How to Swap Whole Spices for Ground (and Vice Versa)

Where to Buy and How to Store Allspice

The Many Types of Spices to Diversify Your Vegan Diet

It’s always best to buy whole allspice than ground powder. In this form, it retains more of its beneficial qualities. You can grind the whole corns anytime if you need this for one of the recipes.

When whole, the spicy corns can be stored in a pantry for many months. However, you should keep ground allspice in an airtight container in your fridge. The essential oils, that are directly responsible for both flavor and health benefits of this spice, evaporate very fast, so you should use the ground product as quickly as possible.

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How to Substitute Allspice at Home

Although there’s no true substitute for real allspice, if you’re in a pinch you can approximate its flavor by blending together the three spices it tastes it tastes most like: cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Since many recipes call for a small amount of ground allspice alongside other spices, you probably won’t notice the substitution. Another option for when you’re out of allspice is to just up the amounts of the other spices in a recipe.

How to Store

Like most spices, allspice should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Both whole and ground allspice will last up to two years, but ground allspice will lose its potency quicker than whole allspice.

How long does allspice last?

Before you use any spices, first check to make sure they’re still good with this helpful spice cabinet guide. Allspice will lose its flavor and fragrance eventually, so ground allspice should be used within two years. The whole berries will last a little longer but should be used within three or four years. Store the spice in a cool dark place to preserve its flavor.

Allspice Leaves Usage In Cooking

Allspice leaves are famous for smoking meat. And, they also add flavor to Indian dishes like Biryani, replacing their typically used ingredient- bay leaves.

Moreover, allspice leaves have a special place in the heart of Caribbean cuisine. Apart from their intensive usage of allspice berries in cooking, they include the leaves in many of their soups, sauces, stews, and even in the Jamaican Jerk seasoning.

What Are The Other Spices And Herbs That Allspice Blends Well With?

Interestingly, the aroma and flavor profile of allspice go well with many other spices and herbs that couple with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. This is mainly because of its subtle taste and smell, which is close to that of the flavors and aromas of the spices mentioned above.

Therefore, matching and combining allspice with other herbs and spices won’t be much of a challenge for you when cooking. Let’s see what other flavorings team up better with allspice. They include:

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Black pepper
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Lime juice
  • Vinegar

Other cooking ingredients that make good couples with whole allspice berries, ground allspice, and allspice leaves are:

  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Beetroots
  • Onions
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Apples

What Are the Health Benefits of Allspice?

Like other spices, the quantity of allspice used in cooking isn’t usually enough to be nutritionally significant, but it has been used as an essential oil and medicinally due to its high concentration of antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory eugenol as a remedy for colds, menstrual cramps, and upset stomach.

What is a good substitute for allspice?

If you have exhausted allspice availability then use an allspice substitute that replicates its flavor profile and aroma.

By happy chance, you may already have in the spice rack other ingredients that you can use to replace allspice.

Here are a few suggestions we have for you as a replacement for allspice berry.

Blend Of Cloves, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon

Honestly, you’ll not find a single ingredient that matches the complex flavor profile of allspice.

In a pinch, you can approximate its flavor by blending three spices: cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.


  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Ground the three ingredients and blend them well in a small jar or using a mixer-grinder.

Most recipes require only a small amount of allspice. You can substitute the mixture for allspice in a 1:1 ratio.

According to the flavor profile of your recipe, you may omit nutmeg and use 2 parts of cinnamon and one part of cloves.

Ground Cloves

In place of allspice, you may use ground cloves alone or in combination with nutmeg, black peppercorns, mace, or cinnamon.

Among all these spices, clove has the strongest flavor and closest similarity to allspice. The emphatic warm flavor of clove can overpower other ingredients with a delicate flavor. If you are using ground cloves as a substitute for allspice, use it in less quantity; preferably, just half the portion.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

If you notice, one of the key ingredients in pumpkin pie spice is allspice. Besides, it also contains cinnamon and clove that have a somewhat similar flavor profile. So for this reason, pumpkin pie spice is a great alternative to allspice. Use it in a 1:1 ratio.

What Does It Taste Like?

Allspice combines the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. It can be used for many purposes that those warm spices are used, or as a substitute for them.

Cooking with whole vs. ground spices

When it comes to cooking with ground spices versus whole spices, there are a few other guidelines to follow. Often, recipes suggest toasting whole spices in a dry pan prior to grinding them. When using ground spice, you should skip this step since ground spices will burn very quickly in a dry pan.

However, if you are starting a sauté or braise and have some fat in the pan—for instance, you might be cooking onions and garlic in olive oil at the beginning of a recipe—you can add the ground spice to the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to gently bloom the spice’s aromas in the oil just before adding liquid to the pot.

A little of this, a little of that, who’s to say how much?

Photo by Joseph De Leo


What is allspice good for? Below are some of the benefits associated with allspice berries.

1. Contains Antimicrobial and Anti-inflammatory Compounds

Like clove, cinnamon and similar spices, allspice is sometimes used to make concentrated essential oil that is high in antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds, including eugenol, ethyleugenol, caryophyllene, glycosides and polyphenols.

According to one report published in Current Drug Targets, allspice contains aromatic compounds that have antibacterial, hypotensive, anti-neuralgic and analgesic properties. Recent studies have shown two of the known compounds isolated from allspice, eugenol and gallic acid, also have certain antiproliferative and anti-tumor properties on human cancer cells.

Uses for allspice essential oil are similar to those of clove oil — which include helping to dull pain and muscle aches, ease cramps and indigestion, and reduce cold and flu symptoms.

Eugenol is also known for its antiseptic properties, while other antioxidants found in allspice oil are capable of scavenging free radicals. These are two reasons why applying allspice oil to the skin when mixed with a carrier oil (perform a skin patch test first) can help boost skin health.

2. Adds Flavor Without Sugar/Calories

The great thing about using spices in baked goods and other recipes is that they boost the taste while keeping sugar and calories low. Good-quality spices, such as allspice, ginger and cinnamon, can be added to healthy recipes for cookies, muffins, breads, oatmeal, etc., to help you cut back on other less-healthy ingredients.

3. Can Be Used to Make a Digestive-Soothing Tea

Allspice is sometimes used to make herbal teas and infusions that can help reduce digestive symptoms, such as gas, cramps and bloating. It’s also recommended for women dealing with menstrual discomfort.

You’ll sometimes find this oil in massage blends that can be applied to the abdomen, in aromatherapy blends made for diffusers, perfumes, body care products and more. The signature smell is also said to support positivity and offer comfort due to its “grounding” qualities.


Keep your allspice fresh and ready to use by storing it in an airtight jar or another container away from direct sunlight. There's no need to freeze or refrigerate it. Allspice will last for years whether whole or ground, although ground spices lose their flavor quickly.