Top 5 Substitutes For Garam Masala

May 27, 2021 | Cooking Tips

Have you ever wondered what makes Indian cuisine so special? It’s their eternal blends of spices that bring out the best flavors. Garam Masala is one of the most popular Indian spice blends that is used in their cuisine. We’ve come up with a list of 5 substitutes for Garam Masala for those who need it.

Garam masala is an amazing mixture of spices that takes your curries and stews to another level.

Garam masala is a spice blend that originated in India and is used in plenty of their dishes. It contains spices such as cinnamon, mace, peppercorn, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and cardamom pods. These whole spices are toasted in a pan altogether to release the oils and aromas. After the spices are toasted, they’re ground up and blended.

Garam masala means “warming spices”, which is what they do exactly. It warms up the dish and creates depth to it.

However, what happens if you don’t have garam masala left in your pantry or simply can’t find any in the store?

Here’s a list of substitutes for garam masala.

Curry Powder

1. Curry Powder

Curry powder is the easiest substitute for garam masala if you run out. Garam masala intensifies the flavor of curries. The use of curry powder isn’t as intense as garam masala and it may not provide the same flavor and warmth but it’s a good substitute.

Allspice with Cumin

2. Allspice with Cumin

A good combination of allspice with cumin could be a good substitute for garam masala. Cumin is a very strong spice in the garam masala blend. The presence of cumin with allspice makes up for a little of the warmth in garam masala.

Chaat Masala

3. Chaat Masala

Chaat masala is another blend of spices in Indian cuisine. If you’re looking for depth in your dish, it might be a wiser idea to use this as a substitute for garam masala. It has a slightly sweeter note to it and it’s a little salty. If you’re not too into salt use it in a pinch.

Sambhar Masala

4. Sambhar Masala

Sambhar masala is a blend of spices also used in India but more concentrated in the south. It has coriander, coconut, chilies, cumin, mustard seed, and other spices. This is a good substitute for garam masala most especially if you’re making fishy and vegetable stews.

Cumin, Coriander and Cardamom

5. Cumin, Coriander, Cardamom

If you only have a few spices that garam masala has but can’t seem to fulfill the entire blend, it’s all right. It’s the thought that counts! The mixture of cumin, coriander and cardamom is a good enough mix to get the essence of garam masala. You can use these individually but it won’t create that depth that garam masala brings to the table.


Hey there! I'm Isabel. I love cooking, dogs, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good flavorful food, to share with family and friends.



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