Nutmeg vs. Mace

Are nutmeg and mace the same thing? Can you substitute one for the other?

Nutmeg vs. Mace

While nutmeg and mace are related, and come from the same nutmeg tree, they are different.

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

The flavor and aroma of nutmeg is delicately warm, spicy, and sweet. It comes already ground or whole, which you then need to grate. Freshly grated is far superior. And it’s traditional in eggnog, custards, white sauces, cooked vegetables, like squash and greens, as well as in baked goods.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, mace is considered more subtle. Like nutmeg, it’s sold whole or ground. It too is used in both sweet and savory dishes. You can substitute one for the other.