Baking with holiday spice blends: A smart pantry baking staple

The season for holiday baking is here. We’re readying our kitchens to make traditional Christmas cookies, cinnamon rolls, sweet breads, and more. You have your own favorite seasonal recipes; but most winter classics share similar holiday spice blends.

Nothing says holiday quite like warm wafts of cinnamon-scented air filling the kitchen. Fragrant, aromatic spices like ginger, cardamom, allspice, and cloves are traditional flavor profiles in holiday recipes.

As bakers, since we reach for the same spices over and over again, we know how much time it saves to have holiday spice blends on hand. And we can all use a little extra helping hand at the holidays, to free us up to enjoy drinking hot chocolate and wrapping presents and snowy sledding excursions.

Here at King Arthur Flour, we carry quite a few different blends, all mixed and measured in the perfect proportion for your recipes. Instead of having to measure out a quarter teaspoon of this and a half teaspoon of that (especially for recipes like ginger cookies and spice cakes where the ingredient list is long!), you can just use one ingredient: a holiday spice blend.

Holiday spice blends via @kingarthurflour

Our holiday spice blends start with the very best spices. Fresh, high-quality spices are key in holiday baking, because you want the flavors to shine as much as possible. For winter baking, the most essential blends to stock up on are our Pumpkin Pie Spice, Winter Spice, Speculaas Spice, Chai Spice, Gingerbread Spice, and Yuletide Cheer Spice.

You can certainly substitute these spice blends for the common holiday spices in your favorite recipes. If your recipe calls for a similar mix, but not an exact mix, go ahead and give a spice blend a try. Just keep the quantity of spices the same: If your recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, try using 1 1/4 teaspoons of gingerbread spice instead.

But even better, start with one of our recipes that calls specifically for our holiday spice blends. These recipes are tried-and-true test-kitchen favorites that showcase spices in all their aromatic glory. These are the baked goods we’ll be making for our family and friends all December, and we suggest you give them a shot!

Decorative pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Pumpkin Pie Spice

A blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, this is the blend that gives that distinctive pumpkin pie flavor. While we created it for Pumpkin Pie, it’s excellent in muffins, cobblers, and crisps.

It adds fragrant flavor to crisp Pumpkin Spiced Springerle Cookies. Keep it on hand for any seasonal winter recipes.

Holiday spice blends via @kingarthurflour

Winter Spice

Our Winter Spice Stamp Cookies get their classic spice flavor from our newest holiday spice blend. The Winter Spice blend has allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and coriander. Use it in quick breads, muffins, and scones.

Holiday spice blends via @kingarthurflour

Speculaas Spice

A traditional Dutch holiday sweet, Speculaas Cookies are known for their delightfully spicy kick, which comes from a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, anise, cardamom, and white pepper. This spice blend is an unusual one, combining classic holiday flavors with a twist from the anise and white pepper.

Not just a baking staple, Speculaas Spice makes a nice winter beverage mixed into cider or tea. Click To Tweet

Holiday spice blends via @kingarthurflour

Chai Spice

You can easily add the flavor of your favorite winter beverage to baking recipes. Our Chai Spice blend combines ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, anise, and black pepper in a warm, spicy mix. Use it in our Chai-Spiced Pound Cake, which is an excellent recipe to bake ahead for a crowd. Or try it in bars or mini cheesecakes.

Holiday spice blends via @kingarthurflour

Gingerbread Spice

I hope you will be baking gingerbread at least once during this holiday season. And whether you’re making crisp gingerbread cookies, dense and moist gingerbread cake, or gingerbread-scented waffles, you’ll need the same spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Our Gingerbread Spice blend is an easiest shortcut: add it to your favorite gingerbread recipes and prepare for your kitchen to smell extremely delicious.

Holiday spice blends via @kingarthurflour

Yuletide Cheer Spice

With a name like Yuletide Cheer, you know this spice blend is designed to make any recipe taste holiday-ready. Crafted especially for festive recipes like stollen (pictured above), panettone, and cinnamon buns, this blend of cardamom, coriander, mace, allspice, nutmeg, and orange peel tastes just like the holidays.

Holiday spice blends via @kingarthurflour

We love the subtle spice it adds to Cranberry-Orange Babka, a stunner of a bread recipe that is a worthy candidate for any holiday breakfast table.

This year, invest in some spice blends and see how much easier it makes your holiday baking. Not to mention how much more delicious!


Posie grew up on a farm in Maryland and spent her summers in Vermont. As an editor for King Arthur and Sift magazine, she feels lucky to bake every day and connect through writing. She loves homemade bread warm from the oven, raw milk cream, ...


  1. Evelyn Gaylord

    I also would greatly appreciate the substitutions required for the “Gingerbread Spice” used for the Chocolate Gingerbread cookies recipe printed in the Holiday Inspiration catalog. Would like to see if my hoard of spices covers those needed for substitutions of the “Gingerbread Spice”. Can you help?

  2. Lisa

    Yes, I was just looking to purchase the Winter Spice and the Chai spice blends and both are out of stock now. The chai cookie recipe does have alternative measurements, however the winter spice stamp cookie recipe does not. I’d like to know how to make this recipe without the blend, since it is currently out of stock. Thanks.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Lisa. Winter Spice is a delicious, warming combination of cinnamon, allspice, clove, coriander, and cardamom. We don’t have a recipe for the exact combination, but starting with 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp of the rest is perfect. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  3. Belle

    I know the objective is to sell products, but it would have been so much more realistic for some pointers on making our own mixes from the spices we already own. I don’t need a whole jar of Speculaas Spice, because I’m sure I already have all of them, I just need the proportions to mix my own few tablespoons full.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for sharing your feedback with us, Belle. We love the holiday spice blends because they help us save time by being already mixed, and they also offer a unique combination of flavors (sometimes we don’t have a jar of cardamom on hand to make our own chai spice, for instance). However, you might be happy to know that many of the recipes that call for one of these spice blends will give you the alternative measurements if you prefer to use individual spices. If you come across a recipe where this isn’t the case, be sure to let us know and we can help come up with a solution. Kye@KAF

    2. Connie

      Kye, if you would please publish alternative measurements then for your winter spice stamp cookies, I’d be grateful. I’ve already gone through one spice set, and since you’re not selling them IN a set anymore, it would be good to have this one shortcut. Thanks.

  4. Carol

    Also great to add to coffee. I mix a generous 1/2 tsp to 2 scoops of ground coffee. [Small coffee maker.] Gingerbread and Speculaas [separately] are my favorites.


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