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What is Allspice?

allspice spice


Allspice is a spice made from a pea-sized dried berry often mistaken for a spice blend which is used distinctly to flavor sweet and savory dishes.

What does allspice taste like?

Allspice has a flavor and scent which is aromatic and complex with notes of spice, fruit and pepper.

Where does allspice come from?

The dried brown berry of the allspice tree or pimenta dioica is native to the West Indies. Allspice is also known by the names ‘jamaican pepper’, ‘myrtle pepper’ and ‘pimento’. 

Allspice Uses

Sweet and savory dishes can benefit from allspice including stews, curries, soups, pickles, baking, marinades, beverages, fruit dishes and mince recipes. 

Whole berries should be ground fresh or used whole, ideally within a muslin cloth, and removed before serving. 

The wood of the allspice tree is also burnt when making jerk which amplifies the flavor of the spice. 

Allspice Substitutes 

  • Cinnamon: matching in flavor of strong and sweet spice.
  • Nutmeg: alike in sweet and savory properties, often used in similar recipes.
  • Cloves: spicy, sweet, and earthy, many components of cloves match allspice for use in sweet and savory dishes.

Allspice Compliments and Pairings 

A pinch of allspice can lift ingredients including cabbage, brussel sprouts, squash, mushroom aubergine, tomatoes, spinach, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin, bay leaves, ginger, polenta, carrot, parsnip, chocolate and pumpkin.

Allspice Expiration and Storage 

  • Whole: store whole dry berries in an airtight container away from direct light for three to four years.
  • Ground: less complex and intense in flavor, store in an airtight container away from moisture and light, and use within six months.  

Fun Facts About Allspice

  • Often confused as being a spice mix it is in fact named allspice because of its similarity in combining cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper.
  • Spanish explorers thought they had found black pepper in the Caribbean and so-called allspice ‘pimenta’. 

Popular Allspice Recipes

  • Mulled wine
  • Christmas pudding
  • Jerk chicken
  • Meatloaf
  • Jamaican gingerbread
  • Apple pie
  • Pickled herring
  • Swedish meatballs
  • Fruit and nut cake
  • Minced pie

Chef Max

Michelin trained professional chef with a passion for recipe writing and all things food. I have worked for over five years at top restaurants across the UK and have gained an ability to create any recipe you desire, from comfort food recipes to fine dining recipes. My experience in food writing includes a placement at Delicious Magazine which involved feature writing, recipe testing, article research, and content creation.

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