What’s Apple Pie Spice? 4 Apple Pie Spice Substitutes To Use

apple pie spice substitutes

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 a French toast with this spice tastes amazingly delicious.

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, then worry not. Either you can make it easily at home or use an apple pie spice substitute that can deliver the same flavor.

What’s Apple Pie Spice?

Spices like cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg are flavorful spices used for making apple pie and few other fall recipes. Any recipes with a combination of warm spices like these spices keep your tummy happy with incredible and taste. They also make you feel warm and hearty.

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

This fall spice blend is a combination of allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 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.  

Apple Pie Spice vs. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Apple pie spice is almost similar to pumpkin pie spice. It merely lacks the ginger that is included in pumpkin pie spice. The rest of the 3 basic ingredients are the same for both.

Importantly, there are no hard and fast rules attached to apple pie spice, though it customarily 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 the apple pie spice can produce a woodsy, earthy flavor.  Usually, no additional ingredients can go well with the pumpkin pie spice.

Do You Really Need A Substitute?

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 spices 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 spice mixture are common ingredients 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 apple pie.

Apple Pie Spice Substitute: Four Good Options

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

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

Here are four substitutions for pre-made apple pie spice.

1. DIY Apple Pie Spice

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

In fact, making your own spice mixture is better than most pre-made spice blends. This also gives you the liberty to increase or reduce the quantity of any ingredients according to your taste preferences or demands of the recipe.

To make 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice use:

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

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

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

2. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Both pumpkin pie spice and apple pie spice contain the same ingredients except the addition of cloves in the former.

A little of cloves present in the pumpkin pie spice won’t make any significant difference to your apple pie recipe. As a matter of fact, cloves can very well complement the sweet flavor of apple; some relish the addition of cloves in 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 spice mixture.

Use this substitute in a 1:1 ratio in place of apple pie spice.

3. Chinese Five-spice Powder

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

This spice blend contains all the ingredients in apple pie spice such 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. As a solution, adding a little extra amount of cinnamon to this spice powder can suppress their flavor.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the most outstanding flavor in apple pie spice. For this reason, you can use cinnamon alone in place of apple pie spice mixture without much difference to the overall flavor profile of the pie.

You’ll come across some apple pie recipes that use cinnamon as the only spice to use.

If you wish to give a more complex and deep flavor to your apple pie, you can combine cinnamon with anyone of the spice like nutmeg, ginger, allspice, or cloves.

The Bottom Line

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

READ NEXT: Star Anise Substitute – Here Are 6 Alternatives You Can Use

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