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April 30, 2024 3 min read

Nutmeg is an all-season spice that can be used for soups, cookies, cakes, pumpkin pies, sauces, eggnog, mashed potatoes, and squash dishes. It's a seed that grows in Asia, Australasia, and the Caribbean and is roughly the size of a walnut. Since whole nutmeg is too big to be used in most recipes, nutmeg is usually ground when used. In this guide, we'll show you how to grind nutmeg.

How to Grate Fresh Nutmeg


nutmeg with a grater
Credit: Envato Elements/ furmanphoto

Grinding nutmeg is easy, and doing it yourself ensures the freshest flavor. Here's how to do it:

  • You can use a nutmeg grater, a microplane grater, or even the smallest holes on a standard cheese grater. If you have a spice grinder or a dedicated nutmeg grinder, these work well too.
  • Peel away the shell. Once the nutmeg shell is off, hold the fresh nutmeg seed securely between your fingers. Make sure to keep your fingers away from the surface you’ll be grating against.
  • Gently rub and grate nutmeg against the grater using a downward motion. Watch your fingers as you get closer to the grater. Continue until you have the desired amount of nutmeg.
  • If your recipe calls for a specific amount, measure the ground nutmeg as you go. Generally, one whole nutmeg gives you about two to three teaspoons of ground spice.
  • Keep any unused whole nutmeg in an airtight glass spice jar in a cool, dry place. Freshly grated nutmeg can lose its potency quickly, so it’s best to grind only what you need for each recipe.

What Other Tools Can You Use to Grind Fresh Nutmeg?


wooden mortar and pestle
Credit: Envato Elements/ mkos83

Besides a nutmeg grater or microplane, there are a few other tools you can use to grind nutmeg:

1) Mortar and Pestle

This is a great option if you prefer a more hands-on method. Place the fresh whole nutmeg in the mortar (the bowl) and use the pestle to press and twist it against the sides. This breaks the nutmeg into smaller pieces and eventually into a fine powder. It might take a bit more effort, but this method allows you to have full control over the texture.

2) Coffee Grinder

If you have a coffee grinder at home, it can double as a spice grinder. Just make sure to clean it thoroughly before and after to avoid flavor cross-contamination. Place the whole nutmeg in the grinder and pulse until finely ground.

3) Food Processor

While not as effective for getting a fine grind due to its larger size, a food processor can work if you’re grinding large quantities of nutmeg. Pulse the nutmeg seeds a few times until they are ground to your liking.

Tips and Tricks for Grinding Nutmeg


spoon with nutmeg inside
Credit: Envato Elements/ Daniel_Dash

Here are some additional tips for grinding nutmeg:

  • If using a grater, make sure it is sharp and clean. A dull grater can make the process more difficult and less efficient.
  • Keep whole nutmeg seeds in a cool, dry place inside an airtight container to maintain its flavor for longer.
  • When using a grater or any sharp tool, be cautious to avoid injuring your fingers. Consider using a protective glove or holding the nutmeg with a towel as it gets smaller.


Can I use ground nutmeg instead of whole nutmeg in recipes?

Yes, you can. However, pre-ground nutmeg loses its flavor more quickly than whole nutmeg, so it's best to grind it fresh when possible for optimal flavor.

How long does ground nutmeg stay fresh?

Freshly ground nutmeg can lose its potency relatively quickly, typically within six months to a year if stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

How much ground nutmeg does one whole nutmeg produce?

Generally, one whole nutmeg yields approximately two to three teaspoons of ground nutmeg. However, the exact amount can vary depending on the size of the nutmeg seed and how finely it is ground.

Can I store ground nutmeg in the refrigerator or freezer?

It's best to store ground nutmeg in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. While refrigeration or freezing may prolong its shelf life, it can also introduce moisture, potentially affecting the flavor and texture.


Grinding your own nutmeg is an easy way to boost the flavor of your recipes. With the steps provided in this guide and the proper tools, you can achieve the freshest, most aromatic spice to elevate your cooking.

For the best results, consider the Pepe Nero Mortar and Pestle. It's designed to make grinding spices effortless, ensuring you get the finest texture and fullest flavor every time. Shop with us today.

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