8 Great Substitutes for Nutmeg

1. Mace:

Mace is one of the most popular spices used in Indian cooking. It is very easy to grow and it grows well in almost any climate. It can be found growing wild or cultivated commercially. 

It’s main use is as a seasoning for meats, fish, poultry, vegetables and desserts such as pies and cakes. Its flavor ranges from mild to strong with a sweet aftertaste when cooked properly (see picture).

2. Garam Masala:

Garam masala is a mixture of ground spices which are dried and crushed into fine powder. It is commonly known as garam masala, gurmukhi, kashmiri curry paste, etc.. It contains turmeric, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and black pepper along with other ingredients like cardamon seed oil and cinnamon bark extract.

3. Allspice:

Allspice is a small shrub native to Africa and India. It is also called allium tuberosum, common parsley, or Indian parsley. It is a perennial herbaceous plant up to 25 cm tall and has yellow flowers that open in spring followed by red berries in summer. The leaves are alternate, oval or ovate; they have five leaflets each measuring 1-2 mm long and 0.5-0.75 mm broad.

The berries are small, brown and have a spherical shape.

Allspice is used as a spice in food and beverages; the berries are used whole or in powder form. It has a sweet flavor and aroma reminiscent of Juniper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg. It is used to cure gastrointestinal conditions such as gas, heartburn, vomiting and diarrhea. It also helps in treating respiratory issues like asthma, bronchitis, sore throat, etc.

4. Cinnamon:

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum. It has been used as a popular spice in cooking since 3000 BC. It is identifiable by its distinctive color and odor.

Today, the species C. zeylanicum (Ceylon Cinnamon) is mainly cultivated in Sri Lanka and India while C. verum (True Cinnamon) is taken from Indonesia.

Cinnamon is used for various culinary purposes. It is taken as a tea to sooth digestive tract, reduce inflammation and cure respiratory issues. It is also used in making desserts, candies, cakes, cookies and even in beer.

5. Pumpkin Pie Spice:

Pumpkin pie spice is a mix of ground spices commonly used as an ingredient to pumpkin pie and other desserts.

The mix is a proprietary commercial product, however it is not uncommon to make your own at home using the following ingredients: Allspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger.

6. Turmeric:

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice commonly used in curries and mustard. It is taken from the roots of a plant called Curcuma Longa. Its active ingredient is curcumin, which gives turmeric its vivid color.

It is a popular home remedy for treating inflammation, skin diseases and gastrointestinal issues. It is also used to treat wounds, bites, sprains, rheumatism and muscular pain. It can also be mixed with oils and ghee to prepare massage oils for relieving joint pain.

The rhizomes are boiled, dried in the sun and then boiled again to yield a watery extract, an essential ingredient in most curries.

Curry powder is a mix of ground spices that can include coriander, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, chili peppers, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger.

7. Pepper:

Pepper is the dried fruit of a flowering vine native to South India and Indonesia. Black, white and green peppercorns all come from the same plant, but are harvested and processed differently.

Black pepper is the most common, with an intense pungency. It is used for cooking, preserving and as a table condiment. White pepper is similar, but less intense in flavor. Green pepper is a rare variation of black pepper that has not been fermented.

Pepper is used as a stimulant and is a popular ingredient in cooking. It has antimicrobial properties that can be used as an antiseptic. It also helps increase the absorption of nutrients in food.

8. Garlic:

Garlic is native to central Asia, but is now popular worldwide. The bulb consists of a number of separate cloves, which are often crushed or chopped before eaten. Garlic has a strong, distinctive flavor that becomes milder with cooking.

Studies suggest that garlic is good for the heart and lowers the risk of heart disease. It also has a number of antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties.

Garlic is used in cooking to add flavor and aroma to food. It is also used in traditional medicines, beauty products and perfumes.

9. Cinnamon:

Cinnamon is the dried inner bark of the cinnamon tree, native to Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia. It comes in the form of powder, quills or flakes and has a sweet, spicy taste.

It has a long history of use as a medicine and is popularly used to treat diabetes. It can also be used as a culinary spice, as well as in perfumes.

Cinnamon oil has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Cinnamon extract can stop the growth of several kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

10. Anise:

Anise is a flowering plant that produces an edible dark seed. It has a sweet, licorice-like flavor.

Anise seeds are used in cooking and to make medicine. Anise seed oil has been found to have antiseptic properties. It can be used as mouthwash to relieve toothache. It can also be applied to the skin to treat insect bites and fungal infections.

The FDA has implemented a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) designation for many herbs and their components. This means that it has been shown that these ingredients are generally safe, and can be used to flavor foods. The actual determination of safety is the responsibility of the FDA.

Anise contains the naturally occurring chemical anethole. This chemical has been shown to protect the heart and blood vessels from damage. It also can relax muscles, including those of the uterus.


The truth about preservatives:

Food preservatives have saved countless lives from deadly diseases by increasing the life-span of foods.

Sources & references used in this article:

Nutmeg cultivation and its sex-problem by M Flach – 1966 – edepot.wur.nl

Major antifungals in nutmeg essential oil against Aspergillus flavus and A. ochraceus by VMM Valente, GN Jham, CM Jardim… – Journal of Food …, 2015 – researchgate.net

Phenylketonuria: protein content and amino acids profile of dishes for phenylketonuric patients. The relevance of phenylalanine by FB Pimentel, RC Alves, ASG Costa, D Torres… – Food chemistry, 2014 – Elsevier

Nutmeg as a narcotic by AT Weil – The Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive …, 1967

Composition, antioxidant properties and microbiology of nutmeg ground by three procedures by AT Weil – Economic Botany, 1965 – Springer

Effect of Nutmeg (Myristica Fragrans) as an Additive on the Growth Performance of Juvenile Catfish (Clarias Gariepinus) by LH McKee – 1990 – ttu-ir.tdl.org