Spice Substitutes

What are Substitutes for Spices?

Substitutes for Spices. There are hundreds of different spices available at the grocery store and then on top of that there are the combination spices that are often called for in recipes - you may need an Italian seasoning substitute, a Cajun Spice substitute or Apple Pie Spice. These combination spices can be made at home by combining other spices that you may already have in your kitchen.

Spices all have a fairly long shelf life when dried, but that spice rack you got for a wedding gift only has so many little bottles to fill so you can't keep them all forever. So, use this table to substitute for the spices that a recipe suddenly calls for but are missing from your rack.

Spice Substitutes

Spice Amount Substitute
Anise Seed 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon Star Anise *OR* 1 teaspoon Cardamon
Apple Pie Spice substitute 1 Tablespoon 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon +plus 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg +plus 1/8 teaspoon Ginger +plus 1/8 teaspoon Cloves
Allspice substitute 1 Tablespoon 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon +plus 1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg +plus 1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
Cajun Spice substitute 1 Tablespoon 1/2 teaspoon of each: White Pepper, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, and Paprika
Cardamon substitute 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon ground Anise
Garlic substitute 1 clove 1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder *OR* 1/4 teaspoon minced Garlic, OR 1/2 teaspoon granulated Garlic, OR 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt (reduce salt in recipe)
Fresh Ginger Root substitute 1 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
Italian Seasoning substitute 1 teaspoon 3/4 teaspoon Parsley +plus 1/4 teaspoon Basil +plus 1/8 teaspoon Oregano
Mustard substitute (Dry) 1 teaspoon 1 Tablespoon Prepared Mustard OR 1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
Poultry Seasoning substitute 1 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon each of: Ground Sage, Dried Thyme, and Dried Rosemary
Pumpkin Pie Spice substitute 1 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon +plus 1/4 teaspoon Ginger +plus 1/8 teaspoon Allspice +plus 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
Saffron substitute 1 teaspoon 2/3 teaspoon Paprika and 1/3 teaspoon Turmeric
Star Anise substitute (Ground) 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon ground Anise seed *OR* 1 teaspoon ground Fennel Seed
Spearmint substitute (Dried) 1 Tablespoon 1/4 Cup chopped fresh Mint

Remember, when making substitutions be sure to measure accurately for best results. Some substitutions for spices may alter slightly the taste of the finished product. These substitute recommendations are meant to save you a trip to the store during your cooking process. Some alternatives may not be appropriate for your recipe.

Dried vs Fresh Herbs

Another substitution you may be forced to make when cooking is dried spices when a recipe calls for fresh. Dried spices are much more potent than the fresh so you will need about 1/3 less dried spice than fresh (or 3 times more if substituting fresh for dried). Plus, you will want to add the dried spice earlier in the cooking process than you would the fresh (which is usually added at the end of cooking). For more information, see our dried vs fresh page.

To find out how long spices last, check our spice page.

A note regarding Substitutions...

Using these substitute suggestions may slightly alter the taste, texture or appearance of your resulting recipe. However, we recommend these substitutions as similar replacement ingredients when the original ingredients are unavailable.