This homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice blend is perfect for all of your Fall’s baking needs. But don’t be mistaken, this is not your typical blend. The secret ingredient – cardamom – brightens this warm Autumn spice.
I was running out of pumpkin pie spice the other day. So instead of going to the store to grab another jar, I decided it’s about time I make my own blend. So first order of business, I needed to find out what’s in pumpkin pie spice, which has never crossed my mind all these years. To aid my little research effort, I looked at pumpkin pie spice ingredients from a few popular brands that you can either get at the store or online.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Ingredients by Brand
- McCormick – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, sulfiting agents
- Simply Organic – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves
- King Arthur – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
- The Spice Hunter – cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, star anise, fennel, black pepper
There are also many different homemade recipe for pumpkin pie spice out there, and the two prominent ingredients are cinnamon and ginger. The other popular supporting flavors are nutmeg, cloves and allspice. I also saw one recipe that includes mace. But The Spice Hunter’s ingredient list is the most extensive, which combines 9 individual spices. I have been using this specific brand for years, and love it!
One of the advantages of making a homemade spice blend is that you can decide exactly what goes into it, and reduce or omit flavor that doesn’t cut it for you. In order to help me decide which spices will make it into this blend, I explored all of their flavor profiles. Below are my notes on the spices flavor profile, and why I decide to use it or not use it in my spice blend.
Spice Flavor Profile
- Cinnamon – sweet and spicy – one of the prominent ingredients that will go into the blend.
- Ground Ginger – sweet, woody, and spicy – one of the prominent ingredients that will go into the blend.
- Nutmeg – warm, sweet and astringent – too sharp, a milder flavor can be achieved using allspice.
- Mace – also comes from the nutmeg tree, but from the outer covering of the nutmeg seed, the aroma is more peppery and not as sweet or sharp as nutmeg – the flavor is more savory to me, so I will omit.
- Cloves – pungent and bittersweet – again this is too sharp, and a milder flavor can be achieved with allspice.
- Allspice – similar to a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, but the aroma is not as sharp as any one of these spices alone – will go into the blend for a milder flavor of nutmeg and cloves.
- Cardamom – strong and aromatic, with a spicy, herbal, citrusy character – this is one of my favorite spices and the hint of citrus really brightens up this very warm spice blend.
- Star Anise – strong licorice aroma – too strong, a milder flavor can be achieved with fennel.
- Fennel – mild licorice aroma – I use a small amount for just a hint of licorice flavor.
- Black pepper – spicy and sharp – too sharp, and I don’t think it will add a lot to the spice blend.
- Lemon peel – bright flavor – I like the bright flavor that lemon peel will add. But it is not a common spice and wasn’t readily available as a bulk spice. You can make your own dried citrus peel, but I feel that this is more work than necessary when you just want to throw together a homemade spice blend. I think the citrus flavor from cardamom will be enough.
I narrowed it down to just 5 ingredients for my homemade pumpkin pie spice blend. All of these spices are widely available in jars or as bulk spices, which is especially useful to get if you don’t normally use something in large quantity.
Use Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice in These Recipes!
- Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars
- Peanut Butter Skull Pumpkin Cookies
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate for Two
- Pumpkin Muffins with Pumpkin Pie Spice Streusel
- Pumpkin Pie with Decorative Crust
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon fennel
- Measure out all ingredients into a small bowl, whisk thoroughly to combine.
- Store in an air tight container.