If you’re making a homemade pumpkin pie, odds are your recipe calls for using ground cloves. But if you’re all out of ground cloves there’s no need to fear (or make an extra trip to the grocery store) because there are a number of substitutes you can use in your pumpkin pie reciep.
Ground cloves is a wonderful spice that is added to pumpkin pie for it’s notes of sweetness, bitterness and astringency.
In fact, cloves is one of the more intense flavors used in many pumpkin pie recipes, so when replacing it you can go with a spice that offers a similar level of flavor or one a little less pronounce depending on your personal taste.
Luckily, there are multiple pantry staples that pair wonderfully with pumpkin pie that you can use in just about any recipe out there.
So what are the best substitutes for ground cloves when baking pumpkin pie?
The top cloves alternatives are mace, allspice, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and apple pie spice.
Now, make sure to read on to learn how to use each of these ground clove replacement in your pie recipe.
Related Recipe: Pumpkin pie poppers
Ground Cloves Alternatives when Baking Pumpkin Pie
Ground cloves provides an intense flavor that packs noticeable heat. It’s a common spice used to make a classic pumpkin pie, and it compliments the other spices in most recipes quite well.
But if you’re all out of cloves or (like me) you prefer a more subtle spice combination, there are a number of great options out there you can replace it with.
The key to using another spice in place of ground cloves is selecting one that matches and compliments the other flavors in a similar way.
And the good news is, there is more than one way to replace cloves when baking a pie.
Related: Pumpkin puree substitutes
While not as commonly stocked as other spices on this list, mace is one of my all time favorites when baking a homemade pumpkin pie.
Mace is less intense than cloves with a flavor somewhat like nutmeg with floral notes.
But when paired with the rest of the spices in your recipe, mace offers the most similar flavor to ground cloves. So if you want a substitution that produces a classic flavor mace is a great choice.
Equivalent1 teaspoon of mace equals 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
This pantry staple is an excellent sub for cloves when baking a pumpkin pie. This spice mix generally contains cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg so you know it pairs well with pumpkin pie.
The trick with using allspice is balancing the other spices in your recipe. If you enjoy a spicy pumpkin pie, you can simply do a one to one substitution and make no other changes.
But if you enjoy a less spicy pie, reduce the amount of cinnamon when using allspice. The key is to taste your mixture as you go and adjusting depending on your particular flavor preferences.
Equivalent1 teaspoon of allspice equals 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
There’s a good chance your recipe already calls for nutmeg, but if it doesn’t it makes an excellent substitute for cloves.
The flavor is ideal for pumpkin pie and pairs well with any other spices your recipe may call for. If your recipe already calls for nutmeg you have a couple options.
You can use a little more nutmeg or go with one of the other alternative spices on this list. As usual, you have some latitude when spicing your pie, so adjust the levels according to what you like.
Related: Nutmeg alternatives for apple pie
Equivalent1 teaspoon of nutmeg equals 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
Pumpkin Pie Spice
If you don’t have any of the spices above, you still have a couple great options for spicing up your homemade pumpkin pie.
And just like the name implies, pumpkin pie spice is a great substitute for cloves in a pumpkin pie. Most varieties of pumpkin pie spice contain cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and even ginger.
And maybe the best part of using this option is that you can use it to replace all individual spices in your recipe.
The amount used depends on how much pumpkin pie filling your are making, but as a general rule use three and a half teaspoons for each twenty-nine ounce can of pumpkin pie filling.
Related: Shortening replacement in pie crust
EquivalentReplace all spices with pumpkin pie spice. Use 3 1/2 teaspoons for each 29oz of pie filling used
Apple Pie Spice
Believe it or not, apple pie spice can be used to make a homemade pumpkin pie. Most varieties of apple pie spice contain nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cardamom and this combo pairs well with pumpkin.
Much like above, you can replace all your other spices with apple pie spice so it’s another simple substitution.
Again, use three and a half teaspoons of apple pie spice for each twenty-nine ounces of pumpkin pie filling being used.
EquivalentReplace all spices with apple pie spice. Use 3 1/2 teaspoons for each 29oz of pie filling used
As you can see, there are a number of spices you can use instead of ground cloves when making a pumpkin pie.
And while each of them provide their own particular flavor profile, they all pair wonderfully with pumpkin. And no matter which one you go with you will have a great home baked pie perfect for the holidays or a special family dessert.