Looking for an extensive list of whole foods that start with the letter M?
Look no further, we’ve got you covered!
Browse this list of 24 foods that start with M to get some new cooking inspiration, learn more about where each food comes from, and understand the health benefits of each food.
Let’s dive in!
1. Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are the nuts of the Macadamia tree, which originated in Australia and was introduced to Hawaii in the late 1800s (1).
These rich, buttery nuts have a creamy texture and a slight sweetness that is enhanced by roasting.
With 22 grams per one-ounce serving, macadamia nuts have a higher fat content than many other nuts, most of which comes from heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (2, 3).
Shelled macadamia nuts can be found in the baking aisle at supermarkets, the bulk section at health food stores, or online here. Some stores also carry macadamia nut milk and macadamia nut butter.
Try adding whole macadamia nuts to cookies and blondies, or blend them into flour to use in crusts for pies and tarts. They also pair well with coconut and lemon flavors.
Mace is a yellow-brown spice made from the red lacy coating (called the aril) of the nutmeg seed. It has no relation to “mace” pepper spray (4).
During harvesting, the arils are removed from the nutmeg seeds, dried, and then ground into a powder that tastes similar to nutmeg, but less sweet and more pungent.
This warm, woody spice is included in many spice blends, such as garam masala, ras el hanout, and pickling spice.
Ground mace is sometimes available at supermarkets and health food stores, while whole mace (called “blades”) can be found at international food markets and specialty spice stores.
Mace can be added to baked goods, like pumpkin bread and gingerbread cookies, or used to deepen the flavor of savory dishes, such as roasted meats.
Mackerel is the name for several species of fish belonging to the Scombridae family, which also includes tuna and bonito (5, 6).
It has soft, oily flesh and a salty, savory flavor with a hint of sweetness. Compared to tuna, mackerel is richer and milder.
A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of cooked mackerel provides 15 grams of fat, including 1.1 grams of omega-3s, along with 20 grams of protein and 16 mcg (667% DV) of vitamin B12 (7, 8).
Due to its high mercury content, king mackerel should be avoided by children and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Atlantic mackerel is a low-mercury alternative (9).
Mackerel is available fresh, smoked, or canned (in brine, olive oil, or tomato sauce) at most supermarkets.
Fresh mackerel can be grilled, roasted, fried, or pan-seared and seasoned with lemon and fresh herbs, while canned mackerel can be enjoyed on its own or tossed into pastas and salads.
4. Mahi mahi
Mahi mahi is the Hawaiian name for dolphinfish, a type of saltwater fish (unrelated to dolphins) found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans (10, 11).
When raw, it has pale pink flesh with stripes of dark pink. The firm cooked flesh has a mild, slightly sweet flavor — similar to halibut.
Mahi mahi is a very lean fish, with less than 1 gram of fat and only 88 calories per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (12).
Fresh mahi mahi can be purchased from grocery stores and seafood markets, while frozen mahi mahi is available at many supermarkets.
Mahi mahi can be fried, grilled, broiled, or pan-fried and pairs well with tropical fruits, like mango and pineapple.
5. Maitake mushroom
Maitake (also called “hen of the woods”) is a dark, brownish-gray mushroom with a feathery shape that resembles the body of a hen (13).
It is grown throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and is prized for its savory, earthy flavor (13).
These unique mushrooms are a good source of fiber and provide 99% of the daily value for vitamin D in a single cup (7, 14).
Check for maitake mushrooms at health food stores and specialty produce stores, or consider foraging for your own (with the proper training, of course).
They can be prepared like any other mushroom but taste especially delicious when roasted or fried and served with a dipping sauce like aioli.
Malanga (also called cocoyam, tannia, or yautia) is a root vegetable native to South America (15, 16).
It looks similar to a potato but has shaggy, brown or reddish-brown skin and speckled flesh that varies in color from white to pale yellow, depending on the variety.
Malanga is often mistaken for taro, another root vegetable belonging to the same family (Araceae) (16, 17).
In the United States, malanga may be tricky to find. It’s sometimes available at Latin food markets and specialty produce stores, and can also be purchased online.
Malanga can be prepared like potatoes — diced and added to soups, mashed and seasoned with butter and garlic, or sliced into chips and air-fried.
7. Mamey sapote
Mamey sapote (pronounced “may-mee suh-powt”) is a tropical fruit native to Mexico and Central America. It is unrelated to black sapote and white sapote (18).
This unique fruit is large (up to 9 inches long) and football-shaped, with coarse tan-colored skin, vibrant red-orange flesh, and a dark brown seed that is removed before eating.
Mamey sapote has a soft, creamy texture and a sweet and savory flavor, with notes of apricot, persimmon, and sweet potato.
One cup (175 grams) of raw mamey sapote provides 9 grams (32% DV) of fiber, 794 mg (17% DV) of potassium, 40 mg (44% DV) of vitamin C, 3.7 mg (25% DV) of vitamin E (7, 19).
If you live in Florida or other coastal states where mamey sapote is grown, you may be able to find it at your local supermarket. Otherwise, your best bet may be to purchase the fruit online.
Enjoy mamey sapote on its own, blend it into drinks and smoothies, or use it to make puddings and other desserts.
Mamoncillo, also known as guinep or Spanish lime, is a sweet and sour fruit native to South America and related to longan, lychee, and rambutan (20).
These small, round fruits grow in grape-like clusters and have smooth, bright green skin that can be peeled to reveal salmon-colored pulp with a jelly-like consistency and a large seed inside.
Mamoncillo pulp is rich in flavonoids, natural plant compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the risk of heart disease (20, 21, 22).
Mamoncillo can be challenging to find in the United States but are sometimes available at farmers’ markets, specialty produce stores, and online.
To eat a mamoncillo, use your teeth to puncture the skin and peel it, then suck the pulp from the seed or simply pop the whole fruit into your mouth and spit out the seed.
9. Mandarin orange
Mandarin oranges are a family of oranges — including clementines, satsumas, and tangerines — characterized by having very loose skins that can be easily peeled (23).
They tend to be sweeter than common oranges and small (about 1-3 inches in diameter), with skin that varies in thickness, texture, and color based on the variety.
Two clementines (148 grams) provide 70 calories, 3 grams (11% DV) of fiber, 262 mg (6% DV) of potassium, 72 mg (80% DV) of vitamin C, and 36 mcg (9% DV) of folate (7, 24).
Mandarin oranges are available fresh — often sold under the brand names Halos, Cuties, and Sumo Citrus — and canned in juice or syrup at most supermarkets.
Enjoy mandarin oranges on their own, or use them in salsas, salads, smoothies, yogurt parfaits, and desserts.
Mandarinquats are a cross between a mandarin orange and a kumquat that is mainly grown in California, where it originated.
They are teardrop-shaped and about twice as large as a kumquat, with pulp that’s slightly sweeter and a sweet, mildly floral rind that can be eaten.
Like all citrus fruits, mandarinquats are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and helps protect against cancer and other diseases (25, 26).
Look for mandarinquats at farmers’ markets and specialty produce stores, or consider purchasing online.
Mandarinquats can be eaten whole, sliced into salads, blended into drinks and sorbets, or used to make marmalade.
Mangoes are tropical fruits native to India and Southeast Asia that are now also grown in the United States — mainly in Florida, California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico (27, 28).
They vary in size and color — some are large with red skin and hints of yellow and green, while others, like honey mangoes, are smaller and bright yellow (28).
All mangoes have vibrant yellow-orange flesh that is soft, juicy, and slightly stringy. It has a sweet and sour flavor with notes of citrus, melon, and peach.
One cup (165 grams) of sliced mango provides 3 grams (11% DV) of fiber, 60 mg (67% DV) of vitamin C, 71 mcg (18% DV) of folate, and 89 mcg (10% DV) of vitamin A RAE (7, 29).
Mangoes are in season from May to September but can typically be found in supermarkets (fresh, frozen, dried, or canned) year-round.
Enjoy mango on its own, add it to fruit salads, or make mango lassi, a delicious yogurt-based beverage that’s popular in India.
Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a fruit native to Southeast Asia and now grown in tropical regions throughout the world (30).
It is about the size of a tennis ball, with a thick, dark purple shell and bright green cap (stem) that must be removed before eating.
The juicy, white inner flesh is divided into segments, similar to an orange. It has a sweet and tangy flavor with notes of lychee, peach, strawberry, and citrus.
Mangosteen is a rich source of antioxidants, including xanthones, which have been studied for their potential anti-cancer benefits (30, 31).
In the United States, fresh mangosteen can be difficult to find but is sometimes available for purchase online from specialty produce stores.
Many Asian food markets carry mangosteen juice and canned or frozen mangosteen pulp, which are perfect for blending into smoothies and sorbets.
13. Maple syrup
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made by boiling the sap collected from certain species of maple trees found primarily in Canada and the United States (32).
It ranges in color from light amber to dark reddish-brown and has a unique, distinctly “maple” flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla.
Compared to cane sugar, maple syrup has a slightly higher amount of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc (33, 34, 35).
At the grocery store, look for products labeled “pure maple syrup”. Most pancake syrups are actually made from flavored corn syrup rather than maple syrup.
You can use maple syrup as a sweetener for just about anything — try adding some to drinks, yogurt, salad dressings, meat marinades, and even roasted vegetables.
Just be careful when replacing cane sugar with maple syrup in baked goods — its high water content can change the texture of your finished product.
Marjoram (also called sweet marjoram) is an herb belonging to the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean region (36, 37).
It has fuzzy, green oval-shaped leaves — similar to oregano — but tastes milder and sweeter, with notes of pine and citrus.
Fresh marjoram is sometimes available in the produce section at supermarkets but is more often found dried in the spice aisle, on its own or in herb blends like Herbes de Provence.
Marjoram can be mixed into meatballs and sausages, sprinkled over vegetable side dishes, and used to season roasted chicken and steak.
Milk from cows and other animals, including goats, sheep, and camels, has been consumed by humans for thousands of years (38).
In the United States, cow’s milk is the most popular, followed by goat’s milk. Both types offer a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and are high in key nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and iodine (39, 40).
Most fresh milk sold in grocery stores is pasteurized to destroy bacteria and homogenized to prevent the cream from rising to the top.
There are three main types of fresh milk — whole milk (3.25% milk fat), reduced-fat milk (2% milk fat) — in addition to shelf-stable forms such as evaporated milk, dry milk, and sweetened condensed milk.
Additionally, non-dairy milk options like soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk are becoming more popular.
Enjoy a cold glass of milk on its own, or add some to sauces, soups, desserts, and beverages for a little extra creaminess.
Millet is a gluten-free cereal grain that belongs to the Poaceae (grass) family and is considered one of the world’s oldest crops (41).
Uncooked millet looks similar to quinoa but has slightly larger grains that range in color from pale yellow to dark brown, depending on the type (42).
When cooked, millet triples in size and has a mild, somewhat corn-like flavor, making it easy to pair with almost any other food.
One cup (174 grams) of cooked millet provides 6 grams of protein, 2 grams (7% DV) of fiber, 77 mg (18% DV) of magnesium, and 2.3 mg (14% DV) of niacin (7, 43).
Whole grain millet and millet flour can be purchased at health food stores, supermarkets, and online here.
Toss some cooked millet in salads and grain bowls, or whip up some creamy millet breakfast porridge. Millet flour is great for making bread, pancakes, and other baked goods.
Mint is the name for more than 40 species of aromatic herbs — including peppermint and spearmint — native to the Mediterranean region (44, 45, 46).
This unique herb is subtly sweet and produces a lingering cooling sensation due to a naturally-occurring compound called menthol (47).
Chewing mint leaves can help freshen your breath after a meal and may even protect against cavities by decreasing the acidity of your saliva (48, 49).
Fresh and dried mint can be purchased at most supermarkets, along with mint extract, mint essential oil, and mint tea.
Chop fresh mint leaves to sprinkle over fresh-cut watermelon, roasted lamb, or grain salads, such as tabbouleh.
Mizuna is a leafy green vegetable belonging to the Brassica family (also known as cruciferous vegetables). It originated in Japan, but is grown throughout East Asia (50).
Mizuna leaves have jagged edges and a crisp stem — they have a bitter, peppery flavor, similar to arugula and mustard greens, but milder.
One cup (43 grams) of fresh baby mizuna leaves provides 12 calories, 1.5 grams (5% DV) of fiber, 32 mg (36% DV) of vitamin C, and a whopping 213 mcg (178% DV) of vitamin K (7, 51).
Mizuna can be difficult to find depending on where you live. Look for it at farmers’ markets, health food stores, and Asian food markets.
You can use mizuna in any recipe that calls for arugula, including salads, stir-fries, pestos, sandwiches, and pizzas. In Japan, it is often added to hot pot dishes.
Monstera (also called Mexican breadfruit) is the fruit of Monstera deliciosa, a flowering plant native to Mexico that also happens to be a popular houseplant.
This unique fruit looks similar to corn on the cob or a long, narrow pine cone, but with thick, green hexagonal scales that begin to pop off as it ripens.
Underneath, its juicy, off-white flesh has a custard-like texture and tastes like a cross between a banana and a pineapple, with a hint of mango.
In the United States, monstera is grown in California and Florida and can sometimes be purchased online from specialty produce stores.
Monstera fruit is delicious on its own, served at room temperature and eaten with a spoon or fork.
20. Morel mushroom
Morel mushrooms are a type of wild mushroom that originated in Europe and are also found in North America and Asia (52).
They have a short, off-white stem with a tan-colored, cone-shaped cap that’s easily recognized by its sponge-like appearance.
Morels are considered a delicacy and are prized for their intensely nutty, earthy flavor and delicate texture.
These unique mushrooms are very high in iron, with 8 mg (44% DV) in each 1-cup (66-gram) serving, and they also provide a small amount of vitamin D (7, 53).
Look for morel mushrooms at farmers’ markets and online. If you live in the midwest, where morel mushrooms are found, consider foraging for your own during the spring (54).
Morels are typically prepared by sautéeing in butter until golden brown and crispy, and seasoning with garlic and herbs.
Mulberries are the fruit of mulberry trees (genus Morus), which originated in China and Japan and are now also grown in Europe and North America (55, 56).
These delicate berries look similar to blackberries, but longer and more oval-shaped, and come in a variety of colors — black, white, or red.
They are very juicy and have a good balance of sweetness and tartness, with a bit of a woody flavor.
Mulberries get their rich, purple color from anthocyanins, a group of plant pigments that help lower inflammation and may reduce the risk of diabetes (57, 58).
Fresh mulberries typically aren’t sold at supermarkets but can sometimes be found at farmers’ markets, while dried mulberries can be purchased online here and here.
Mulberries are perfect for making jams, jellies, pies, and other desserts. You can also toss a handful into smoothies or sprinkle on top of yogurt, cereal, and salads.
22. Mung beans
Mung beans are small, green beans that are often sprouted before eating. They are thought to be native to India but are very popular throughout Asia (59).
Mung bean sprouts are long (1-2 inches) and white, with two small yellow leaves at the end. When raw, they have a crisp texture and a delicate, grassy flavor.
Cooked mung beans, on the other hand, have a mild, earthy flavor and a soft, creamy texture.
One cup (202 grams) of cooked mung beans provides 14 grams of protein, 15 grams (54% DV) of fiber, 92 mg (22% DV) of magnesium, and 321 mcg (80% DV) of folate (7, 60).
Dried, canned, and sprouted mung beans are available at many supermarkets, health food stores, and Asian food markets.
Toss mung bean sprouts into stir-fries, soups, and salads for a satisfying crunch, or add cooked mung beans to creamy curries and stews.
Mussels are bivalve mollusks, a group of shellfish that have soft bodies contained in a two-part hinged shell (61).
In the United States, blue mussels — named for their shell color — are the most common type (62).
Their cream-colored or light brown meat is soft and chewy, with a salty, ocean-like flavor and a hint of sweetness.
Like other shellfish, mussels are a very rich source of nutrients, especially iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids (7, 63).
Mussels can be purchased fresh, frozen, canned, or pickled from many grocery stores and seafood markets.
A popular way to prepare mussels is to steam them in a white wine broth before removing them from their shells to use in other dishes, like pastas and appetizers.
Mustard is a dark, leafy green vegetable belonging to the Brassica family along with broccoli, kale, and collard greens (64).
They have coarse stems and tender leaves with a pungent, peppery flavor that pairs well with eggs, grains, and roasted meats.
Mustard seeds can be ground and mixed with vinegar and water to make the condiment known simply as “mustard,” well-known for its sharp, tangy flavor.
You’ll find mustard greens in the produce section of most supermarkets, as well as mustard (the condiment) and mustard seeds (whole and ground) in the aisles.
Mustard greens can be prepared similarly to other leafy vegetables: massaged with oil and tossed into salads, stirred into hearty soups, or sautéed in a skillet with seasonings.
Use mustard (the condiment) to add a punch of flavor to salad dressings, dipping sauces, meat marinades, and sandwiches.
From macadamia nuts to mustard, there are plenty of delicious foods that start with the letter M.
We hope this list has inspired you to be adventurous and try some new foods, or to gain a new appreciation for some of the foods you already eat every day.
Comment below to let us know which of these foods are your favorites, and how you use them in the kitchen!
Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today. Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.