Apple Pie Spice: A Comforting Combination of Aroma and Taste

If you've ever wondered how your grandmother's apple pie rises above every other baked good's flavor at a family function, the secret may lie in the ingredients. She could be using a store-bought substitute for apple pie spice, OR she may be making her own homemade apple pie spice recipe (go Granny!).

Your secret trick may involve knowinghow to use an apple peeler, like the one from HomeBuddy which makes light work of many, MANY apples! Or you could level up your pie-making skills by figuring out the perfect spice mix.

Without interrogating Granny endlessly, let's break down the components of apple pie spice and serve up some delicious apple pie spice suggestions that are sure to win her heart (or even make her jealous of your apple pie-making abilities!).

What is in Apple Pie Spice?

How to make apple pie spice can be answered simply if you stick to the holy trinity of spices for your apple pie recipe - a combination of equal parts of:

  • cinnamon
  • ground nutmeg
  • allspice

However, some recipes tend to bend the rules on this holy spice trio by adding cardamom and ginger, or even cloves to round out the flavor sensations!

  • When you make your own spice recipe with cinnamon, ground nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, and ginger, you can adjust each spice's ratio.
  • If you like a more piney or fruity flavor, add more cardamom.
  • If you prefer a sharper flavor, bring on the ginger.
  • You can blend your spices by adding them to a container and either stirring with a spoon or closing the lid and shaking the jar to combine all those aromatic flavors evenly.
  • Another way is to use a blender or mortar and pestle to break up whole cloves and cardamom seeds as your spice creation comes to life.

When you are storing the newly created spice, it's important to lock in the freshness:

  • Freshly ground spices will retain the flavor longer if stored in an air-tight container or sealed in a bag.
  • Keep your spice out of sunlight to help keep the flavor as magical as when you first conjured it up.

Playing around with your recipe will give you a better understanding of each spice's role in the apple pie's flavor profile.

If you keep track of the spices you use in your apple pie spice combination, you'll soon nail down a flavor profile that will have even Granny scratching her head.

Spice Wizardry 101

Even if you make your own apple pie spice potion, some store-bought versions might give your own recipe a run for its money!

The best part of using a store-bought brand is that the ingredient ratio is already pre-blended. This means you can use it as is, or if you're adventurous, you can tweak the recipe to your heart's content:

  • Add a dash of cinnamon,
  • some clove,
  • or a bit of allspice to the store-bought blend - you could be only a sprinkle away from the perfect spice.

Whatever blend you use – store-bought or homemade – you can use your apple pie spice creation for several purposes.

Those apple pie spice ingredients are super versatile, allowing you to use this blend for so many other wonderful things besides apple pie.

Spice up Your Apple Pies and a Whole lot More

  • One way to utilize your homemade apple pie spice creation is to sprinkle it onto your favorite whipped topping for a fall flavor-infused addition to your morning coffee. Even your healthy yogurt can get a spicy upgrade with a sprinkling of spice.
  • If yogurt isn't your thing at breakfast, you can still have your apple pie spice benefit other breakfast options with that comforting seasoning. Stir a little or a lot (your choice!) into your already cooked oatmeal or porridge, and enjoy!
  • Other breakfast options that can make that homemade apple pie spice work well have one thing in common: flour. From pancakes to muffins, scones, French toast, and quick breads, your spice will give a warm and wonderful lift to your first meal of the day.
  • When it comes to dinners, your homemade apple pie spice has a special place. Toss the spice with roasted sweet potatoes or roasted squash as a side to a fall feast.
  • And don't forget dessert! Another sprinkle on your ice cream pulls any fall feast together with a warm taste sensation.

Share Your Secret!

The ease of making your own recipe for apple pie spice will benefit the dishes you create, but it can also be a great gift idea for dinner guests.

Simply put your spice blend into a plastic bag, then place the plastic bag into a more decorative bag with a label and ribbon. This makes a heart-warming holiday gift idea.

What About Allspice?

Allspice may be one of the ingredients in your homemade apple recipe, and it's a great spice. But as a stand-alone - allspice may not give you quite the same flavor.

  • Allspice is a tropical brown berry (dried) from the Pimenta dioica tree, closely related to the clove.
  • This West Indies/Central American dried berry first received the name allspice in the 17th century from Europeans importing it. 
  • When they first tasted it, the Europeans claimed it tasted like a mix of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove.
  • Although the allspice berry contains some similar compounds that nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove have, it becomes a versatile spice for baking when such other spices are not available.

Can it be used in a pinch? Yes, but if you want that secret spice creation to provide a more rounded taste experience, allspice may need a boost from ginger or cardamom.

Even adding additional cinnamon or clove will give allspice to a lovely blend that is perfect for your apple pie recipes and so much more!

I'll Have Another Slice, Please!

Now you no longer have to wonder, “What is apple pie spice?”, or ask Google, “What spices are in apple pie spice?” And dear old Granny won't be the only one who knows how to wow a family function with her award-winning apple pies!

With a little bit of experimenting, measuring, and testing, within no time, you'll be matching her pie for pie.

Whether you jazz up a store-bought version with an extra sprinkle or two of your preferred spice, use the store-bought version only, or wish to brave mixing up your own spice blend, you'll find the perfect way to spice up your apple pies, breakfasts, drinks, and gift-giving ideas!