5 Best Substitute For Mace Seasoning

Mace Substitute

Mace, a warm, slightly sweet, and spicy ingredient, has often been a hero in our kitchen escapades, adding an aromatic touch to various cuisines. Derived from the outer covering of the nutmeg seed, it presents a unique flavor profile that often leaves us wondering what could possibly substitute it when it’s missing from our pantry.

Fear not! There exists a plethora of spices that can mimic mace’s unique characteristics, saving your dishes from losing their culinary charm. The key lies in understanding each substitute’s flavor nuances, from the sweetness of nutmeg to the fiery zest of ginger or the mixed warmth of pumpkin pie spice. Not only can these alternatives replace mace, but they can also introduce a new taste dimension to your dishes. So, let’s embark on this flavorful journey of discovering the best substitutes for mace, bringing culinary creativity right into your kitchen.

What is Mace?

Mace is a spice derived from the outer covering of the nutmeg seed. This lace-like covering is removed, dried, and then ground to form mace. It’s renowned for its slightly sweet, warm, and aromatic flavor profile, reminiscent of nutmeg but subtler and with notes of cinnamon and pepper. Mace is widely used in diverse cuisine types, often incorporated in sweet dishes like puddings, pies, and spice cakes, as well as savory meals such as stews, curries, and sauces.

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Substitutes For Mace: A Quick Spicy Glance

  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice

Best Substitutes For Mace

Each substitute has a unique flavor profile and culinary application, making them suitable replacements depending on the recipe you are preparing.


The closest and perhaps the most common substitute for mace is nutmeg, as they originate from the same tree, Myristica fragrans. Nutmeg is actually the seed, while mace is the protective layer around it, so their flavor profiles are remarkably similar, with nutmeg being slightly sweeter and more pungent.

In a culinary context, nutmeg can be used as a one-to-one substitute for mace. It’s versatile and fits well in both sweet and savory dishes, just like mace. While nutmeg can be a bit overpowering due to its stronger flavor, a good tip is to start with a small amount and adjust according to taste.

Despite the similarity, there’s an important distinction when it comes to the form of nutmeg used. Whole nutmeg, freshly grated, provides the most flavor resemblance to mace. Pre-ground nutmeg, on the other hand, tends to lose its aromatic oils over time, resulting in a less impactful flavor.


Allspice, despite its name, is not a blend of ‘all spices’, but rather a standalone spice derived from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree. It offers a flavor that’s a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, giving it a warm and sweet yet mildly peppery taste, akin to mace.

In your recipes, allspice can replace mace in equal amounts. Whether it’s a meat marinade, a dessert, or a warming winter drink, allspice can bring a balanced, aromatic, and slightly spicy touch.

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The complexity of allspice lies in its multi-layered taste profile, which can elevate a dish subtly without overwhelming the other flavors. However, due to its strong character, you might want to start with a lesser amount and add more if needed, to prevent it from overpowering the dish.


Cinnamon, a popular spice obtained from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees, can be a good alternative to mace in certain dishes. It imparts a warm, sweet, and woody flavor that’s a common feature in baking and cooking.

When substituting mace with cinnamon, remember that cinnamon’s taste can be more dominant, so start by using half the amount of mace required and then adjust according to your taste preference.

Cinnamon is quite flexible in its use, but it particularly shines in sweet dishes. From baked goods to fruit compotes and beverages, cinnamon can add depth and warmth that’s comfortably familiar to most palettes.


Ginger, known for its zesty and slightly sweet flavor, makes an interesting alternative to mace. While it doesn’t exactly mimic mace’s taste, it does add a refreshing spicy note to dishes.

Substitute mace with ginger sparingly as its robust flavor can significantly change the dish’s overall taste. It works best in recipes where a spicy kick is appreciated. In both sweet and savory dishes, from cookies and cakes to stir-fries and curries, ginger’s presence can bring a bold and vibrant twist.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice is a blend of warming spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Its complex flavor profile can cover for mace in recipes, especially in sweet dishes.

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As Pumpkin Pie Spice is a mixture of several spices, it’s best to use it in small amounts initially and adjust as needed. It’s an ideal choice for pies, cakes, and desserts that call for a combination of warm, sweet, and slightly spicy notes.

Substitutes for Mace: Nutritional Profile

SpiceGlutenCalories (per ¼ cup)Fat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Pumpkin Pie Spice0g500.7g11g5g1g

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best substitute for mace largely depends on the recipe at hand and your personal preference. Each substitute carries its own distinctive flavor that can open new doors of taste. Embrace these alternatives not only as backups for mace but also as an opportunity to expand your culinary horizons. Remember, the beauty of cooking lies in experimentation. Happy cooking!

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