Mace powder is a warm, sweet spice that adds flavor and aroma to many dishes. However, it can be difficult to find and is more expensive than other spices.
If you don't have mace powder on hand or want an affordable alternative, there are several spices and spice blends that make great substitutes.
11 Handy Mace Powder Substitutes
If you don't have mace powder, try one of these alternatives based on the flavor profile you want and what's already in your spice rack or pantry.
Nutmeg has a very similar flavor profile to mace, with a warm, sweet and slightly nuttier taste. It can be used in both sweet and savory recipes that call for mace powder.
You can replace mace powder with nutmeg powder in a 1:1 ratio. Since nutmeg is a bit stronger in flavor, you may want to start with slightly less nutmeg and adjust to taste. But overall it makes an excellent stand-in.
Cinnamon is another warming spice that works well in place of mace powder. It has a sweet, peppery, slightly citrusy flavor that mimics notes found in mace.
Use about half the amount of cinnamon as you would mace powder. Cinnamon has a stronger, more pungent flavor so too much can overpower a dish. But when used sparingly, it replicates the sweetness and warmth of mace.
You can replace mace powder with allspice measure for measure in most recipes. However, recognize that allspice has a more intense, concentrated flavor than mace.
Consider using a bit less allspice when swapping it into savory dishes and adjust to your taste preferences. But it can be used in equal amounts for sweeter baked goods.
Ground ginger root has a sweet, peppery bite that works in place of mace powder. When cooked, ginger mellows out and replicates the subtle spiciness of mace.
Substitute ground ginger for mace powder using a 1:1 ratio. You may want to start with slightly less ginger depending on the recipe, as the flavors won't be exactly the same. But it adds the same warmth.
5. Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin pie spice contains cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and other spices that give it a similar flavor profile to mace powder. It adds sweetness and warmth to dishes.
You can swap pumpkin pie spice in a 1:1 ratio for mace powder in most recipes, especially baked goods and desserts. The spices it contains help mimic the mace flavor.
6. Garam Masala
Replace mace powder with an equal amount of garam masala. This spice mix can replicate the subtle heat and sweetness of mace in many dishes.
7. Apple Pie Spice
Apple pie spice is a blend that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cardamom. It makes a good backup for mace powder, especially in apple dishes and baked goods.
Since this spice mix leans more toward cinnamon, use about half the amount of apple pie spice as you would mace powder. Start with less and add more as needed to suit your tastebuds.
Ground cloves have a sweet, peppery and almost citrusy flavor similar to mace powder. They can be used in both sweet and savory recipes as a substitute.
However, cloves have a very strong, concentrated flavor. Use about half the amount of ground cloves as you would mace powder so you don't overwhelm the dish.
Fragrant cardamom powder has hints of lemon and mint that distinguish it from mace. But it can still work nicely when you're in a pinch.
For every teaspoon of mace powder, use 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder. Add it to curries, stews, breads and more for a flavorful finish.
Earthy cumin powder makes more of a flavor change, but adds warmth to replace mace powder in savory dishes like meats, veggies and soups.
When using cumin in place of mace, substitute 1/2 teaspoon cumin for every teaspoon mace powder called for. Then adjust amounts to your taste.
11. Mace Blades
Whole mace blades can be ground into mace powder. This is the best option for replicating the true flavor of mace powder in a recipe.
For every teaspoon of mace powder, use 1 tablespoon whole mace blades. Grind them up in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Homemade mace powder tastes freshest!
Tips for Cooking With Mace Substitutes
- Whatever mace powder substitute you use, start with less spice and add more as needed. It's easier to fix bland than overly spicy!
- Look for spices with a similar color to mace powder, like a golden brown. This helps replicate the appearance.
- Stick to spices you enjoy and are comfortable cooking with. Not every mace stand-in will work depending on the recipe.
- If using a spice blend, check for any extra flavors like rosemary or sage that may not fit your dish.
- Store spices properly in a cool, dark place and replace them every 4-6 months for best flavor.
Sample Substitution Ratios
- 1 teaspoon mace powder = 1 teaspoon nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon mace powder = 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or cloves
- 1 teaspoon mace powder = 1 tablespoon whole mace blades
Start with less of a stand-in spice and add more to reach desired taste. Consider the flavor profile you want as you experiment to find amounts that work for you.
What's the best mace powder substitute for sweets?
For baked goods, nutmeg, allspice, pumpkin pie spice and apple pie spice are excellent choices. They provide a similar sweetness and warmth.
What's the most affordable mace powder substitute?
Cinnamon is the most budget-friendly option, since it's widely available and typically cheaper than mace powder.
Is it OK to use mace and nutmeg interchangeably?
Yes, mace powder and nutmeg can be swapped 1:1 in most recipes since they originate from the same fruit and have similar flavors.
Can I use garam masala as a 1:1 substitute for mace powder?
It's best to use the same amount of garam masala as you would mace powder. But taste your dish along the way in case the flavor needs adjusting based on the garam masala blend.
What spices make up a good DIY mace powder substitute?
A blend of 1 part nutmeg, 1 part cinnamon, and 1/2 part ginger or allspice makes a flavorful stand-in. Adjust amounts to your taste preferences.
Mace powder is a sweet and aromatic spice that can be hard to replace exactly. However, there are many flavorful alternatives to try that can complement both sweet and savory recipes in their own unique way.
Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and pumpkin pie spice make excellent substitutes for baked goods and desserts. Meanwhile, cloves, cumin and garam masala work well for savory dishes like curries, soups and meats.
Test out a few mace powder stand-ins to find your favorites. With the right spice swap and balanced flavors, your recipe will still taste amazing even without mace powder on hand.