Top 5 Substitutes For Tamarind Paste

May 6, 2021 | Cooking Tips

Are you looking for substitutes for tamarind paste? You’re in the right place!

Tamarind paste is a common ingredient in Southeast Asia, India, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Tamarind paste is made from the tamarind fruit, which is dark, brown, sticky and very sour. Tamarind could be directly added to food but to make life easier for us, and for storage purposes, tamarind fruits are turned into paste.

This sour paste is used to turn a dish sour, to make desserts, candy, and refreshing beverages sort of like lemonade. It is usually part of very common dishes and ingredients that we know of. Tamarind paste is a key ingredient to making Worcestershire sauce, Pad Thai, Thai curries and Indian curries.

Tamarind paste is easily available in grocery stores or you can make your own. Tamarind paste has a distinct flavor that nothing can really replace. However, if you don’t have tamarind paste, here’s a list of substitutes that you can use to capture the essence of it.

Lime Juice And Molasses

1. Lime Juice (with molasses)

Lime juice is the best bet on this list. Tamarind paste has citrus notes with some caramel in it, which is perfect for this substitute. If you mix molasses with lime juice, you can get close to recreating the real thing.

You’ll get a tart and sweet flavor into your dish that will pass as tamarind paste.

Pomegranate Molasses

2. Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses makes a good alternative for tamarind paste if you’re using it to substitute the sour flavor of tamarind. Pomegranate is a sour and syrupy juice that isn’t very sweet that will surely give you a kick.

Use pomegranate molasses as a substitute for tamarind paste in pad thai or rasam.

Water, Lemon Juice And Tomato Paste

3. Water, Lemon Juice, Tomato Paste

This seems like a lot of work but trust us, it’s a passable substitute for tamarind paste. Mix 2TBSP water, 3 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice, 1/3 cup Tomato Paste, 3TBSP Worcestershire Sauce and 3 TBSP of Brown sugar.

Mix these together and it would be an interesting replacement for tamarind paste in dishes that need a souring agent.

Rice Vinegar With Brown Sugar

4. Rice Wine Vinegar with Brown Sugar

Rice wine vinegar is a more subtle kind of souring agent. It’s not quite as deep as tamarind in flavor but it’ll work with sugar if you need the tamarind paste’s sweet-sour flavors for a dish.

This alternative won’t be as thick as tamarind paste so you can use cornstarch slurry to thicken it.

Mango Chutney

5. Mango Chutney

Mango chutney is already packed with flavors so you may be thinking why it’s even in here. Well, tamarind paste is used not only as an ingredient in cooking but also as spreads for certain plates. You may use mango chutney as an alternative for tamarind paste in breads because it is also sweet and sour.


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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