Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend is a fragrant blend of warm spices which flavors desserts, breads, or warm cereals and drinks. Since making this recipe at home is as easy as stirring together a few spices, you’ll always have some on hand.
Pre-mixed blends lack brightness, flavor, and, most importantly, spice! This recipe is definitely more potent and aromatic than any store-bought version.
This post was originally published in 2017. I’ve updated it- keeping the original recipe- to look better.
What is Pumpkin Spice?
Contrary to what the name implies, there is no pumpkin in pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice blends are so named because they’re a mixture of the spices commonly added to pumpkin pies or other recipes containing pumpkin.
Pumpkin spice is essentially a complete spice blend to add to all of your fall recipes.
What Spices Are in Pumpkin Spice Blend?
Pumpkin Pie Spice blend combines warm, earthy spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, and cardamom. It’s very forgiving because if you loathe one of the spices, you can substitute it. Cinnamon is the only spice you can’t leave out because it’s the foundational spice. However, all of the other spices are optional.
Is It Better to Use Whole Spices to Make Spice Blends?
Because this recipe consists of spices, it’s best to use high-quality brands here. Whether or not you use whole spices is completely up to you.
I don’t recommend using whole spices to make pumpkin spice because it really is overkill. You first have to toast the spices, then let them cool. Once they’re cool, you have to grind them to a fine powder, and only then are they ready to use. Instead, use newly opened spices when you make your pumpkin spice. Buying new bottles of spices when making this pumpkin spice blend recipe is the best way to guarantee that yours is beautifully pungent.
Begin by adding the cinnamon to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
In case you weren’t aware, cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree. Once the wet bark loosens, it is planed into long rolls or quills. Those quills are what we bring home from the local supermarket in bottles labeled: cinnamon sticks.
Chinese or Ceylon cinnamons are the most common and easily used because they’re softer. The Ceylon variety is more accessible for those in the States and tastes citrusy and woodsy.
Next, add the ground nutmeg to the bowl with the cinnamon. The stronger, more pungent nutmeg has a spicy, nutty taste.
You can use ground nutmeg for your pumpkin spice or a Microplane to grate your fresh nutmeg seed.
Cardamom is not traditionally used in the pumpkin spice blends sold in stores. But that’s why our blend is much better than the store-bought stuff.
Cardamom is native to India and is the world’s third most expensive spice. Cardamom has a warm, almost resinous flavor that goes well in baked goods like this Pear Cardamom Bread. In recipes that usually call for pumpkin pie spice, the cardamom is a brightener for the other spices in the blend.
Add the ground ginger to the bowl with the cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Ginger is a pretty spice. Well, it’s actually a root, but it’s spicy here. It smells so fragrant and exotic that any Pumpkin Spice blend without it is just not as vibrant. Ginger comes from Southeast Asia and is used both as an ingredient in recipes and as a medicinal root. Even dried ginger root is extremely fragrant and almost spicy in flavor.
Add smoked ginger to the mix instead of regular ground ginger for a more unique pumpkin spice blend.
Cloves are a foundational spice in pumpkin spice. Cloves have an overwhelming piney resin flavor. The other spices’ balance tamps its assertive flavor, so even people with clove aversions (like me) will enjoy it.
Add the ground cloves to the bowl with the other spices.
Contrary to popular belief, allspice and pumpkin spice is not the same thing. Allspice is a berry that comes from the allspice tree. Caribbeans call it Jamaican pepper or pimiento. Allspice is just one dried berry that tastes like a combination of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise, which is where it gets the name “ALLspice” from.
This tiny berry gives this recipe a mild peppery kick. Add it to the bowl as well.
What Do I Store My Pumpkin Spice Blend In?
After you add the spices to the mixing bowl, you only need to whisk them until combined.
Sift the pumpkin spice blend two or three times before jarring it to eliminate large clumps and mixes it more thoroughly.
The best way to store your pumpkin spice is in an airtight glass jar. Create a little funnel with stiff parchment paper, or use a small plastic funnel to fill your jars. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it in the pantry. Plastic containers are porous, allowing the spices’ aromas to leach out, so I discourage their use.
Be sure to write the date the spice blend was made and attach it to the jar you’re going to keep it in.
How long can I keep Pumpkin Pie Spice?
Pumpkin spice blend will keep for six months to a year when properly stored.
Avoid storing pumpkin spice blends over or next to the stove since the temperature and moisture in those cabinets fluctuate whenever you cook. Fluctuations in temperature reduces its shelf-life significantly and strips the pumpkin spice blend of its potency. Light is also an enemy, so a cool, dark cabinet away from the stove or in the pantry is the best place for storing pumpkin spice blend.
Storing your pumpkin spice blend in the refrigerator is discouraged because it introduces moisture to the mixture, which contributes to mold.
How Do I Use Pumpkin Spice?
A teaspoon of this pumpkin pie spice blend will transform your pancakes, waffles, or muffins into something autumnal and delicious. Brew a warm mug of tea with a pinch of this spice blend, and you’re walking through a leaf-changing forest of trees. Add this pumpkin pie spice to your mashed sweet potatoes, even! The possibilities are truly endless.
Not only does it make baked goods and drinks taste like something special, but this pumpkin spice blend makes a great gift during the holiday season. Simply portion your pumpkin spice blend into little jars and wrap it with a bow. Don’t forget the ingredients list for those who may have allergies. Make these Spiced Pumpkin Muffins even quicker by replacing the whole spices with the spice blend. Adding the spice blend to this Pumpkin Cheesecake Empanadas recipe is also a must.
What recipe do you plan to use your Pumpkin Spice Blend in? Don’t forget to pin this recipe to your fall recipe boards and share it with your friends and family!
Pumpkin Spice Blendat Sense & Edibility
- small jar with a tight-fitting lid
- 1/3 cup (32 grams) ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons (10 grams) ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons (10 grams) ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon (5 grams) ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cardamom
Blend the Spices
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves, allspice and cardamom to a medium-size mixing bowl.
- Use a small whisk or spoon to blend the spices together.
- Sift the spice blend through a sieve to remove any large clumps. Repeat once or twice more.
Jar, Store, and Use as Desired
- Pour the Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend into small spice jars using a funnel. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid.Label the jar with the date it was made, as well as the expiration date (6 months to 1 year from the day it was made).
- Store the Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend in a cool dark place for 6 months to 1 year. Use as needed in recipes.
Swaps and Substitutions:
- You can use ground nutmeg for your pumpkin spice or a Microplane to grate your fresh nutmeg seed.
- Replace the ground nutmeg with ground mace.
- Substitute smoked ginger for the regular ground ginger for a more unique pumpkin spice blend.
Tips and Techniques:
- Because this recipe consists of spices, it's best to use high-quality spices.
- Buying new bottles of spices when making this pumpkin spice blend recipe is the best way to guarantee that yours is beautifully pungent.
- Pumpkin spice blend will keep for up to six months to a year when properly stored. Store your jar of pumpkin spice in a cool, dark cabinet away from the stove or in the pantry.
- Avoid storing pumpkin spice blends over or next to the stove since the temperature and moisture in those cabinets fluctuate whenever you cook. Heating and cooling the spice blend reduces its shelf-life significantly and strips the pumpkin spice blend of its potency.
- Do not store your pumpkin spice blend in the refrigerator because it introduces moisture to the mixture, which contributes to mold.