Cloves are a beloved spice used in both sweet and savory dishes. They are famous in cuisines all around the world. In Indian foods, cloves are a must in most recipes. However, drift to the west, and cloves are only in the limelight during the fall and winter festivals. Although, this doesn’t undermine the year-round use of cloves by food enthusiasts in the least. So, what’d you do if you ran out of cloves? You substitute for ground cloves! Clove is one of a kind spice, but there are other ingredients you can use in a pinch to get the same effect.
Have you ever tried pumpkin pie? It is a hearty fall dessert that is filled with custard. It makes a yummy meal to celebrate the harvest season. Once, when I was making pumpkin pie, I realized I didn’t have enough pumpkin pie spice. It wasn’t a bummer because I assumed I’d make some of it myself at home. However, when I took out the relevant spices to grind. I, to my utter horror, became aware of the fact that I was out of cloves too. I’d never had to substitute cloves before, so I was utterly lost
Thus, I decided to surf the internet in hopes that I’d find some good resources. And found it, I did. Now, I’ve tried most of those subs, along with a few others. But before I divulge this info, let’s discuss the basics of Cloves.
What are Cloves?
Clove is an aromatic spice that is obtained by plucking the immature flower buds of an evergreen plant. They are indigenous to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Moreover, this spice is available all around the year owing to varying harvest seasons in other countries.
Cloves are tiny dark brown pods. They are used to spice up curries, flavor meats, and enrich sauces like Worcestershire sauce. They are also used to give baked goods an extra kick. In addition, cloves also provide some impressive health benefits. The worth of spices used to be weighed in gold, and cloves were no exception. Ground cloves taste subtly sweet and fruity. But they also have a potent aroma and heat.
What are the benefits of cloves?
Cloves take your dish to perfection. But they also have a hand in boosting your health. Some of the most widely known ground cloves benefits are:
- Cloves include multiple compounds like Eugenol that are linked to anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it relieves the symptoms of arthritis.
- Cloves are rich in antioxidants. These compounds help our body to combat free radicals. As we know, free radicals harm our cells. Thus, it prevents specific cancer, diabetes, and heart conditions.
- Cloves can help shield your stomach from ulcers. Since ulcers are caused by thinned mucus lining of the stomach and cloves, thicken this mucus. It subsequently prevents ulcer formation in the stomach.
- Cloves contain a significant amount of the mineral manganese. It is an antioxidant. Moreover, manganese also helps our body manage enzymes that help repair our bones and produce hormones.
5 Equally Spicy Substitutes for Ground Cloves
Cloves are a delicious addition to any recipe. But, of course, no recipe is whole without it. But in case you are out of cloves, you can always opt for a handful of other ground clove replacements to give your dish a similar feel.
Nutmeg is a warm spice that is both nutty and sweet. You can use ground nutmeg as a substitute for ground whole cloves. Or you can combine it with some other seasoning, such as allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, etc. However, bear in mind that it is pretty strong. So, a little goes a long way.
Since nutmeg is the closest substitute for cloves in terms of flavor and aroma, you should add it in equal parts. Hence, if the recipe asks for one teaspoon of cloves, you shall use one teaspoon of nutmeg in its place.
For most, it is the best ground cloves alternative. Allspice is also a warm spice that mimics the peppery notes of cloves ideally. You can substitute ground allspice in a 1:1 ratio for ground cloves. Similarly, for every ½ teaspoon cloves, you should use ½ teaspoon allspice. Note, allspice has subtle hints of black pepper. So think before you use it in sweet baked goods.
Cinnamon is easily the most popular fall spice. Fortunately, its flavor profile goes hand-in-hand with cloves. But cinnamon on its own isn’t as sweet as cloves. Therefore, for the best results, use it in combination with a similar spice, like nutmeg.
If you plan on using cinnamon as a sub, use it in equal parts as well. Although, for cinnamon, your recipe can also benefit from a tiny splash of a complementing ingredient, like vanilla extract, primarily if you use it as a substitute for ground cloves in baking.
4. Cinnamon + Nutmeg
The blend of cinnamon and nutmeg makes the next best sub for ground cloves. Cinnamon balances out the strong bite of the nutmeg. As a result, this combo ideally matches the flavor of cloves. Moreover, since cloves are often used in combination with cinnamon and nutmeg, it naturally evokes the vibe of this spice.
5. Pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin pie spice typically contains a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice on rare occasions. It’s an excellent way to get a clove-like flavor if you don’t have pure cloves available at hand. However, don’t just assume that pumpkin pie spice is reserved only for pumpkin pie. No, you can use it in savory dishes, too, especially ones that demand the inclusion of ginger. A great thing about this substitute is that you can easily make it at home!