Star Anise Substitute

Missing star anise that 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. Try these spices to start.

Best Star Anise Substitutes

Chinese Five Spice Powder
Anise Seeds
Fennel Seeds

First Choice: Chinese Five Spice Powder

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!


Other Options: Fennel Seed or Anise Seeds

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: Allspice 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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