Don’t let the name throw you off! Allspice isn’t a blend or a mix of spices. This is a berry that’s native to southern Mexico, Central America, Jamaica, and some surrounding regions. It’s a versatile spice used in several recipes. So what can you do if you run out of this ingredient? Thankfully, many allspice substitutes do the job just as well.
The allspice, as usually needed by recipes, is a classic spice. However, there are times when some recipes call for the classic allspice berries. These can be rare and there’s a good chance you don’t have any at hand. In this case, going with allspice berries substitutes will make things easier.
Allspice has a complex taste and flavor (as do allspice berries), so the substitutes can sometimes be exotic. For practical considerations, it makes better sense to think of substitutes that have easy availability and convenience. It may not always be possible, but we sure can try to strike a balance.
Interestingly, most of the allspice substitutes can also replace allspice berries without a hitch. You can choose to match the texture to get the right substitute. For example, cloves are an excellent substitute for allspice and the berries. You can choose to use clove powder or whole cloves (as necessary) to keep the desired texture.
Let’s see what the top options to substitute allspice are.
Top Allspice Substitutes To Save A Recipe
The wonderfully sweet and spicy cinnamon will happily take the place of allspice. It’s a spice popular enough to be in (almost) every home and you likely have it in stock. This can replace powdered allspice or whole beans in recipes. Well, the concept is similar to preserving the texture.
When a replacement for ground allspice is needed, use ground cinnamon. A small (or cut) stick of cinnamon should be good enough to replace allspice berries. Feel like there’s still something missing in the taste? Add a pinch of pepper to make things all better!
2. A Combination Of Nutmeg, Cloves, And Cinnamon
This is the best combination to replace allspice. The complex flavors of allspice call for a more nuanced substitution. For the sake of convenience, it’s best to use this mix in powder form, irrespective of whether you intend to replace allspice berries or grounds.
Generally, for every spoon of allspice, the mix will need half a spoon of cinnamon and quarter spoons each of nutmeg and cloves. Put them together and mix them thoroughly to create a worthy spice blend.
Keep in mind, the three spices used here and their ratios aren’t cardinal. It is possible to change them to suit your requirements and taste preferences. Experiment with the ratios even if you don’t have all three spices available.
Cloves are famous as a strongly flavored spice. This excellent spice can also substitute allspice if you need it to. When using cloves, keep in mind the strong flavor and peppery bite that’s inherent to cloves.
So, it’s smart to start small and increase the quantity of cloves to get the desired taste. In a general setting, you can substitute allspice with an equal amount of cloves, but it’s better to start small.
4. Pumpkin Pie Spice And Pepper
Using pumpkin pie spice can work wonderfully since the mix already contains allspice. The mix also contains other spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. For all its inclusions, this mix is intended to make a lovely pumpkin pie.
So, when called on to substitute for allspice, it needs a little bit extra. Adding some pepper will fix that for you. Employing pepper is especially good for savory recipes, though others can benefit from it as well.
5. Chinese Five Spice Powder
A blend of five flavorful spices, Chinese five spice powder can also work as a substitute for allspice. Conversely, allspice can be a substitute for the five spice blend as well. The five spice mix usually contains cinnamon, star anise, fennel, peppercorn, and cloves.
If you pay attention to the other entries on this list, you’ll notice many of these ingredients showing up. To some degree, that explains the affinity of the five spice powder and allspice. For most requirements, the five spice can replace either ground allspice or allspice berries.
6. Whole Allspice Berries
Well, this is something of an obvious entry for replacing allspice powder. The berries are carefully dried and can take on the culinary responsibilities of ground allspice. Better yet, use a food processor or even a pestle and mortar to powder the berries for use.
7. Apple Pie Spice Powder
As with pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice can provide a suitable alternative to allspice. Apple pie spice is a blend usually made from cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Many variations also include cardamom and ginger.
Many of these ingredients also work as allspice replacements. By extension, the carefully crafted apple pie spice can replace allspice powder in most recipes, though it’s best used for desserts.
The warming feel and earthy taste of nutmeg can be a good choice for an ingredient alternative. But, there’s a need to balance the strong flavor of nutmeg so it doesn’t overpower the recipe.
To that end, use only nutmeg in half the amount of the recipe’s allspice requirement. You could go higher in some recipes, but it’s best to play it safe until you get a good handle on the amount to use.
9. Black Peppercorn
Balck peppercorn offers the same texture as allspice berries. The taste is different, but the spicy touch the peppercorn brings to a recipe is often acceptable. In a way, black peppercorn will bring the same texture and a very similar taste to the recipe, when compared to allspice berries.
Of course, peppercorn and allspice taste different. But that won’t be an issue unless you bite into the peppercorn. And even then, it tastes pretty good!
10. Star Anise
Star anise is a bit of a reach, but it might work if you really need a substitute and have nothing else at hand. It has a distinctive aroma and flavor that doesn’t quite go well as an allspice replacement.
However, it goes pretty well with flavors and recipes like licorice, marinades, curries, and stews. In these cases, using star anise as a substitute can work pretty well.
What Are Allspice Berries And What Is Allspice?
In the modern world, allspice is grown in many warm, tropical regions across the planet. The plant is native to Central America, Southern Mexico, Jamaica, and surrounding regions.
What’s of particular interest in this plant (or tree) are its berries, rather, the dried fruit of this tree. The fruit is picked when it’s green and then sundried. Once this process is complete, the resultant spice is termed allspice berries.
Culinary use doesn’t always prefer solid berries. These are often ground into a fine powder, which we recognize as allspice.
The taste of allspice resembles a mix of three very common (and important) spices – cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. In fact, it is due to this mixed taste that allspice got its name; a single spice that tastes like allspice. And, of course, it is due to the same reason that we can use these three spices (or their combination) as an allspice alternative.
FAQs And More On Allspice Substitutes And Berries
What Berry Is Allspice?
Allspice comes from a berry. Well, the berry itself may not be as famous as its cousins strawberry, blueberry, and others, but the spice is renowned. Allspice comes from the unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioica, which is an evergreen tree. The tree belongs to the Myrtle family and has its origins in Central America and the Caribbean.
What Does An Allspice Berry Look Like?
The simplest description would be that an allspice berry looks like an extra large peppercorn. It’s a brown berry, though the color scale there can range all the way from light brown to dark brown. The imperfections on its surface (like those on peppercorn), along with the mark on the point where this berry connected to the plant, make it easy to recognize.
Finding A Replacement For Allspice For Your Recipe
For most considerations, if you have an allspice substitute, it can also work as an allspice berries substitute. This spice can be replaced by a combination of some very popular spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. There are a few other options as well, most of which should be no trouble to find and use.