As much as I try to keep my spice cabinet well stocked, it seems like I inevitably run out of an essential ingredient and don’t realize it until I’m midway through a recipe. That’s when I find myself scrambling to find an easy fix – fast! Thankfully, there’s usually something that can stand in for a missing spice, and with the holidays in full swing, this allspice substitute I recently learned about might come in handy for a few of us. Whether you’re making ginger cookies, mulled wine, or spice cake, a simple three-ingredient substitute for allspice will save the day if you’re running low.
What is allspice?
While the name suggests that allspice is a blend of seasonings, allspice is actually a berry. It comes from the Pimenta Dioica, a tree native to Central America. Allspice can be bought in whole berry form, or crushed and ground, similar to black pepper. It’s known for having a warm flavor that’s perfect in holiday cocktails, baked treats like honey breakfast cake, and even hot cocoa (yum!). Even savory foods, like beef and root veggie stew, or jarred pickles, use allspice as a flavor enhancer.
But if you’re like me and forget to fully stock your spice cupboard, you might come up empty when you search for allspice. In that case, improvising with the spices you already have is a faster (and cheaper) option than making a last-minute trip to the store. Plus, you won’t have to miss out on that aromatic flavor when whipping up a dish.
What can I substitute for allspice?
Bon Appetit food editor Shilpa Uskokovic loves allspice so much that she considers it to be “irreplaceable.” But if your spice jar is empty, she knows a DIY version you can make in a flash. “If you’re in a bind, you can make a knock-off spice blend using an equal mix of ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg,” she says.
Mixing together one tablespoon of each of these spices should hold you over for a while, until you can pick up a new jar of the real deal. (If you need more, you can always scale up the measurements of each spice — just keep the proportions the same.)
Got leftovers of your spice bend? Place it in a small jar or plastic bag and store it in a cool, dry place. The next time you’re out of allspice, it’ll be waiting. This way, your culinary adventures during the holidays – and all year round – can go off without a hitch!