What can I substitute for nutmeg?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for nutmeg?” with an in-depth analysis of nutmeg, how we can use the nutmeg in our recipes, and what are the possible substitutes of nutmeg.

What can I substitute for nutmeg?

We can have many substituted products of nutmeg which can be used in place of nutmeg when nutmeg is out of hand. These substitutes include mace, garam masala, allspice, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, ginger, and cloves.


A nutmeg is a form of spice that is used almost all around the world. It is synthesized from the seeds of Myristica fragrans, which is an evergreen plant. This plant is considered a native of Moluccas of Indonesia. 

Nutmeg is a most popular stem that can be used in cooking such as in many savoury dishes where its nutty nature and sweet taste and flavour supports well to sweet dishes and savoury recipes such as soups, eggnog, lattes, pies, and casseroles.

Nutmeg boosts the taste of recipes by giving them a sharp flavour.

Substitutes of Nutmeg

If you are making a dish, and nutmeg is running low then you can use several substitutes for nutmeg to enjoy the flavour and taste of nutmeg in the recipes.

Some of the possible substituted products of nutmeg are as follows:


Mace is considered as one of the perfect substituted spices for nutmeg because the origin of both spices is similar like both come from a single source named Myristica fragrans tree. 

In replacement of nutmeg with mace, an equal proportion of both the spices should be used such in the ratio of one and one.

Mace is an outer covering of the nutmeg seed which is the major reason for a similar taste. So, nutmeg can easily be swapped by the mace in any recipe but should be in equal amounts.

Garam masala

Garam masala is the most famous spice which is used mostly in South Asian countries and India. People of these regions love to eat spicy products that’s why it is most popular in these places. 

Garam masala itself is not a product while it is a mixture of blended masalas which may include clove, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, mace, cloves, and nutmeg. 

Ingredients of garam masala can also vary due to the availability of these spices. In some regions, these ingredients are not produced. So, where these are exported from another region.

Ingredients of masala can also include saffron, turmeric, star anise, fenugreek or it can be any other spice of that region. 

Quantity while making replacement of nutmeg with garam masala should be kept equal such as in 1:1.


Allspice is also a good alternative to nutmeg. Allspice is extracted from the berries of Pimenta dioica. Pimenta dioica is also known as Jamaican pepper or pimento, this is also an evergreen plant. 

Its flavour is similar to the combined taste of other spices which may include pepper, nutmeg, juniper berries, and cinnamon, but the allspice which is an original spice is only the blended form of berries alone, its original form does not contain the mixture of other blended spices.

Allspice is most commonly present in all of the kitchen pantries, so it is a convenient and easily available product that can be used as a substitute for nutmeg.

It is also recommended that allspice should be used in equal quantity in place of its original product, nutmeg.


Cinnamon is one the most popular and most common spices which are present almost in all kitchens. 

It is extracted from the inside bark of trees that belong to the Cinnamomum genus. Cinnamon powder is one of its most common forms which can be easily replaced with nutmeg.

The flavour of cinnamon is strong. So, it is always used in a very small amount. Due to its strong flavour and pungency, it is always recommended to use cinnamon in half of the content as compared to nutmeg in any of the recipes.

Pumpkin Pie spice

As it is shown by name it is a pie spice, but in actuality, it is not only recommended for pies only.

And it also has no resemblance with pumpkin despite its name. Pumpkin pie spice is also a finely blended mixture of other spices such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger. Cloves can also be a part of this finely blended mixture of spices in pumpkin pie spice. 

Due to the presence of nutmeg in this spice recipe, it can easily be replaced in an equal amount with the nutmeg.

Other FAQs about nutmeg that you may be interested in.

Can nutmeg go bad?


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What can I substitute for nutmeg?” with an in-depth analysis of nutmeg, how we can use the nutmeg in our recipes, and what are the possible substitutes of nutmeg.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.