Mace Vs Nutmeg ( Best Comparison and Difference)

Comparing Mace Vs Nutmeg, know that Nutmeg and Mace are related. The nutmeg tree, which is indigenous to the Caribbean and the Banda Islands, yields mace and nutmeg. Nutmeg and mace are the two names for the pit and seeds of the fruit that grows on the nutmeg tree, respectively.

Although they both come from the same tree, mace vs nutmeg are different. Comparing Mace vs Nutmeg is a challenging puzzle, especially if you don’t have any experience with these great spices. Although coming from the same tree, these two spices have a lot of differences, which affect their uses in cooking.

Let’s step into the world of fragrant spices and discover Mace Vs Nutmeg in terms of flavor, shelf-life, along with other helpful tips for cooking and storing these spices. If you’re ready to spice up your meals, let’s go!

What Is Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a spice made from nutmeg seed that comes from the nutmeg tree or Myristica fragrans tree, an evergreen that originates in Indonesia, in the Banda islands, which also gives rise to Mace. The top nutmeg producers and India.

Despite it being called a nut, it’s a fruit. Nutmeg needs to be dried and cured for about eight weeks after harvest. You can buy Nutmeg as whole seeds or in the ground form.

Compared to ground form, seeds have a longer shelf life. Moreover, grating the seed directly into a recipe will give a fresher and cleaner taste than ground nutmeg. Furthermore, nutmegs have a long culinary history.

They can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s especially used in many autumn recipes like pumpkin pies. It’s also a traditional ingredient in eggnog and mulled cider. Moreover, it’s also a part of spice blends like Indian garam masala.

What is Mace

The red lacy coating (called the aril) wraps around the nutmeg seed. The aril and seed are visible when the fruit of the tree splits open at maturity. The aril is manually removed, flattened, and let to dry outdoors for 10 to 14 days while the fruit is being collected.

When left whole, the red aril is referred to as a “blade” of mace. As it dries, the red aril turns an amber, yellow, or orange-brown tint. The blades can be used as-is or ground into a spice.

However, the color of Mace can often help determine its origin. For example, orange-red Mace is more likely to come from Indonesia, while orange-yellow Mace is more likely to come from Grenada. Although Mace is not well-known or indispensable as Nutmeg, it is more expensive than Mace.

Mace Vs Nutmeg

Nutmeg is the seed found inside the tree’s ripe fruit after it’s been picked and split open. The lacy membrane that surrounds the seed, once removed and dried, is Mace.


Nutmeg is the oval-shaped seed, while Mace is the red webbing surrounding the seed’s shell. Their interior is dark brown, with a pattern resembling veins scattered all over their insides. Once dried, the seeds turn somewhat gray.

However, ground nutmeg takes on a completely different color, brown with reddish nuances.

Mace sticks out with its strikingly crimson hue. It has a peculiar appearance similar to an octopus if you look at it closely.

When dried, Mace turns its vivid crimson color to yellowish orange. As a result, many cooks also use it as a natural food coloring.


The warm, sweet, slightly nutty, and woody flavors of nutmeg are distinctive. It has a strong aroma and should generally only be used in modest doses—often no more than one teaspoon.

Whether whole or ground, nutmeg has a toasty, nutty, and somewhat sweet flavor. It has tobacco and clove undertones, and there may even be a hint of citrus. Like with other spices, buying the seeds intact and grating them fresh for the recipe will give you the richest, most strong flavor.

Mace is an aromatic spice. Being the outer covering, it carries some of the flavor profile similar to Nutmeg, although they are two different spices. Mace spice taste is sweet and peppery with a spiciness similar to cinnamon or star anise with subtle citrusy notes.

When it comes to flavor of Mace Vs Nutmeg, be aware that mace blade seems stronger than Nutmeg when used in whole form. It is earthy with a floral-like fragrance.

The game changes when the flower is grounded into powder and tastes milder than Nutmeg. It is warm and intense with a sweet-coriander-like flavor.


You can find whole and ground nutmeg in the spice section of any significant supermarket. For the greatest, most potent flavor, it’s frequently advisable to purchase whole seeds, which you may then grated just before using.

You can buy Mace in most supermarket spice aisles and oriental grocery stores, and whole foods and health food shops; it’s easily found online. You’ll find it ground in glass jars, while mace blades tend to come in bags. 

Shelf- Life and Storage Tips

Like other spices, ground or whole Nutmeg must be stored in an airtight container away from heat and light, like in your pantry, cabinet, or spice drawer. Properly stored, whole nutmeg seeds will last longer than ground nutmeg, up to four years.

Ground nutmeg will last up to 2 years but can lose its potency and flavor well before this. It’s best practice to label your spices with the date, so you can easily go through and discard and replace old spices.

Whether whole or ground Mace, due to its delicate flavor, make sure you keep it away from direct sunlight and store it in an airtight container to keep its aroma.

You can also store whole blades of Mace in the fridge or Freezer to maximize its shelf life. Well-stored Mace will keep its character and flavor for a least 12 months.


The best substitute for Nutmeg is, unsurprisingly, Mace. They come from the same tree, and since they have similar flavor profiles, that would be your best bet if you don’t have Nutmeg. 

If you don’t have Mace or Nutmeg, try replacing it measure for measure with allspice or pumpkin pie spice in any recipe or with garam masala or ground ginger in savory recipes. You could also use cinnamon; use half as much as called for in the recipe.

Nutmeg can replace Mace as they have similar flavor profiles. Nutmeg is the obvious substitute for Mace. But remember, Mace is the stronger spice, so if you’re using Nutmeg, double the amount. Cinnamon is a strong second choice due to its spicy notes and is easier to find in your local supermarket.

But cinnamon is more intense, so if you’re using it as a substitute for Mace, use about half the amount. Allspice is another option if you can’t get your hands on Mace. It tastes like a mixture of spices, one of which is Nutmeg, and it also tastes a little like cinnamon.

Like Mace, allspice can be used to add flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. But although it has a similar flavor profile to Mace, it’s stronger. So, if you plan to use it as a substitute in your dishes, reduce the amount by half. You can always add more if needed.


Looking for the recipes of Mace Vs Nutmeg , Nutmeg is most often found in baking recipes for cookies and cakes, but you can also use it to spice up stews, soups, meats, fruits, and preserves. One of the most popular uses for Nutmeg is on top of holiday eggnog.

Nutmeg works well in recipes that call for allspice, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, pepper, or thyme. Since it’s such a versatile spice, Nutmeg can be used in sweet and savory preparations.

Foods that combine best with Mace are:

Best food pairing: pumpkin, root vegetables, orange and red vegetables, peach, banana, apple, melons, milk products, chicken, lamb, meat, seafood, rice, curries

Best spice pairing: cinnamon, Nutmeg, star anise, asafetida, cardamom, ground ginger, cloves, cumin seeds, dry chilies, coriander seeds


When comparing Mace Vs Nutmeg always remember that Mace is the cousin of Nutmeg as they come from the same plant source; most people are familiar with Nutmeg as a spice.

While Nutmeg is the seed, Mace is the red, lace-like membrane, also known as an aril, covering the nutmeg seed. The two spices are the same, although the flavor differs a bit, choose the one that suits your recipe, and you are good to go!

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