Is Nutmeg a Nut? And Other Holiday Cooking Questions

Holiday cooking and baking can be a hectic activity, as well as confusing! Here are some common questions about holiday ingredients and food allergies:


Is nutmeg a nut?

No! Although the word nutmeg contains the word “nut,” it is not related to peanuts or tree nuts. It is a dried seed, which is ground to make a spice.

Does eggnog contain eggs?

Typically, yes. Eggnog is a traditional holiday drink made with milk, sugar and eggs. There are currently allergy-friendly versions on the market that use milk and egg alternatives.

Does butternut squash contain nuts?  

No. While this orange squash may have a nutty taste, it is not related to nuts, nor contain nuts.

Do potato pancakes contain common allergens, like breakfast pancakes do?

It depends on the recipe. Some latkes are wheat-free, but contain egg. Some are egg-free, but contain wheat. Some are cooked in oil, and some are cooked in butter. It is possible to make potato pancakes that are free of the top eight allergens, though. Here is a recipe to try.

Does cocoa powder contain milk?

Cocoa powder (not hot cocoa mix) is the powder of the ground cacao bean from which a portion of the fat has been removed. It is typically is milk-free, but you should always check the label to confirm.

We hope these answers help make your holiday cooking a bit less stressful!

11 thoughts on “Is Nutmeg a Nut? And Other Holiday Cooking Questions

    1. Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut. If you are allergic to tree nuts, talk to your allergist before adding coconut to your diet.

  1. I feel like I already knew the answers to these questions. What concerns me more is how/where many baking ingredients are processed (spices, flour, ground flax, etc.) any way to be sure they aren’t processed on shared equipment?

  2. My dd is allergic to tree nuts and tree seeds. Nutmeg is a tree seed. It’s so hard this time of year, nutmeg is often hidden in spices or natural flavors and the seed of stone fruits, which is a tree seed is hidden in artificial flavors like imitation extracts.

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