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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Nutmeg

Oh snap, ran out of nutmeg in the middle of cooking? We’ve all been there. Gourmet Hacks time.

We’re here to spill the beans on the 5 best substitutes for that aromatic spice we all love so much.

No need to dash to the store or rummage through your neighbor’s spice rack.

You’ve probably got some awesome alternatives right in your own kitchen.

And guess what? Some might even surprise you with their flavor twist.

Ready to get creative and save your dish with a spice swap?

You bet! Let’s dig into the magic of kitchen improvisation together.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Nutmeg

If you’re out of nutmeg and in a pinch, don’t worry. There are several substitutes that will do the trick.

Here are the five best substitutes for nutmeg.

1 – Mace

Mace is a spice that is derived from the outer layer of nutmeg.

It has a strong, pungent flavor and a slightly spicy aroma.

Mace is often used in baking and savory dishes. It can also be used as a substitute for nutmeg.

When substituting mace for nutmeg, use half as much mace as you would nutmeg.

Mace can be bought in whole or ground form. It is also available as an extract.

Mace should be stored in a cool, dark place. Ground mace will keep for up to six months.

The whole mace will keep for up to one year.

2 – Garam masala

Garam masala is a spice blend originating from the Indian subcontinent.

It is typically made from a mixture of cardamom, cloves, cumin, black pepper, and cinnamon.

The spices are dry roasted and ground into a powder.

The flavor of garam masala is both sweet and savory, with a hint of heat from the black pepper.

The spices can be used whole or ground, depending on your preferences.

Garam masala can be used as a substitute for nutmeg in many recipes.

When substituting, use half the amount of garam masala as you would nutmeg.

This will help to avoid overwhelming the other flavors in the dish.

Garam masala can also be used in sweet recipes, such as cakes and cookies.

The warm spice blend pairs well with chocolate and fruits such as apples and bananas.

When using garam masala in sweet recipes, start with a small amount and adjust to taste.

A little goes a long way.

3 – Allspice

Allspice is a spice that gets its name from its fragrance, which is reminiscent of a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

It’s popular in many Caribbean dishes, as well as in desserts and baked goods.

Allspice is available ground or whole.

If you buy it whole, you’ll need to grind it before using it.

The flavor of allspice is quite strong, so you don’t need to use much of it.

When substituting allspice for nutmeg, use half as much allspice as you would nutmeg.

Allspice can also be used in savory dishes, such as stews and marinades.

It pairs well with other spices, such as ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.

Allspice can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

4 – Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a popular spice with a warm, sweet flavor.

It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes and is often used in baking.

Cinnamon has a slightly woody taste and a pleasingly aromatic smell.

It is also one of the oldest spices known to man and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.

Cinnamon can be bought ground or in whole sticks.

It is also available as a powder, which is made from grinding the cinnamon bark.

Ground cinnamon has a finer texture than cinnamon powder and is more widely available.

There are two main types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon, which is often considered to be superior in flavor, and cassia cinnamon, which is more commonly found in supermarkets.

When substituting cinnamon for nutmeg, it is important to keep the ratio of ground spices 1:1.

This will ensure that your dish has the right flavor balance.

5 – Pumpkin pie spice

Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

It’s used to flavor pumpkin pies, as well as other fall and winter desserts.

While the exact proportions of each spice vary depending on the brand, most pumpkin pie spice mixes contain about equal parts cinnamon and ginger, with smaller amounts of nutmeg and allspice.

Pumpkin pie spice has a warm, sweet flavor with a slight hint of heat from the ginger.

It’s often used in moderate amounts so it doesn’t overwhelm other flavors in the recipe.

When substituting pumpkin pie spice for ground nutmeg, use about half as much.

This will help to keep the spices in balance and prevent the nutmeg from overpowering the other flavors.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Nutmeg

Enhance your culinary creations with these 5 top substitutes for nutmeg. Whether you're out of nutmeg or seeking a different flavor profile, our curated list has you covered. Elevate your dishes effortlessly with these versatile alternatives.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Mace
  • Garam masala
  • Allspice
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin pie spice


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Nutmeg
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