Spice Substitutions Chart

Essential Flavors You Can Fake at Home

Piles of Various spices on metal surface
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Spices in Cooking

Spices have a long and storied history in various cultures around the world—indeed, the trade of spices from Asia into Europe created one of the most significant loci of cultural interchange over thousands of years after Rome. Cuisines are profoundly impacted by the spices common to a region, or favored from longstanding trade routes. What would Indian cooking be without cardamom pods, or Jamaican recipes be without the many-flavored kick of allspice?

But there comes a time when the home cook simply must substitute for a spice in a recipe. 

Spice Substitutions

This chart will help you choose substitutions or alternatives that should work with your recipe. Realize that the flavor will not be as originally intended in the recipe. We’ve selected flavors that should harmonize or hint at the original. As such, it is wise to begin your substitution with half the specified recipe amount and then adjust to your own personal tastes. You should always feel free to adjust and add to any recipe to suit yourself and your family. Who knows? You just might create a new family favorite!


 Cinnamon, cassia, dash of nutmeg or mace, or a dash of cloves


 Fennel seed or a few drops anise extract



Chili Powder

 A dash of bottled hot pepper sauce plus a combination of oregano and cumin


 Nutmeg or allspice (use only 1/4 of the amount)


 Allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg


 Chili powder


 Allspice, cinnamon, mace or nutmeg


 Allspice, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg


 Wasabi powder (1/4 to 1/2 as much since it’s hotter), horseradish powder, 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder = 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard


 Cinnamon, ginger or mace


 A dash of turmeric or annatto powder for color


 A dash of saffron, for color, plus ground mustard powder (use a one to one ratio); annatto powder