Here's How To Substitute Nutmeg With Black Peppercorns

Derived from trees native to Indonesia, nutmeg comes from a seed with an earthy, spicy taste. It is used to flavor everything from meat to desserts, baked dishes, drinks, and sauces. Nutmeg is a warming spice, packing heat that's like a low, steady flame, gently coating your tongue in sweetness at the same time. It's quite versatile, adding layers of richness to your favorite desserts, and bolstering the spices added to meat, fish, and poultry. It may seem like nutmeg is an irreplaceable spice, but if you do run out, black peppercorns will do the job just fine on their own and even better when combined with other spices.

Black peppercorns provide a similar heat sensation without much of a kick, and they can easily be used in place of nutmeg in savory dishes. When used to season steaks or chicken, black peppercorns round out the other spices with their gentle heat. Desserts prove to be a little trickier. Nutmeg's sweetness is a major part of its draw, something that black peppercorns lack. So, if you're looking for the nutmeg effect in your cakes or pies, try combining black peppercorns with cloves. Sweet and spicy with a light bitterness, cloves are another great swap for nutmeg that work particularly well alongside the peppercorns. Cloves tend to be quite intense, so use a smaller amount than the recipe requests.

Try black peppercorns in place of nutmeg in these recipes

Nutmeg is an integral part of roasted orange and nutmeg chicken, but black peppercorns can easily step in if the spice isn't available. When used in conjunction with cloves, the spice combination brings the same sweet, warming sensation that nutmeg provides. Although cloves are a little stronger, the sweet boldness is the perfect accompaniment to oranges, especially when tempered by earthy black peppercorns.

With coconut chai rice pudding, the dessert already features a blend of sweet, warming spices. Composed of star anise, ginger, cardamom, pepper, clove, and cinnamon, the pudding has enough warmth, so a lack of nutmeg won't be missed too much. If you're out of nutmeg, simply increase the amount of black pepper and cinnamon in the recipe. The other options won't work as well because star anise has a licorice-like flavor, cloves can be quite bitter, and ginger tastes wholly different from the rest.

For fall-forward vegan mushroom Wellington, black peppercorns and mace are an ideal choice. Coming from the same tree, nutmeg and mace are like two sides of the same coin. While nutmeg has a sweet edge, mace leans a little spicier. Although you'll need to use slightly less mace for the mushroom Wellington, the sweetness won't be missed as the heat is the most important component.