one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, mix ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon and a quarter teaspoon of any of the other spices (nutmeg, allspice, cloves, or ginger).
Other than cinnamon, you can use any of the spices found in pumpkin pie spice individually. Here’s how to use each one separately as a substitute.
If you’ll substitute pumpkin spice with cloves alone, try to use a small quantity. They have a powerful taste, so too much may be uncalled for. Instead of adding the full amount in the recipe listed above, add only a quarter of it.
Same as cloves, nutmeg has a strong flavor. So, it’s best used in a quarter of the amount in the recipe.
Ginger’s taste profile differs from the other spices included despite being one of the essential spices in the mix. While it won’t do a great job of resembling the warm flavor of pumpkin pie spice, it will still provide a familiar flavor.
That said, ginger is added in little amounts when used alone; only a ⅛ teaspoon.
Allspice alone is the one spice that resembles the pumpkin spice mixture the most.
So, allspice is the ideal replacement if you’re searching for something with a complex taste. For best results, use ⅓ the amount of allspice.
Allspice and pumpkin pie spice offer great flavors and dishes, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most people believe these two spices taste similar, which is true, but they differ from each other.
Unlike pumpkin spice, allspice isn’t a blend of different spices; it stands on its own. Despite that, allspice has a diverse taste profile, with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves (hence the name ‘all’).
Because pumpkin spice is already a mixture of these spices, they taste very much alike.
Pumpkin pie spice best complements sweet dishes, such as pastries, cakes, and puddings, thanks to the abundance of cinnamon. On the other hand, owing to the peppery hint, allspice is more commonly used in savory dishes.
However, pumpkin pie spice enriches the flavor of certain savory dishes, such as those containing squash and sweet potatoes.
Generally, you can find allspice as whole berries or ground powder.
On the flip side, pumpkin pie spice is available as a ready-made powder. Also, you can find pumpkin pie syrup (used in pumpkin spice lattes) in supermarkets.
Pumpkin pie spice is used for numerous sweet pastries and drinks. Here’s a list of the best recipes that use pumpkin pie spice.
To conclude, pumpkin pie spices are a delicious blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Though it’s called pumpkin pie spice, there isn’t any pumpkin in the mixture. However, the reason behind the name was its intended use for pumpkin-based recipes.
Moreover, if you’re all out of pumpkin spice, or prefer to substitute it for any reason, you can blend homemade pumpkin spice. On top of that, you can replace it with either apple pie spice, cinnamon, cinnamon + one of the spices, or any of the essential spices found in the mix alone.
Additionally, allspice tastes similar to pumpkin spice, which makes it the best single replacement for pumpkin pie spice. But, it has a couple of differences, including uses and form.
Lastly, the best pumpkin pie spice recipes include pumpkin pie, pumpkin cakes and pancakes, and pumpkin spice latte.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.