Is garam masala the same as allspice?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Is garam masala the same as allspice?” We will also discuss garam masala and allspice in detail and describe the spices that can be used as a substitute for allspice.

Is garam masala the same as allspice?

No, garam masala is not the same as allspice. Garam masala is a popular spice blend that combines different warm and intense flavors. On the contrary, allspice is a single spice, quite opposite to what its name might suggest. 

What is allspice and what does it taste like?

Allspice is a spice that comes from a plant known as Pimenta dioica, which is a member of the myrtle family. It is made from the dried berries of the allspice tree. They can be used in ground form or whole.

The name might suggest that it’s a spice blend like garam masala or curry powder, but it actually comes from a single ingredient. The allspice tree, sometimes also referred to as Jamaica pepper and new spice is a native of Jamaica.

Once ground, allspice can quickly lose its flavors and aroma, so usually, it is used in its whole form while making stews, soups, and pickles. Since allspice combines the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper, it can be easily used as a substitute for different warm spices.

Can we use allspice in place of garam masala?

Mixing ground cumin in allspice can make a pretty great substitute for garam masala. Allspice combines the flavors of different ingredients commonly used in garam masala like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. So, adding cumin to this combination will match some of the flavor profiles of garam masala, if not all.

Likewise, most garam masala blends make an ideal allspice substitute. Garam masala functions better as an allspice substitute when combined with other flavorful ingredients than when used as the primary flavor.

How does the use of garam masala differ from using allspice while cooking?

Garam masala is usually used at the end of the cooking process to spice things up. This enhances its intense flavors. In the case of allspice, it’s used in its whole form while cooking most of the dishes. They are crushed and used in marinades and spice rubs. Its ground form can be used in desserts and pies.

What is Garam Masala made of?

Garam Masala is a traditional Indian spice that is a blend of different spices like coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, black peppercorns, nutmeg, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, etc. These are the most commonly used ingredients while making garam masala. 

It was originally used in India and other southeast Asian countries like Nepal, Srilanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan for cooking varieties of dishes but today it’s a name that is familiar to all of us throughout the world. 

Basically, garam masala tastes like a complex blend of all of these ingredients used while making it but it also adds a unique taste and aroma to your recipe that none of those spices can give when used individually.

What are the best substitutes for allspice?

Allspice is similar to many other warming spices in terms of its flavor, so even if you don’t have allspice in your hands, chances are you already have a few spices in your spice collections that can be used as a substitute.

Cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg

Ground cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg can be great replacements for allspice. You can use each of them individually or combine all of them for an even better substitute. 

Since cloves have a powerful flavor, start with a 1:2 ratio of ground cloves to ground allspice and add more to taste so the flavor doesn’t overpower your dish. 

With nutmeg, start with ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg for every ½ teaspoon of ground allspice to get a perfect balance. Likewise, you can use an equal amount of ground cinnamon in place of ground allspice.

For even closer flavors, you can combine ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cloves, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.

Five-spice powder

Five-spice powder is a blend of cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves, and ginger or pepper. Its flavor is very similar to the warm, sweet, and spicy flavor profile of allspice. 

You can use equal parts of five-spice powder in place of the ground allspice in your recipes. To make the five-spice powder at home, you can follow the recipe here.

Other FAQs about Spices that you may be interested in.

Are cloves edible?

Do spices expire

Do bay leaves go bad

Can I use cardamom instead of coriander?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Is garam masala the same as allspice?” We have also discussed garam masala and allspice in detail and described the spices that can be used as a substitute for allspice.