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Substituting Pumpkin Pie Spice: 6 Best Blends and Individual Spices

If there’s a scent that’s representative of fall, it’s that warm, spicy mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves — pumpkin pie spice, sometimes called pumpkin spice. The flavorful combo delivers a toasty flavor to pies, baked goods, and everyone’s favorite latte. And when you’re craving that flavor, there’s not much else that will satisfy your taste buds. 

That’s when you may need to know the rules of substituting pumpkin pie spice. Here’s the good news. If you don’t have a prepared pumpkin pie spice blend on hand, there are several ways you can mimic those iconic fall flavors. Read on to learn more. 

What is pumpkin spice?

Dried spices with small pumpkins in a container.
Source: Envato.

Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Some versions of the blend may have more or fewer ingredients, but these are the most common components. Combine these spices and you get that warm, spicy, peppery, woody flavor with its distinctive scent, reminiscent of cool evenings, turtlenecks, and roaring fires. 

6 best pumpkin pie spice substitutes 

Below of five ways to recreate the flavors and aroma of pumpkin pie spice with other ingredients. Three are spice blends, while three are individual spices.

The first substitute below, making your own spice blend, is always the best pumpkin pie spice substitute — assuming you have the ingredients on hand. 

1. Make your own pumpkin pie spice blend 

To make homemade pumpkin pie spice, simply mix the ingredients below in a small bowl: 

  1. 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  2. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  3. 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  4. 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cloves

You could also add a dash of cardamom if you have it.

Store any unused homemade pumpkin spice blend in an airtight spice jar. 

2. Cinnamon and then some 

As you can see from the pumpkin pie spice recipe above, cinnamon is the headline ingredient in pumpkin pie spice. If you have cinnamon on hand plus a few of the other spices, you can make a reasonable pumpkin pie spice substitute. More specifically, you can use the recipe above and leave out one, maybe two ingredients — as long as you have the cinnamon. 

Note that the end result won’t be quite as complex as it should be, but it’ll still be tasty. 

3. Apple pie spice 

McCormick Apple Pie Spice, 1.12 oz
  • McCormick Apple Pie Spice is a balanced blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
  • Aromatic and gentle, yet bursting with the flavor of warm, delicately sweet spices
  • For apple desserts like pies, tarts, crisps, baked apples & homemade applesauce
  • Use 1 1/2 tsp. Apple Pie Spice to 6 medium apples for pie
  • Substitute this blend for cinnamon in your baked goods

Apple pie spice has mostly the same ingredients as pumpkin pie spice, but differs in the proportions. Apple pie spice leans heavier into the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors for a sweeter blend, while pumpkin pie blend has more spice.

Substitute apple pie spice for pumpkin pie spice in a 1:1 ratio and add a dash of ground clove if you have it. 

4. Allspice 

Amazon Brand – Happy Belly All Spice Ground, 2.5 ounce (Pack of 1)
  • 2.5-ounces of Happy Belly All Spice
  • Adds warmth and depth, an individual spice reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, or even peppercorn
  • Great in both sweet and savory foods, desserts, fruit, with meat, sausages, stews, gravies, soups, marinades, and in pickling
  • Can be used as a Jamaican pimento seasoning, in moles, in pickling, in commercial sausage preparations and curry powder
  • An important ingredient in Caribbean cuisine and Middle Eastern cuisine. In the United States it is mainly used for desserts

If there’s any one individual spice that’s the most direct substitute for pumpkin pie spice, it’s allspice. The flavor of allspice on its own is similar to cinnamon, coves, and nutmeg combined. 

To substitute allspice for pumpkin pie spice, use a 1:1 ratio, then taste and adjust. 

5. Cloves

Simply Organic Ground Cloves 2.82 Ounce Jar, Pure Organic Ground Cloves, Kosher, Pungent Warm Aroma, Bittersweet & Spicy
  • GROUND CLOVES – Intensely aromatic and richly flavorful, Simply Organic Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are hand-selected for high oil content. They are most often used for pickling, flavoring hot drinks and spicing meats.
  • ADAPTABLE INGREDIENT – Cloves are useful for various purposes, but are best known for their use in pickling, marinating, and spicing. Cloves are also a great addition to seasoning blends, alongside cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Use them in your cooking for an intense, enhanced flavor.
  • ORGANIC FROM SRI LANKA – Our ground cloves are grown and harvested in Sri Lanka, and are hand-selected for quality and taste. This product is certified organic, kosher, and non-irradiated.
  • PURE AND POTENT FLAVOR – Simply Organic believes in pure and potent flavor grown at the source. Our rigorous standards mean that we know precisely what you’re getting, and from where. All of our products are grown and processed without the use of toxic pesticides, irradiation, or GMOs.
  • ABOUT US – Simply Organic is a 100% certified organic line of spices, seasoning mixes, and baking flavors. Our pure, potent spices, seasonings and extracts bring real bite to everything you make, eat and share. Our goal, through our Simply Organic Giving Fund, is to help the millions of food insecure by not only providing funds and support to make organic food more accessible, but also in developing the next generation of leaders in sustainable and socially just organic agriculture.

The strong flavor of cloves does have a way of taking over in a pumpkin pie spice blend. Because of that, you could use just cloves to substitute for pumpkin pie spice. Again, the flavor won’t be exactly the same as the full spice mix. 

To substitute ground cloves for pumpkin pie spice, you’ll probably use 1/8 to 1/4 of the recipe’s recommended amount of pumpkin pie spice. Start with 1/8 and then add more to taste. So if the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice mix, start with 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves. 

If you only have whole cloves, grind them first. You can use a coffee grinder for this. Alternatively, if you’re making a tea or coffee beverage, you could infuse the not liquid with whole cloves and then strain them out later. 

6. Ground ginger 

Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Ginger Ground, 2.75 ounce (Pack of 1)
  • 2.75-ounces of ground Happy Belly Ginger
  • Warm, aromatic, a balance of both sweet and savory flavor
  • Used in Chinese stir fries, Caribbean drinks, Indian curries and more
  • Use 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger for every tablespoon of fresh ginger that your recipe calls for
  • Pairs well with coriander, chilli, garlic, mint & lemongrass

Ginger has a toasty, spicy flavor that should work nicely in dishes designed for pumpkin pie spice. Like cloves, dried, ground ginger is intense — so proceed with conservative measurements. Start with 1/4 the recommended amount of pumpkin pie spice and add more as needed. In a recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and adjust. 

I wouldn’t advise using fresh ginger in this scenario. It has a different flavor that dried ginger and contains water which could affect the texture of your dish. 

What to make with pumpkin pie spice blend

Top view of pumpkin pie to represent substituting pumpkin pie spice.
Source: Envato.

Pumpkin pie spice headlines many fall desserts and treats, including: 

You’ll see some of these recipes list individual spices in lieu of pumpkin pie spice. As long as the proportions are similar (mostly cinnamon and lesser amounts of the other spices), you can use pumpkin pie spice instead. Just add up the amounts recommended for the individual spices and use that sum to measure your pumpkin pie spice. 

For example, my pumpkin cookies recipe has 2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus smaller portions of complementary spices. You could instead use 3 teaspoons of pumpkin spice mix. 

You could also use the spice blend in nearly any recipe that calls for pumpkin, such as pumpkin chili

Pumpkin pie spice FAQs

How much pumpkin pie spice do I use instead of individual spices?

If the recommended measurements of individual spices are similar to the DIY pumpkin pie spice recipe above, add up the individual measurements and use the sum to measure out the spice blend.

What does pumpkin pie spice taste like?

Pumpkin pie spice tastes warm, sweet, nutty, peppery, and complex. It’s a bit like chai tea but with less of a licorice note. 

Can I use pumpkin pie extract instead of spice? 

Yes, you can use pumpkin pie extract instead of spice. You will have to adjust for flavor and, possibly, the liquid content of the extract. 
Pumpkin pie extract has a stronger flavor than dry spice, so start with 1/4 or 1/2 the recommended measurement and add more to taste. For baked goods, add the extract to the wet ingredients of your dish instead of the dry ingredients. Also, if the dish is not a baked good but involves a long cooking time, consider adding the extract near the end of the cook time. 

Can I use pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg and cinnamon?

Yes, you can use pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg and cinnamon. Know that you’ll introduce more flavor to your dish by doing so, however. Start with 3/4 the recommended measurement of nutmeg and cinnamon, then add more to taste.

Can I replace allspice with pumpkin pie spice? 

Yes, you can replace allspice with pumpkin pie spice. The flavors aren’t identical, but they are similar. Substitute allspice in a 1:1 ratio for pumpkin pie spice. 

Is pumpkin pie spice keto-friendly? 

Yes, pumpkin pie spice is keto-friendly. 

What’s in Starbucks’ pumpkin pie spice latte? 

These are the ingredients of the Starbucks pumpkin pie spice latte, from

Pumpkin spice sauce: sugar, condensed skim milk, pumpkin puree, natural flavors, annatto, salt, potassium sorbate 
Brewed espresso
Whipped cream 
Vanilla syrup: sugar, water, natural flavors, potassium sorbate, citric acid
Pumpkin spice topping: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, sulfiting agents 

As you can see, Starbucks pumpkin spice topping is essentially a version of pumpkin pie spice.

Last update on 2023-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API