6+ Garam Masala Substitutes

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Garam masala is a spice combination that serves as the foundation for many South Asian recipes. This spice jar is essential in every Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi home.

Garam masala is made up of many spices, the specific composition of which varies by area. The most popular components are peppercorns, fennel, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. The aromatic, somewhat sweet mixture serves as the foundation for many traditional recipes, including as curries, soups, and lentil stews.

Garam masala lends unique tastes to South Asian food, but it may be difficult to locate outside of speciality grocery shops.

If you don’t have garam masala, here are a few replacements that will keep the taste of your food intact.

1. Curry Powder

Curry powder is another South Asian culinary staple. Most people are unaware that curry powder is a spice blend rather than a single spice. Garlic, chili powder, turmeric, and coriander are common ingredients in curry powder. The Brits devised it because they needed a quick method to reproduce the tastes of Indian food.

Curry powder contains various spices that are comparable to garam masala and may give your food a kick. Curry powder, on the other hand, has a less nuanced taste since it contains less spices. Traditionally, garam masala is used towards the conclusion of the cooking process, while curry powder is added earlier. Since curry powder contains turmeric, it may tint your food yellow, but garam masala does not.

2. Chaat Masala

Another famous South Asian spice blend is chaat masala. Both garam masala and chaat masala include the term masala, which meaning spice combination. Chaat masala, like garam masala, comprises cumin, coriander, ginger, pepper, salt, and chile, but also asafetida and amchoor.

Despite the fact that they both include warming spices, chaat masala is more acidic and tangy than garam masala.

Reduce the proportions if using it as a garam masala alternative so that the sour elements do not overshadow your meal.

3. Allspice

The spice allspice is created from ground pimento powder. While it was initially cultivated in Jamaica, it is now popular worldwide. Allspice has a warming, nutty taste akin to cinnamon and cloves, two of the most important garam masala spices.

If you want to substitute garam masala but don’t have many spices on hand, a mixture of allspice and cumin resembles the spice blend’s most significant sweet, aromatic overtones. Your meal, however, will lack some of the richness (and spice) of garam masala.

4. Sambar Masala

Another famous South Asian spice mix is sambar masala. Although garam masala may be found across the subcontinent, sambhar masala is only found in southern India. Coriander, cumin, dried mustard seed, cinnamon, red chili powder, roasted lentils, and dried coconut are the key spices in sambar masala.

While usually used for sambar stew, sambar powder, like garam masala, may be used in a variety of lentil meals including curries. Since sambar masala often includes lentils, it might clump together, so use caution while incorporating it into your recipe. It is also more harder to get than garam masala, so if you are seeking for a more readily available substitute, this is not the greatest option.

5. Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin spice is a sweet spice combination that is often used in pumpkin pies and other sweets in North America. It includes the same warming spices as garam masala, such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.

You may use pumpkin spice for garam masala as long as you don’t use too much so that the sweet spices overshadow your meal. To balance the tastes, add some pepper and savory spices like coriander.

6. Ras el Hanout

Ras el hanout, like garam masala, is a spice combination. It is, however, from North Africa, not India, and includes comparable spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.

Ras el hanout offers warming tastes comparable to garam masala. It does, however, include more chili pepper and cayenne, so minimize the amount you use or prepare your food to be hotter than planned.


What spice can I substitute for garam masala?

3 Popular Garam Masala Substitutes
Curry spice: Use curry powder as a replacement for garam masala in your recipe.
Cumin and allspice: When you’re in a rush, combine 4 parts ground cumin and 1 part allspice for a quick alternative.
Masala Chaat: As an alternative, try chaat masala.

Can I skip garam masala?

If you run out of garam masala, you may create your own by combining cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, coriander, cumin, mace, and bay leaves, or you can use one of the substitutes listed above for a comparable warming taste.

Can you substitute 5-spice for garam masala?

Masala Garam Masala

I was shocked at how similar Garam Masala, an Indian spice combination, is to Chinese 5-Spice. Both include fennel, cinnamon, and cloves, while Garam Masala also contains caraway seeds and cardamom. It also lacks star anise. Since they are so close, just swap 1:1.

Is 7 spice and garam masala the same?

The seasonings

The seven spice blend’s essential ingredients are turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, ground coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Garam masala is also used to augment these seven spices and offer a background flavor.

What is garam masala a mixture of?

What is the origin of garam masala? Garam masala may be created using a variety of spices, the most popular of which being cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, mace, and nutmeg. To make your own mix, roast whole spices first to bring out their taste before grinding them.

Is garam masala just curry powder?

Garam masala and curry powder are both ground spice blends. They may share certain spices, but they are not the same product. Garam masala does not include turmeric, although curry powder does. This is why curry powder is generally yellow-orange in color rather than the reddish-brown of garam masala.

Can I substitute cumin for garam masala?

Garam masala is typically added at the end of the cooking process and imparts a warm, citrusy, and inviting aroma to the dish. Like with many other spices, you may use garam masala in place of cumin by beginning with half the quantity asked for in the recipe and adjusting to taste.

Is garam masala necessary for curry?

One of the most flavorful spices is garam masala. It is a delicate combination of all vital spices that should not be introduced in the beginning or middle stages of your cooking as it will merely lack its signature flavor. Instead, always add garam masala after your tomato puree has finished cooking.

Does curry need garam masala?

Curry Powder and Garam Masala in the Kitchen

‘, the answer is NO! These are two distinct spice combinations. Garam masala may be added both during and after the cooking process to provide a finishing touch to the food. Garam masala, when added and stirred in towards the end of cooking, maintains and improves the flavor of the meal.

Is all purpose seasoning garam masala?

Garam Masala is an all-purpose spice used in Indian cooking and is applied to almost anything, both savory and sweet, including curries.

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