The 7 Best Substitutes for Nutmeg

Nutmeg Substitute
Nutmeg Substitute. Juan Silva/Getty Images

Don't let a lack of nutmeg keep you from making a recipe. Here are several suitable substitutes:

Best Bet:

Mace: It's the outer membrane that surrounds nutmeg before it's harvested, so it shares a lot of the same flavors. Replace the nutmeg in your recipe with an equal amount of mace.

Still Good:

Garam Masala: This is a spice blend that is commonly used in Indian, Pakistani and ​other Asian cuisine. The ingredients vary, but a typical recipe includes mace, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, so it makes a good substitute for nutmeg.

Since garam masala also typically includes peppercorns, bay leaves and cumin, this substitute works best in savory dishes. Replace it measure for measure.

Pumpkin Pie Spice: This fall favorite is a blend of nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cinnamon. So, if you use it as a substitute, you'll be getting some actual nutmeg into your recipe, plus several other spices that work well as a nutmeg substitute. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes with good results. Replace the nutmeg called for with an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice.

Cinnamon: You can use cinnamon as a replacement for nutmeg in both sweet and savory recipes. It has a similar flavor profile, but it's a bit more pungent, so start by using half as much, and taste to determine if you need to add more.

Allspice: The English thought this spice tasted like a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, so they named it allspice. That flavor profile makes it a good choice for a nutmeg substitute.

Use an equal amount of allspice in place of the nutmeg called for in your recipe.

Ginger: This root has a spicier bite than nutmeg, but it tends to work well in the types of recipes that nutmeg is used in. Since it lacks a sweet side, you'll find it works best as a replacement in savory dishes. Replace the nutmeg called for with an equal amount of ground ginger in meat and vegetable dishes.

Ground Cloves: Cloves have a sweet, spicy, peppery flavor that goes nicely with nutmeg. For this reason, you'll often see recipes that call for both. If you don't have nutmeg, you can use ground cloves instead. Just know that a little goes a long way. Half as much cloves should get the job done. If the recipe you're working on already calls for cloves, consider using a different substitute. You definitely don't want to overdo the cloves.

Did You Find This Substitute Helpful?

If so, be sure to bookmark or pin my complete ingredient substitution list while you're here. With over 70 substitutions (and counting), it's sure to get you out of a jam or two.

Find out how long spices and other pantry foods are good for. Then, use this pantry list to restock your pantry.