Every fall, without fail, it seems like “pumpkin spice” is everywhere.
Here, find out how easy it is to make pumpkin spice mix at home — then use in your own seasonal treats to warm things up a little (or a lot)!
The secret of simple DIY pumpkin spice mix
First, an answer to a common question: No, “pumpkin spice” does not have pumpkin in it — it’s just what the spicy mix used in classic pumpkin pie recipes has long been called… and now, it’s used to describe the many things that feature cinnamon-nutmeg-type seasoning blends.
And as warm and cozy as the aromatic food enhancer might make you feel, luckily, you don’t have to pay premium prices to get your favorite fall flavor.
Although you can buy “Pumpkin Pie Spice” at the grocery store, it’s typically made with something like 4 parts cinnamon and 1 part nutmeg, then one to two parts of other spices, such as ginger, cloves, allspice and/or mace. (Don’t worry — several popular blends are listed below.)
Looking for a little more oomph? More exotic blends might include things like cardamom, cassia, and dried lemon peel or orange peel.
Also notable is what’s not in it — namely pumpkin, sugar, salt or preservatives.
The exact spices used and the amounts thereof are a matter of personal preference, so experiment a little with the various flavors and aromas to make your own custom blend! Use the 8 blends below to start.
Pumpkin spice: Competitive intelligence
What do some of the big brands use for their pumpkin spice mix and pumpkin pie spice blends? A few points of reference:
1. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is reportedly seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
2. Penzeys pumpkin pie spice: China cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, mace and cloves.
3. McCormick’s pumpkin spice has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.
4. Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie spice contains ground cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom.
5. Spice Islands’ pumpkin spice has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace and cloves.
6. The Spice House’s pumpkin pie spice: Sweet China cinnamon, Jamaican allspice, powdered cassia buds, ground nutmeg, ginger powder, ground mace and ground Ceylon cloves.
7. Betty Crocker’s blend: 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground allspice and 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cloves.
8. Editor Nancy’s spice mix: Lots of cinnamon, some nutmeg, a tiny bit of ginger. (You can get a very similar mix in this old-fashioned Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe.)