From time to time, you will have a recipe call for a spice or herb you do not have in your pantry. When this happens, you can use the spice substitution chart below to help you substitute herbs and spices in recipes.
How to Substitute Spices and Herbs
Look at the chart for this spice or herb you do not have, then look at it’s recommended substitute. The list of spice substitutes below will show a spice that compliments a flavor or one that resembles it, shown with a *.
Chart Abbreviations & Definitions
- Tsp = teaspoon
- Tbsp = tablespoon
- Pinch = about 1/16 tsp, half a dash, or the amount you hold between a thumb and pointer finger.
- Dash = about 1/8 tsp
|Spice or Herb||Substitute|
|Aleppo Pepper||Hungarian sweet paprika* and a dash of cayenne pepper|
|Allspice||Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves*|
|Apple Pie Spice||1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom mixed.|
|Anise Seed||Fennel seed*|
|Bay Leaf||1⁄4 tsp. ground bay leaf|
|Caraway Seed||Anise seed|
|Celery Seed||Minced tops of celery*|
|Chervil (French Parsley)||Parsley, tarragon|
|Chili Powder||Mix hot pepper, cumin and oregano*|
|Chili Seasoning||1 tsp cumin powder, 3/4 tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 3/4 tsp salt,|
and 1/4 tsp black pepper per 1 lb of beef.
|Chives||Green onion*, onion*|
|Chinese Five Spice||3 tbsp. ground cinnamon, 6 whole star anise, 1 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, 3/4 tsp. ground gloves (grind together and store)|
|Cloves||All spice, cinnamon and nutmeg|
|Cream of Tartar||1 tsp. lemon juice or 1 tsp. white vinegar.|
|Cumin||Mexican chili powder|
|Curry Powder||Mix 1/8 cup ground coriander, 1 tbsp. ground cumin, 1 tbsp. ground turmeric and 1/2 tbsp ground ginger.|
|Ginger||All spice, cinnamon, mace or nutmeg|
|Italian Seasoning||Mix basil, oregano, rosemary and ground (or flakes) red pepper|
|Mace||All spice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg|
|Mint||Basil, marjoram or rosemary|
|Nutmeg||Cinnamon, ginger or mace*|
|Oregano||Basil, marjoram*, thyme* or savory|
|Poultry Seasoning||Sage mixed with marjoram, black pepper, rosemary, thyme* or savory|
|Pumpkin Pie Spice||Mix 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. ground allspice, 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg.|
|Flaked or Ground Red Pepper||Dash of Hot Sauce or black pepper|
|Rosemary||Savory, thyme or tarragaon|
|Saffaron||Dash of Turmeric for color|
|Sage||Rosemary, savory or marjoram|
|Savory||Sage, thyme or marjoram|
|Seasoned Salt||Mix 1/2 cup salt, 1 1/4 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 3/4 tsp. ground oregano, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1/4 tsp. ground onion|
|Tarragon||Chervil, dash of fennel seed* or a dash of anise seed*|
|Taco Seasoning||Mix 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp oregano and pinch of crushed red pepper.|
|Thyme||Basil, oregono* or savory|
Common Questions about Spices & Herbs
How Do I Know When to Change Out Spices?
A simple test to see if a spice is old is to crush a little between your fingers and smell to see if it still has a strong aroma and flavor. I like to mark the date of my spices on their container, so I know when I bought them.
Should I Buy Whole Leaf Herbs or Ground?
It is best to buy whole dried leaf herbs, since crushed or ground herbs lose flavor quickly. You can use ground herbs, but you will get more flavor using entire leaf herbs.
What is a Good Substitute for Chili Powder?
To get a similar taste of chili pepper, mix hot pepper, cumin, and oregano together in equal parts.
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