Add instant Fall flavors to any recipe with this homemade pumpkin pie spice! An aromatic blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Just a sprinkle enhances the taste of sweet and savory dishes, baked items, and even beverages.
It’s that time of year when we’re all busy with holiday cooking, baking, eating and of course shopping! Although there’s one guarantee this season that no matter where you go, the most famous flavor on the menu is the pumpkin. Whether you are grabbing pumpkin spice lattes on the run or making a classic pumpkin pie, the creamy bright orange gourd from the pumpkin always gets enhanced with a flavor combo of spices. These are fragrant seasonings derived from bark, seeds, roots, fruit or buds of selected plants.
My easy, quick and affordable solution is making your own homemade pumpkin pie spice blend. It’s so versatile and boosts the taste of any recipe. This mix is not only reserved for the iconic sliceable dessert. I bet you’ll have over half the ingredients you need in your pantry ready to go. The essentials are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
How to Make Pumpkin Pie Spice
We have all purchased a little jar of the store bought spice blend when we’re in a pinch for time. However, I like to have a little fun creating my mix, so that I can tailor the ratio of spices to my taste. Here are the essential ingredients:
- Cinnamon: There are two types of cinnamon, Ceylon (Cinnamomum verum) and Cassia or Chinese Cinnamomum aromaticum). Ceylon or “true cinnamon” is much more expensive and less bitter, so most products are from Cassia bark or a blend of both. The earthy and sweet flavor combined with a hint of heat adds a perception of sweetness and richness to foods.
- Nutmeg: This seed comes from the tree Myristica fragrans. It adds a characteristic warm, sweet and nutty flavor. It’s best to freshly grate nutmeg using a fine rasp grater for the most robust character. A little goes a long way!
- Ginger: The ground rhizomes of Zingiber officinale Roscoe, this root adds an astringency and a welcoming bite. This spice creates a “hot” warming sensation in the mouth.
- Allspice: From the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica plant and pimento family, it can often be used whole or ground in recipes. The flavor is a combination of pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, adding a nice kick.
- Cloves: From the dried flower bud of the clove tree, these small reddish brown buds are used whole or ground. Only a tiny amount is needed as the pungent, sweet, bitter, astringent flavors and aromas, plus warming sensation is very intense.
If using ground spices, make sure that they are not expired. Aged spices will lose a lot of the aromatic compounds and taste due to constant exposure to air when used. This will throw off the flavor balance of the spice mixture. If you don’t get a sharp identifiable aroma when you open and smell the ground spice, opt to get a fresh jar.
For the highest flavor impact, it’s best to freshly grind whole spices, if possible. A microplane or rasp grater works excellent for cinnamon and nutmeg. An electric coffee grinder or spice grinder, or mortar and pestle would work well for allspice and cloves.
Save the seeds from your pumpkins this year and make roasted pumpkin seeds!
When using this pumpkin pie spice blend for the first time, make sure to taste a small amount first. Feel free to adjust the amounts of each spice to your taste buds. When adding to recipes start with less, as it’s easier to add more later on. I’ve been adding some to my morning smoothies, oatmeal, savory sauces, muffins and of course pumpkin pies! I can’t wait to hear what you add the spices too, let me know in the comment section below!
How Long Can You Store Pumpkin Pie Spice
Once spices have been ground up, the volatile aromas are released. Over time the flavor and color will dull and not give as strong of an impact to recipes. Once a container is opened, or the spice is grated, it should be used within six to nine months for the most intense flavor. Store the spice blend in an airtight container or small glass jar and keep the lid on tight. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat from the stove for the best quality. Check all of your spices once a year and discard them as they reach their expiration date.