9 Best Mace Substitutes That Work

Mace Substitute

Are you looking for a mace substitute? Perhaps you have come across this ingredient in a dish and don’t know what it is. You are probably familiar with its companion spice, nutmeg, which is used in many more recipes.

Mace is used in both sweet and savory dishes, in small quantities. Originating in Indonesia, this spice is used a great deal in Asian cooking and is also a component of the Indian garam masala.

Mace is what covers the rounded whole nutmeg. It has a lacy appearance and is reddish with some yellow in color. The strands become brownish-red when dried and are known as mace blades. When the blades are powdered, you get ground mace, a delicately flavored spice with hot and pungent undertones. Mace powder is quite expensive.

The Mace Substitutes That Are Cheaper

1. Mace Blade

Using mace blade instead of mace powder is a cheaper option to using the ground powder. In fact, it is easy to grind the blades into a powder in your coffee or dry grinder. This will add taste and flavor to your fruit cakes and spice biscuits, apart from being used in savory dishes and with meats.

It is actually the same ingredient, except that it is ground, so you use it in the same quantity as called for in the recipe.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon, or its close relative, cassia, is popularly found in most kitchens. You probably have it on hand and use either the stick (bark) or the powder in various sweet dishes, meats, savories, and even beverages. It is sweet with slightly warm undertones.

Cinnamon goes well with mulled and hot drinks, including coffee and chocolate. It is a must in Apple Pie also.

You can use this instead of mace when there is no other option as it complements similar flavors as mace does. Use it in reduced quantities if using instead of mace as it has a strong flavor.


Nutmeg is a hard and round spice ball. You typically cut it and then grate and use it, since it is used in small quantities. It goes well in spinach and in many sweet dishes as well and is used to flavor meats.

It comes from the same plant, and it is the mace blades that encompass the nutmeg. It has a similar flavor profile, in that it is hot and sweet, but mace is actually different from nutmeg. In a bind, you can use nutmeg instead of mace powder.


With a name like allspice, you may think that it is a mixture of spices, but it is actually a berry that has a combination of different flavors reminiscent of nutmeg, mace, cloves, cinnamon, and more.

It can be used whole or powdered and is quite pungent. It is used in sweet and savory dishes, meats, rubs, marinades, pickles, pies, soups, and gravies. It adds a depth of flavor to many dishes.


Cardamom is available in three different varieties, black, white, and green. The black one is big and has a slightly different flavor than the white and green varieties. It is more often used in savory dishes.

The green one has a pronounced flavor that is mix of eucalyptus, mint, citrus, and other cooling flavors. It is used primarily in sweet dishes, though it may be used in savory ones as well. The white variety is simply the green one that is processed. When you don’t have mace powder available, you can flavor your sweet and savory dishes with cardamom seeds or powder instead.

6. Ginger

Ginger is hot and spicy. If you use the dried and powdered version, use in small quantities as it can make a dish quite pungent, though it looks and smells mild. Use in sweet and savory dishes as an alternative to mace powder – it is much cheaper and more easily available.

This rhizome is used in cakes, cookies, marinades, rubs, meats, and vegetables. It is an essential ingredient in gingerbread house, ginger cookies, and is often added to jams as well as a spice component.


Cloves are pungent and spicy, though the initial burst of flavor may be sweet. If used in quantity, it can be numbing. In fact, cloves are a known remedy for tooth pain and used in toothpastes as well. This spice can be used whole or powdered, in small quantities for its aroma and taste.

Because clove powder can be quite strong, use it in half the quantity that you would use mace powder, otherwise it will overpower the dish.

8.Apple Pie Spice

This blended spice mix has an overwhelming cinnamon taste and smell. It may contain some other spices like nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, and maybe ginger and cardamom as well. You can use this instead of mace powder, because the flavors of the spices are similar.

Use only half the quantity that you would use of mace powder as the blend can be quite strong and spicy.

 9. Aniseed

You can powder aniseed and use it instead. It has a sweet and floral taste and flavor, reminiscent of liquorice. Use it in a small quantity in dishes where the flavor will add to the taste of the dish. You may also add some other spices to give more depth of flavor.

Usually, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon along with aniseed will give you a good aroma.


 Is allspice and mace the same?

They are different spices. Allspice comes from a berry that is native to Jamaica whereas mace originated in Indonesia. Allspice has some flavor of mace and also a mix of cinnamon, cardamom and other spices. 

What is the flavor of mace?

Mace has a similar though milder flavor of nutmeg. It has sweet and spicy undertones. You can also have some hints of cinnamon and the heat of pepper in it. 

What is the best mace alternative?

Nutmeg and mace blades that you grind yourself are the best alternatives, though you can use any of the substitutes described above. 

To Sum Up

When you need a spice occasionally, it becomes a problem to source it. Spices rapidly lose their flavor when ground, no matter how well you store them. The freshest spices have the best flavor. As such, if you need a mace substitute, you can use other spices in smaller quantities, if you have them.

Mace powder can be substituted, usually in smaller quantities, with other spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and even blended spice mixes that contain a mixture of different spices.

With milder spices you can use an equal amount to replace the mace. It is best to taste as you add, if you are unsure of the quantities as the flavor also depends on the freshness of the spice. 

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