Wondermom » Recipes » Substitutions » 8 Best Substitutes For Mace Seasoning For Your Recipes

8 Best Substitutes For Mace Seasoning For Your Recipes

Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

It’s nice to know a great substitute for mace, whether it’s because you don’t have it in the kitchen or just want to try new flavors in your recipes. This seasoning may not be at the top of your grocery list, but many recipes call for mace.

Mace seasoning in a white bowl surrounded by dried mace.

You’ll encounter it when cooking, baking, and even when making drinks. So, knowing a few good mace replacements can be helpful. Keep reading to learn about the best mace substitutes.

Jump to:

What Is Mace and What Does Mace Taste Like?

You may not be familiar with mace, and you likely know nutmeg better. They come from the same source — the nutmeg tree — but they’re different.

Nutmeg comes from the pit or the seed of the fruit. On the other hand, mace comes from the red, webby flesh that covers that seed. 

Mace seasoning in a wooden bowl on a wooden table.

You can buy whole nutmeg and grate it using a microplane to add freshly ground nutmeg to your recipes. The same can be done with mace by purchasing mace blades and grinding them using a mortar and pestle.

In terms of taste, mace and nutmeg have fairly similar flavor profiles. Both spices provide hints of citrus, sweet, pine, and nutty flavor notes. 

However, mace brings a spicier punch to a dish, and its overall flavor is more robust, while nutmeg is milder and more delicate.

Why Use a Substitute for Mace?


Mace can bring bold flavors to any recipe that calls for this spice, but it comes at a steeper price. So, if you find mace as one of the ingredients, it would be great to know of a few more cost-effective alternatives without sacrificing the flavor of a dish.


Mace blades may be less available, but ground mace is quite easy to find in stores. However, it’s understandable if mace isn’t included in your latest grocery run.

In case it’s not available in the spice cabinet or you don’t have time to run to the store, several mace substitutes are likely already in your kitchen.


I love adding mace to stews, and even baked goods, but not everyone likes a spicy flavor in their meal. So, to accommodate the entire family’s flavor preferences, replacing mace with milder substitutes is helpful.

Best Mace Substitutes for Cooking and Baking


With nutmeg and mace having the same flavor profiles, this is the best substitute in terms of flavor. It’s also a flexible alternative because nutmeg (ground or whole) will work for any recipe that calls for mace.

Nutmeg powder substituted for mace in a white bowl.

I notice very little changes in the dish’s flavor whenever nutmeg is used in place of mace. Remember, though, that nutmeg still has a warm spice flavor, although it’s less intense than mace.

Whether it’s for savory meals or spiced desserts, feel free to substitute mace with nutmeg.

Because nutmeg has a milder flavor than mace, it’s safe to follow a 1:1 ratio when using this substitute.

Ground Cloves

Like mace, clove is a versatile spice that works great when making savory and sweet dishes. 

Ground cloves in a bowl on a wooden table, with cloves on the side.

Clove is a great addition to meat dishes like this Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma. It also adds a nice spicy kick to this Instant Pot Applesauce Cake recipe.

Clove shares similar flavors with mace. This alternative can give your dish a hint of spicy, woody, and slightly sweet taste, so it’s quite close to the flavor you can get from mace.

I recommend using ground cloves when making beverages or braising liquids and stews. But ground clove would also be a great mace alternative for baked goods and meat marinades.

Cloves can easily overpower the taste of a dish, so it’s best to start with just half the amount of mace needed in a recipe. So if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of mace, start by adding 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves.

Apple Pie Spice

The standard spices included in apple pie spice are nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. You can also check the label to see if the brand you’re purchasing has other ingredients like ginger.

This combination makes apple pie spice a good substitute for mace.

Since apple pie spice is commonly used in sweet desserts and beverages, you can use this ingredient for similar recipes that call for mace.

Cinnamon is the most prominent flavor in apple pie spice, so it has a more robust taste than mace. You can start with a 1:1/2 ratio of mace to apple pie spice when using the latter as a substitute.

Ground Cumin

In addition to a slightly sweet and nutty taste, cumin’s flavor profile also hints of earthy and bitter notes. It can change the outcome of a dish that’s originally made with mace.

That said, ground cumin can still be a nice substitute if mace is used in a recipe mainly for its warm, spicy punch.

Cumin and ground cumin on wooden spoons.

Cumin is also easy to find in the store because it’s widely used in Middle Eastern, Indian, Latin American, and African cuisines.

However, cumin may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a mace substitute for desserts and hot drinks.

Since cumin has a strong flavor, stay on the safe side and start adding just half the amount of mace that is indicated in the recipe.

Ground Ginger

Ginger shares the same warm spice that mace is known for, making it a good substitute. With ground ginger, you will get a peppery and pungent flavor with subtle hints of citrus and sweetness.

Ginger powder, a substitute for mace, in a glass bowl on a wooden table.

It will slightly alter the taste of your dish if ginger is used in place of mace. But it’s a good replacement to maintain the warm, spicy kick mace provides to any recipe.

Ground ginger can be used as a replacement for mace in stews, curry dishes, soups, marinades, and baked goods.

While ginger has a pronounced spicy taste, its flavor gets more mellow as the dish cooks. So you can use a 1:1 ratio when substituting mace with ginger.

Ground Cinnamon

Cinnamon resembles mace in the sense that it’s also used for all sorts of recipes. It goes well with sweet treats, baked goods, hot beverages, and even spice rubs for grilled meats.

Cinnamon powder and sticks with wooden scoop on the side, substitute for mace.

However, they don’t taste the same. The general flavor of cinnamon is more intense than mace. 

The spiciness and aroma from cinnamon are also more pronounced, so it’s best to combine with an equal part of either nutmeg or ground cloves. This will result in a seasoning flavor that’s closer to mace.

Cinnamon has a warm spicy aroma with a sweet flavor profile that can easily overwhelm a dish. If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of mace, start with just 1/2 of cinnamon if this is your chosen substitute.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

The staple ingredients in premade pumpkin pie spice are nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. But it doesn’t taste exactly like apple pie spice, which typically contains more cinnamon.

Pumpkin spice in a bowl on a wooden cutting board.

That means pumpkin pie spice is a tad milder than apple pie spice, although it’s more flavorful than mace alone.

Because the taste of this spice blend is commonly associated with desserts, I reserve it for baked goods. Of course, it’s also perfect for seasonal muffins and hot drinks! 

However, it might drastically change the flavor of a dish when used as a mace substitute in meat and savory dishes.

Pumpkin pie spice mixes don’t typically have an overpowering cinnamon flavor. Overall, it tastes milder than apple pie spice and can be used as a mace alternative in a 1:1 ratio.


Don’t get confused by its name because this seasoning comes from a single source. It’s made from dried berries of the allspice tree, a.k.a. pimento or myrtle pepper tree.

Allspice powder, a substitute for mace, in a bowl on a wooden table.

However, its commonly known name can be explained by its flavor profile. Imagine black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves together, then you’ll know what ground allspice tastes like.

The taste of black pepper in allspice is more powerful, making it a suitable mace alternative for vegetable dishes, meat pies, stews, and soups.

If your kids like spiced sweets, allspice is also a good alternative for mace in baked goods.

Despite the myriad of flavors you can get from allspice, its overall taste is more subtle than other mace substitutes listed here. So when using it as an alternative, you can follow the same amount indicated for mace in a recipe.

How to Use Mace Substitutes in Your Recipes

Aside from nutmeg, the mace alternatives on this list can change the taste of your dish. It’s not necessarily a bad alteration, but the changes can be noticeable. That can be a good way to encourage everyone to explore different flavor profiles once in a while.

Keep in mind the recommended ratios when using mace substitutes. You can always start with a smaller amount even for alternatives like nutmeg and allspice. Then build the flavor of the dish by adding more of the substitute spice if needed.

Consider the flavor profile of the dish or recipe you’re using, then decide which is the most suitable mace substitute to use. 

If you’re making baked goods, desserts, or beverages, spices that can match sweet flavors are best to use. So the best options would be cinnamon, nutmeg, or spice blends for apple and pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin cupcakes with caramel icing, with nutmeg, cinnamon, walnuts and allspice on the side.

Mace alternatives like allspice, cumin, and ginger would go well with savory dishes like stews, soups, curry recipes, and meat marinades.


Why is mace more expensive than nutmeg?

One of the main reasons mace is more expensive than nutmeg is because there’s typically more yield of nutmeg seeds than mace blades in every harvest of nutmeg fruit.

Is ground mace healthy?

Adding mace to your shopping list is worth it for its health benefits. Mace may help improve digestion, blood circulation, and dental health.

What is the shelf life of ground mace?

Ground mace can retain its flavor somewhere between 24 and 36 months, but it may depend on the specific brand you purchased. Make sure to store ground mace in a tight-lid container in your kitchen cabinet.

Finding the Best Substitutes for Mace Is Easier Than You Think

What’s great about using mace substitutes is that most of the alternatives are relatively easier to find and more affordable. So, it shouldn’t be a problem for homemakers to look for a suitable seasoning to use in place of mace.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.