Home » Comparison » Mace vs. Nutmeg: Taste, Difference & Nutrition

Mace vs. Nutmeg: Taste, Difference & Nutrition

Maria Foster
Last Updated on
by Maria Foster

Although not very commonly used, nutmeg and mace are greatly appreciated in the world of spices.

Nutmeg is the hard pit sitting in the core of the nutmeg tree’s fruit, whereas mace is the coating that covers the outer layer of the pits.

The enormous, evergreen nutmeg tree can grow to a height of around 18 meters and is a member of the Myristicaceae family. It can mainly be found in the Banda Islands, a small group of islands in eastern Indonesia.

Comparing nutmeg and mace is a difficult riddle to solve, especially if you have little to no familiarity with these unique spices.

So, in this chapter of our “spice studies,” we’ll look at the distinctions between nutmeg and mace. If you’re ready to spice up your cuisine, the trip begins here!

Difference Between Mace and Nutmeg

Both mace and nutmeg are products of the nutmeg tree. As we ascertained, nutmeg is the seed, while mace is the aril, a thin tissue stretched across the nutmeg seed’s coat.


Mace is regarded to have a more refined aroma than nutmeg, despite the fact that both of its spices have warm, woodsy, and strongly fragrant flavors.


Nutmeg can quickly lose its fragrance when ground, so we advise buying it fresh and grinding it when needed.

Mace characteristically composes a higher concentration of certain essential oils, making it more heart-healthy, which we’ll talk about in a bit. Until then, learn more about these two distinct spices.


Nutmeg seeds have an oval shape, a rough coating, and ridges that run in spider patterns. 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 definitely sticks out with its strikingly crimson hue. It has a peculiar appearance that’s very 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.


Nutmeg is primarily regarded as a sweet condiment, yet its flavor is far from being characteristic of syrupy sweetness. It has hints of sweetness, nuttiness, and earthiness.

That said, nutmeg is sweeter and gentler than its cousin mace, which is described as more powerful and potent.

Mace’s flavors of woodiness also give your food a hint of nutmeg while adding spicy, warm notes resembling other winter-season spices.

For instance, the spiciness is comparable to ground cinnamon or sticks, making it a great cinnamon substitute. Additionally, mace adds a touch of citrus flavor to your food.

All in all, both mace and nutmeg are equally unique spices with complex flavors. However, if you need a richer flavor, then mace clearly outperforms nutmeg.

Shelf Life

Ground nutmeg has a shelf-life of two years, while whole nutmeg seeds can maintain good quality for four years if properly stored in an airtight jar.

Mace powder has a shelf-life of up to two years. Whole mace, on the other hand, may last up to four years if kept in an airtight jar like you would with nutmeg.


In regard to price, nutmeg is less costly than mace. That said, ground mace and nutmeg are available at practically all supermarkets and grocery stores. Whole nutmeg and mace, on the other hand, are often available at specialty shops.

Mace vs. Nutmeg Comparison Table

What is it?Nutmeg is a spice formed from a nutmeg tree fruit pitMace is a spice from the reddish outer skin of the nutmeg tree fruit pit
AppearanceIt is an oval-shaped, dark-brown nutmeg fruit pitIt appears in the form of a crimson webbing that envelopes the fruit’s pit
FlavorIt tastes milder and sweeterHas a stronger taste
PriceIt’s more affordableIt is usually more pricey
Shelf life2 to 4 years2 to 4 years
AvailabilityGround and entire seeds are availableDry blades and ground nutmeg are available

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

Nutmeg has long been widely utilized as an alternative treatment for many ailments in traditional medicine in South Indian, Arabic, and Asian nations.

This walnut-sized spice has several health benefits for your body, including maintaining a healthy digestive tract and easing chronic pain.

This is due to the fact that nutmeg is a rich source of minerals, essential oils, fibers, and vitamins.

Mace, however, is richer in minerals than its equivalent, particularly copper and iron. It also has a larger concentration of volatile essential oils.

All things considered, let’s see which one is healthier.

Mace vs. Nutmeg: Nutritional Profile

Category (100g)NutmegMace
Cholesterol0 mg0 mg
Carbs49.29 g50.50 g
Fiber20.8 g20.2 g
Fat36.31 g32.38 g
Protein5.84 g6.71 g
Vitamin C3 mg21 mg
Folates76 µg76 µg
Vitamin A102 IU800 IU
Pyridoxine0.160 mg0.160 mg
Thiamin0.346 mg0.312 mg
Riboflavin0.057 mg0.448 mg
Niacin1.299 mg1.350 mg
Potassium350 mg463 mg
Sodium16 mg80 mg
Zinc2.15 mg2.15 mg
Iron3.04 mg13.90 mg
Calcium184 mg252 mg
Magnesium193 mg163 mg
Copper1.027 mg2.467 mg
Manganese2.900 mg1.500 mg
Phosphorous213 mg110 mg

Can I Substitute Nutmeg for Mace & Vice Versa?

Mace can be used instead of nutmeg, and vice versa. Considering how similar the flavor qualities of nutmeg and mace are, they can be easily swapped for one another.

However, remember that mace has a stronger flavor, so use only half as much mace as you would nutmeg. If you want to use nutmeg in place of mace, double the amount.

If the flavor of the spice is overpowering other ingredients, you can dilute it with a dairy product like milk or simply combine it with other spices.

Nutmeg may easily be substituted with other spices, like garam masala, cloves, or cinnamon. Mace may be swapped with cinnamon, allspice, ginger, or pumpkin spice.

Holidays and wintry weather go hand in hand with mace and nutmeg. Due to their warmth, these spices are used in various savory and sweet recipes. Here are ideas for festive delicacies that use these spices.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

Armenian Nutmeg Cake
Armenian Nutmeg Cake

For anybody who likes the flavor of spice and the richness of nuts, this recipe for Armenian nutmeg cake is the ideal treat. The blend of flavors is really pretty harmonious, and the end result is not excessively sweet.

The cake is light and fluffy, and the nutmeg and walnuts help bring out that wintery flavor. Each mouthful is a genuinely unique experience — tasty and crunchy, just how it is supposed to be!

Multi-Root Veggie Soup With Mace

Multi-Root Veggie Soup With Mace
Multi-Root Veggie Soup With Mace

This multi-root veggie soup has a pleasant flavor and lots of personality. It’s divinely smooth and has a silky and creamy feel.

Additionally, it is incredibly nourishing — perfect for kids! The combination of sweet potato, leek, parsnip, carrots, turnip, butternut squash, mace, and fresh herbs delivers a mouthwatering end result we all search for in a winter soup.

Nutmeg French Toast

Nutmeg French Toast
Nutmeg French Toast

We all love a piece of French toast first thing in the morning (or after coffee, for some of us!). There’s no better combo than eggs, butter, and milk — they are the creamy foundation that gives each slice of toasted bread an unbelievably exquisite flavor.

However, this traditional meal is truly elevated by the addition of nutmeg and cinnamon, which gives it a warm, rich flavor. Additionally, you may even sprinkle some simple syrup over your French toast for an extra sense of opulence.

Swedish Nutmeg Meatballs

Swedish Nutmeg Meatballs
Swedish Nutmeg Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are a delectable and simple recipe ideal for formal holiday celebrations as well as casual family gatherings.

Nutmeg not only imparts a delicious nutty taste to the meatballs but also helps to soften the meat, increasing its juiciness. Mashed potatoes, fried rice, or even steamed veggies pair perfectly with Swedish meatballs. If you give it a try, you’ll have a supper worthy of a feast.

Mace Cake

Mace Cake
Mace Cake

This mace cake is our favorite holiday recipe! It’s simultaneously tasty, moist, and creamy. The crunchy coconut is the ideal addition to the vanilla buttercream. In other words, it makes it far more exotic when paired with mace.

Mace cake has just the right amount of wetness and sweetness, with a gritty coconut flavor to counterbalance the buttercream.

The best part is that you’ll get that rich taste without using any ingredients that are too unfamiliar. Coconut, milk, powdered mace, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt is all you’ll need!


Although both nutmeg and mace are derived from the same tree, they differ greatly from one another while yet sharing many similar characteristics.

Both of these condiments are generally warm, nutty, and somewhat spicy. However, their appearance is different, and mace is somewhat healthier than nutmeg.

Variety is, after all, the spice of life. So, don’t hesitate to substitute both of these unique spices in your meal if you’re cooking up a recipe that calls for either.

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *