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12 Best Mace Substitutes You’ll Love

Mace is a very common spice you’ll often find listed as a required ingredient in a wide variety of savory and sweet dishes. However, this warm, sweet spice isn’t always available when you need it.

So, it is always good to have a substitute on hand to replicate the flavor. In this post, you’ll find the best mace substitutes you can use for any dish.

What Is Mace?

Mace is a spice that comes from the red lacy covering of the nutmeg fruit. It has long been used for its medicinal properties due to its many health benefits. However, it is also a key component of many dishes around the globe. 

Mace comes in different color varieties ranging from orange to red and yellow. It has a warm and sweet flavor with a mild touch of spiciness that isn’t too overwhelming.

This interesting flavor profile makes it a common ingredient in many cuisines, as it works well with sweet and savory dishes.

It can be added to soups, stews, meat, and rice dishes but is also commonly found in desserts like cake, puddings, and custards. So it is a very versatile spice.

However, it isn’t always readily available, so substitutes are a great secret weapon to have on hand.

Now, let’s dive into the best substitutes.

Nutritional Value Table

SubstitutesCalories
Allspice7
Cinnamon6
Nutmeg12
Ginger6
Pumpkin Pie Spice19
Cumin33.8
Garam Masala4.6
Cloves18.1
Apple Pie Spice9
Ras El Hanout10
Cardamom18
Whole Mace Blades8

1. Allspice

Allspice is great substitute for mace. It is made from the dried berries of the pimento dioica plant and is often used in making a wide variety of sweet and savory dishes. 

Allspice has a unique flavor profile that tastes like a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, so it is both sweet and spicy. It can be added to any dish that calls for mace, as it replicates the taste very well. 

However, allspice has a slightly stronger flavor than mace, so when using it, you’ll need to start with a smaller quantity and then add more as needed.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of allspice for each tablespoon of mace required.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another great spice that is just as popular as mace. It has a woody and sweet taste with a surprising spicy undertone that works well with both sweet and savory dishes.

It is a great alternative to use in place of mace, as the two have similar flavor profiles. Cinnamon is also a very accessible option, as most people likely already have it in their spice cabinet.

It is also much easier to find than mace when shopping.

As with allspice, the taste and aroma of cinnamon is quite strong, so you’ll need to reduce the quantity.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of cinnamon for each teaspoon of mace required.

3. Nutmeg

Nutmeg and mace are spices from the same tree, so there’s no better substitute for mace than nutmeg.

Although the flavor is stronger, nutmeg still has a very similar taste to make. It is warm, nutty, and mildy sweet. You can use nutmeg for the same dishes you’ll typically add mace to.

It works well with both savory and sweet dishes and can be added to anything from custards and eggnog to curries and pasta

Like most of the substitutes on this list, nutmeg also has a more intense flavor than mace, so it is best to start with a small quantity and taste the dish first before adding more.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of nutmeg for each tablespoon of mace required.

4. Ginger

If you’re out of mace and need a last-minute substitute, ginger is a great option to try. Like mace, it is sweet and spicy and is a common ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. 

Ginger is also known for its great antioxidant properties and immune-boosting ability, so it is a great option to use if you want something with many health benefits. 

You can use ground ginger or fresh ginger in any dish that calls for mace. However, it is best to pair ground ginger with sweet baked desserts and use fresh ginger for savory dishes like soups, sauces, and curries.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of ginger for each teaspoon of mace required.

5. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin pie spice is a great replacement to use in place of mace. Since it is made from a blend of ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, it has a warm and sweet flavor that mimics the taste of mace really well.

It works best when added to sweet baked desserts, but it also adds an incredible flavor to many different savory dishes.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of pumpkin spice for each teaspoon of mace required.

Pumpkin pie spice is readily available and can be found at most grocery stores, but you can cut the cost of buying it by making it on your own. Here is a video to show you how-

6. Cumin

Cumin is another great substitute for mace. It is a spice that comes from the seeds of the cuminim cyminum plant. It adds a somewhat spicy and earthy taste to most dishes and has a strong aroma that is both sweet and warm.

The unique flavor profile of cumin works well with most savory dishes that call for mace, so you can use it for many different cuisines. 

When using cumin, you have the choice of using either ground cumin or whole cumin seeds. However, you’ll get a fresher and more even spread of flavor when you use freshly ground cumin.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of cumin for each teaspoon of mace required.

7. Garam Masala

Garam masala is a spice blend commonly used in Indian cuisines. It typically consists of a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg and sometimes includes mace. 

This spice blend has a very robust flavor profile and a fragrant aroma with a sweet and spicy taste that brings the right warmth to most dishes. 

However, since it features a more complex mixture of spices, garam masala is best used in savory dishes as the taste can be a bit too much for sweet and baked desserts. You can add garam masala to soups, sauces, and curries.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of grama masala for each teaspoon of mace required.

8. Cloves

Cloves are another great spice to use in place of mace. They are dried flower buds that come from the clove tree. Although they are commonly used for cooking, they are also popular for their medicinal properties.

They contain high amounts of vitamin C, antioxidants, and essential minerals.

Cloves are a potent aromatic spice, so they bring a warm and sweet flavor to most foods.

You can add them to many different dishes ranging from meats to sauces, soups, and curries. They also work well with sweet baked desserts like cake.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of cloves for each tablespoon of mace required.

9. Apple Pie Spice

Apple pie spice is an autumn staple used in many baked dishes, but if you have it on hand, it makes a great mace substitute at any time of the year.

It is typically made from a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, so it has a balanced flavor profile that is both sweet and slightly spicy. 

Apple pie spice is best suited to sweet dishes, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just apple pie. You can add it to cakes, pancakes, and even muffins.

How To Substitute

Use half a teaspoon of apple spice for each teaspoon of mace required.

If you’d like to make your own homemade apple pie spice, here is a video to guide you through the steps-

10. Ras El Hanout

Ras el hanout is an amazing spice blend commonly used in Moroccan cuisine. Like garam masala, ras el hanout has a complex flavor profile that is warm and earthy with distinct sweet and spicy notes. 

The blend of spices used in making ras el hanout often varies depending on the region, but the usual components include nutmeg, ginger, mace, cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin.

Ras el hanout is a great substitute to use in place of mace when making savory dishes, as it will impart a similar warmth and sweetness. 

How To Substitute

When substituting, use half a teaspoon of ras el hanout for each tablespoon of mace required.

You can typically find ras el hanout sold in either the international section of most grocery stores or specialty spice stores. However, you can also make it on your own. Here is a video to show you how –

11. Cardamom

Cardamom is another great spice you can use in place of mace. It is a pod spice that comes from the seeds of different plants in the ginger family. However, it looks and tastes nothing like ginger and is characterized by its small green pods.   

Cardamom has a fruity flavor profile that is also sweet and spicy, which is why it works well with most dishes that call for mace.

It can be used for both sweet and savory dishes and added to anything from rice and meat dishes to tea and baked pastries.

How To Substitute

Use ¼ of a teaspoon of cardamom for each tablespoon of mace required.

12. Whole Mace Blades

Most recipes typically call for ground mace, so if what you’re looking for is something to use in place of ground mace. You can use mace blades as a substitute. 

Mace blades will not only give you the same exact taste as ground mace, but they’ll also impart a richer and more potent flavor.

You can grind the mace blades into a powder if you’re using them in a baked dish or simply add them whole into sauces and soups.

How To Substitute

Use one tablespoon of mace blades for each tablespoon of ground mace.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Mace Used For In Cooking?

Mace is used in making a wide variety of soups, sauces, and meat dishes. It is also used for baking and is a major component of many Asian, Caribbean, and North African dishes. It adds a unique sweet and spicy flavor to most dishes.

Is Mace The Same As Nutmeg?

Mace is not the same as nutmeg. Although the two come from the same nutmeg tree, nutmeg and mace are actually two different spices. Mace has a milder flavor in comparison to nutmeg.

Where Can I Find Mace Spice?

Ground mace is commonly sold in grocery stores and is often stocked in the spice section.

However, if you’re looking for whole mace blades, those are more expensive and will typically be found in International stores or specialty spice stores.

Is Mace Healthy?

When consumed in moderate quantities, mace is very healthy. It is known for having anti-inflammatory properties, boosting blood circulation, and relieving digestion and bloating issues.

Does Ground Mace Expire?

Ground mace has a very stable shelf life, so it doesn’t necessarily expire and will last a long time when properly stored in a tightly sealed jar. However, the potency will start to reduce after about six months, so it’s best to use it within a year.

What Does Mace Taste Like?

Mace tastes somewhat like a milder nutmeg. It is sweet, warm, and spicy, with hints of cinnamon and an earthy flavor.

What Can I Use Instead Of Mace For Baking?

When baking, you can replace mace with spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and pumpkin spice.

12 Mace Substitutes You’ll Love

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time

20

minutes
Cooking Time

35

minutes
Total Time

55

minutes

Running out of Mace? Explore the various Mace substitutes with the same taste profile to replace in your favorite recipes.

Ingredients

  • Allspice

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Ginger

  • Pumpkin pie spice

  • Cumin

  • Garam masala

  • Cloves

  • Apple pie spice

  • Ras el hanout

  • Cardamon

  • Whole mace blades

Directions

  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith