Apple Pie Spice Substitutes – 4 Simple Flavorful Alternatives

People love apple pie spice for its warm and comforting flavor. Undoubtedly, it’s a flavorful ingredient not only for apple pie but also for several other fall recipes as well. Some like to use it in oatmeal or mulled cider. Even French toast tastes amazingly delicious with it.

Of course, there is nothing so comfortable and tasty as using a pre-made spice blend with a well-composed ratio of ingredients. But if you don’t have it, worry not. Either you can make it easily at home or use an apple pie spice substitute that can deliver the same flavor.

What Is Apple Pie Spice?

Apple pie spice is a blend of flavorful spices used for making apple pies. Also, use it in some of your favorite sweet and savory apple recipes or a seasonal dessert that you’re making. The key spices used in it are cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Any recipe with a combination of warm spices like these keeps your tummy happy with its incredible taste. They also make you feel warm and hearty.

Every single time, it’s difficult for you to measure different ingredients in the right proportions to make a spice blend. Here is a pre-made blend that combines all your favorite flavors: apple pie spice.

This fall spice blend is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. According to the requirements of your recipe, you can also make a custom blend by adding cloves, ginger, or cardamom to the three basic ingredients.

Best Substitutes for Apple Pie Spice Blend

A substitute is necessary when you don’t have an unavoidable ingredient for your recipe.

Note that substitution can change the flavor and outcome of the finished baked goods.

When you don’t have apple pie spice on hand, try one of these four substitutes:

1. Homemade Apple Pie Spice

It’s damn easy to make your own apple pie spice blend as you require only 3 ingredients to make it.

Making a quick spice mixture of your own is better than most pre-made spice blends, like McCormick. This also gives you the liberty to increase or reduce the quantity of any ingredient according to your taste preferences or the demands of the recipe.

To make one teaspoon of an apple pie spice mix, use:

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

For added depth, you may also add 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom or ginger (or both) to the blend. Three teaspoons of the mixture are equal to one tablespoon.

Replace the pre-made mixture with the homemade one in the same ratio.

2. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin pie spice contains the same ingredients, except for the addition of clove, which is not found in apple pie spice.

The little cloves found in the pumpkin pie spice won’t make any significant difference to your apple pie recipe. Indeed, cloves can enhance the sweet flavor of apples; some relish this addition to the pie.

If you do not like the overwhelming taste of cloves in the pumpkin pie, then you can subdue it by adding a little more cinnamon to the blend. Use this substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

In some of your recipes, one of the substitutes for pumpkin pie spice could work as well.

3. Chinese Five-spice Powder

Five-spice powder is a mixture of five or more spices, a popular blend in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines. The five flavors of the spices refer to the five traditional Chinese elements of flavor.

This spice blend contains the same ingredients as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger.

Star anise is the dominant ingredient in the five-spice mixture. However, the pungency and mild sweetness of star anise blend well with the sweetness of apple pie.

Sichuan pepper and turmeric contained in Chinese five-spice powder are typically not strong enough to upset the overall taste profile of the apple pie. yet they can cause a slight variation in flavor. Adding a little extra cinnamon to this spice powder can suppress its flavor.

Also, have a look at some of the best substitutes for Chinese 5 spices that you can use.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the most outstanding flavor in apple spice, It’s one of the main flavors and aromas of the fall. For this reason, you can use cinnamon alone in place of the former without much difference to the overall flavor profile of the pie.

You’ll come across some apple pie recipes that use ground cinnamon as the only spice to use. Use one teaspoon of cinnamon instead of the 1/2 teaspoon mixture.

If you wish to give a more complex and deep flavor to your apple pie, you can combine cinnamon with any one of the other spices like nutmeg, ginger, allspice, or cloves. You may also use one of cinnamon substitutes in your recipe.

Apple Pie Spice vs. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Apple pie spice is almost identical to pumpkin pie spice. It merely lacks the ginger that is included in the pumpkin pie spice. The rest of the three basic ingredients are the same for both.

Importantly, there are no hard and fast rules attached to apple pie spice, though it typically contains nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. According to the desired flavor profile of the recipe, you are free to add cloves, ginger, or cardamom to it. In fact, adding a little cardamom to your favorite apple pie spice can produce a woodsy, earthy flavor. Typically, no other additional ingredients complement this blend.

Do You Really Need A Substitute For It?

You may come across some of the recipes that call for apple pie spice. This spice mixture is nothing but a pre-made blend of hot ingredients commonly used in apple pies.

Is it necessary for you to have this spice mixture or its substitutes? Unless you make a lot of pies, you won’t really need to buy a separate packet of apple pie spice.

The ingredients used in this mixture are common ones that you might already have in your kitchen. In short, you can easily make apple pie spice by yourself.

Another option is to use a replacement ingredient that can stand in for the spice mixture used in the pie.


The best alternatives to pre-made McCormick apple pie spice are homemade spice mixtures that you can make with the same ingredients. But if you prefer to use a pre-made spice mixture, use the pumpkin pie spice on hand instead.

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