Pumpkin Pie

How to Make Pumpkin Pie Spice at Home

September 27, 2019
Photo by PHOTO BY TY MECHAM. PROP STYLIST: AMANDA WIDIS. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG.

Picture this: It’s the weekend and you’re baking a pie, not because you have company coming over, just for fun. You’re wearing a thick sweater, thicker socks, and you turn on the oven. While that heats up, you gather ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree and—oh no. You’re out of pumpkin pie spice. But don’t worry: We can fix this!


What Is Pumpkin Pie Spice?

Pumpkin pie spice is a cozy, earthy, mildly kicky American spice blend (that, just to be clear, contains absolutely no pumpkin). Odds are, several of the components are already in your pantry. The ingredient list leans heavily on baking spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, but the specifics depend on the brand. Let’s review a few for inspiration:

The biggest takeaway here is that cinnamon is the first ingredient in every single one. Because ingredients are ordered by quantity (from largest to smallest), this tells us that cinnamon is pumpkin pie spice’s dominant flavor. But from there, it’s a free-for-all. So let’s have some fun.


How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice

As long as cinnamon is leading the band—with a few backup instruments like ginger, nutmeg, and cloves—pumpkin pie spice can be many things. What matters is that the blend tastes delicious to you. Here, we’ll share a few different versions, depending on what you’re baking (or how you’re feeling that day). Note: You can absolutely scale up these recipes to keep a bigger jar in your pantry. It will stay good for months.

Classic Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground star anise
Spicy Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne

Our Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipes

Meta Given’s Pumpkin Pie

Don’t let this pie’s classic good looks fool you. Its flavor is dialed up, thanks to a Genius step: caramelizing the pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Pie Cobbler

“Because the pie crust is on the top rather than the bottom,” author Erin McDowell writes, “there’s no fear of soggy bottoms, and no need to par-bake.” Yahoo!

Pumpkin Pudding

Aka, pumpkin pie, without a crust. If the thought of making flaky pastry gives you goosebumps, this one’s for you—just don’t skimp on the whipped cream on top.

Pumpkin Sugar Pie

The secret to the top of your pumpkin pie never, ever cracking, even if leave it in the oven too long? Mix some flour into the filling.

Pumpkin Cream Pie

A cold, creamy take on pumpkin pie. This version has a gingery graham cracker crust, filled with spiced pumpkin pastry cream, and topped with a tangy sour-cream whipped cream.


Beyond Pumpkin Pie

I’ll be the one to say it: Pumpkin pie spice’s name is holding it back. This blend is good for a heck of a lot more than pumpkin pie, so don’t let that jar go to waste. Here are some recipes to get started (for the ones that don’t call for pumpkin pie spice in the ingredient list, just add it to taste).

Add to Any Pumpkin Recipe

We’re talking pumpkin bread (psst: we just published our test kitchen's best version!), pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin flan, and so much more.

Use As a Substitute for Cinnamon

If a recipe calls for cinnamon and you want to up the ante, swap in an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice.

Make Fall & Winter Vegetables Even Cozier

While pumpkin pie spice was made with dessert in mind, it’s just as valuable when it comes to dinner—especially with vegetables.

Spice Up a Crispy Chicken Crust

You’ve probably rubbed spices on a roast chicken or stirred some into the breading for chicken cutlets, yes? Let’s fall-ify that (the Spicy Pumpkin Pie Spice great here).

What’s your favorite way to use pumpkin pie spice? Let us know in the comments!
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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.

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