- Pumpkin pie spice is a spice blend made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove.
- Pumpkin pie spice is named after its most popular use, but it can be added to a variety of dishes.
- Making your own pumpkin pie spice blend allows you to tweak the spice ratios to your taste.
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It’s difficult to think about fall without thinking about pumpkin spice.
“There’s no doubt that social media has helped to drive the pumpkin spice phenomenon, as well as the marketing efforts from Starbucks and other food and beverage companies,” says Marie Wright, chief global flavorist at ADM. “It signals fall and the start of the holiday season, triggering memories of the holidays and families getting together. Flavor and aroma can be immensely powerful.” But what exactly is pumpkin pie spice?
Pumpkin pie spice is simply a blend of spices, so named because it’s the classic blend in a pumpkin pie. It enhances the flavor of pumpkin, but there’s no actual pumpkin in the spice mix itself.
While you can certainly find pre-blended pumpkin pie spice in your grocery store’s spice section, it can also be made at home in just a few minutes. By making your own blend, you may even find it’s cheaper than the store-bought option. Plus, it can be customized to fit any application, switching up the balance of spices to suit your palate.
How to make homemade pumpkin pie spice
Add 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground clove to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. From here, you can tweak the ratios of each ingredient to suit the recipe to your liking.
Wright notes that using high-quality ingredients and finding a balanced ratio is crucial. “Too much clove can have a numbing effect on the tongue and block out the other components. Too much cinnamon can lead the profile towards Red Hots,” she says.
How to store it
Store your homemade pumpkin pie spice in an airtight container for up to 12 months. For the most potent flavor, it’s best to make a new batch of pumpkin pie spice every fall.
Uses for pumpkin pie spice
“You can use the flavor in quite a variety of ways. There could be hundreds or thousands of variations depending on the application, whether it’s a coffee drink or cookies, cakes, or other sweets,” says Wright.
- Pumpkin pie: Pumpkin pie spice blends perfectly with pumpkin puree to give pumpkin pie its incredible flavor.
- Pumpkin spice whipped cream: If you’re making your own whipped cream at home, add a few teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
- Pumpkin spice hot chocolate: Stir a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into your hot chocolate powder before adding the hot liquid.
- Pumpkin baked goods: Pumpkin pie spice is the ideal addition to pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins to enhance flavor.
- Roasted fall vegetables: Add pumpkin pie spice to your seasoning mixture when you’re roasting vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash.
While the cultural phenomenon of pumpkin spice continues to hold steady, it really is a simple flavor to replicate. Pumpkin pie spice can be used in a variety of applications for beverages, baked goods, and savory recipes. Making your own pumpkin pie spice not only allows you to customize the blend, but you’ll also save a few bucks as opposed to buying a premade jar at the store.