Here's Exactly What's in Pumpkin Spice—Plus How to Make It at Home
Dial in the flavors to make your perfect pumpkin spice for pies, cookies, lattes and more.
Fall is here, which means it's officially pumpkin spice season. We have entered the months in which you can find pumpkin spice-flavored everything. And, yes, we mean everything. The seasonal spice mix has become such a craze that it's no longer just in baked goods and coffee, but has made its way into more obscure products—pumpkin spice yogurt or popcorn, anyone? But what's actually in pumpkin spice, you ask?
Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Tart with Pecan-Shortbread Crust
Pumpkin spice (aka pumpkin pie spice) is simply a combination of spices that are commonly used in pumpkin pie. According to McCormick's Pumpkin Pie Spice ingredient list, the spice blend is cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice, but other brands do it differently. At Trader Joe's, they make their blend with cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. And if things aren't already confusing enough, Simply Organic's blend contains cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. But although the ingredients vary slightly, there's enough common ground to be able to whip up your own blend at home.
Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
If you're inspired to make your own blend, you'll want to include cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and either allspice or cloves. And if you're feeling funky, don't be afraid to add a dash of cardamom or a hint of lemon zest for extra pizzazz. Just be advised, with strong spices like allspice, cloves and cardamom, a little goes a long way. EatingWell magazine's lead recipe developer (and the creator of the pumpkin spice latte cookies pictured below), Adam Dolge, suggests the following blend, noting that "you mostly want cinnamon."
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
Pictured Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies
The beauty of making your own blend at home is the ability to control the flavor profile by adding more or less of each spice, depending on your preference. So, although Dolge's blend is a great place to start, we encourage you to play around with the ratios to make it just the way you like it!
And now that you have your own pumpkin spice blend on hand, there are so many things you can do with it in the kitchen. From cookies and pies to bagels, you can sub in your personal blend in any recipe that calls for pumpkin pie spice. Happy baking!