What can I use instead of apple pie spice? The best substitute for apple pie spice is a homemade spice mix. Pumpkin pie spice mix, chai spice mix, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, mace, Chinese five spice, and ginger are good alternatives.
Apple pie spice is a prepared seasoning mix comprising cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Some varieties also include cardamom and ginger. Apart from pies, apple pie spice is tasty in turnovers, tarts, cinnamon rolls, spice cake, French toast, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, smoothies, and coffee. Here are the nine best substitutes for apple pie spice.
The Best Apple Pie Spice Substitutes
DIY Apple Pie Spice
The best substitute for apple pie spice is a homemade spice mix.
McCormick’s, one of the most popular brands of apple pie spice, contains cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice: these are the three most common ingredients in all commercially made apple pie spice.
To make DIY apple pie spice, combine three tablespoons of ground cinnamon, two teaspoons of ground nutmeg, and two teaspoons of ground allspice. Mix the spices well and store in an airtight container.
You can also add one teaspoon ground cardamom. For a holiday spice mix, replace the allspice with ginger and add ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.
Replace store-bought apple pie spice with equal amounts of your DIY mix in all recipes.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Another great substitute for apple pie spice is pumpkin pie spice.
The spice blend usually used for flavoring pumpkin pie or lattes is similar to apple pie spice.
Both contain cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but pumpkin pie spice also contains cloves, ginger, and sometimes black pepper, which will change the flavor profile.
Pumpkin pie spice can replace apple pie spice in most dishes, especially apple spice cake, cinnamon rolls, overnight oats, and warm beverages, so long as you like the added heat.
If you enjoy the flavor of cloves, replace apple pie spice with pumpkin pie spice 1:1.
Alternately, for every teaspoon apple pie spice, use only ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
Chai spice makes an excellent substitute for apple pie spice.
Originally used to flavor milky tea and coffee in South East Asia and the Middle East, chai spice combines ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cloves, allspice, and vanilla.
Today, chai spice is most familiar as a flavor for lattes, but its warmth and aroma enhance most baked goods.
Use chai spice instead of apple pie spice, especially if you’re making spice muffins, pancakes, waffles, or banana bread. It’s also delicious with butternut squash and sweet potato.
Replace one teaspoon apple pie spice with ¾ teaspoon chai spice, as it’s a bit zestier.
Cinnamon makes a convenient replacement for apple pie spice.
Many of us associate cinnamon with fall, as it is the main component in both apple spice and pumpkin spice mixes. Its warmth and richness are deeply aromatic and add a punch of flavor.
Cinnamon is a common spice cupboard seasoning, so it’s usually on hand or easy to purchase.
Add cinnamon to apple pies, tarts, and crumbles, as well as pancakes, overnight oats, and granola.
Use cinnamon to replace apple pie spice, but use only ½ teaspoon rather than a full teaspoon. Because of its strong flavor, cinnamon can overwhelm a dish.
Another spice cupboard favorite that you can use instead of apple pie spice is allspice.
Allspice is not a spice blend, despite the name. This ground spice is made from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree and is widely used in Caribbean and Central American cuisine.
The term “all spice” is because it tastes like a mixture of all the spices. The flavor is complex, combining the bite of black pepper, the intensity of cloves, and the fragrance of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Because of this flavor profile, allspice is one of the main ingredients of apple pie, pumpkin pie, and chai spices. It can replace apple pie spice in cookies, desserts, granola, mulled wine, and hot cider.
With its unique taste, allspice can dominate other flavors, so use only ⅓ or even ¼ teaspoon for every one teaspoon apple pie spice you want to replace.
Reach for nutmeg as an apple pie spice alternative.
Nutmeg comes from the Indonesian Myristica fragrans tree. You can find whole nutmeg, the tree’s seed kernels, which are about the size of a marble.
Grating whole nutmeg into your dish is simple and provides a more intense flavor. Ground nutmeg is also handy.
Warm and nutty, nutmeg has a distinctive aroma that will immediately be familiar. It’s often used in fall and holiday bakes and beverages – it’s usually sprinkled over eggnog.
Use nutmeg sparingly in apple pies, Dutch apple cake, and cookies.
Nutmeg is a component of apple spice but is too intense to use in a 1:1 ratio. Replace one teaspoon apple pie spice with ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.
Mace, which is related to nutmeg, is a delicious replacement for apple pie spice.
Both nutmeg and mace come from the seeds of the nutmeg tree. While nutmeg comes from the seed kernel, mace comes from drying the layer surrounding the kernel.
Mace can be ground into powder or shaved into slivers called blades.
Mace tastes similar to nutmeg but has a spicier, warmer flavor that reminds you of cinnamon.
It’s less sweet than nutmeg and is seldom used alone: it usually forms an ingredient of Moroccan ras el hanout, garam masala, curry powder, or in combination with nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves.
You can use mace in savory and sweet dishes, including soups and soufflés.
Use mace instead of apple pie spice in donuts, custard, and chocolate desserts.
Replace apple pie spice with ¼ to ½ teaspoon mace per teaspoon apple pie spice.
Chinese Five Spice
Chinese five spice is an unusual ingredient you can use as an apple pie spice alternative.
This spice blend is popular in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Hawaiian cooking, so you may have it in your pantry if you’re a fan of Asian food.
The five spices in the name are cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns.
The combination covers all five tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (savory), so the mixture has a complex flavor profile.
The blend can also include aniseed, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, coriander, and cardamom.
An ingredient in savory dishes, Chinese five spice goes well with duck, pork, and shrimp.
Use Chinese five spice instead of apple pie spice in dishes that can handle a little warmth, like spice cake, rich chocolate pudding, and snickerdoodles.
Because of the peppery bite, use ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice for every teaspoon apple pie spice.
A handy replacement for apple pie spice is ginger.
This peppery, fragrant spice comes from the dried ground root of the ginger plant.
Ginger is a commonly used spice in baking and is associated with the holiday season. It goes well with fruit, caramel, and citrus.
Use ginger instead of apple pie spice if you’re making apple crisp or crumble, cookies, steamed pudding, carrot cake, or zucchini bread.
Ginger is much more robust than apple pie spice, so use it in a ¼:1 ratio.