Every individual with a basic understanding of the culinary arts recognizes the role that nutmeg plays in a preparing a dish. Though it cannot be used in all recipes, in the ones that it may be added, nutmeg adds a very distinctive taste that sets it apart. The spice cleanses the palate and adds a rich texture and flavor to your dish that is hard to replicate. Nonetheless, there are a number of substances that you can use in order to add a similar warm and earthy flavor, if not the exact same one. And knowing a few of these nutmeg substitutes can be handy in case you run out of supplies in the midst of a cooking spree.
Nutmeg is usually classified as a sweet spice along with the likes of clove, allspice and cinnamon. If you plan to cook potatoes for dinner or other starchy fruits, nutmeg can act as a key ingredient. If you tend to be partial to dark meat like lamb or pork, nutmeg can add even more panache to your culinary skills. If you are in a pickle and wondering ‘what can I substitute for nutmeg’, using one of the nutmeg substitutes mentioned below might help salvage the plans you have in the kitchen.
11 Best Substitute Ingredients for Nutmeg
Nutmeg is often regarded as irreplaceable in the sphere of baking, but if there was any spice that was fit to be considered a replacement, cinnamon would be the ideal choice. It works well with the other usual baking ingredients and has a unique taste. However, cinnamon is much more potent than nutmeg. Make sure the amount of cinnamon you use as substitute is half the amount of nutmeg you would have used while baking.
The tinge of pepper that nutmeg adds to a dish may be recreated by using cloves as a nutmeg substitute. They have a minty and earthy flavor that is difficult to differentiate from the taste of nutmeg. Add cloves in your dish to bring out the best of your culinary genius.
Ginger: Though seemingly an unlikely choice, dried ginger can also be used as a replacement for nutmeg in certain dishes. Particularly in savory recipes, ginger can pack a punch as a flavoring agent in the dish. Use half a teaspoon of dried ginger for every teaspoon of nutmeg you might have added into the dish in order to retain the same effect.
Cumin, an excellent substitute for nutmeg
Though some people are of the opinion that cumin is used only in Indian or Mexican cuisine, it can do much more. Nutmeg is an ingredient in cuisine all over the world and as a nutmeg substitute, cumin enters the global sphere as well. The dish may become a little spicier than what it would have been with nutmeg, but the end result is worth the effort.
Though different from nutmeg, there are reasons to consider mace a sister spice. Mace and nutmeg are derived from separate parts of the same plant. This explains why, in certain dishes, mace can add a flavor very similar to nutmeg.
Saffron is an exotic choice irrespective of whether it is used as a substitute for nutmeg or not. If you want to turn the spice up a notch, adding a pinch of saffron in place of nutmeg can achieve the target. It can be used in both sweet and savory recipes but it takes experience to make saffron work with the other ingredients to create the flavor that you want.
The musky sweetness of nutmeg is hard to replace but aniseed can act as an acceptable option. The flavor of aniseed resembles that of licorice in a way, accounting for the musky sweetness that it adds to any dish. It can be used in sweet dishes and desserts where it may slightly alter the flavor but not in a way that is noticeable to a amateurs.
As the name implies, allspice is a blend of three spices. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are combined to give it the distinctive taste that it can add when added to both sweet and savory recipes. If you are looking for a spice that acts as a nutmeg substitute by diluting the amount of the spice present while also retaining the flavor, allspice is what you must choose.
Pumpkin pie spice
Autumn is a season that includes both sweet things and savory in the seasonal cuisine, that is best embodied by the traditional pumpkin pie prepared in the holidays. Pumpkin pie spice is commonly used in these dishes, which is a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger. It is unique in character and will add a very specific taste to the dish that you plan to cook.
If you are cooking a savory dish and are in the need of some nutmeg substitute for your recipe, Cajun spice is an option that you can avail. It adds the kick in your dish that you are after, but it does not work well with desserts or anything sweet that you wish to make.
If you are not partial to the presentation of your dish and what colour your recipe takes on, turmeric can also act as an effective replacement. It will turn your food into an ochre yellow, but as far as the taste is concerned the effect is similar as the active ingredients in both spices are similar.
If you suddenly run out of nutmeg, or are suffering from or entertaining someone with a known nutmeg allergy, you can opt for these options. Additionally it may be said that using nutmeg substitute can help avoid any psychoactive reactions. Multiple research projects have linked high dose of nutmeg with addictive tendencies. If you think you are consuming too much nutmeg, these substitutes allow you to add the flavor while avoiding the substance.