Cloves Substitute: Discover Flavorful Alternatives for Culinary Delights


Spices are the secret ingredients that add depth and flavor to our favorite dishes.

And when it comes to spices, cloves have always been a star player.

But what if you run out of them?

Fear not, as we embark on a tantalizing journey exploring the world of cloves substitutes.

From exotic spices to unexpected combinations, get ready to elevate your culinary creations to new heights.

cloves substitute

A suitable substitute for cloves is allspice.

Other alternatives include nutmeg, ground cardamom, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, mace, white peppercorns, black peppercorns, star anise, fennel, five spice blend, cumin, and various spice combinations such as nutmeg + allspice, cinnamon + nutmeg, and nutmeg + cardamom.

Ground cloves can also be used as a last resort substitute for ground ginger.

Key Points:

  • Allspice is a suitable substitute for cloves.
  • Other alternatives include:
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Apple pie spice
  • Mace
  • White and black peppercorns
  • Star anise
  • Fennel
  • Five spice blend
  • Cumin
  • Various spice combinations
  • Ground cloves can be used as a substitute for ground ginger as a last resort.

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Pro Tips:

1. Cloves substitute: Did you know that in ancient times, cloves were used as a form of currency? In the Moluccas Islands of Indonesia, where cloves are native, they were so highly valued that they became an accepted medium of exchange.
2. Cloves substitute: If you ever find yourself in need of a temporary toothache remedy, a clove can come to your rescue! Cloves contain eugenol, a natural anesthetic that can help numb the affected area and provide immediate relief from tooth pain.
3. Cloves substitute: Looking for a natural insect repellent? Place a few cloves on a plate near windows and doors. The strong scent of cloves acts as a deterrent for flies, mosquitoes, and other pesky bugs, helping to keep them at bay.
4. Cloves substitute: In traditional Chinese medicine, cloves are believed to have warming properties, making them suitable for individuals who feel cold easily. They are often used to alleviate symptoms related to coldness, such as poor circulation, menstrual cramps, and digestive issues.
5. Cloves substitute: Clove oil, derived from cloves, can be used as a natural mold and mildew remover. Its antimicrobial properties make it effective at combating these common household issues. Dilute a few drops of clove oil in water and spray it on affected areas to help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

Allspice As A Substitute For Cloves

Allspice, despite its misleading name, is not a combination of different spices but a single spice derived from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree. The name “allspice” originates from its intriguing flavor, which is reminiscent of a blend of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Due to its similarity to cloves, allspice can be an excellent substitute when you find yourself without this aromatic spice in your pantry.

Allspice can effortlessly replace cloves in various recipes without compromising the overall flavor profile. Its warm, earthy, and slightly sweet taste pairs exceptionally well with savory dishes like roasts, stews, and marinades. Moreover, it beautifully complements sweet treats such as cakes, cookies, and even homemade applesauce. Consider using 1 teaspoon of allspice for every 1 teaspoon of cloves required in a recipe to maintain the desired flavor intensity.

Nutmeg As A Substitute For Cloves

If you’re searching for a suitable alternative to cloves, nutmeg can be your go-to spice. Derived from the seed of the Myristica fragrans tree, nutmeg boasts a warm, woody, and slightly sweet flavor profile with subtle notes of cloves. Its versatility allows it to be used as both a sweet and savory spice, making it an ideal substitute in a wide range of culinary creations.

While nutmeg can’t replicate the exact flavor of cloves, it can provide a similar aromatic experience in your dishes. Use nutmeg in recipes that call for cloves, such as gingerbread, spice cakes, and mulled wine. Be mindful of its potent flavor and use it sparingly – around ½ teaspoon of nutmeg can replace 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, allowing you to enjoy a balanced taste in your favorite recipes.

  • Nutmeg is a suitable alternative to cloves
  • Nutmeg has a warm, woody, and slightly sweet flavor profile with subtle notes of cloves
  • It can be used as both sweet and savory spice
  • Use nutmeg in gingerbread, spice cakes, and mulled wine recipes
  • Use nutmeg sparingly, as it has a potent flavor
  • Around ½ teaspoon of nutmeg can replace 1 teaspoon of ground cloves

Ground Cardamom As A Substitute For Cloves

Ground cardamom, derived from the seeds of the Elettaria and Amomum plants, is a beloved spice commonly used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian cuisines. Its unique flavor is a harmonious blend of warm, citrusy, and slightly floral notes that can mimic and complement the flavors present in cloves.

If you’re looking to substitute cloves with a spice that adds a touch of exoticism to your dishes, turn to cardamom. It pairs remarkably well with both sweet and savory recipes, including curries, meat marinades, pastries, and breads. To replace cloves with ground cardamom, use a 1:1 ratio. By doing so, you’ll infuse your dishes with a delightful aromatic twist reminiscent of cloves.

Cinnamon As A Substitute For Cloves

Cinnamon is a popular spice made from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees. It is known for its warm and sweet flavor that complements a wide range of dishes. Cinnamon can serve as an effective substitute when you don’t have cloves on hand.

Cinnamon is a versatile spice that can be used in various culinary creations. It blends well with sweet dishes such as apple pie, oatmeal cookies, and warm beverages like hot chocolate and mulled cider. It can also add a unique twist to savory recipes like stews, curries, and roasted vegetables.

To replace cloves with cinnamon, use a 1:1 ratio to ensure a balanced flavor.

  • Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees
  • It has a warm and sweet flavor
  • Can be used as a substitute for cloves
  • Blends well with sweet and savory dishes
  • Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting cloves with cinnamon.

Pumpkin Pie Spice As A Substitute For Cloves

Pumpkin pie spice is a delightful blend of warm spices typically used to enhance the flavor of pumpkin-based desserts. This aromatic spice mixture often includes cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. With its similar flavor profile to cloves, it can be an excellent substitute when cloves are absent from your pantry.

Pumpkin pie spice is perfectly suited for recipes like pumpkin pies, breads, muffins, and cookies. By using it as a substitute for cloves, you will still achieve a well-rounded and comforting flavor profile in your baked goods. Replace cloves with an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice in your recipe for a delightful and convenient alternative.

Apple Pie Spice As A Substitute For Cloves

Similar to pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice is a flavorful blend of spices specially crafted to enhance the taste of apple-based desserts. This spice combination typically includes cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, enhancing the familiar warmth and comfort associated with apple desserts.

When cloves are missing in your kitchen, apple pie spice can step in and help recreate the desired flavors. This spice blend is perfect for various apple-inspired recipes like pies, crumbles, and apple cinnamon muffins. Replace the cloves in your recipe with an equal amount of apple pie spice, allowing you to enjoy the delightful essence of cloves in your apple-flavored creations.

Mace As A Substitute For Cloves

Mace, the sibling spice of nutmeg, is derived from the bright red outer covering of the nutmeg seed. It possesses a warm and subtly sweet flavor profile with notes of cloves, cinnamon, and pepper. While not as commonly used, mace can be an interesting alternative to cloves in certain recipes.

Due to its unique flavor, mace works well in both sweet and savory dishes. It pairs beautifully with creamy sauces, stews, and even baked goods like cakes and custards. When substituting cloves with mace, use a 1:1 ratio to enjoy the distinctive and slightly spicier experience it offers.

White Peppercorns As A Substitute For Cloves

A distant relative of black peppercorns, white peppercorns offer a less pungent and milder flavor compared to their black counterparts. While they won’t replicate the exact taste of cloves, white peppercorns can provide a touch of warmth and spice to various dishes, making them a suitable substitute for this aromatic spice.

White peppercorns are commonly used in:

  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Marinades

due to their subtle flavor and ability to enhance the overall taste of a dish. Grind white peppercorns in place of cloves to add a hint of spiciness, or combine them with other complementary spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for a more well-rounded flavor. Experimentation is key to achieving the desired taste.

Black Peppercorns As A Substitute For Cloves

Black peppercorns, the most commonly used spice in the world, possess a strong and distinct taste that can be a surprising substitute for cloves in certain dishes. Although their flavor differs significantly from cloves, black peppercorns can infuse your recipes with a punch of heat, making them an interesting alternative in moderation.

When using black peppercorns as a substitute for cloves, consider grinding them before adding them to your recipe to ensure even distribution. Use a smaller quantity than the amount of cloves required, as their potency can overpower the dish if used excessively. Black peppercorns work particularly well in savory recipes, such as:

  • Roasted meats
  • Soups
  • Sauces

where a touch of spiciness is desired.

Star Anise As A Substitute For Cloves

Star anise, with its distinct star-shaped appearance, is a spice that boasts an intense and licorice-like flavor. Although not closely related to cloves, it exhibits a similarly warm and aromatic quality that can complement certain dishes as a substitute for this popular spice.

Star anise is widely used in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines and works exceptionally well in dishes like braised meats, stir-fries, and soups. Its unique taste can enhance both sweet and savory recipes, depending on the intended flavor profile. For a delightful twist, replace cloves with a smaller quantity of star anise, adjusting the amount according to your personal preference and the specific dish you are preparing.

Fennel As A Substitute For Cloves

Fennel, with its sweet and slightly licorice-like flavor, is a versatile herb that can be used as a substitute for cloves in certain recipes. While fennel doesn’t possess the same depth as cloves, it can impart a pleasant and aromatic quality to your dishes.

The use of fennel as a substitute is particularly suitable for savory recipes such as marinades, roasted vegetables, and fish dishes. Its flavor melds well with other herbs and spices, allowing you to create a unique blend of flavors in your culinary creations. Experimentation is key when substituting cloves with fennel, as the intensity of its taste can vary. Start with smaller amounts and adjust to taste.

  • Fennel has a sweet and licorice-like flavor.
  • Fennel can be used as a substitute for cloves in certain recipes.
  • It is suitable for savory recipes such as marinades, roasted vegetables, and fish dishes.
  • Fennel pairs well with other herbs and spices.
  • Start with smaller amounts of fennel and adjust to taste when substituting cloves.

Five Spice Blend As A Substitute For Cloves

Five spice blend is a Chinese spice mixture that combines the flavors of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. This versatile blend can serve as an excellent substitute for cloves, as it contains cloves themselves, along with other complementary and flavorful spices.

The distinct combination of spices in five spice blend works particularly well in savory dishes, such as roasted meats, braises, and stir-fries. Additionally, it can add a hint of warmth to certain sweet desserts and baked goods.

  • Replace the required amount of cloves with an equal quantity of five spice blend to ensure an enticing fusion of flavors in your culinary endeavors.

Cumin As A Substitute For Cloves

Cumin, a popular spice used in various global cuisines, possesses a unique and warm flavor profile with hints of earthiness and smokiness. Although the taste of cumin differs greatly from cloves, it can be employed as a substitute in certain savory dishes, effectively adding depth and complexity.

Due to its distinct flavor, cumin is primarily used in savory recipes such as curries, chili, and spiced rice dishes. When substituting cloves with cumin, start with smaller amounts. Use around ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground cumin to replace 1 teaspoon of cloves, allowing the other flavors in your dish to shine while still incorporating a touch of warmth.

Spice Combinations As Substitutes For Cloves

Aside from individual spices, combining different spices can also create intriguing substitutes for cloves. By blending spices with complementary flavors, a unique and harmonious profile can be achieved, harmonizing well with a wide range of dishes.

For instance, combining nutmeg and allspice can offer an alternative that captures the sweet and earthy essence of cloves. The combination of cinnamon and nutmeg, on the other hand, provides a warm and aromatic experience reminiscent of cloves. Experiment with different spice combinations to find your perfect substitute for cloves, adjusting the proportions to achieve the desired taste.


When you find yourself without cloves in your kitchen, there’s no need to panic. The world of spices offers a variety of flavorful alternatives that can effectively replace cloves in your culinary creations. Whether using allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or any other substitutes mentioned, each spice brings its unique character to the table, ensuring a delightful and aromatic experience in your favorite recipes. Embrace the versatility of these substitutes, and let your culinary journey be filled with exciting flavor explorations.

  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin pie spice


You may need to know these questions about cloves substitute

What is a good substitute for cloves?

A good substitute for cloves would be cardamom. With its warm and aromatic flavor, cardamom adds a similar depth and complexity to dishes that cloves do. Alternatively, cinnamon can also serve as a suitable substitute, providing a slightly different, but still delightful, flavor profile to recipes. Both cardamom and cinnamon offer a great way to enhance the taste of your dishes when cloves are not available.

What is the closest spice to cloves?

Nutmeg is the closest spice to cloves. Both spices have warm and earthy flavors with a hint of sweetness. The aroma and taste of nutmeg share similarities with cloves, making it a suitable substitute. Adding a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg can bring a similar depth and complexity to dishes without the need for cloves.

Can you substitute nutmeg for clove?

Yes, nutmeg can be used as a substitute for cloves in recipes. The nutty and sweet flavor profile of nutmeg makes it a suitable alternative to cloves. However, it is essential to use half the amount of ground nutmeg initially, as its taste can be overpowering. Adjust the quantity gradually based on your preference for flavor.

What is a good substitute for cloves in curry?

Another good substitute for cloves in curry is nutmeg. Nutmeg has a similar warm and aromatic flavor, making it a suitable alternative. You can use an equal amount of nutmeg as you would with cloves in your curry recipe to add a similar depth of flavor.

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