So, what is this mace? I am sure that most of you that came to this article to find the best mace substitute know what it is. But it is definitely not out of place to give you a little more detail.
Mace is an incredible spice that is yellowish-brown in color and is derived from the dried nutmeg seed that grows on the nutmeg tree, scientifically known as the Myristica fragran tree. There are both dried and ground mace available and both versions are often mixed with other aromatic spices.
It is very popular in Asian, Indian, and Caribbean cuisine, and it is often used in spice blends, as well as in soups, sauces, and with poultry.
And that is all great, but what if you run out of it, can’t find it in any grocery store, and you planned to make some of these delicious dishes?
The answer is obvious: you need a good substitute. And on the list that I made just for that purpose, you will find the best substitutes for mace that exist.
Finding The Perfect Mace Substitute
The following is the list of the best mace spice substitutes and I am sure that you will find the one that best matches your needs.
1. Nutmeg: Surely The Best
Nutmeg is definitely the best option that you can choose as a mace substitute. The main reason for this is that they are related because they both grow on the same nutmeg tree. They are cultivated in Indonesia.
Actually, nutmeg is the real seed that grows on this tree and the mace spice is obtained from the red cover of the seeds-aril by flattening and drying them for about 14 days.
But let’s go back to nutmeg. Nutmeg is available as a whole seed or ground. When it comes to the flavor profile, it possesses a sweet, nutty flavor that is very similar flavor to that of mace, but a bit sweeter.
Nutmeg is a common spice in pies, soups, casseroles, veggies, meats, puddings, donuts, and other savory and sweet dishes. I will once again repeat that is the absolute best when it comes to alternatives for mace.
2. Cinnamon: Decent Alternative
Second, on the list of mace substitutes is one that I am sure you’re all familiar with. It is cinnamon, a spice that is widely used in many recipes and in many cuisines all over the world.
Just like mace seasoning, it can be a good option for both savory and sweet dishes. Its flavor is sweet with some spicy undertones.
Although it is a great substitute for nearly every dish that you can imagine, you need to be careful when adding it because of its intense flavor which can easily dominate the dish.
The best savory dishes in which ground cinnamon is a common ingredient are curry dishes, sausages, and meat. On the other hand, as I already mentioned, it can be a great solution for sweet dishes as well. Some of those sweet dishes include baked goods, desserts, and sweet drinks.
3. Ginger: India’s Best
Ginger is an incredible spice that originates from India and it is indispensable in Indian cuisine. Around the world, it is best known for its medicinal uses since it possesses many health benefits. It comes from the same family as galangal, turmeric, and cardamom.
It can be found in many forms. It can be powdered, dried, candied, preserved, or pickled. It possesses both sweet and spicy flavors and that makes it a very good mace substitute.
Just like the previous ones, it can be added to both sweet and savory dishes. Some of those dishes include stir-fries, stews, soups, marinades, sauces, curries, desserts, beverages, and spice blends.
4. Allspice: Savory And Sweet Combo
Another great spice to substitute mace, allspice is not a mix of spices but one spice that is made from dried berries that grow on an allspice tree.
The flavor of this spice is sweet and somewhat similar to the mixture of flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
This spice can be found in ground form and as a whole berry. It is best to use ground allspice in some dishes such as cakes, pies, and other baked goods. On the other hand, if you are planning to make lamb dishes, beef, or stews, it is better to use it in the whole form.
I will also add that you can use allspice in equal amounts as mace.
5. Garam Masala: Excellent Indian Spice Blend
Unlike allspice, this one is a mixture of ground spices. The main ingredients of this spice blend include cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and sometimes even mace itself. It can also contains ginger, black pepper, saffron, bay leaves, star anise, and garlic.
The composition of this spice mix varies greatly from place to place, so you have to be careful when buying it in the grocery store. This spice is the ideal balance of spicy and sweet flavor so it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is, for example, ideal for many baked goods.
You can use it in a 1:1 ratio as a mace substitute.
6. Pumpkin Pie Spice: Ideal Holiday Spice
Pumpkin pie spice is a pretty good substitute for mace since it possesses a very similar flavor. That is mainly because of its main ingredient which is nutmeg, mace’s close relative.
Other ingredients that make up this spice include ginger, cinnamon, and allspice. All of these also have a similar flavor to mace.
Pumpkin pie spice can stand in place of mace spice in many dishes and especially in sweet ones. Some of them are cakes, cookies, waffles, muffins, pancakes, and beverages.
Since pumpkin pie spice possesses a little more of an intense flavor than mace, it is a good idea to lower the amount of it a little bit when you are using it as a mace substitute in your dish.
7. Apple Pie Spice: Another Sweet Spice
Apple pie spice is a spice that is somewhat similar to pumpkin pie since they have very similar flavors due to the similar content of ingredients. The difference is the amount of those ingredients in the mixture.
There is a lot more cinnamon in apple pie spice than there is in pumpkin pie spice. There are also smaller amounts of cardamom, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg in the apple pie mixture. This spice is most suitable in apple-based cookies, cakes, and pies.
Because of the large amount of cinnamon and its intense flavor, I would recommend that you add half the amount of it to your dish when you’re substituting it for mace spice.
8. Cardamom: Unique Flavor
This spice called cardamom is one with a very unique flavor that is intense, sweet, and spicy with undertones of mint and lemon. When it comes to all of the listed spices that can be a good mace substitute, this one is the least similar in flavor.
But it is similar enough to be a decent alternative when you run out of mace spice. Cardamom is a common ingredient in baked goods, hot beverages, and meat, and vegetable dishes.
When you are substituting it for mace, it is best to add half of the mace amount.
9. Cloves: Very Strong Flavor
Cloves are actually the flowers that come from the clove tree. They are available in whole and ground forms. When it comes to the flavor profile, they possess a bitter-sweet and astringent flavor that is very strong.
Cloves are also a very versatile spice since they can be used in many sweet or savory dishes such as rice dishes, pies, and meat dishes. They are also an ingredient in some beverages like mulled wine, chai, and cider.
Because of its intense flavor, it is best to add only half of the recommended mace amount to your dish.
10. Cumin: The Heart Of Mexican Cuisine
If you like Mexican cuisine then cumin is an ideal option for you. Its warm and spicy flavor is an ideal option for your dish if you want to add intensity. It can be found in whole and ground forms.
To be honest, the flavor of cumin is not that similar to the flavor of mace like some previously mentioned seasonings, but in many savory dishes that use mace, it can find its place.
Half of the amount of mace that you would use is just enough for your dish.
11. Black Peppercorns: Solid Version Of Pepper
This is basically the solid version of black pepper, one of the ingredients of accent seasoning. Honestly speaking, it is not the greatest substitute for mace spice, but it can be a good alternative if you run out of options.
And this one is very easy to find in any grocery store or in the supermarket, and there is a good chance that you already have it somewhere on the shelf in your kitchen. This spice is used in its whole form and it is great if you want to add a spicy taste to your dish.
12. Mace Blades: Much Cheaper Than Ground Mace
Mace blades are actually a whole form of ground mace spice. They are a little less suitable for cooking because they cannot be blended like a ground mace. But they certainly offer some benefits.
The first one is that mace blades are much cheaper than the ground version. The second one is that you can also make ground mace from dried mace blades by simply putting them in your spice grinder or blender and then making the fine mace powder.
It is best to use mace blades in steamed recipes like rice or stock because they can’t dissolve in water and it is best to cook them for a long time to really extract their flavors.
Find The Right Mace Substitute
Making this list was not an easy task at all, but I tried my best to outline all the alternatives in one place along with their main characteristics and some interesting facts.
All with one goal in mind: to help you find the best mace substitute for your favorite dish, whether it’s savory or sweet.