What Are Alternatives for Ground Cloves?


Ground cloves add a pungent aroma and bold flavor to a variety of foods, including barbecue sauces, pickles, relishes and desserts. If you're in the middle of a cooking project and find yourself out of ground cloves, or discover that their aroma has significantly faded, choosing suitable alternatives to ground cloves depends on whether the dish you're making is sweet or savory.

Ground Cinnamon

  • An equal amount of ground cinnamon works as an alternative to ground cloves in sweet and savory recipes, although the flavor of the altered product may not be as bold and the aroma may not be as pungent.


  • Substitute an equal amount of allspice for ground cloves in desserts, such as cookies, pies and breads. Allspice is made from the dried, unripened fruit of the Pimenta dioica tree, and its flavor is reminiscent of a mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Ground Nutmeg

  • Substitute an equal amount of ground nutmeg in place of ground cloves in sweet or savory recipes. If the original recipe calls for nutmeg and ground cloves, however, simply leave the ground cloves out or you risk giving the food an overpowering flavor.

Whole Cloves

  • Grind whole cloves with a mortar and pestle or use a coffee grinder if you don't mind your coffee tasting a little like cloves for a few days. According to Gourmet Sleuth, 1 tsp. whole cloves is equivalent to 3/4 tsp. ground cloves.

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