Each fall, it seems like “pumpkin spice” is everywhere.

Here, find out how easy it is to make your own pumpkin spice mix to use in your own seasonal treats!


The secret of pumpkin spice

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 pumpkin pie 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.

pumpkin pies - pumpkin spiceAlthough 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. (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 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!

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:
  • Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is reportedly seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Penzeys pumpkin pie spice: China cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, mace and cloves.
  • McCormick’s pumpkin pie spice has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.
  • Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie spice contains ground cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom.
  • Spice Islands’ pumpkin pie spice has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace and cloves.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Myria Editor Nancy’s mix: Lots of cinnamon, some nutmeg, a tiny bit of ginger.

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