What Is Allspice?

This multitalented spice has all the deep flavor you'll need for desserts, beverages, and more.

Used in everything from fiery jerk chicken to spiced squash, allspice has long been a pantry staple. This unassuming brown powder encapsulates the flavor of several seasonings in one bottle. Its complexity adds an earthen, warm depth to sauces, baked goods, and brines. Discover where allspice comes from, its different forms, and how to use it to create beautifully spiced dishes.

What Is Allspice?

Allspice is the dried, unripened berry of the myrtle pepper tree, or pimento, which is native to Jamaica and much of Central America. The berries are briefly fermented, then sun-dried until brown. Often mistaken for a blend of spices, allspice is a single-ingredient seasoning with loads of unique flavor. Its name is derived from the flavor profile — a mixture of nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon and clove. Not all spices, but many of the most impactful.

Whole or Ground?

Ground allspice packs a powerful punch, although it loses pungency quickly. It works best when incorporated into desserts like pies and cakes that demand silken textures. Whole berries are great for deepening the flavor of soup, stews, and pickling mixtures. Be sure to remove whole berries before eating.

Allspice | Photo by Meredith.

How to Store Allspice

An airtight container with limited to no exposure to sunlight is the best way to store allspice. A cool, dark cupboard is ideal. Ground allspice lasts 2-4 years while whole allspice has no defined spoil date, although the potency will decrease over time.

Allspice Substitutions

Allspice's mulifaceted flavors allows for a number of substitutes. Try a mixture of equal parts cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg with a dash of black pepper. Star anise, mace, and pumpkin pie spice can also be used when allspice is not available.

How to Use Allspice

Here a few recipes that highlight the warm, slightly peppery flavors of allspice:

spiced chocolate nachos
Photo by House of Aqua.

Chocolate Allspice Dessert Nachos

Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken. Chef John

Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

jerk pork with mangoes and black beans

Air Fryer Jerk Pork Skewers with Black Bean and Mango Salsa

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