[10] Substitute For Ground Cloves | Use for Best Flavors

When you’re in the kitchen, you have a recipe that calls for ground clove and doesn’t have any on hand; never fear! 

There are a few substitutes for ground cloves that will do the trick. Read below to find out more! 

Cinnamon can be used as a substitute for ground cloves when baking or cooking savory dishes. 

-You can also add vanilla extract if desired. 

This substitution is best reserved for sweet recipes like cookies and pies, where the flavor will not overpower what you’re making!

What is ground clove used for?

Ground clove is widely used in cooking, mainly Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, commonly used for its distinctive taste. 

It also has various medical use, where it can be applied as a dental analgesic or topically to treat wounds and skin ulcers. 

There is no high clinical evidence that the ground clove benefits are confirmed yet. Still, some studies have been conducted which can support these claims.

10 Substitute For Ground Cloves


Cloves and allspice are both pungent spices commonly used as flavourings in food. 

Their flavors are similar enough to be often substituted for each other. Still, the taste of cloves is stronger than that of all spices.

allspice is a  famous alternative for ground cloves.

Allspice comes from a plant belonging to Jamaica. It gets its name from its distinct flavor, which tastes like a cross between nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.

Allspice is found in the dried flower buds of this evergreen tree. It is one of the most commonly used spices in Jamaican cooking.


Ground cloves are a common ingredient in many recipes. Still, if you don’t have any on hand or simply want to try something different, whole cloves can be used as a substitute. 

Whole Cloves is a  famous alternative for ground cloves.

They have a slightly different flavor than ground clove, but they work well in most dishes.

To use whole cloves as a substitute for ground clove, first, find out how much ground clove is called for in the recipe. 

Then use half as many whole cloves. This means, if a recipe asks for 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, use 1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves.

If you are using whole cloves in a dish that already has a strong flavor, such as chilli or curry, it’s best to omit the ground clove and use whole cloves instead.


Ground cloves can be used in sweet and delicious dishes; you can also add drinks. It has a hot, spicy taste that can add nuance to recipes.

CINNAMON is a  famous alternative for ground cloves.

Clove is also known for its medicinal properties; it can treat digestive problems, respiratory issues, and more.

If you don’t have ground clove in your pantry, you can substitute ground cinnamon for clove.

You’ll need 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon for every one teaspoon of ground clove in your recipe.

The flavor will be slightly less intense, but it will still work well with spices like cloves and nutmeg, which are typically used in similar cooking applications.


ground clove can be substituted with nutmeg.

Ground spices have a short shelf life, and the flavor diminishes over time. 

Replace ground clove with freshly grated nutmeg or add some allspice, cinnamon, or ginger to the mix. 

Nutmeg is also a delicious addition to baked oatmeal, maple pecan pie, or sweet potato casserole.

5. MACE 

Mace is a spice obtained from the dried fruit of an evergreen tree. 

MACE is a  famous alternative for ground cloves.

Mace is a spice that can be used with cloves to give your food an exciting flavor. 

Mace yellowish-brown nutmeg is derived from ground form, and it’s found chiefly with other aromatic spices like cinnamon or gingerbread sauce for desserts.

Mace will add some spicy-sweet taste into dishes such as baked goods, sauces, etc., which may not have much aroma on their own but still needs something more than just blandness added.

Read More14 Essential Fenugreek Substiitutes


Cardamom has a similar flavor to cloves but is slightly sweeter and more fragrant. It can be used in the same way as ground cloves in sweet and savory dishes.

Cardamom is a spice native to India. It was imported to Europe through the Crusades and became popular throughout the Middle East, Russia and Scandinavia.

Ground cardamom is an excellent alternative to ground cloves in dishes like cookies, cakes, pies, and savory dishes like curries and stews. 

Cardamom can also be used in coffee or tea. Just remember that a little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and add more if needed. 

Enjoy the sweet, fragrant flavor of cardamom in your next dish!


If you don’t have any cloves, try using pumpkin pie spice in its place. It’s great!

If you don't have any cloves, try using pumpkin pie spice in its place.

Here is a simple recipe: 

1 tsp. Cinnamon, ½ tsp. Ginger, ¼ tsp. Allspice and ¼ tsp. Nutmeg = 1 Tbsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice Combine equal parts of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground allspice, and ground nutmeg. 

If you only have whole spices on hand, use 2 teaspoons of each. 

If you are looking for a pumpkin pie spice alternative to ground clove, try using 1/8 teaspoon of ground cardamom in addition to the other spices listed above.


If you’re searching for an alternative to ground clove, you can use white or black peppercorns. 

The best way to store white or black peppercorns is in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. They will keep for up to six months.

When cooking, you can use either whole or ground peppercorns. 

If you use whole peppercorns, you will need to crush them before adding them to your dish. 

Ground peppercorns can be added directly to your recipe.


There is an alternative to using ground clove in your recipe: using the seeds from a star anise pod. 

They look similar, so it’s easy to wonder if they taste the same or different, but they are actually quite different. 

So stick with us as we demonstrate how to incorporate them both into a dish and what the final flavor might be.

Star anise has a licorice-like taste, which can be overpowering if used too much. Just 1 or 2 seeds should do the trick in most recipes.

Star anise is often used when baking bread, cakes, and even meat dishes. 

Star anise bold flavor will infuse well into any recipe that calls for ground cloves adding its own tasty nuance in the process.


Five-spice powder is a savory blend of spices popular in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. 

While Five-Spice typically contains star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper, and fennel seeds, you can easily modify the recipe to fit your needs. 

The versatile spice mix can be used as a dry rub for meats, a seasoning for stir-fries, or even a topping for popcorn. 

While used as an alternative to ground clove, take a 1:1 ratio to maintain the balance.

Read MoreGarlic Ginger Paste Alternatives

What part of the clove is the ground?

The clove is a flower bud from the evergreen clove tree native to the Molucca Islands of Indonesia. 

The spice we use in cooking is dried, ground flower buds harvested before blossoming, and dried by hot air on a flat surface.

Cloves are translucent reddish-brown strips with a strong, pungent aroma and a sweet, slightly acidic taste. 

They are useable whole or ground and used in sweet and savory dishes.

Ground cloves are a crucial ingredient in the pumpkin pie spice mix.

Are ground cloves and nutmeg the same?

In a nutshell, both ground cloves and nutmeg are spices from trees of the Myristica species. 

They have a somewhat similar taste and are used in many recipes for baking/cooking. 

However, there are some subtle differences between them. 

-Nutmeg is the seed of a pear-shaped fruit, which develops inside a green outer shell/husk. -Nutmeg has been used as a spice and medicine since medieval times. 

-In contrast to nutmeg, ground cloves are the dried, ground flower buds of the Eugenia caryophyllata tree. 

-Ground cloves have a sweet, warm, and spicy taste and are used in sweet and savory dishes.

Final Thought on Ground Clove Substitute

Ground clove substitute can be found in a variety of spices. It is essential to understand the differences between these substitutes and how they may affect your dish before substituting one for another.

Add the spices to your dish while it is still cooking so that the flavors have time to develop together.” What other substitutions would be good? Share your tips below!”

FAQs Related to Alternative to Ground Cloves 

Q1. Can I use nutmeg instead of cloves in pumpkin pie?

No. Nutmeg is a different spice with a very similar flavor profile to cloves. 

In the right amount, it will give your pie a slightly more complex and mature flavor, but it won’t taste just like pulling a clove out of a jar. 

It’s best to use cloves if you want the flavor to be authentic.

Q2. What spices are related to cloves?

Vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg are in the same family. Other relatives include allspice, Jamaican pepper, pimento, and black pepper.

Q3. What do ground cloves taste like?

Ground cloves have a robust and spicy taste. 

Eat one or two whole cloves. They can be quite overpowering in taste and leave an unpleasant, lingering aftertaste. 

The flavor of ground cloves comes from oil released when the clove is crushed/ground, so it’s important to add only a small amount initially when cooking with them to avoid an overpowering taste.

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