Cloves Substitutes: 4 Alternatives to Cloves In The Kitchen

Cloves are the dried flowers of clove trees. They can be used to make stews, soups, sauces, and even rice dishes. Clove oil, dried flower buds, and leaves are also used to make medicine. Clove oil most especially is used to treat diarrhea, toothache, and even bad breath.

The most common use of cloves though is as a spice in the kitchen. All in all, and in whatever way they’re used, cloves are highly nutritious and have great health benefits. Some of these benefits are:

  • Cloves contain vitamins, minerals, carbs, fiber, and Vitamin K.
  • Cloves can kill bacteria
  • They also help you live a healthier life by improving the health of your liver.
  • It’s also said that cloves can help protect you from cancer
  • Cloves are extremely high in antioxidants
  • Cloves help in regulating the level of sugar in your blood
  • That also reduces the risk of you developing heart disease
  • Cloves make your bones healthier.

So, it is quite evident that cloves provide a lot of health benefits to our bodies. What would you do though if you need to make use of cloves and you find out you’re out of them? Well, here are some things you can use as substitutes for cloves, and be rest assured that they’re also great for your health.

Close Alternatives to Cloves

Here are some substitutes to cloves that taste almost the same as cloves.

1. AllSpice

This spice is made from dried berries and it is the best substitute for cloves. All you need to do is use in equal amounts as cloves when cooking/baking. It is the best substitute for cloves because they are both warm spices. They both have this slightly peppery flavor.

Here are some health benefits of cooking with Allspice:

  • This spice is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • It can be used to treat inflammation
  • There is a compound in allspice that makes it spicy. It is called Eugenol. This compound helps prevent and even cures nausea. If you have stomach upset or nausea, all you need to do is brew allspice tea, or, sprinkle some allspice into your chai latte.
  • Allspice can also be used to cure toothache, just like cloves. The Eugenol in allspice acts as pain relief.

So, be rest assured that when you use allspice as a substitute for cloves, you would not be missing out on anything.

2. Cinnamon + Nutmeg

This combo is the next best substitute for cloves. While cinnamon provides a slightly sweet flavor, nutmeg provides the spiciness. To use this, take equal amounts of cinnamon and nutmeg, mix them up and use in the same amounts for cloves that your recipe states.

You can rest assured that this combo will provide enough nutrients for your body, and is also great for your health.

Remember not to use them individually. Using them individually is not considered as a substitute for cloves, because they wouldn’t even taste close to cloves at all if they’re on their own. So before using cinnamon or nutmeg, you have to mix them together. The mixture is what is considered a substitute for cloves.

Cinnamon or Nutmeg on their own, are NOT substitutes for cloves.

3. Cardamom

This is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavor. It comes from the seeds of several different plants that belong to the same family of ginger. Although, because of its intense flavor, you might want to mix cardamom with either cinnamon or nutmeg before using it in your dish as a substitute for cloves.

After doing this, you’re good to go. Just put in equal amounts also as required for cloves.

4. Pumpkin Pie Spice

This spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Fascinating, right? It is a great substitute for cloves because it has that great glove flavor and no other spice even needs to be added in.

You might want to add in a little less amount than what is stated for cloves in your recipe, because don’t forget, pumpkin pie spice is a combination of different spices, thereby making the flavor quite strong, stronger than cloves.

This spice however is best as a substitute for cloves when you’re baking. If you add cloves into your stews, soups, or sauces, pumpkin pie spice might not be a great substitute in those dishes. So, remember to use pumpkin pie spice as a substitute for cloves only when you’re baking, not cooking.

Will These Substitutes Taste Just As Cloves?

The straightforward answer to this question would be NO. Not to worry though, even though these substitutes will not taste just like cloves, they have comparable flavors and very similar health benefits. However, one spice that we can say will taste just as cloves is Allspice.

Allspice has a very similar taste to cloves and they also possess the same health benefits. So, if you want a substitute that does not have a too different flavor from cloves, then allspice would be the substitute for you.

Apart from allspice though, none of these other substitutes will taste just like cloves. However, this does not mean they can’t be used as substitutes. They can because they possess their own comparable and unique flavors. In fact, after using them in place of cloves, you might actually start to prefer them to cloves when cooking/baking.

In conclusion

So, it is quite safe to say that not having cloves at that moment shouldn’t stop you from making a great dish. These substitutes will definitely not make you feel the absence of cloves in your dish.

However, remember to mix the spices you need to mix together, and to reduce the spice you need to reduce, so as not to have a dish that’s too spicy or too flavourful after cooking/baking.

Also, before using any of these substitutes, I’ll advise you to use them in making a not too large dish, so if you use any of the substitutes and you’re not quite comfortable with the taste it gives after cooking, you’ll be able to switch to another one without having too much waste (i.e if you want to use cardamom, try it in a little dish first, so if you don’t like it afterward, you can switch to allspice without having too much waste of food).

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