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Don’t have cloves, or realized you’re all out while you’re making a recipe? Here’s the best substitute for cloves in baking.

Substitute for cloves
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Making a recipe that calls for cloves and don’t have them? Don’t worry, there are few options that are perfectly suited as a substitution. Ground cloves are often used in baking recipes to give a cozy and warm essence. Most famously used in Pumpkin Pie Spice, they can also be used in savory dishes like tomato sauces and jerk seasoning.

Best substitute for cloves

1. Allspice.

The best substitute for cloves? Allspice! This warm spice mimics the peppery notes of cloves perfectly. Ground allspice is a 1 for 1 substitute for ground cloves. For every ½ teaspoon cloves, use ½ teaspoon allspice.

2. Cinnamon + nutmeg.

Don’t have allspice? No problem. The next best substitute for cloves is cinnamon and nutmeg used together. Cinnamon balances out the strong bite of the nutmeg, making this combo a bit closer to the flavor of cloves. Because cloves are often used with cinnamon and nutmeg, they naturally evoke the vibe of this spice.

What about whole cloves?

If your recipe calls for whole cloves, you may use ground cloves if you have them on hand. Whether it’s a good idea depends on the recipe! A rule of thumb is to use ¾ teaspoon ground cloves to replace 1 teaspoon whole cloves.

Important! Keep in mind that most recipes with whole cloves really need them to pull off the dish. This Mulled Cider needs whole cloves to simmer because the drink would become grainy with ground. Whole cloves are also used to poke into oranges or meat: you really cannot replace this with ground cloves. So you should head to the store!

Related recipes

Here are some recipes where you could use this substitute for cloves:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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