12 Useful Spices Substitutes

It’s happened to all of us at least once before. You are halfway through a recipe when you realize you don’t have nutmeg. What do you do? Stop what you’re doing and run to the store? No! Use our list of spice substitutes for flavors that might not be exactly the same, but will still match your dish perfectly!

By Cookist
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1. Allspice

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Allspice is made from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica plant, and is also known as Jamaica pepper or pimento. Make a spice with a similar flavor profile by mixing equal parts cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

2. Apple spice

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Apple spice makes a great addition to baked goods such as muffins or pound cakes. It’s actually just a mixture of spices you commonly find in a pantry. For each 1 tsp of apple spice you need, mix ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ground cardamom, and 1/8 tsp ground ginger.

3. Cardamom

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Cardamom is actually in the ginger family and is used in both sweet and savory dishes. It lends a spicy and citrusy fragrance. To make a substitute, mix equal parts ground cloves and cinnamon.

4. Cinnamon

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Cinnamon is made from tree bark of Cinnamomum tree species. It’s popular in both sweet and savory dishes, and brings warmth and sweetness to a dish! In fact, if you use cinnamon, you can often use less sugar and you won’t be able to tell the difference. If you don’t have it on hand, use a bit of nutmeg.

5. Fresh ginger root

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Fresh ginger is a staple in many kitchens, but sometimes you simply ran out of fresh roots! For every 1 tsp of fresh ginger you need, use ¼ tsp ground ginger.

6. Nutmeg

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Nutmeg comes from the seeds of the Myristica fragrant tree. It’s popular in milk-based sauces and also goes well with spinach. Use cinnamon, ginger, or mace if you don’t have nutmeg in your pantry.

7. Aniseed

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Aniseed lends a licorice flavor to foods, so if you ran out, use start anise, fennel, or actual licorice!

8. Cajun spice

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Cajun is a flavorsome spice mix originating in Louisiana, USA. To make your own, mix equal parts white pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika (you can use smoked paprika for extra flavor!).

9. Fennel seeds

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Fennel is used extensively in Mediterranean cooking and gives food an anise flavor. If you need fennel, use aniseed or caraway seeds.

10. Mustard seeds

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Mustard seeds are used in pickles, or you can use it to make your own mustard sauce. It has a spicy, sharp taste and is a great addition to perk up a rice or vegetable dish.  In this case, if you ran out of mustard seeds, try wasabi paste or horseradish. It has the same peppery notes as mustard.

11. Oregano

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If you need oregano but ran out, use equal parts of thyme, basil, or marjoram. You can also use Italian seasoning! Remember not to substitute fresh herbs with the same amount of dried herbs. If the recipe calls for 1 Tbsp fresh herbs, use 1 tsp of the dried variety.

12. Turmeric

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Turmeric powder is more common in the kitchen, as turmeric root is hard to find. If you don’t have turmeric powder, you can use an equal amount of dried mustard powder.

Remember to add the spices a few sprinkles at a time and taste throughout the cooking process. You might discover a new favorite flavor combination!

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