Missing freshly ground nutmeg that a recipe calls for? A good nutmeg substitute is only a pinch away. Its flavor is warm and woodsy, yet delicate, making it versatile enough to be used in many cuisines including a vast range of Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Best Nutmeg Substitutes
The highest quality whole nutmegs will have a high percentage of volatile oils, for super flavorful cooking. Once ground, the volatile oils in allspice berries dissipate quickly, losing their flavors after a few weeks or months.
If you're totally out of nutmeg or your ground nutmeg has been sitting on the shelf for far too many months (or years!), we've got some great nutmeg substitutes for you.
These are some of the best nutmeg substitutes:
Individual Spice Substitutes:
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Mix These Spices:
1 part ginger plus 1/4 parts each cinnamon, allspice and cloves
Or any combination of:
Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves, Mace, Allspice
Use Spice Blends:
Apple Pie Spice
First Choice: Mace
Mace, which is a part of the same spice as nutmeg and comes from the same tree, is essentially just the aril that grows over the nutmeg seed. Note that mace is not a perfect substitute as it is very delicate and lacks many of nutmeg’s flavor notes; however, it does bear a close similarity and is the perfect replacement, should you have it on hand!
Blends: Garam Masala
Garam masala is a great option among Indian spices as a good nutmeg substitute, as most blends will feature peppercorns, cinnamon and cumin along with both nutmeg and mace. The fact that it contains nutmeg along with two of the acceptable nutmeg substitutes from this list makes it an effective replacement.
Last resort: Cinnamon, Ginger or Cloves
Lastly, if you've run out of all other options, try cinnamon. Cinnamon has a somewhat different flavor profile from nutmeg, it is similarly fragrant and woodsy. Cinnamon has a brighter, more pungent flavor than nutmeg and therefore it is recommended that you use less of it than you would nutmeg. Use about 1/2 teaspoon for every teaspoon of nutmeg needed.
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