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Mace Spice Substitute (8 Options For Your Next Recipe)

There is no need to worry if you do not have mace; you can always use a mace spice substitute. Despite mace’s versatility, it’s not the most accessible and cheapest spice. 

Versatile spices are the best, and if you’re a fan of spices, you’re definitely familiar with mace. Mace is a sweet and warm spice with hints of spicier tones. It is ideal for both sweet and savory dishes. 

Wooden bowl filled with mace spice and spoon inside.

What Is Mace Spice?

Mace is a highly valued and versatile aromatic spice that comes from the same tree as nutmeg.

From the seeds of the nutmeg tree comes the nutmeg spice that we know of. This seed comes with a red covering or aril. People separate this covering from the nutmeg, flatten and dry them through sun-drying or artificial methods for weeks. This process results in the spice that we now know as mace. 

The drying method for mace helps it preserve its vibrant color and oils. For this reason, it can have a captivating yellow, orange, or crimson color.

This lovely hue is part of why many love using it; the spice adds an aesthetically pleasing touch to their dishes. 

Mace has a warm, sweet, and slightly peppery flavor. However, people often describe it as a more delicate version of nutmeg. Indeed, it’s very much like nutmeg, only spicier and more refined.

This spice’s distinct but subtle taste allows it to blend beautifully with various sweet and savory dishes.

People use mace in baking, desserts, meat marinades, stews, soups, and spice blends.

Best Mace Substitutes

You may not know it, but you already use many spices in cooking that can easily replace mace seasoning in most recipes.

Here are your top substitutes for mace spice

1. Nutmeg

Bowl filled with nutmeg spice next to whole nuts.

Using nutmeg as a mace replacement is a no-brainer. Since nutmeg comes from the same source as mace, it’s not surprising that they have similar flavors. Nutmeg has a sweet, warm, and nutty flavor that is like that of mace. However, nutmeg is slightly sweeter.

Nutmeg has a more pungent flavor and aroma than mace. This flavor intensity is something to keep in mind when using it.

Aside from the obvious fact that nutmeg and mace are similar in flavor, nutmeg works as an ideal substitute because of how much easier it is to find one. You probably already have this in your pantry, and you can buy it in most stores.


Nutmeg seed is best for sweet and savory dishes like puddings, baked goods, and casseroles. 

You can replace ground mace with nutmeg in a 1:1 ratio. However, if you’re unsure how the dish will turn out, start with a little less and work your way up. 

2. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin pie spice in the bowl next to real pumpkin.

Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Since this spice blend has nutmeg, it means that it can be a substitute for mace because of the flavor that it possesses. 

The nutmeg in the spice blend gives it a similar flavor to mace. In fact, it’s best to use pumpkin pie spice in recipes that call for one or two spices present in this spice blend. 


When substituted for mace, you can use Pumpkin pie spice in a 1:1 ratio. Pumpkin pie spice is especially ideal in baked goods and sweet recipes. However, there are savory recipes that could benefit from its use as well.

3. Apple Pie Spice

Tabletop with ingredients to make apple pie, including apple pie spice.

Apple pie spice is another spice blend, and it is quite similar to pumpkin pie spice. This spice blend includes cinnamon and smaller amounts of cardamom, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. The main ingredient in this blend is cinnamon, so you can expect a strong cinnamon flavor in apple pie spice. 

Needless to say, apple pie spice is best in apple-based desserts. It also works great as a mace substitute for baked dishes like cakes, pies, and cookies. 


When using apple pie spice, follow a 1:2 ratio of this mix to mace. Doing so will prevent the cinnamon flavor of the apple pie spice from overwhelming the dish.

4. Allspice

Small metal scoop with ground allspice on the tabletop.

Allspice are the dried berries of the allspice tree. It tastes sweet and warm, similar to cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice has a whole and ground form, but it’s best to replace mace with ground allspice. 

The sweet and warm flavor of allspice makes it an excellent replacement for mace in various dishes, especially for sweet dishes like cakes and pies. However, it’s important to note that allspice has a more intense flavor compared to mace.

For savory dishes, allspice is ideal for dishes like soups and stews. 


Substitute mace with allspice in a 1:1 ratio in baked goods and desserts. If you plan to use allspice in savory dishes, starting with half the amount your recipe calls for is best. Just add more until you get the desired taste. 

5. Garam Masala

Garam masala is another ground mixed spice. It consists of warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, cumin, and cloves. Depending on its origin, the spices in this mix may differ. Other variations include mace, star anise, garlic, and saffron. 

Garam masala is a staple in most South Asian dishes with a sweet, floral, and slightly spicy flavor. The spice mixture provides dishes with a warm and spicy flavor. 


Since people use this blend in savory dishes, it’s also best to use it as a mace substitute in savory recipes. However, if your sweet dishes taste great with a hint of spice, you can also use garam masala in them. 

When using garam masala, follow a 1:1 ratio in substitution. 

6. Cinnamon

Fresh cinnamon sticks next to the bowl with apple sauce.

With a warm and sweet flavor, cinnamon makes for a good mace substitute. However, it also has a slightly spicy taste that differentiates it from mace. It has a reddish-brown color, like mace, so the substitution will not change the color of your dish. 

Despite having a similar flavor to mace, cinnamon is more robust and intense. This flavor intensity means that you don’t need as much ground cinnamon as you would mace. 

Cinnamon is more common in sweets, but you may also use it in savory ones. This warm and sweet spice is perfect for baked goods and desserts. It also works wonderfully as a mace substitute for curry dishes and meats. 


If you’re using cinnamon as a substitute, use half as much as you would mace. You can add more until you get the desired flavor. 

7. Cloves

Cloves are another common ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. Thsi spice comes from the flower buds of the clove tree and has a warm, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor – almost close to the mace spice. However, it does have a notable bitter-sweet taste that is hard to ignore. 

Because of cloves’ intense and strong flavor, using less of it in place of mace is ideal. 

Cloves are best as a mace replacement for dishes like meat and pies.

Cloves come in two forms: whole and ground. However, if you plan to use it as a mace substitute, use ground cloves for best results. 


Due to the strong flavor of cloves, it’s best to follow a 1:2 ratio when using cloves as a mace substitute. Use half as many ground cloves as you would mace in a recipe. 

8. Ginger

Bowl with ground ginger and fresh ginger next to it.

Ginger may be a surprising option, but it is a decent one nonetheless. Ginger is the root of the ginger plant and can be found in various forms. You’ll find fresh, powdered, dried, preserved, pickled, and candied ginger. 

Like mace, ginger has a slightly warm and sweet flavor. However, it does have a mildly spicy flavor. Ginger also does not have an intense taste as mace as it is a subtle and mild spice overall. However, it still does well as a ground mace substitute.

Ginger has an intense aroma, but it’s nothing to worry about as it mellows with cooking. It is ideal for marinades, stews, soups, and curries. 


Use ginger in a 1:1 ratio when substituting the mace spice. You can start with less and add more to taste if you’re not too sure about using ginger, and it’s the only substitute you have. 

What Is Mace Used For In Recipes?

The warm, sweet flavor and unique aroma of mace make it a popular ingredient in various dishes. Mace is commonly used in the following: 

In Baking

Mace is a beloved spice when it comes to baking. It’s known for its remarkable ability to enhance the flavors of baked goods such as cakes, cookies, muffins, and pies, especially those containing fruits like apples and pears.

In Cooking

Mace is a popular ingredient in cooking, from meats to soups to sauces. Regarding meats, mace shines as a key ingredient in marinades and spice rubs. It’s perfect for meats such as lamb, pork, and chicken because it adds depth and complexity to the flavor. 

When it comes to stews and soups, you can use mace to infuse the dishes with a warm and aromatic essence. That way, you give every spoonful of these dishes a more comforting appeal. 

Additionally, mace also brings a unique flavor to sauces and gravies, especially creamy pasta sauces. 

In Desserts

Mace is a key ingredient in various kinds of desserts. Whether it’s custards, ice creams, puddings, or any other creamy desserts, you can count on mace to add a delicate sweetness and a slight spiciness to these treats. 

In Spice Blends

Mace isn’t only a star on its own. It also blends beautifully with other spices. Mace is a key ingredient in various spice mixes like garam masala and pumpkin pie spice mix. The warm and sweet taste of mace contributes greatly to the distinct taste of these blends. 

Related Questions

Is Mace And Allspice The Same?

No, mace and allspice are not the same. They are two distinct spices with different flavors and origins. Mace comes from the nutmeg tree, while allspice is a berry from the allspice tree. However, these two are used in similar dishes, so one can replace the other in most recipes. 

Why Is Mace So Expensive?

Mace is expensive due to many factors, such as low yield, limited distribution, seasonal availability, increasing demand, and the labor-intensive harvesting process for the spice. Additionally, the quality of mace affects its price. If mace is more vibrant and potent, expect it to fetch an even higher price tag.

Can I Substitute Nutmeg For Mace?

Yes, you can substitute nutmeg for mace, as they come from the same tropical tree. Nutmeg is the inner seed, and mace is the outer aril. While they have slightly different flavor profiles, nutmeg can be a suitable substitute for mace in most recipes. 


Mace is a versatile, warm, sweet spice that is widely popular but challenging to come by. In the rare instance that you find it, its price may make you look for an alternative. Fortunately, there are several substitutes for mace that you can use in your recipes. 

You may go for nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Apple pie spice and ginger are also good options for substitutes. Each option has a unique taste and aroma, so consider them when choosing. Some may require you to make adjustments to your recipe. 

Pick what you think is the best mace substitute for your recipe, or experiment until you find your desired taste and aroma. 

More ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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