17 Autumn Flavors That Deserve Just as Much Attention as Pumpkin

Gone are the days of watermelon and rosé. It’s fall and that means new autumn flavors to savor. Come the first day of fall, the country goes crazy for pumpkin everything: Starbucks officially starts serving their pumpkin spice latte, The Cheesecake Factory brings back their pumpkin cheesecake, you get the picture, but fall is more than just pumpkin.

Lots of fruits and vegetables – like peas, squash, sweet potatoes and apples – flourish in the fall. Warming ciders and stews are craved for late night comfort. Ready to stockpile your pantry with this season’s specialty flavors? Here they are.

1. Apples

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Apples are basically the unofficial fruit of fall. As soon as the foliage hits, farmer’s markets, roadside stands and pick-your-own farms are filled to the brim with apples.

It’s no wonder fans stock up. They are perfect for pies, butters, sauces and more. Consider creating an apple brandy hot toddy or warmed cider to enjoy around the campfire or fireplace.

2. Beer

Fall is the season for beer. Cooler nights crave warming fall brews that replace the lighter ales of summer. It’s porter and stout season once again.

Autumn beers are infused with fall flavors of pumpkin, wheat, oak, vanilla, malt and spice.

3. Brown Butter

Brown butter is a classic French technique in which butter is cooked long enough to turn the milk and salt particles brown while also removing the water from the butter.

The result is a nutty and complex sauce that can add deep nutty flavor to sweet items (cakes, donuts, etc) and savory items, too.

Carrot

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Yes you can get carrots year round, but this is the season where warmed carrots make for a comforting side dish.

Their hearty sweetness is the perfect base for fall-focused spices like cinnamon and brown butter, and they work perfectly in heartwarming soups, sweet cakes and breakfast muffins.

Chai

Chai tea is a rich spiced black tea that has hints of clove and pepper hidden inside. A spice blend, made up of cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger and allspice and can be used in dressings, soups, stews, cakes and more.

It utilizes all of fall’s favorite spices and is similar to pumpkin pie spice, but not as sweet.

Cinnamon

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Cinnamon is warming and spicy, a perfect addition to fall flavors and one of the season’s most quintessential flavors.

It can take you from breakfast to dessert easily, livening up baked dishes and dinner and also adds a bit of warmth and spice to any dish.

Cloves

Holiday hams studded with cloves are a holiday tradition in many households. Cloves are a strong spice that can enhance baked dishes, savory meats, sauces and glazes.

Not sold on cloves? If we told you it’s an ingredient in pre-made pumpkin pie spice, would that change your mind?

Cranberry

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Cranberries reach their peak of color and flavor in autumn. Starting mid-September, they are ready for harvesting and begin to show up  in markets and stands all over the country.

As they ripen, they can withstand cooler weather, making them one of fall’s freshest fruits. Their presence is a must on a Thanksgiving table since their tangy fruity flavor lends freshness and tartness to a rich meal.

Figs

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Figs are one of fall’s hidden treasures. A few may have made their way to the farmer’s market in the summer. That is because figs have two seasons: a short summer one and a main one that starts at the end of summer and goes through fall.

They are great for munching on raw or stuffing them with goat cheese or cream cheese, and wrapping with cured meats like prosciutto for a sweet and salty snack.

Ginger

Just like cinnamon and clove, ginger is a spicy and warming addition to your cabinet for fall.

It adds a bite to cookies and cakes, and heat to curries and stews that fill the crock pot all season.

Maple syrup

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Take advantage of the rich, nutty sweetness of all-natural raw maple syrup and how it can enhance other fall flavors. It pairs perfectly with the seasonal flavors of baked desserts and veggies like squash.

Also, consider using it to glaze turkey, ham, sausage and more as it lends a sweet flavor to already salty and savory meats.

Nutmeg

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Nutmeg is a sweet, aromatic and nutty spice that lends its warm flavor to fall dishes from sweet to savory.

It’s commonly grated into cream sauces to add a bit of depth and sweetness to the sauce, so you’ll want to grate some into your macaroni and cheese, too.

Pear

Chefs all over the country take advantage of the  Pacific Northwest’s pear harvest in the fall. From appetizers to entrees to desserts, they are a fall favorite for their subtle sweet flavor that can be enhanced with salty and spicy flavors.

The early-ripening fall pear varieties to look out for are Bartlett, Clapp Favorite, and Orca.

Pecan

Pecans are a perfect fall companion. They are rich and creamy nut full of flavor.

They’re great for making pies with but also make a great nutty, cinnamon-y addition to cocktails, salads, savory stews, and baked dishes.

Red Wine

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Red wine starts to make its presence known especially in the fall. Not just because it makes the perfect base for mulled wine punches, but because it adds depth and flavor for sauces and gravies that fill tables in fall.

Sage

This woody, hardy herb is plentiful at fall farmer’s markets. It boasts a thick leaf, so it is tough enough to grow in cooler temps and holds its flavor and structure when cooked under high-heat conditions.

It has an earthy, fragrant flavor and can adapt to many meals.

Squash

From acorn to butternut to spaghetti, sweet winter squashes are a staple of fall. They are ideal for baking and using in pasta dishes because their sweetness pairs perfectly with savory herbs and nutty cheeses like Parmesan.

Purée baked squash for soup or bake into a muffin for a hearty and healthy breakfast.

Watch: How to Make Mini Pumpkin Bundts