Every cook knows there are times when you’re about to prepare a recipe only to realize you’re out of them. On that note, here’s a list of the best nutmeg substitutes that’ll help you out in cooking and baking.

A few pantry staples have the ability to replace the absence of nutmeg, and they are:

  1. Ground Mace
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Ground ginger
  4. Allspice
  5. Ground cloves
  6. Pumpkin pie spice mix
  7. Apple pie spice mix
  8. Garam Masala
  9. Green Cardamom

So, how could these alternatives save you dishes? Read along to check everything out!

The 09 Best Substitute For Nutmeg

Nutmeg is one of the top most spices that gets a lot of attention during the season. Its warming, nutty, sweet flavor elements and incredible aroma are such a blessing to the seasonal goodies and many other regular dishes. However, it is very common for us to forget to restock our ingredients, so we otherwise need to be aware of the possible alternatives.

Nutmeg is used in a variety of sweet and savory preparations and features in a number of different beverages. In certain recipes, this could act as the primary ingredient, while in some, it is one of the secondary ingredients.

You can check out our detailed article to discover some interesting ways to use nutmeg in cooking and baking.

Apart from its many culinary uses, it is also beneficial in health and beauty-related home remedies. So, this episode will tackle the best substitutes for nutmeg that will be useful when you don’t have it in cooking and baking.

Nutmeg vs Cinnamon - SpiceRally

01-  Ground Mace

Mace is your best bet if you are looking for a nutmeg substitute that gives a similar flavor and aroma effect.. Mace actually derives from the same source of nutmeg, which is the outer, lacey covering of the nutmeg seed, considered as a different spice. 

However, mace could be a little less intense in flavor than nutmeg and slightly different in color when ground. But still, it could be the best possibility when you don’t have nutmeg around to replace in any dish that originally calls for it. So, you can substitute mace in a 1:1 ratio in the beginning and adjust it according to taste.

Even though mace is the best substitute for nutmeg, it can still be different from nutmeg. Click here to see how these spices differentiate from one another.

02- Cinnamon

This spice possesses a similar warmth and sweetness that could be compared to nutmeg. In fact, cinnamon is a spice that is paired with nutmeg in many sweet and savory dishes. However, this option is less aromatic than nutmeg.

Cinnamon, especially Cassia, can give more intensity than nutmeg, whereas Ceylon cinnamon is milder. Therefore, Ceylon cinnamon can be deemed a better go-to for substituting nutmeg. And it would be best if you choose ground cinnamon, but cinnamon sticks could also do the trick.

This spice can mainly be a hands-on alternative for sweet dishes and beverages that calls for nutmeg as a primary ingredient. Cinnamon is an excellent choice to mask the absence of our topic leader if you don’t have it around or don’t necessarily don’t like the nutmeg flavor. Begin with half the amount you usually use and adjust as you go.

Go to this article to discover in what ways cinnamon distinguishes from nutmeg and what properties they have in common.

03- Ground Ginger

If you’re looking to substitute nutmeg in savory dishes, ginger is a fantastic alternative that serves well in meat, fish, and vegetable-based dishes. Ginger has the same warmth as nutmeg but is spicier and less sweet than our topic leader.

Ground ginger would be the best form to use in place of fresh since ground ginger holds a less concentrated flavor. However, ginger cannot be recommended as a favorable substitute for sweet dishes or beverages. Accordingly, use ginger in the same amount as nutmeg and increase the quantity as desired.

04- Allspice

Allspice is a spice that combines the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Hence, this interesting ingredient makes a convenient substitution for nutmeg whenever you need a quick fix. Allspice comes as whole berries and in powdered form. So, you can use both forms to swap the taste of nutmeg.

But, like cinnamon, we recommend you go with ground allspice for better results. This alternative can be used in any recipe that originally required nutmeg. If you think the flavor could be a bit more intense than nutmeg, it is better to start with half the amount and then adjust accordingly.

Did you know that nutmeg originated from Molucca Island in Indonesia? We are ready to share a lot of fascinating facts about this flavorful spice- click here for more information!

05- Ground Cloves

Intense and incredibly aromatic cloves have a warm, sweet, spicy, and sharp undertone. We can find many recipes that call for both nutmeg and cloves together. So, there is a higher possibility for cloves to camouflage the absence of nutmeg in a particular dish with the help of its sharp flavor.

You can purchase both whole and ground cloves. But we suggest going with ground cloves as it blends easier with any dish. Cloves can be an excellent substitute for rich desserts and most savory dishes. But we do not recommend it for lightly spiced desserts, light beverages, or baked goods that call for nutmeg.

A small amount of cloves can go a long way, so it is important to remember not to go heavy-handed with this spice. Therefore, begin with a small amount and add more if necessary.

06- Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

When it is fall, chances are high that a jar of pumpkin pie spice lies in your spice cabinet! However, this blend can be used year-round and is not only confined to pumpkin pies! Typically, ground nutmeg is an essential ingredient in the mix, along with a few other spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice.

Thus, pumpkin pie spice could potentially replace many desserts if you don’t have nutmeg. To begin with, use this alternative with half the amount of nutmeg, and you could increase the amount later if needed. Your recipes will have a remarkable complexity, and pumpkin pie spice will never disappoint you!

Click on this link to get the recipe to make a simple homemade pumpkin pie spice mix.

07- Apple Pie Spice Mix

This is similar to pumpkin pie spice but usually has hefty amounts of cinnamon and less nutmeg. In addition to the other spices in pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice also incorporates a tinge of cardamom. This blend makes it best for baked goods like bread, tarts, pies, pastries, etc.

Due to the heavy base of cinnamon in this blend, it is best to start moderately and add more if needed. This substitute is also better to go with sweeter dishes or baked goods than savory preparations that require nutmeg as a primary ingredient.

You can get the recipe to make a delicious homemade apple pie spice blend if you go to this link!

08- Garam Masala

Garam Masala is a staple in many Indian foods. Nutmeg is an essential ingredient in the mix, and recipes could vary greatly depending on the merchant. However, this option is better left as one of the last choices since Garam Masala could have an intense flavor with all the additional ingredients. 

Therefore, we recommend you stick to this replacement as a nutmeg substitute only in savory preparations. Since you don’t want to overpower your dishes, start with a little amount and adjust accordingly.

09- Green Cardamom

The pleasantly warm and rich cardamom flavor can be distinctive from nutmeg, but it can still be a convenient sub if you don’t have anything else mentioned in our list above. This spice has the ability to complement many dishes just like the way nutmeg does.

So, this alternative best serves sweet preparations and baked goods, especially if the recipe calls for nutmeg as a secondary ingredient. You can start by using ¼ the amount of nutmeg you usually use and then gradually increase the amount according to taste.

You can check out the article posted right here to explore how cardamom actually differs from nutmeg.

Final Reflections…

While the closest flavor approximation for nutmeg is ground mace, other warm spices like cloves, ginger, and cinnamon could also help you save a dish or two whenever you don’t have nutmeg around. In addition, spice blends like apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice can be a little more complex fits while Garam Masala and cardamom can be substituted in pinches.

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