Here's What You Can Substitute For Allspice

If you've ever dared to cook or bake without first reading the entire recipe and gathering all of your ingredients, then there's a good chance you reached for a spice that was no longer on the kitchen shelf. One of those spices that is often mistaken for a blend is allspice. While it is actually the product of a berry, other spices can be used to substitute, though a blend might be a better option depending on what you plan to make.

The pea-sized, smooth berries resembling peppercorns grow on the limbs of evergreen pimenta dioica trees in tropical regions (via CABI). Whole, dried allspice berries are often used to season meats, stews, and pickles (via McCormick). Ground allspice, however, is more often added to the dry mixture of baked goods. 

The warm, sweet, and spicy flavor is commonly mistaken for Chinese five spice, which is actually a blend of anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger (via McCormick). Both spices taste similarly warm and spicy-sweet in both meat dishes and baked goods. This makes Chinese five spice one alternative for allspice (via Greedy Gourmet).

Other allspice alternatives

Allspice has hints of other staple kitchen spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. For spiced baked goods, using equal parts cinnamon to the original allspice quantity is one option. Nutmeg and clover, which are stronger, can also be added in 1/4 teaspoon  to 1/2 teaspoon increments of cinnamon for a more complex flavor (via McCormick). The dish will not have the same trademark peppery kick of allspice, but in a sweeter dish, it should not be greatly missed.

Another spice mix to consider using that might be on hand is pumpkin pie spice (via Raw Spice Bar). For meat rubs, stews, and other savory recipes that call for allspice, combine equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This time, however, you'll want to add small increments of finely ground black pepper. Taste test the blend along the way until you reach the desired flavor and level of pepper.