8 Best Substitutes for Nutmeg — Nutmeg Substitutes for Baking and Cooking


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Spicy, aromatic nutmeg is essential to add a bit of warming flavor to cozy fall dinners, holiday feasts or any seasonal baking recipe — up until the moment you run out. No fear! There are a ton of great substitutes for nutmeg that you probably have in your pantry right now, so you can add the same slightly sweet, fragrant flavor to your favorite recipes.

First up, check for whole nutmeg in the back of your spice drawer. Even though you’ve run out of ground, you might have purchased whole nutmeg at some point for grating over winter desserts or warm beverages. No grated or whole nutmeg? Read on.

Cinnamon

While it has a slightly different flavor (it’s more sweet and woody), this common spice is most likely to be in your cabinet and will work in a pinch. Substitute an equal amount of cinnamon or add a dash more; it’s not as strong.

Allspice

No, this isn’t a blend of a bunch of spices. It’s the dried brown berry of the tropical Pimenta dioica tree, native to the West Indies and Central America. Allspice tastes like a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, so you can use it to replace nutmeg in recipes 1:1.

Cardamom

This floral and fruity spice won’t replace the flavor of nutmeg exactly, but it makes a smart substitute. It packs more of a punch than nutmeg, so only use half the amount.

Star Anise

Missing freshly grated nutmeg on your afternoon latte? Try grating star anise instead for a pop of sweet and licorice-like flavor.

Cloves

This intensely aromatic spice lends plenty of warmth to any dish — just like nutmeg — but should be used in moderation. Add about half as much cloves as you would nutmeg.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Every brand offers a different blend, but most pumpkin pie spice contains nutmeg as an ingredient, along with cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves. Swap it in for a more complex spice flavor that won’t disappoint.

Apple Pie Spice

This mix is similar to pumpkin pie spice, with more of an emphasis on the cinnamon. It’ll add a flurry of warming spice flavor to any recipe — just like apple pie!

Ginger

It’ll give you a different flavor, but if you’re looking to add a little spice to dinner (or dessert!), ground ginger will add a slightly sweet, peppery taste. Use it to replace nutmeg in recipes 1:1.

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