The Best Substitute For Curry Powder In Recipe

Cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger come together to create the best substitute for curry powder in recipe. You can customize the spice, sweetness, and taste based on how much of each you use.

The Best Substitute For Curry Powder In Recipe

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Indian curry is my absolute favorite food. I like to go to nearby Indian restaurants nearby and order my usual chana masala with a tower of garlic naan. But every so often, I make my own homemade curry for my family.

Curry has tons of health benefits starting with the super anti-inflammatory turmeric powder in almost every curry. Curry not only tastes delicious, but is great for you too!

My favorite homemade curry contains a little vegetable oil, curry paste, coconut milk, a curry powder or mixture of spices as mentioned here, chickpeas or potatoes, and spinach, all served over rice and some naan on the side.

favorite indian curry dish

If I don’t have curry powder on hand, I’ll use cumin as the essential ingredient, then coriander, turmeric, and ginger to mimic the same taste. I use 1-2 teaspoons of each, mix to combine, and it spices the dish right up for an authentic curry taste.

Indian dishes have a good mix of spices and a lot of complex flavor. This is usually why Indian food is among most peoples favorite type of food (mine included!).

Store-bought curry powder is good and it’s not hard to find, as most grocery stores carry it. But once you learn more about Indian cuisine and cooking, you’ll see that you can mimic similar flavors with the spices you already have in your spice rack.

By making your own blend, you get to control the ingredients based on your own preferences. Use this base curry powder recipe for a homemade blend of spices, then tweak and customize it how you’d like.

The Best Substitute For Curry Powder In Recipe

There are different curry types to consider, but normally cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger are the base spices. A good curry powder substitute has to mimic the tastes of whichever curry dish you’re going for. We’ll discuss more about customizing these spices based on the curry you are cooking.

Different spices for curry powder

3 Things To Note When Making Your Own Curry Powder

  1. Starting with whole spices brings the tastiest result, but using ground spices makes it quick and easy. Most authentic curry recipes call for whole spices, seeds, and cloves to be toasted and ground with a spice grinder to bring out the best flavor of curry powder. Toasting whole spices releases some of the oils in the spices and makes the mixture much more fragrant. I wouldn’t judge you for skipping this step and using ground spices to start. It’s just personal preference whether you value the best flavor or efficiency.
  2. Some prefer different spices than others, so feel free to customize your homemade curry powder based on your taste buds. Like it spicy? Add more chili powder or red pepper flakes. Want more of a sweet flavor? Add more cinnamon and sugar. The good news is, you can use this article as a base for recipes and then make the mixture of spices totally your own!
  3. These recipes have the measurements for single batches. If you’re making curry powder to save and store for later, I recommend multiplying each measurement by 3 or 4 so you have enough.
how to make your own curry powder

The Best Substitute For Curry Powder

In order to make your own curry powder, you need 4 simple ground spices that most people already have in their kitchen. These common ingredients include cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger.

When ground and mixed all together, you have your very own curry powder!

Remember, you can always customize the amounts per each ingredient, but here is the base recipe for curry powder to get you started:

  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix these ground spices together to create the best substitute for curry powder in recipe.

This is the base recipe for almost any homemade curry powder. But you might now know curry isn’t just curry. Your type of curry depends on the seasoning blend and or paste you use to make it.

different types of curry powder on spoons

When you order at an indian food restaurant, you wouldn’t just say, “I’d like some curry.” Right? You’d look over the menu full of names like tikka masala, saag, korma, vindaloo, dhansak, and more. These all use a variety of spices to blend and make unique flavors along with either some meat, vegetables, lentils, or potatoes.

So I didn’t stop here. I continued finding the simplest and best substitutes for other curry styles and tastes.

Garam Masala Spice Substitute

Garam masala boasts a very fragrant, yet earthy flavor that you just can’t really pinpoint yourself. It has many layers to its taste.

Garam masala, when homemade, actually contains some allspice. Allspice has a similar taste to cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and peppercorns. It’s a very versatile spice, probably why its called allspice (someone fact check me on this?).

In order to make a homemade garam masala spice mixture, simply add a two-part blend of cumin and all-spice. In order to do this, you’d mix 4 parts cumin to 1 part all-spice. So, for example; 4 teaspoons cumin to 1 teaspoon of allspice.

  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground all-spice

Mix these spices together to create the best spice substitute for garam masala.

Madras Curry Spice Substitute

Madras curry spice blend has a bit more heat to it. This curry spice has a combination of coriander seeds, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper or chili powder, and mustard seed.

In order to make this madras curry powder really good, you’ll want to toast your whole spices. Some madras curry spices also contain star anise and bay leaves, but we’ll keep this homemade spice blend as simple as we can and you decide whether to add to it.  

For the simplicity of this recipe and to keep the article consistent, we’re also gonna stick to ground spices, although I do encourage you to use whole spices when you can.

  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all your spices together and mix well.

Tandoori Masala Spice Substitute

Tandoori masala spice blend usually has a complex but mild flavor with both sweet spices and strong garlic notes, plus a little kick from some red pepper and onion.

Tandoori masala is usually thick by combining the spice blend with yogurt. The ingredients usually in tandoori masala spice are coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, red pepper, garlic, paprika, and onion.

  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika powder (for color)
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all your spices together and mix well.

Chaat Masala Spice Substitute

Chaat masala is for the people who love a bit of every taste on their plate. It has a blend of spicy yet sweet, tart and tangy, oh and also salty and sour. It adds tanginess to any indian dish.

The dry mango powder is a new one for this article. You can find this at most asian or indian markets, or you can substitute with pomegranate powder if that is easier to find. This addition of sweet and tanginess is necessary for an authentic chaat masala taste.

  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp black salt (or kala namak)
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder or dry pomegranate powder (anardana powder)
  • 1 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all your spices together and mix well.

picture of curry at a restaurant

Save & Share This Article!

Now that you have the tools you need to succeed with one of these best curry powder substitutes, go customize your own authentic curry dish! Remember to tag me @Plantedwithkatie on all social medias so I can see your recipe.

It would mean so much if you could leave a comment and/or rating below letting me know how you liked this post. And as always, you can share using the social media links provided. Thank you so much!

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