What Is Allspice and How to Cook With It


In the culinary arts, allspice is a spice made from the dried berries of a plant known as Pimenta dioica. A member of the pimento family, allspice is used in Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisines, among others.

The flavor of allspice is similar to cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper. It can be used to flavor desserts as well as savory dishes.

Allspice can be used in ground form or whole.

Whole allspice berries are sometimes used in pickling and brining.

Beverages such as spiced cider or mulled wine sometimes feature whole allspice berries.

Allspice is also one of the key ingredients in Jamaican jerk chicken. Ground allspice is combined with sugar, salt, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and other herbs and spices, along with soy sauce, lime juice and oil to form a marinade. Whole chicken legsĀ are coated in the marinade and then refrigerated overnight.

The chicken can then be grilled or cooked in a cast-iron skillet.

If a recipe calls for allspice and you don't have any, you could mix up a substitute by combining equal parts ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.

Also Known As:

  • Jamaican pepper
  • newspice