When I say I found the best pumpkin spice blend, I mean out of the four different pumpkin spice blends that I tried. I picked four from four different food bloggers, the full recipes for which can be found from their page, linked below. I tried to find varying versions of pumpkin spice but honestly, most of them consist of most of the same ingredients, it’s the quantities of each that change.
Typically, a pumpkin spice blend is going to have the basic cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and maybe allspice or cloves. The more complicated spices are going to throw in more complicated spices like cardamom and as I found when doing my research, black pepper!
All of these blends claim that they work perfectly in any recipe that calls for pumpkin spice and is easy to make using the spices you already have. This is more just for fun – it’s not scientific. Also, you’ll note the photographs look different than what you’re currently used to. I actually started this project back in October so they were taken before I had my new set up!
I realized that in order to test if these blends would work in something that calls for pumpkin spice I would need to find or make a recipe that needs it. I like a challenge so I decided to create a muffin recipe that uses pumpkin spice, with a nice crunchy crumble on top! Find the recipe at the end of this post!
There is only really one requirement for this taste test – does it taste like pumpkin spice? At the end I will rate all four blends and tell you which one I think tastes the most like pumpkin spice.
This recipe was the most basic with only four ingredients: cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground allspice OR ground cloves. When I tried this one, I decided to use allspice because that is what I had on hand.
When used in the pumpkin spice muffins, yes they did taste like pumpkin spice. It was not mind-blowing and it was a nice hint of spice.
This recipe was anything but minimalist! It contained cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground clove, ground allspice, black pepper and ground cardamom. Ground cardamom is actually the one spice I did not have in my pantry so I had to go out and buy that one.
This blend had the strongest aroma of pumpkin spice out of all four and the muffins tasted amazing! I knew this was going to be a strong contender.
This blend is very similar to the blend from Cookie and Kate, with the exception that it uses ground allspice and ground cloves, as opposed to either or. This blend also tasted pretty similar to Cookie and Kate’s pumpkin spice version.
When I found this recipe I almost laughed out loud. It is almost the exact same quantities of spices as the My Baking Addiction blend with a difference of 1 tsp. I thought this would be interesting to see how such a slight difference in quantity would effect the bottom line in the muffins.
Surprisingly, there was a difference. It had more pumpkin spice flavour than both My Baking Addiction and Cookie and Kate!
After eating A LOT of pumpkin spice muffins and getting some input from my husband and co-workers, who thankfully had no problem testing my creations for me, I finally had a decision:
Minimalist Baker is the winner! It also happened to be the most complicated and the blend with the most ingredients, but it provided the warmest most comforting pumpkin spice flavour. It is worth the extra work to put together!
I’m not saying the other blends won’t give you the pumpkin spice flavour you’re looking for though – they certainly will. If you only have the four ingredients on hand, I would recommend Cookie and Kate’s.
Now, here is the bonus recipe for the Pumpkin Spice Muffins I created in order to test out all of these spice blends. It took many many attempts to get these muffins the right consistency and the right amount of pumpkin spice blend. I will admit, when I was scribbling this recipe down and changing it, I forgot to note how many muffins it makes! I believe it’s 10-12 muffins and this recipe is easy to double. Next time I make them I will update with the correct number.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
3/4 cup flour
6 tbsp of sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp and 1 tsp pumpkin spice blend
1/2 pumpkin puree
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup of flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp pumpkin spice blend
pinch of salt
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350° and line your muffin tin with liners.
- Make the crumble topping: In small bowl, combine flour, both sugars, pumpkin spice blend and salt. Gently stir in melted butter to form crumbles – I like to use a fork to do this. Set aside.
- In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin spice blend. Then, add pumpkin puree, egg, vanilla, butter and sour cream. Stir until well mixed.
- Divide batter into your lined muffin tins, not filling to the top.
- Top each muffin with your crumble.
- Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until muffins are nice and golden and toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool and enjoy!