It might not be a household name, but there are a number of popular, well-loved, delicious recipes that call for allspice. However, if you don’t recognize that name, it means you probably don’t have any lying around in your house. 

ground allspice in clear container on brown counter
photo credit P Maxwell Photography/shutterstock
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But if you are firing up a dish that requires allspice, you shouldn’t be too worried because there are chances that you have a few items that can create a strong, remarkable resemblance to allspice if you don’t have any. But it’s important that you know which ones are the best, which don’t work, and what you should rely on if you want the same great taste of allspice in your meal. 

However, before we can get into the right subs for Allspice, you should learn a thing or two about what it is and why it’s so popular. 

What Exactly is Allspice?

It is called allspice but it’s actually not a spice at all. In fact, it comes from berries! Allspice is a spice that is generated from the dried unripe berries of the Pimenta dioica tree, which is native to Central America and the Caribbean region. 

Despite its name, allspice is actually not a blend of different spices. Instead, it’s a single spice that resembles a combination of flavors from other spices, hence its name. It is like all of the spices put into one. The name “allspice” was coined because its flavor is reminiscent of a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, hence encompassing the “all” in its name.

The berries of the allspice tree are harvested before they completely ripen, and then they are dried in the sun. Once they have been properly dried, the berries then resemble small brown peppercorns and have a wrinkled appearance. After this point in the process, these berries are then ground to produce the powdered form of allspice, which is the form they are most commonly used in cooking.

What does it taste like and why do people like it so much? Basically, Allspice has a warm, aromatic taste profile that also has soft and noticeable notes of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It’s used in a wide variety of dishes, both sweet and savory, and is a staple in many cuisines around the world. Known for both its smell and its delicious taste, Allspice has been utilized by all sorts of cooks, often for wintery delicious meals and yummy desserts too. 

What Is Allspice Used For?

The good thing about Allspice is that it’s used in a number of different food items. Allspice is known to be a very versatile spice that is used in a number of various cuisines because of its warm, memorable flavor. The amount of things that Allspice is used in is large and you may be surprised that one of our favorite meals actually contains Allspice. 


If you’re a fan of all sorts of pies, cookies, and desserts, then you have probably experienced the wonderful flavor of Allspice. 

It is a key ingredient that is used in many baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, and pie, especially pumpkin and apple pies. Allspice is also an important component in many types of breads. The ingredient is known to add a sweet and not-too-strong flavor with noticeable hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Sauces and Marinades

Allspice is also used in certain savory dishes like marinades for meats (think of jerk chicken or something like that), BBQ sauces, and thick, creamy gravies too. Allspice adds depth as well as a flavorful warmth to all sauces and marinades.

Pickling and Preserving

Allspice berries are often used when it comes to pickling brines for certain fruits and vegetables because they bring a complex and aromatic flavor. There is nothing like opening up a preserved or pickled can of something and smelling the comforting scent of Allspice. 

Curries and Stews

Curries and stews are other types of meals that rely on Allspice and its taste and smell. Allspice can be found in various curry blends and is also usually used in many stews and soups in order to enhance the flavor.


As well, Allspice is also occasionally used when someone is making spiced drinks like mulled cider or mulled wine, where it imparts its warm, aromatic essence. There are many delicious holiday drinks that are enjoyed in Winter and quite a few of them have Allspice as a crucial ingredient. 

Canning and Preserving

Many people consider canning and preserving as one of their favorite hobbies. From fruits, vegetables, and more, canning is a great way to keep something fresh – and it’s also a lot of fun too. To that end, Allspice is used when someone is preserving fruits and making jams, jellies, and chutneys. The strong, long-lasting unique flavor of Allspice makes it a great component for jarring and canning food.

So, as you can see, Allspice is a go-to spice that will go a long way to adding warmth and depth to a whole bunch of dishes, some of which are sweet or savory. Additionally, it’s often a part of spice blends due to its unique flavor profile.

What Are The Substitutes You Should Use For Allspice?

Now that you know how useful Allspice is, you need to know what to pick up and use if you’ve run out of it. When you’re in a pinch and don’t have allspice on hand, there are a few great substitutes you can use to mimic its memorable and special flavor profile.

Cloves, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg Blend

Chances are you have some cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg laying around your kitchen, as they’re some of the most popular ingredients on the market. If so, you are in luck if you are looking to get the Allspice flavor without any actual Allspice. A healthy, hearty mix of equal parts cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg can replicate the warm and spicy flavor of allspice. Use this blend in recipes that call for allspice.

Cinnamon and Cloves

Combining cinnamon and cloves in equal amounts can also provide a flavor somewhat similar to Allspice. You should be prepared to adjust the quantities according to your taste preferences, which will require some testing as you mix and blend the ingredients.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

During the fall and early winter months, it seems that pumpkin pie spice and flavoring is just about everywhere. That is good because this is one of the best Allspice substitutes out there. The pre-made pumpkin spice blend commonly contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Because of that, it can serve as a substitute for Allspice in a whole bunch of recipes.


Using only cinnamon can mostly mimic the warm and sweet flavor of allspice. Keep in mind that it won’t be a perfect match, but it can work well in certain dishes if you’re willing to sacrifice just a bit of the taste.

While all of these substitutes can approximate the flavor of allspice, they might not perfectly replicate its unique taste. But if you make enough tweaks and try some new things, you might find a combination that works perfectly for you. Experiment with small amounts first, and adjust to suit the specific dish you’re preparing.

What Are The Best Dishes That Use Allspice?

If you have found yourself wanting to try more Allspice dishes, you’re in luck because there are many delicious ones that can make a wonderful, memorable meal. How many of these have you tried and how many more do you want to indulge in?

Jerk Chicken

Allspice is a key ingredient in jerk seasoning, which is used to marinate and season chicken, giving it its distinctive Caribbean flavor. Known for its kick and distinct flavor, jerk chicken earns fans after just one bite. 

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a classic, wonderful, holiday spice that is used in a number of items. Allspice contributes to its warm, comforting taste alongside cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Mulled Wine or Cider

Allspice, along with other spices, is used in certain mulled beverages, such as wine and cider. Allspice is used because it creates a delicious, fragrant drink that is just perfect for chilly fall or winter evenings.

Barbecue Sauces

Allspice also adds a certain level of depth to some homemade barbecue sauces, particularly those used for grilled meats or ribs. 

Chili and Stews

In hearty, warm, thick dishes like chili or stews, Allspice will complement all of the other flavors of the various meats and vegetables. Again, it is used to add warmth and depth to the overall taste and experience.

Baked Goods

Allspice is an ingredient that is commonly used in a variety of baked goods, like cookies, cakes, bread, and fruit-based desserts. Allspice always adds to the warm and comforting flavors of these baked goods straight out of the oven.

Pickling and Preserving

Additionally, Allspice berries are used in pickling brines for fruits and vegetables, because they maintain their aromatic essence.

Allspice’s ability to provide a warm, aromatic flavor makes it a versatile addition to many dishes, both sweet and savory, across different cuisines worldwide. Because of that, it’s one of the best ingredients around, and holding onto substitutes for it is a wise idea. 
If you’re looking for new yummy pies, baked goods, or drinks that use Allspice, why not explore our site?

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About Drizzle Me Skinny

Kate founded DrizzleMeSkinny in 2014. Since then she has shared nearly 1000 weight watchers friendly recipes with DrizzleMeSkinny's over 500,000 social media followers.

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