Have a recipe that calls for mace? But you don’t already have it, check out the best substitute for mace below.
Mace is a yellowish-brown spice that is more expensive than the more popular aromatic spices. The mace is native to Indonesia (dubbed the Spice Islands). It can also be found in some Caribbean islands.
Mace is used commonly in Caribbean, Asian, Indian and Moroccan cuisines and is also used in French, British and Dutch cooking. It is found in spice blends and baked goods – particularly cakes, donuts, puddings, and custards. In some countries, it can also be a part of savory dishes like sauces, soup and poultry and fish recipes.
Mace and nutmeg both come from the same plant – the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans). Since nutmeg is the seed and mace is the seed covering, the flavor will be similar. Macse’s flavor is woody, warm and sweet, very much like nutmeg.
The Best Substitute for Mace
When you come across a recipe that calls for mace, you can use nutmeg instead, though nutmeg just has a slightly more pungent flavor. So it’s much better to use a little less nutmeg in some dishes.
If you don’t have nutmeg, you can also use ground allspice. It has a similar flavor profile but is much stronger. To maintain a balanced flavor, it may be best to reduce the amount by half and then add more if needed. Ground cinnamon and ginger are also good mace substitutes. Replace them measure for measure.
Mace blades – Cheaper option
Since the harvest results in much more nutmeg (the seed) than mace (the covering), mace (particularly the blades) tends to be a bit pricey. That’s why people are much more likely to look for recipes using nutmeg or other regular spices.
In case you have to get mace for your dish, it’s cheaper if you buy mace in its whole form (dried blades). Ground mace tends to keep its flavor and fragrance longer than mace blades. When using mace blades, keep in mind that one teaspoon of ground mace is equivalent to one tablespoon of mace blades.
For the truest flavor, as with nutmeg, consider buying mace blades and grind them as needed. Whole mace blades are easy to grind. Just pop it in a spice grinder (or a mortar and pestle), give it a quick whirl, you will get blades in no time. In order to wake up the essential oils for more fragrant spice, roast mace blades and cool them off prior to grinding. It’s common to toasted mace grades in a dry pan, just until fragrant and crispy. You may want to toast other spices like cloves and cardamom at the same time. The mace blades are commonly used to infuse flavor into rice, stocks, steamed dishes with long cooking times.
Where to buy ground mace and whole mace blades
While you can find ground mace in grocery stores and supermarkets, mace blades are often available in international food markets, spices shops. Ground mace and mace blades are also easily found at online retailers. Be mindful that buying mace blades from the bulk bins at a health food store may save you some money. But buying one of the above spices as substitute for mace is still the most affordable option.