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Allspice vs. Mace: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 13, 2023
Allspice is a spice made from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica plant, with a flavor resembling a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; mace is a spice made from the dried, lacy covering of the nutmeg seed, offering a slightly sweet flavor.

Key Differences

Allspice, derived from the berries of the Pimenta dioica tree, is known for its warm, rich flavor that combines notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mace, on the other hand, comes from the lacy aril that envelops the nutmeg seed and offers a more delicate, slightly sweet taste.
The unique profile of allspice makes it a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes, often used in Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisines. Mace, with its lighter and sweeter notes, is commonly used in European and Indian cuisines, especially in baking and spice mixes.
In terms of appearance, allspice is typically found as small, dark-brown, wrinkled berries or ground into a fine powder. Mace can be purchased as whole blades or in a ground form, characterized by its bright orange-red color.
Allspice has a robust and pungent aroma, which can be quite strong when used in large quantities. Mace, in contrast, has a more subtle fragrance, often described as a milder version of nutmeg with hints of pepper.
Allspice is often a key ingredient in spice mixes like Jamaican jerk seasoning and Middle Eastern baharat. Mace, while also used in spice blends, is particularly favored in light-colored dishes for its flavor and the subtle hue it imparts.

Comparison Chart


Dried berries of Pimenta dioica
Dried lacy covering of nutmeg seed

Flavor Profile

Combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
Delicate, slightly sweet, akin to milder nutmeg

Culinary Use

Versatile in both sweet and savory dishes
Common in baking, light-colored dishes


Small, dark-brown berries or ground powder
Orange-red blades or ground powder


Robust, pungent
Subtle, with hints of pepper

Allspice and Mace Definitions


A spice made from dried Pimenta dioica berries.
Allspice gives a distinctive flavor to Caribbean jerk chicken.


Known for its delicate, slightly sweet taste.
Mace brings a unique sweetness to my cake recipe.


Key ingredient in various spice mixes.
Allspice is integral to my homemade spice blend.


Available as whole blades or ground.
I sprinkled ground mace on my fruit salad.


A spice with a flavor resembling cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Allspice is essential in my pumpkin pie recipe.


Offers a milder version of nutmeg flavor.
Mace is perfect for my light and fluffy soufflé.


Used in both sweet and savory dishes for its rich, warm flavor.
Allspice adds depth to my stew recipe.


A spice from the dried covering of the nutmeg seed.
Mace added a delicate flavor to the béchamel sauce.


Found as whole berries or ground powder.
I prefer using ground allspice for convenience.


Used in European and Indian cuisines, particularly in baking.
Mace is a secret ingredient in my family's cookie recipe.


An evergreen tree (Pimenta dioica) native to the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America, having opposite, simple leaves and white flowers clustered in cymes.


A ceremonial staff borne or displayed as the symbol of authority of a legislative body.


The dried, nearly ripe berries of this plant, used as a spice. In both senses also called pimento.


A macebearer.


(uncountable) A spice; the dried and ground unripe fruit of Pimenta dioica, thought to combine the flavours of several spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.


A heavy medieval war club with a spiked or flanged metal head, used to crush armor.


(countable) Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree of tropical America with aromatic berries.


A thin fleshy red covering that surrounds the kernel of the nutmeg, dried and used as a spice.


The berry of the pimento (Eugenia pimenta), a tree of the West Indies; a spice of a mildly pungent taste, and agreeably aromatic; Jamaica pepper; pimento. It has been supposed to combine the flavor of cinnamon, nutmegs, and cloves; and hence the name. The name is also given to other aromatic shrubs; as, the Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus); wild allspice (Lindera benzoin), called also spicebush, spicewood, and feverbush.


Aromatic West Indian tree that produces allspice berries


Deciduous shrubs having aromatic bark; eastern China; southwestern and eastern United States


Ground dried berrylike fruit of a West Indian allspice tree; suggesting combined flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves


What dishes is allspice commonly used in?

Allspice is used in a variety of dishes, from Caribbean jerk seasoning to Middle Eastern stews.

Can allspice substitute for mace?

Allspice can substitute for mace, but expect a stronger, more pungent flavor.

Can I use mace in savory dishes?

Yes, mace can be used in savory dishes, particularly in European cuisine.

Is allspice a single spice or a blend?

Allspice is a single spice, made from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree.

Is mace used in Indian cuisine?

Yes, mace is used in Indian cuisine, often in spice blends like garam masala.

Is mace interchangeable with nutmeg?

Mace can substitute nutmeg, offering a milder, slightly different flavor.

What does mace taste like?

Mace has a delicate, slightly sweet taste, similar to a milder nutmeg.

What are the health benefits of allspice?

Allspice has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Can I find mace in a regular grocery store?

Mace is available in many grocery stores, though it may be less common than other spices.

Does allspice lose flavor over time?

Like all spices, allspice can lose flavor over time and should be used within a year for best results.

Does allspice taste like cloves?

Allspice has a flavor reminiscent of cloves, along with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.

What can I use if I don't have mace?

Nutmeg is a good substitute for mace, though with a slightly stronger flavor.

Can allspice be used in meat dishes?

Yes, allspice is excellent in meat dishes, especially in Caribbean and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Is mace good for health?

Mace has several health benefits, including digestive and anti-inflammatory properties.

How do I know if allspice is fresh?

Fresh allspice has a strong, aromatic smell and a pungent taste.

How should I store allspice?

Store allspice in a cool, dark place, preferably in an airtight container.

Is allspice used in baking?

Yes, allspice is often used in baking, particularly in spice cakes and cookies.

Is mace more expensive than allspice?

Generally, mace can be more expensive than allspice due to its more delicate processing.

Are there any allergens in mace?

Mace is generally not considered an allergen, but those with spice allergies should be cautious.

Can mace be eaten raw?

Mace is typically used as a spice and is not commonly eaten raw.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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