Home » Ingredient Substitutes » Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute (Top 9 Options)

Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute (Top 9 Options)

In this article, we’ll explore alternative options that will open up a world of new and similar flavors. We will discover the best pumpkin pie spice substitute for your dishes and beverages.

If you love pastries, you probably know the comforting scent of pumpkin pie spice. This traditional spice blend brings a delightful flavor and aroma to anything you add it to. It is an unmistakable ingredient, but it is definitely not irreplaceable.

Small dish with pumpkin pie spice and whole pumpkin on the background.

What Is Pumpkin Pie Spice?

Pumpkin pie spice is a popular spice that people almost always associate with the fall season and the holidays.

It is a combination of warm and aromatic spices.

Home cooks use this spice blend to enhance the flavor of pumpkin-based dishes, especially desserts and beverages.

The traditional pumpkin pie spice blends include ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. These spices come together beautifully to create a rich and comforting flavor profile often associated with treats you enjoy during autumn.

The exact ratios of the spices can vary depending on personal preference or recipe. However, the combination generally aims to achieve a balance of flavors, with cinnamon being the key or most obvious ingredient.

The nutmeg adds a slightly earthy and nutty flavor, while cloves bring a distinctly aromatic and slightly spicy note to the blend. Lastly, ginger lends subtle spiciness and warmth.

Despite its name, there are more food items where you can use this spice blend other than pumpkin pie. You may add it to drinks like lattes and smoothies. It is also useful in baked goods like cookies, cakes, and muffins. Even certain savory dishes can taste great with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

The pumpkin pie spice mix is so unique that it has become an iconic symbol of the fall season. It serves as a nostalgic reminder of cozy gatherings and holiday traditions.

Best Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitutes

Although pumpkin pie spice has a distinct and full flavor, it’s not hard to replace. Many options are available if your recipe calls for it and you don’t have any.

Here are our top 9 substitutes for pumpkin pie spice.

1. DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

No pumpkin pie spice? No problem!

The solution is right in your kitchen. Making homemade pumpkin pie spice is easy, and the best part is you can customize it just the way you like. All you need are some everyday spices you probably already have: ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

Combine them in equal parts, and you have your homemade pumpkin spice blend.


In a typical pumpkin pie spice recipe, the ingredients should be in equal parts. However, you can make it truly your own by being creative and adjusting the proportions depending on your preference.

Once you have successfully created your DIY pumpkin spice, you can use it in a 1:1 ratio.

2. Apple Pie Spice

Pan with uncooked apple pie sprinkled with apple pie spice.

When finding a substitute for pumpkin pie spice, look no further than another blend of spices: apple pie spice. This blend shares many warm flavors that make up pumpkin spice.

Apple pie spice usually consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Using apple pie spice as a substitute helps you achieve the familiar autumn-inspired flavor.

Note that this one has a more peppery taste than pumpkin pie spice. Still, apple pie spice is one of the most convenient substitutes for pumpkin pie spice.


One teaspoon pumpkin pie spice = one teaspoon apple pie spice. If you want a flavor that really resembles pumpkin pie spice, add a pinch of ground cloves to the mix.

3. Ground Cinnamon

Measuring spoon filled with cinnamon spice.

Cinnamon is the most important ingredient in pumpkin pie spice. After all, it’s the flavor that stands out.

For this reason, it makes sense that cinnamon by itself will work to substitute pumpkin pie spice. Additionally, it’s one of the most accessible spices, so you won’t have to worry about not having any in your pantry.

This beloved spice pairs well with lots of pumpkin-based recipes. You may use it in pumpkin pie, muffins, and tarts.

Cinnamon also tastes great with beverages like coffee and tea. It can also add flavor to your smoothies.


If the recipe calls for a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, use only half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Taste the dish before you increase the amount to ensure that the sweet cinnamon taste does not overpower the dish.

For best results, use cinnamon sticks and grind them instead of buying packaged ground cinnamon.

4. Ground Nutmeg

Dish with nutmeg spice and nuts next to it.

Nutmeg is known for its warm, nutty, and slightly sweet taste. It also has a nice and welcoming aroma that, like pumpkin pie spice, is also associated with autumn.

Nutmeg comes in whole and ground forms. As always, purchasing the whole nutmeg and grinding it yourself is best. Freshly grated nutmeg has a more intense flavor that is closer to that of pumpkin pie spice.

It’s important to remember that nutmeg is a powerful and intense spice, so it can be overwhelming if you use it in large amounts.


Because of its intense flavor, it’s best to use half the amount you would use of pumpkin pie spice.

You can work your way up from there, but the ideal ratio is 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg for every 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

5. Ground Cloves

Wooden bowl with ground cloves powder spice.

Another key ingredient of pumpkin pie spice is cloves. Some people might even say that its inclusion is what differentiates pumpkin pie spice from apple pie spice. Not all people would agree, though, as some apple pie spice blends have cloves, too.

Nevertheless, the sweet and bitter taste of cloves can give your dishes a flavor boost. For this reason, using it alone as a pumpkin pie spice replacement will work in certain dishes.

Just remember that ground cloves can be very overwhelming, so it is best to use them sparingly.


To use ground cloves to replace pumpkin pie spice, start with around an eighth of the amount the recipe calls for. This way, you can get a hint of pumpkin pie spice without overwhelming the dish with the flavor of cloves.

6. Ground Ginger

Dish with ground ginger spice.

Ginger is a staple on a pumpkin pie spice blend, so it’s unsurprising to find it on this list. It has a bright and spicy flavor with slight citrus undertones that can elevate your dishes.

Remember that ginger has a distinct taste that is not exactly the kind of flavor dishes that usually call for pumpkin pie spice require. However, it does work if you find pumpkin spice too complex for your taste.

Ginger is also a widely available ingredient; you surely have it in your pantry.


Start by replacing every teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice with a quarter teaspoon of ground ginger. Add more in small increments until you get the flavor closest to pumpkin pie spice.

7. Ground Allspice

If you want a spice as complex as pumpkin pie spice, allspice is a great contender. Allspice is a spice in its own right, but it boasts a taste that captures the essence of other spices, hence its name.

It has notes of cloves, nutmeg, star anise, and cinnamon, among others. For this reason, it is an excellent choice to replace pumpkin pie spice.


For every teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, use ⅓ teaspoon of ground allspice. Doing so ensures that it does not overwhelm the dish.

You may also mix ground allspice with a bit of cinnamon to help achieve a closer flavor to pumpkin pie spice.

8. Ground Black Pepper

It may not be as flavorful as pumpkin pie spice, but ground black pepper is a possible substitute, too. After all, it is among the most accessible spices out there.

Any kitchen would most likely have this in stock, as it is a versatile cooking ingredient.

Ground pepper has a spicy and slightly earthy flavor, almost close to that of pumpkin pie spice. This flavor also complements pumpkin-based dishes well.


Ground pepper best replicates the flavor of pumpkin pie spice with the help of some cinnamon.

To avoid a significant change in flavor, use only ⅓ tablespoon of black pepper to replace every tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice.

9. Ground Cardamom

Dish filled with cardamom seeds.

Cardamom is not usually found in pumpkin pie spice. Instead, you’ll commonly find it in apple pie spice. Cardamom can provide your dishes with a sweet, earthy, even fruity flavor.

While a suitable substitute, it’s best used as a pumpkin pie spice replacement in combination with cinnamon or nutmeg. Otherwise, it should be your last resort as a substitute.


Only use a small amount of cardamom to replace pumpkin pie spice. You can use an eighth or a fourth of the amount you would use of pumpkin pie spice. You can adjust the amount according to your personal preference.

For the best and most vibrant flavor, grind your own cardamom seeds. This way, the taste is more intense compared to store-bought cardamom.

How To Choose The Best Pumpkin Pie Substitute

When selecting the best pumpkin pie substitute, there are a few key factors to consider. Follow these tips to bring out the best in your dish using pumpkin pie alternatives:

1. Choose A Close Flavor Profile

Pumpkin pie has a distinct, warm, and aromatic flavor. To maintain the same effect, go for substitutes that offer a similar flavor profile. The best replacements are the ones that can recreate the flavor profile of pumpkin pie spice, like cinnamon and nutmeg. However, depending on your dish, you can choose less sweet or warm options.

Consider the specific flavors and notes that you enjoy in pumpkin-based desserts and find a substitute that aligns with those preferences.

2. Experiment With Ratios

As pumpkin pie spice is a complex blend, you can achieve the best results by adjusting the ingredients depending on your preference. Try different combinations with different ratios to make it suit your recipe. Get creative as possible.

3. Consider The Availability

While most substitutes on the list above are easy to find, some are more accessible than others. For instance, black pepper is a kitchen staple you’ll have even when you don’t frequently bake.

The same goes for ginger. However, nutmeg and cinnamon might not be as common. If you are in a hurry, the availability of certain ingredients will greatly affect your swapping experience.

What Is Pumpkin Pie Spice Made Of?

Pumpkin pie spice is typically made from a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. These spices work together to create the signature flavor associated with pumpkin-based desserts. Other variations may include additional spices like cloves and cardamom. The ratios may vary, but cinnamon is usually the most obvious flavor.

What Is The Closest Thing To Pumpkin Spice?

Nothing is closer to being a pumpkin spice than homemade pumpkin pie spice. By making your own pumpkin pie spice blend using common spices, you can closely recreate the signature flavors of the original pumpkin spice. However, if you’re looking for a quick and accessible alternative, cinnamon is the next closest thing. Its warm and sweet taste closely aligns with the prominent flavor you can find in pumpkin pie spice.

Are Pumpkin Pie Spice And Allspice The Same?

No, pumpkin pie spice and allspice are different from each other. These two both give off the warm and aromatic flavors associated with fall and holiday baking, but they are distinct spices.
Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of several common spices. It is commonly used to add flavor to pumpkin-based desserts, giving them a distinct taste profile. On the other hand, allspice is a single spice.

Why Is It Called Pumpkin Spice?

Pumpkin spice got its name because people most commonly use it to flavor pumpkin pie. Despite its name, pumpkin spice contains no actual pumpkin or pumpkin flavoring. It is a blend of spices and flavors, such as cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, among others. The taste of this spice pairs well with pumpkin-based dishes, making it a perfect ingredient.


Fear not if you find yourself without the beloved pumpkin pie spice! You have several options for a replacement which will enable you still to have the warm flavors this spice blend offers. You can craft a DIY pumpkin spice or venture towards alternatives such as apple pie spice or cinnamon.

Similarly, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, black pepper, or cardamom are also great options. They can all capture a bit of the essence of pumpkin pie spice. Consider the flavor profile, experiment with ratios, and take into account ingredient availability when choosing a pumpkin pie spice substitute.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
pinterest instagram instagram

Get new recipes and tips via email
when you subscribe!

Have a comment? I love hearing from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.

As seen in:

Eating WellmashededibleWomans WorldTasting TableHomes and Gardens
Back to the Top