Nutmeg and mace come from the nutmeg trees which are mainly cultivated in Indonesia. From the seeds of the nutmeg tree is produced the spice nutmeg whereas the red cover of the seeds-aril is flattened and dried for about 14 days and is sold as a mace spice.
Dried mace changes its color to orange-red and orange-yellow and is sold in ground form and as a whole piece called blades.
Mace is a spice with a sweet and warm flavor combination of pepper and cinnamon, similar to nutmeg but a little spicier. It costs more than nutmeg because one nutmeg tree produces more nutmeg than mace. Therefore, more recipes call for nutmeg rather than a mace.
Mace is used both in sweet and savory dishes. It is added to season soups, sauces, stews, meat, seafood, vegetables, rice puddings, cookies, cakes, donuts, and other baked goods.
If mace is too expensive for you or you can’t find it in your local store, other spices can be used as a substitute such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, garam masala, apple pie spice, cloves, cardamom, and cumin.
Best Mace Substitutes
Few spices can be used as a substitute for mace. Some of them will give a similar flavor of mace to your dish, but which one you are going to use depends on your recipe.
Nutmeg spice is the seeds of the nutmeg tree. It’s available as a whole and ground. It has a sweet nutty flavor similar to the flavor of mace but slightly sweeter.
Nutmeg is used in soups, casseroles, pies, meats, vegetables, puddings, baked goods, and many other sweet and savory dishes. You can substitute nutmeg with mace in a 1:1 ratio.
Cinnamon is a spice with a slightly spicy and sweet flavor used in many sweet and savory dishes. It is made from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree and works amazingly in baked goods, drinks, desserts, curry dishes, meat, and sausages.
It is also one of the ingredients in some spice mixtures like garam masala and pumpkin pie spice. Because cinnamon has strong flavor use half of the amount of cinnamon to substitute mace in your recipe, taste the food and add more if needed.
Allspice is not a mixture of spices. It is one spice that is made from the dried berries of the allspice tree. This spice has a sweet, warm flavor similar to cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves mixed all together. You can find it whole or in ground form.
Whole berries work well in stews, however, you can also add them to lamb and beef meat. Usually, they are used for brining and pickling. Ground allspice, on the other hand, is a common ingredient in pies, cakes, vegetables, soups, and baked goods. Substitute mace with allspice in a 1:1 ratio.
Ginger is the root of the ginger flowering plant. And it’s a member of the same family as cardamom, galangal, and turmeric. You can find ginger as fresh, powdered, dried, preserved, pickled, and candied.
Ginger is with a slightly sweet, spicy flavor. It is a common ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. It is one of the common ingredients in different stews, stir-fries, marinades, soups, curries, sauces, desserts, drinks, and spice mixtures.
Ginger is less sweet and spicier than mace but its strong flavor mellows when cooked. Therefore, you can use an equal amount of ginger in a recipe that calls for mace.
5. Pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin pie spice is a great spice mixture that works amazingly in cookies, cakes, potato pies, pumpkin pies, waffles, muffins, pancakes, and beverages.
Besides cinnamon, ginger, and allspice, nutmeg is one of the ingredients in this mixture. Therefore, pumpkin pie spice has a similar flavor to mace and is a pretty good substitute. Use it in a 1:1 ratio in your recipes.
6. Garam masala
Garam masala is a mixture of ground spices. It’s a staple in South Asian and Indian cuisine. The ingredients in garam masala vary depending on the region where it is made.
But almost every garam masala mixture contains spices like cumin, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. Some other variations of this mixture also contain ginger, mace, star anise, bay leaves, garlic, saffron, and many other ingredients.
This spice mixture adds a sweet, floral, and slightly spicy flavor to dishes. Substitute mace with the same amount of garam masala in your recipe.
7. Apple pie spice
Apple pie spice consists mostly of cinnamon, and smaller amounts of allspice, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg. It has a strong cinnamon flavor and works great in apple-based desserts, cookies, and cakes. You can use half amount of apple pie spice to substitute mace in your recipe.
Cloves are the flower buds of the clove tree. They come as a whole and in ground form. Upon consumption, you will notice a bitter-sweet and astringent flavor with a visible amount of heat.
Cloves are a common ingredient in sweet, savory, and rice dishes, meat, pies, and drinks such as cider, mulled wine, and chai. Cloves have a strong flavor use half amount of cloves to substitute mace.
Cardamom is a spice with a very distinctive flavor, not very similar to the flavor of mace. We would describe the flavor of cardamom as strong, sweet, and spicy with hints of mint and lemon.
However, if you have cardamom in your pantry and your recipe needs mace and you don’t have it at hand, you can use cardamom in a pinch to give a flavor to your dish.
It is a common ingredient in vegetable and meat dishes, baked goods, spice mixtures, and hot beverages. If your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon mace you can use ½ teaspoon cardamom.
Cumin is a staple in Middle Eastern, Latin American, Indian, and North African cuisines. But it is also a common ingredient in all cuisines around the world.
You can find these small seeds similar to the caraway seeds in few different colors but the most common variety is with brown-yellow color.
Cumin is found as a whole seed and ground in powder and has a sweet-bitter flavor with warm and earthy notes. For 1 teaspoon mace use ½ teaspoon cumin as a substitute.
Can you replace mace with nutmeg?
Mace and nutmeg come from the same tree, with similar flavors. Therefore, you can use them as a substitute for one another in a 1:1 ratio.
Is allspice the same as mace?
Allspice is not the same as mace. It is one spice that consists of the dried berries of the allspice tree.
Are mace and nutmeg the same?
Mace and nutmeg are not the same, even if they come from the same tree. Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree and mace is the outer layer of the nutmeg seed.
What is the spice called mace?
The spice called mace is made from the outer layer of the nutmeg seed, which is flattened, dried, and used as a mace spice.
Was This Helpful?
Mace is a common spice in many spice mixtures and recipes. It improves the flavor of your food, however, it also works as a traditional medicine to help with some digestive problems and reduce inflammation.
However, if mace is too expensive for you or you can’t find it in your store you can use some of the spices mentioned in this article as a substitute for mace.