Nutmeg and mace come from the same tree, but they are two different spices used in a variety of dishes. So, this episode is dedicated to looking into nutmeg vs mace and how they are used in our household.

Nutmeg is basically the seed kernel that is extracted from the ripened fruit of the Myristica fragrans tree, while mace is the dried, lacey membrane around the hard brown shell of the nutmeg seeds. Mace is usually more intense in flavor, while nutmeg is considered less potent. They also differ in appearance, aroma, and usage.

Let’s compare the two spices and learn how similar they are and what differences they possess.

Nutmeg vs Mace- SpiceRally DrillDown

Flavor profileSlightly less piquant than mace. Nutmeg has warm, nutty, and sweet undertones.A bit more pungent than nutmeg with warm, black pepper, citrusy, and pine notes. Mace is more like a less concentrated version of nutmeg.
Aroma profileNutmeg has a more robust fragrance than mace. It has a spicy sweet aspect with earthy and piquant base notes.Mace is less aromatic than nutmeg. Yet it holds a pleasant aroma with spicy-sweet and earthy tones.
Base flavorSpicy and warmSpicy and warm
Appearance– Whole nutmeg comes in an ovular shape and deep brown shell. The seed is light brown, oval, hard, and has a soft exterior.
– Ground nutmeg is recognized for its reddish-brown color and powdery texture.
– Whole mace blades are vibrant reddish, shiny web-like membranes. Once dried, they become pale and turn to a yellowish-orange color.
– Powdered mace is identified for its yellowish-orange color and powdery consistency.
Forms used– Ground nutmeg
– Whole seeds
– Essential oil
– Nutmeg extract
– Nutmeg butter
– Dried whole blades
– Mace powder
– Mace essential oil
– Mace extract
AvailabilityReadily available in supermarkets, grocery stores, or online shopping sites.Mace is not as widely available as nutmeg. But still, you can get this spice from supermarkets, some grocery stores, and online vendors.

Reach out to this article if you are interested in acquiring more sophisticated knowledge about nutmeg and the ins and outs of this fragrant spice.

Purpose in cookingAs an ingredient and a condimentAs an ingredient and a condiment
Usage in cooking– Widely used as a seasonal spice in sweet dishes, baked goods, and other desserts.
– Incorporated into non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.
– Ground nutmeg is an essential ingredient in popular spice blends and seasoning mixtures.
– Spice up sauces, gravies, and dips.
– Nutmeg also flavors soups, stews, curries,  and broths.
– Pair excellently with berry-based desserts like tarts and pies.
– Boosts the flavor of complex cake batters, bread doughs, and bun doughs.
– Adds a depth of savory fillings.
– Mixed into certain seasoning blends and spice mixtures.
– Ramp up the taste of rich and creamy, cheese-based dishes like fettuccine, pasta, spaghetti, etc.
General use– Used in cooking and baking
– Useful in aromatherapy and haircare.
– Used in Ayurveda and folkloric medicine.
– Used in cooking and baking
– Useful in aromatherapy and haircare.
– Used in Ayurveda and folkloric medicine.
Storage & Shelf life– Has a longer shelf life than mace.
– Store ground nutmeg in an air-tight spice jar/ container away from direct light, heat, and moisture. When stored properly, ground nutmeg will stay fresh for about six months. 
– The whole nutmeg seeds can also be kept inside well-fitting containers, and they will remain flavorful and fragrant longer than ground nutmeg.
– Has a lower shelf life than nutmeg.
– Whole mace blades should be stored in an air-tight container and kept away from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight. This way, they will stay fresh for up to several months.
– Ground mace should also be stored in tight-fitting containers, as it will lose its potency sooner than whole mace blades. Ground mace will stay fresh for up to six months.
Health benefits– Boost cognitive function
– Detoxify the kidneys, and liver
– Strengthen the immune system function
– Relieve indigestion
– Soothes oral conditions
– Helps with digestive issues
– Encourages appetite
– Helps with mental stress and boosts memory
– Protects kidneys
– Alleviates dental-related issues
Part of the plantSeedAril
Scientific nameMyristica fragransMyristica fragrans
Active compounds– Myristicin
– Elemicin
– Myristicin
– Elemicin
Plant familyMyristicaceaeMyristicaceae
Nutmeg vs Mace- SpiceRally

More Insights To The Difference Between Nutmeg And Mace.

As we made it clear through the table above, nutmeg and mace have lots of differences even though they are closely related and come from the same source. In fact, nutmeg is the most well-known spice of the two, while mace is lesser known and not usually considered as essential as nutmeg.

Nutmeg vs Mace - SpiceRally

The next significant distinction between nutmeg and mace is their price difference when you buy them from the store. You will not find a huge cost difference, yet nutmeg is less expensive compared to mace. This is because the nutmeg tree produces more nutmeg than it does with mace. So basically, the supply is lesser, and consequently, you will experience mace being more costly.

Mace is potent in flavor and less aromatic than nutmeg but tends to lose its pungency faster than nutmeg. At the same time, nutmeg is a little less intense than mace and more aromatic but stays flavorful and fragrant for a longer period when compared to mace. However, both of these spices pair with common foods and contain almost similar health benefits.

Can Mace Be Used In Place Of Nutmeg And Vice Versa?

Ground mace is the closest alternative to use instead of nutmeg if a certain recipe originally calls for the latter. However, mace could be a little more intense with a black pepper note, while you don’t usually savor that in nutmeg. So, keeping that in mind, you can proceed with mace instead of nutmeg and vice versa.

For information about substituting mace in place of nutmeg, you can click on this link and refer to our detailed article. You will also find more substitutions for nutmeg here.

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