Spice Substitutes

Whether you're making an emergency substitution or simply experimenting with new flavors, follow our spice substitute suggestions. As a general rule, start with half the amount the recipe calls for (unless directed otherwise), and add the spice until it suits your taste.

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Spice Substitutes Guide

Allspice, ground: ground cinnamon, dash ground nutmeg, or dash ground cloves

Anise seed: fennel seed or a few drops anise extract

Apple pie spice: For 1 teaspoon, substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, and dash ground cloves or ground ginger.

Cardamom, ground: ground ginger

Cinnamon, ground: For 1 teaspoon, substitue 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground allspice.

Chili powder: dash bottled hot pepper sauce plus a combination of dried oregano and ground cumin

Cloves, ground: ground allspice, ground cinnamon, or ground nutmeg

Cumin, ground: chili powder

Curry powder: Mix ground tumeric, ground ginger, ground black pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin, and chili powder.

Ginger, ground: ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground mace, or ground nutmeg (more ground ginger substitutions)

Gingerroot, grated: For 1 teaspoon, substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

Mace, ground: ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, or ground nutmeg

Nutmeg, ground: ground cinnamon, ground ginger, or ground mace

Poultry seasoning: For 1 teaspoon, substitute 3/4 teaspoon dried sage plus a 1/4 teaspoon blend of any of these: dried thyme, dried marjoram, dried savory, ground black pepper, and dried rosemary.

Pumpkin pie spice: For 1 teaspoon, substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Saffron, ground: dash ground turmeric (for color)

Seasoning salt: equal amount of snipped fresh herbs or equal amount of salt-free seasoning blend

Spice blends: garlic powder instead of garlic salt

Thai seasoning: For 1 tablespoon, mix 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder.

Is your ingredient missing from the list? Hop over to our herb substitutes page and check for your substitution there.

More ingredient substitutions

Healthy ingredient substitutions

Basic Spice Information

Selecting. To guarantee that you are using fresh spices, you should buy them in small quantities and date them. Replace old spices once a year. You can tell if a spice is fresh by its color and aroma. When fresh, most spices have a bright color and a strong aroma when you open the container. If either the color or the aroma seems weak, replace the spice.

Storing. Your spices will keep their flavor longer if they're stored in a cool, dry place. Keep in an air-tight container. Avoid storing in racks or cabinets over the range where they will be exposed to heat and humidity. Whole spices stay fresh for up to 2 years and ground spices about 6 months.

Purchasing. You may prefer to replace all of your ground spices once a year. November and December are particularly good times to replace spices due to supermarket sales for holiday baking.

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