8 Best Substitutes for Ground Cloves With Aroma And Flavor

Substitutes for Ground Cloves

Ground cloves are a versatile spice that is used in both sweet and savory dishes. But what do you do if you run out or just look to try something different? 

Either way, this article is for you! I’ll list some substitutes for ground cloves that you can use in your favorite recipes. 

The best substitutes are allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice, cardamon, chinese five spice powder and, of course, homemade ground cloves. 

8 Best Ground Cloves Substitutes To Try

1. Allspice

Allspice is a spice produced by dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree. It comes with a combination of flavors resembling nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon and provides a rich taste to dishes. 

Ground allspice is often used instead of powdered cloves, as it comes not only with a similar flavor but also has a similar appearance.

It is used in pies, soups, stews and meat dishes. If you seek a great combo of warm flavors to replace ground cloves, then this is one of the best substitutes. 

Ground cinnamon has a sweet, woody and a kind of bitter taste similar to cloves. It is another warm spice used in desserts, sweets, baking and cooked dishes.

2. Cinnamon

Sometimes cloves and cinnamon are used together in tea and other hot beverages and not only. Some baking recipes call for the mixture of these two spices to provide a richer aroma. 

So, in case you don’t have ground cloves in hand you can safely use ground cinnamon instead. 

3. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is an aromatic spice with woody, nutty and warm flavors which strongly reflect in the dish. It is used with hot drinks, desserts, fruits, pies, other baked goods, fruits and sometimes with vegetables. 

Since it has a strong flavor, you should be careful with the ratios because if you add too much nutmeg powder you’ll end up with a bitter or soapy taste. If used properly, ground nutmeg can be a great substitute for ground cloves. 

4. Mace

Ground mace is a golden brown spice with warm, mild and sweet taste mixed with peppery and citrus undertones. 

It adds a pleasant aroma to desserts, soups and stews and you can choose it instead of cloves for many dishes. Mace is perfect especially in donuts, puddings and cakes. You can also use ground mace in several savory recipes such as sauces, poultry and fish meals. 

5. Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice

There are two popular pie spices that include cloves and other similar spices in their ingredient list and you can find them in the spice section. The thing is about pumpkin pie spice and apple pie spice. 

Since both pumpkin and apple taste awesome with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, the purpose of these two types of spices was to provide the best combination of flavors to add to pumpkin or apple pies. 

The same way, you can use pumpkin or apple pie spices in your favorite desserts and dishes that call for ground gloves. The taste will be stronger, yet more appealing, especially in desserts and bakery. Note that unlike pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice doesn’t include cloves. 

6. Cardamom

Cardamon is the next suitable substitute for ground cloves as it is often paired with cloves in many recipes and shares similar flavors. Compared to cloves, cardamom has a rather herbal undertones with a kind of complex taste that reminds of minty, peppery and slightly sweeter flavors collected in one place. 

Ground cardamom is used both in sweet and savory dishes including baked goods, teas, oranges, red meats, sausages and lentils. Use it in recipes that call for ground cloves. 

7. Chinese Five Spice Powder

Another good mixture of warm and aromatic spices is the Chinese five spice powder. If it’s available in your local stores, then you can consider this as a great substitute for cloves and not only. It includes 5 spices that can be used with a number of dishes. 

Chinese five spice powder is a blend of cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, and Sichuan peppercorns. It is used in fruit salads, fish, poultry and pork dishes as well as in vegetable meals. 

8. Homemade ground Cloves

If neither of the ground clove substitutes meet your preferences or compliment your recipe, there is still one single solution that will work better than any other idea.

Maybe you have whole cloves in your spice and seasonings racks. If yes, then you can make homemade ground cloves without leaving the house or using another spice. 

All you need is just grinding those cloves into a powdery substance. It’s easy and more suitable compared to the above-mentioned substitutes. 


Can I substitute ground cloves for whole cloves?

The quick answer is yes, you can substitute ground cloves for whole cloves. The general rule is that you use one-third less of the ground form of a spice than the whole form. 

So, if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of whole cloves, you would use three-quarter teaspoon of ground cloves.

What are ground cloves?

Ground cloves are a spice commonly used in baking and cooking. Cloves are the dried flower buds of the clove tree, and they have a potent, sweet-spicy flavor. 

When used in baking, ground cloves add a deep, rich flavor to cakes, pies, and other desserts. 

When used in cooking, they can be added to savory dishes to give them a hint of sweetness. Ground cloves can also be used to make clove tea, which has a number of health benefits.


Although ground cloves are a common ingredient in many dishes, sometimes they can be surprisingly difficult to find in stores. Thankfully, cloves can be substituted with other spices in many recipes. 

The best option is to make your own ground Cloves. The second best option in my opinion is cinnamon due to its herbal, wonderful, and unique flavor.

For a more savory option, try using cardamom. This spice has hints of citrus and ginger, making it a great addition to curries and other hearty dishes. 

If you want something that is similar to cloves but less pungent, try using star anise. This spice has a similar flavor but is more subtle and sweeter. 

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