What spice can I substitute if I don’t have the correct spice on hand? 14 Comments

Aug 28, 2011

Cooking with spices is fabulous, that is, until you don’t have the spice you want or need. If you’re mid-way through a recipe and realize you’re missing a key spice, you can often substitute other spices in its place and get a similar flavor.

Here’s a list of common spices and the substitutions that will replicate their flavor.

Spice Substitution
Allspice cinnamon, cassia, dash of nutmeg, mace or a dash of cloves
Aniseed fennel seed or anise extract
Cardamom ginger
Chili powder dash of bottled hot pepper sauce plus oregano and cumin
Cinnamon nutmeg or allspice (use ¼ the amount)
Cloves cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger
Cumin chili powder
Ginger allspice, cinnamon, mace or nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Mace allspice, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg
1 tablespoon prepared mustard 1 teaspoon ground mustard (in cooked dishes)
1 tablespoon prepared mustard ½ teaspoon ground mustard plus 2 teaspoons vinegar (in cold or uncooked dishes)
Nutmeg cinnamon, ginger or mace
Saffron dash of turmeric
1 teaspoon apple pie spice ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon plus ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg plus ⅛ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon plus ¼ teaspoon ground ginger plus ⅛ teaspoon EACH ground cloves and ground nutmeg

Filed Under

Spice Tips


Great post! I think I might print this out and put it on my fridge.

Stephanie - Wasabimon, over 4 years ago

This is a great chart that everyone who cooks and doesn't remember to stock up on spices needs to have.
Thank you.

Jill, The Veggie Queen, over 4 years ago

This is so helpful. Thank you!

Tesia - FlavorDiva.com, over 4 years ago

What a useful post! Whenever I try and cook anything a bit different (admittedly from a recipe book!) I invariably don't have the right spices to hand. With this info I'll at least have an idea what to use instead. Thanks.

TobyH, over 4 years ago

Thank you for the suggestions! I never seem to know what to do with spices and this is a great substitution list. I need to stock up my spice rack!!

—Kirsten, over 4 years ago

this is a HUGE help! thank you so much! no more buying $5 bottles of a spice i'll never use again. thank you!

—aleasa, over 4 years ago

thank you so much for this site!!!!!!!!!!! This is the second time a dish i was preparing call for cumin and i did not have any. Thanks for the FYI

—pam,2010, over 3 years ago

JUST discovered your site - WONDERFUL! Thanks!

—Mickie, over 2 years ago

Straight into the food section of my favourites! I shall be spreading the word about this great site.
Many thanks from UK

—Tony, over 2 years ago

Oh what a great site. SO HANDY to know these things! Thanks heaps. I too will be passing on to my friends.

—Adele, over 2 years ago

saved to favourites - brilliant page

—joanna, over 2 years ago

Thank's so much - you just saved my parent's anniversary cake

—Emma, over 2 years ago

This was great, I was right in the middle of canning, went to grab a spice and didn't have it!!! Panicked I ran to the computer and googled substitutions and like a god send here it was!! Thanks

—Wilhelmina Reed, about 1 year ago

What a great site, I was stuck and then I found this! Thank you!

—Debi, about 1 year ago

Add a Comment

: (optional)
:View information about this field