Pumpkin-Pie-Spice-Substitutes

The 5 Best Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitutes

As a popular fall spice blend, pumpkin pie spice is probably best known for creating delicious beverages and desserts in autumn. This is the time of year when we get busy making dishes for fall and the end of the year, which means having pumpkin pie spice available in our cabinets is often a must. However, if you can’t get access to pumpkin pie spice due to it being another time of year or a store being out of stock, you still have plenty of options. Below are five great substitutes you can use when your pumpkin spice stocks are all dried up.

What is pumpkin pie spice
All pumpkin pie spice, whether you make it or buy it at a grocery store, has a blend of spices. In most cases, it will include nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. Having an idea of what spices are incorporated into pumpkin pie spice will make it easier to determine the recipes it will work best in. In addition to that, it will make it easier to make your own pumpkin pie spice if you’d prefer to go the DIY route.

How healthy (or unhealthy) is it?

Using pumpkin pie spice is reasonably healthy, as it contains a decent amount of potassium, calcium, and other minerals. Many of these spices have been shown to offer health benefits for the brain too. Pumpkin spice is filled with vitamin A which helps to maintain eyesight and supports the immune system. It also contains numerous spices that can help prevent heart disease. However, the healthiness of a pumpkin spice dish will naturally mostly depend on what else is in the beverage or meal.

Nutritional Breakdown

Pumpkin pie spice

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

342 kcal

16%

Total fat

13 g

21%

Saturated fat

7 g

54%

Carbohydrates

69 g

25%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

52 mg

3%

Protein

6 g

12%

Calcium

682 mg

68%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

663 mg

16%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA.)

What recipes use pumpkin pie spice?

The most obvious dish that uses pumpkin pie spice is the classic festive pumpkin pie, but it can also be used in many other recipes. Some people like adding it into coffee, while others include it in whipped cream for pies and cakes. Pumpkin pie spice can be used to make sweetened nuts for snacks and can even be added to some pasta dishes. It also works as a seasoning for vegetables like carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes.

Why do we need pumpkin pie spice substitutes?

If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, aren’t adept at making it yourself, or can’t find it in the grocery store, you may need to try a substitute. It’s also a good idea to have a replacement for pumpkin pie spice around if you’re worried that yours has gone stale since the last time you used it. Many of the alternatives are spices you might already have available, which means you can get your desserts out on time without any extra stress.

Note:

🌱 = vegan


1. Apple pie spice🌱

Best for: pies, cookies, cakes, coffee, and cream.

Apple pie spice

Overview

One of the spice blends you’ll often find on the market that can be substituted in for pumpkin pie spice is apple pie spice. While these are very different pies, the spices used to make them are very similar. Many of the spices are also used in the same proportions, so you don’t have to worry about it adding a significantly different flavor. Both contain more cinnamon than any other spice, so that will be the predominant flavor profile.

Advantages

If you are looking for something that tastes reasonably authentic as a pumpkin pie spice substitute, apple pie spice is a great option that is very similar in flavor and composition. Both mixes include ginger and nutmeg, and many also include the use of cardamom. Also, both spices can be used in the same amounts, so you don't have to worry about changing up your recipes to any significant degree.

Disadvantages

Unfortunately, while cloves are a common part of pumpkin spice, they are not usually found in apple pie spice. If this is a flavor element that you are fond of, apple pie spice might not completely meet your needs. However, you can always add in some cloves if they’re available to you for that extra level of authenticity.

Nutritional breakdown

Apple pie spice

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

315 kcal

15%

Total fat

10 g

16%

Saturated fat

6 g

46%

Carbohydrates

71 g

26%

Cholesterol

0 g

0%

Salt

24 mg

1%

Protein

6 g

12%

Calcium

676 mg

68%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

644 mg

16%

(Based on nutritional information from EatThisMuch.)

2. Cloves and cinnamon🌱

Best for: beverages, cakes, pies, bread, and cookies.

Cloves and cinnamon

Overview

The combination of cinnamon and cloves makes a good alternative for pumpkin pie spice because they are the two most prominent flavors in pumpkin pie spice. When you think about the last time you ate a large slice of pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream on top, those are the two flavors you probably remember the most. Even without the subtleties of the other flavors to complement them, they create a delicious flavor very similar to that of real pumpkin pie spice.

Advantages

Both of these spices are quite strong and can have an aroma that negates the need for additional types of spices. Also, when you use clove and cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie spice, you can use about the same amount as the amount of pumpkin pie spice called for by your recipe, making it a quick and easy substitute to use in place of the real stuff.

Disadvantages

The main difficulty of choosing only cloves and cinnamon is that the flavors of your desserts or beverages are not going to have the nuance of a blend with additional spices. It also probably isn't the best decision for those who aren't fans of cloves. If this sounds like you, apple pie spice might be a better choice since it has cinnamon and other spices, but without the addition of cloves.

Nutritional breakdown

Cloves and cinnamon

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

137 kcal

7%

Total fat

7 g

12%

Saturated fat

2 g

15%

Carbohydrates

33 g

12%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

134 mg

7%

Protein

3 g

6%

Calcium

316 mg

32%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

510 mg

12%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA for cloves and cinnamon.)

3. Allspice🌱

Best for: chocolate desserts, gingerbread, apple pie, and poultry.

Allspice

Overview

While allspice's name might make you think that it is composed of many different spices, it's actually a single spice. It is best known for its use in fall desserts as well as many savory dishes like Swedish meatballs and Jamaican jerk chicken. The berries are green when unripe before being lightly fermented and then dried to turn a brownish-red color.

Advantages

Allspice can add a sweet flavor to desserts like pies and cakes, but it is a distinct taste. Since it is reasonably strong, you only need to use a small amount of it. One of the best uses for allspice in terms of fall dishes is in hot beverages. Once diluted in liquid, its flavor becomes less intense and overpowering. As an alternative to pumpkin pie spice, this spice includes a large amount of potassium and calcium, so it is somewhat healthy for a spice.

Disadvantages

The major downfall of choosing allspice instead of pumpkin pie spice is that it is very powerful. When used in a cake, pie, or a plate of cookies, using too much can make it overpower the entire dish. You probably won’t want to use much more than a teaspoon, but it can also be a good idea to start with a small amount and then add a little at a time until it suits your taste.

Nutritional breakdown

Allspice

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

263 kcal

13%

Total fat

9 g

15%

Saturated fat

3 g

23%

Carbohydrates

72 g

26%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

77 mg

4%

Protein

6 g

12%

Calcium

661 mg

66%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

1044 mg

25%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA.)


4. Pumpkin pie spice creamer 🌱

Best for: coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and other hot beverages.

Pumpkin pie spice creamer

Overview

Pumpkin pie spice creamer is traditionally used to flavor and add dairy to coffee. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in other beverages or desserts. It will produce a similar flavor to powdered pumpkin spice in your dishes, but slightly on the milder side.

Advantages

Pumpkin pie spice creamer has some nutritional value, as it contains a decent amount of potassium and other minerals, but it can also contain quite a bit of fat and carbs. It works very well as a pumpkin pie spice substitute for beverages of all kinds, which is a perk if you enjoy that delicious taste of cinnamon and nutmeg in your drinks during the fall. It’s also commonly found in most supermarkets, so it should be easy enough to get a hold of.

Disadvantages

The issue with pumpkin pie spice creamer is that it's primarily made of milk of some kind. Whether it’s dairy milk, almond milk, or soy milk, the spices are going to be muted by the massive amounts of liquid. This can be problematic in desserts, as you need to use a considerable amount to get the right flavor, and this will also add more moisture to the dish. However, you can reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients in your dish to counteract this effect.

Nutritional breakdown

Pumpkin pie spice creamer

Amount (per 100 ml)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

200 kcal

10%

Total fat

7 g

11%

Saturated fat

1 g

8%

Carbohydrates

33 g

12%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

0 mg

0%

Protein

0 g

0%

Calcium

0 mg

0%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

233 mg

6%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA.)

5. Nutmeg and mace🌱

Best for: cakes, cookies, poultry, and other savory dishes.

Nutmeg and mace

Overview

A combination of mace and nutmeg can be another solid substitute for pumpkin pie spice. Nutmeg and mace both come from the Indonesian evergreen tree, with nutmeg being the inner seed of the tree and mace being the red substance that covers the seed. Both spices have a similar flavor, but nutmeg tends to be spicier and warmer than mace.

Advantages

Those who enjoy the taste of nutmeg but prefer to avoid cloves in their dishes may enjoy a combination of mace and nutmeg instead. Both have been used in savory and sweet dishes for decades. Some of the most common applications for the duo of spices are in desserts such as pumpkin and apple pie. The spices offer a large amount of calcium and potassium, so it also helps with getting your daily nutrients.

Disadvantages

While nutmeg is a spice commonly found in pumpkin pie, mace is not. As such, you can’t expect dishes or beverages made with this mixture to have the exact same flavor. If you are a fan of the traditional spices in pumpkin pie, this may not meet your needs. It can also contain a large amount of saturated fat depending on the brand you choose, so you want to make sure to look over the label before you buy.

Nutritional breakdown

Nutmeg and mace

Amount (per 100 g)

% Recommended daily intake

Calories

234 g

11%

Total fat

16 g

26%

Saturated fat

10 g

77%

Carbohydrates

45 g

16%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Salt

40 mg

2%

Protein

4 g

8%

Calcium

125 mg

13%

Vitamin B-12

0 ug

0%

Potassium

232 mg

6%

(Based on nutritional information from USDA for nutmeg and mace.)

The Bottom Line

Fall is a popular time for pumpkin pie spice, as dishes like pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, apple pie, and spiced cookies become a staple for many. However, you may run into a situation where you want to make a dish but find out you do not have pumpkin pie spice available. The good news is that several substitutes can be used in recipes of all sorts. Whether you're looking for a healthy option, something geared toward coffee, or an alternative similar to the real thing, this list has a substitute to meet every need. Let’s end by taking a look at our top picks for each category.

Top vegan picks

Other than pumpkin pie spice creamer, all of the substitutes listed here are vegan by default. Even in the case of the creamer, you may be able to find a variety made of vegan milk that you can use as a substitute. When choosing the best vegan alternative, the best things to consider are the flavor, texture, and uses of the ingredient. As such, apple pie spice is likely the best vegan pumpkin pie spice substitute you can find. It comes in the same powdered form, has most of the same ingredients, and is incredibly convenient.

Top healthy picks

One of the healthiest choices you can make to substitute for pumpkin pie spice is a combination of cinnamon and cloves. This is a low-calorie option that packs in the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Allspice is another excellent choice when it comes to nutrition and a healthy diet. However, keep in mind that most of these substitutes are used in small amounts, so even higher calorie or fat options will likely not be as unhealthy as other ingredients in your dish.

Top convenient picks

When you need an alternative to pumpkin pie spice that is simple and easy, there are several that fit the bill. The easiest to access and use are allspice and apple pie spice, as they come pre-made and ready to use. Those who don’t mind combining two spices will also find that both nutmeg and mace and cinnamon and cloves are relatively convenient. If any of these items are already in your cupboards, you can even avoid a trip to the supermarket.

Top convincing picks

Out of all the pumpkin pie spice alternatives we’ve talked about, the one that is closest to the real thing is apple pie spice. It contains similar ingredients and comes in the same form to provide the exact texture you’re used to. Cinnamon and cloves are also fairly convincing since they are two of the most prominent flavors you’ll taste when enjoying a slice of pumpkin pie or another fall dish.

Sources:

https://www.gourmetsleuth.com/ingredients/detail/pumpkin-pie-spice

https://healthybrains.org/pumpkin-spice-power/

https://www.thekitchn.com/7-ways-to-use-pumpkin-pie-spic-130699

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-allspice-how-to-cook-with-allspice-and-homemade-allspice-substitute-recipe

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-nutmeg-1328522

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-mace-1807031

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