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Allspice Substitute Recipes for That Intense and Rich Flavor

Allspice Substitute Recipes
Allspice is one of the indispensable ingredients in Jamaican jerk spice, and is commonly used in Caribbean cuisine. This article provides information about some substitutes for allspice.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Allspice is nothing other than the dried unripe berries of the Pimenta dioica tree of the Myrtaceae family. Commonly known as pimento or Jamaica pepper, the spice is widely used in cooking, especially in the Caribbean cuisine. Known for its aromatic green leaves and white blooms, the Pimenta dioica tree grows to a height of around nine meters. Even the leaves have the aromatic flavor, and are used in cooking. While fresh leaves are used like bay leaves, dried ones do not retain the flavor and are not preferred. The berries are picked when they are green and unripe, before being dried in the sun. Once dried, the fruits turn brown and resemble large peppercorns.
Some Japanese explorers discovered this tree in Jamaica, during the early 16th century. Since the berries appeared similar to black pepper, they named the spice 'Jamaica pepper', with the term 'pimento' as the Spanish translation for peppercorn. However, the name 'allspice' was later given to it since it had the aroma of cloves, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. So these four spices can be combined to make an alternative to allspice.
How to Prepare a Substitute for Allspice
You may have come across situations where you wanted to prepare a recipe that called for allspice, but when you opened your kitchen cupboard, all you saw was an empty jar. Well, you need not worry anymore, as it can be made with some other spices that are easily available.
Recipe #I
  • Ground cinnamon - ½ teaspoon
  • Ground cloves - ½ teaspoon
  • Ground nutmeg - ½ teaspoon
Mix the spices and use it as a substitute for allspice at a ratio of 1:1. Some people omit nutmeg or use it in very small amounts. You may also use a mixture of two parts cinnamon and one part each of nutmeg and cloves.
Recipe #II
  • Ground cinnamon - ½ teaspoon
  • Ground cloves - ¼ teaspoon
  • Ground nutmeg - ¼ teaspoon
  • Ground black pepper - ¼ teaspoon
Mix the spices and use it for replacing allspice, at a ratio of 1:1. This substitute is more suitable for those who do not prefer a dominant allspice flavor. To make it milder, reduce the amount of nutmeg. A pinch of nutmeg will be sufficient.
Once you prepare the substitute spice mixture, store it in an air-tight container. It is not advisable to store this mixture for a long time, as it will lose flavor. If you have access to allspice berries, you may store them, and use as and when needed. This is because, berries retain flavor for a longer time, as compared to the ground form. In that case, grind five whole allspice berries to make a teaspoon of allspice powder. If you grind an ounce of berries, you will get 4½ tablespoons of ground allspice.
Known for its intense flavor and aroma, allspice is used worldwide. In Caribbean cuisine, allspice is used in sausage preparations, curry powders, sauces, pickles, etc. In Middle Eastern and Palestinian cuisine, it is used for flavoring different stews and meat dishes. Due to its distinctive aroma and taste, allspice is also used in cakes, puddings, and cookies.
Selection of nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and cloves
Aromatic Spices on a Wooden Cutting Board with a White Background