Mace is an ingredient typically added in soups and winter squash dishes. They can also be used to enhance the flavor of seafood and meat. In baking, mace can be added to cakes, donuts, and cookies to create a warmer and savory taste.
Taste-wise, mace feels a lot like nutmeg but with a less intense flavor. When added to dishes, mace has subtle notes of black pepper and cinnamon. Most of the time it may not be easily available but luckily here are some alternatives you can consider.
- Apple Pie Spice
- Black Peppercorns
Before we delve deep into each substitute, let us first understand why the Mace blade is actually one of the rarest spices in the world.
12 Best Substitute For Mace
Mace isn’t exactly a common spice. It’s made from the nutmeg tree and the supply is pretty low. As a result, the price of mace is fairly expensive â€“ requiring you to make â€œcheaperâ€ substitutions like these below
You can buy it in small blocks or in powder form. The solid blocks are typically cheaper and you can just grind them yourself.
Each tablespoon of mace contains around 25.2 calories. They’re commonly found in international stores or health food stores. Some of the best alternatives for mace is nutmeg or mace powder
Allspice doesn’t mean a combination of different spices. Instead, it’s just one spice taken from the allspice tree. Yes â€“ it exists, and it can be an effective substitute for mace.
Allspice has this sweet flavor with a warm aftertaste that strokes the throat. Think of it as a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves in one convenient package.
Allspice is available in ground form. However, you can also get the berries which can be added whole to stews, beef, and lamb dishes. You can use the powdered version when cooking pies, cakes, and other baked goods.
Others like to add it to vegetables or soups to add a layer of sweetness in the food. Follow the 1:1 ratio when making the substitution. Every one tablespoon of all spice contains just 16 calories.
Apple Pie Spice
Apple pie spice is fairly easy to find in grocery stores. It’s a combination of several spices including cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. As a result, you get this great blend of sweet and spicy flavors.
The cinnamon taste is typically the most powerful flavor, making it perfect for cookies and cakes. If you’re making apple pie or any kind of apple-based dessert, apple pie spice would be perfect because it blends beautifully with the fruit.
For substitution purposes, you can follow the 1:1/2 ratio. Every 1 teaspoon of mace should be equal to Â½ teaspoon of apple pie spice. Actual calorie count depends on the brand. However, the McCormick Apple Pie spice contains 0 calories.
Black peppercorns are basically the solid version of pepper. You’ve probably seen this type before in grocery stores as they’re very popular in various dishes.
They’re added in their whole format and helps include a spicy taste to the dish. Note however, that they’re not an exact substitute to mace. Every teaspoon of black peppercorn contains around 6 calories.
Cardamom isn’t exactly your first choice as a mace substitute. It offers a combination of sweet and spicy, but with the underlying taste of lemon and mint.
As a result, the flavor substitution isn’t going to be perfect. It should make the end dish interesting â€“ even if it’s not a complete replica of the recipe.
You can buy cardamom in ground form or in whole batches. Note though that it’s not a common spice and you might have to go through several grocery stores before finding one. Still, it’s a possible mace substitute at a less costly price tag.
Cardamom can be added in meat and vegetable dishes. You can also add it to baked goods or even use it with a hot drink. The hint of lemon and mint should turn your cardamom drink into a favorite wintertime beverage.
Compared to mace, cardamom is a more powerful spice. Use a 1:1/2 ratio of mace to cardamom. Basically, a recipe that needs 10mg of mace requires just 5mg of cardamom. One tablespoon of this spice contains just 18 calories.
Cinnamon spice is taken from the bark of the cinnamon tree. It offers a combination of sweet and spicy flavoring, perfect for drinks, desserts, and savory dishes. You can also add it to baked goods, curry, or even meat!
The flavor is pretty overpowering so keep servings limited. If the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of mace, add just Â½ teaspoon of cinnamon. This will give you pretty much the same balance of flavors.
As an added bonus, cinnamon is cheaper than mace and easier to find in grocery stores. Chances are you already have one in your pantry. One tablespoon of cinnamon contains just 19 calories.
Cloves are flower buds that can be bought whole or ground. They’re harvested from the clove tree and have this bitter-sweet flavor. Like cinnamon, you get a significant amount of heat with this spice. You can add it in multiple dishes including rice, meat, pies, and other sweet and savory dishes. Some people even add it with cider and chai!
Note that the flavor is pretty strong, so use a 1:1/2 ratio. If the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of mace, use just Â½ teaspoon of clove to keep the flavor balanced. You can find cloves easily in most stores. They’re also not as expensive as mace and fairly versatile. Keeping one in your pantry will give you more flexibility when cooking dishes! One teaspoon of clove contains just 6 calories.
Cumin is a popular spice found in the Middle East, India, North Africa, and Latin America. Fortunately, the spice is popular enough that you can find it in most grocery stores today.
Cumin is available in seed format, although there are also ground versions of the spice.
In terms of flavor, cumin is a combination of sweet and bitter. There’s also an earthy tone to the taste, which quickly registers in your cooking.
It’s best added to sweet and savory dishes to bring out the flavor of meat and vegetables. Use a 1:1/2 ratio of mace to cumin. One tablespoon contains around 22 calories.
Garam Masala is a mixture of different spices. You’ll usually find that it contains cardamom, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and nutmeg. You’ll also find black pepper, ginger, bay leaves, saffron, and garlic. Sometimes, garam masala contains mace in it too!
The spice is fairly common in Indian and South Asian countries. However, the precise mixture of garam masala depends on where it’s actually made, so make sure to check the ingredients list first.
This mixture of spices creates a balance of sweet and spicy. It also adds a floral scent to anything you decide to cook. They’re perfect for savory dishes and baked goods.
When using this as a substitute, just follow a 1:1 ratio. One teaspoon of garam masala is around 11.8 calories. This can change, depending on the brand of garam masala so make sure to check the nutritional information of the label.
Ginger is one of the most famous spices in the world. You can buy it fresh or powdered in practically any grocery store. Ginger is also very cheap â€“ and you can grow it yourself if you want to!
The root has a sweet and spicy flavor that’s perfect for practically any kind of dish. You can use it in stir-fries, combine in marinades, curries, soups, and other cooked dishes. You can also add it in some desserts, while ginger drinks are known for helping sore throat problems.
Compared to mace, ginger has a weaker flavor. For substitution, you can follow a 1:1 ratio. If you want a more powerful kick of sweet and spicy, you can try a 1:1.5 ratio. It’s also a very low-calorie option. Two grams of ginger root or approximately 1 teaspoon of this spice contains just 2 calories.
Mace blades are basically the outer layer of the nutmeg. They’re best used whole and offers practically the same flavor as ground mace.
They’re not exactly a cheaper alternative since mace blades and mace comes from the same source. However, if you can’t find ground mace â€“ mace blades are your closest possible option.
Follow a 1:1 substitution ratio for mace blades. Obviously, it carries the same calories as mace.
Both mace and nutmeg come from the same tree source. Unsurprisingly, they carry the same flavor with very subtle variations. Nutmeg has a more powerful taste. It’s sweeter and slightly nutty â€“ but definitely cheaper in comparison.
You can use this as a substitute in soups, pies, casseroles, puddings, and other savory dishes. Since nutmeg is naturally sweeter, you should be able to add it in sweet dishes without changing the overall flavor.
Use a 1:1 substitution ratio. Compared to mace, nutmeg has more calories at 37 calories per tablespoon.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin pie spice is a spice mix that’s often added in cakes, cookies, pumpkin pies, potato pies, muffins, waffles, and even drinks! It’s probably one of the most popular flavors offered in your favorite Starbucks branch.
It’s actually a mixture of multiple spices already mentioned in this list like ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. So yes â€“ the flavor tastes a lot like mace with its spicy and sweet combination. The spice is pretty popular so you can find it practically anywhere!
For substitution, just use a 1:1 ratio. One tablespoon of this thing contains just 19 calories.
Mace Substitute Related FAQs
Can you replace mace with nutmeg?
Yes. Nutmeg and mace come from the exact same tree so their flavor is not far from each other. Absent any mace blades, nutmeg is your best substitute for mace.
Are mace and nutmeg the same?
While they come from the same tree â€“ mace and nutmeg are NOT similar. Nutmeg is the seed itself while mace is the portion that covers the seed. As a result, there’s a distinct difference between the two flavors. For substitution however, you can use equal amounts.
How do you use mace powder?
No need to prep â€“ mace powder can be directly added onto any dish you want. However, mace blades need to be ground into smaller portions using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.
Sprinkle it onto dishes, beverages, or porridge and let it incorporate in the liquid. This will give you the best flavor with each cuisine.
Is mace stronger than nutmeg?
Surprisingly, mace has a stronger flavor than nutmeg. With mace, you get a spicier flavor that helps add to the tingly feel of the food.
This is because mace is located on the exterior, while nutmeg is contained inside it. You can substitute one for the other, but the difference in flavor means there’s going to be a subtle change in the taste.