What are the best Garam Masala Substitute?

Garam Masala is a popular spice. It is originally an Indian spice. The word ‘Garam’ means hot, and the word ‘Masala’ means spice. So, Garam Masala is an essential warm spice. 

Garam Masala is a ground blend of some Indian spices. It doesn’t have a permanent recipe, and a different region of the country has a different method.

Also, some families have their hereditary recipe. But these recipes have some common ingredients. Fennel, Black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, mace, cardamom, cumin, coriander, etc. are present in the spice. Garam Masala is a perfectly balanced spice.

Garam Masala gives any savory dish a unique flavor. Not to mention, the spices present in this are very flavorful on their own. This Masala is very aromatic. And it is used in curries and soups.

Substitutes of Garam Masala

Substitutes are things that can work as a replacement for the primary substance. When you don’t have garam masala, you can use some alternatives. These replacements can help you in need. Some of them are below.

1. Homemade Garam Masala: 

Garam Masala is a mix of some ground spices. It is effortless to make at home. The individual ingredients present in this spice are widespread and easy to find. They might be lying in your home. 


  • Coriander Seeds- 100 gms
  • Black cardamom- 24 gms
  • Green cardamom- 20 gms
  • Black peppercorns- 20 gms
  • Cloves- 20 gms
  • Cinnamon- 20 gms
  • Bay leaves- 28
  • Mace- 10-12 gms
  • Nutmeg- 10-12 gms


  • First, roast the coriander seeds in low heat for 4 mins. When done, let them cool down.
  • Then put all the spices except coriander seeds and bay leaves in a frying pan. And roast then in low heat for 5 mins. Keep stirring, so they cook evenly.
  • Cut the bay leaves and add them in the pan. Stir and let them roast for about 1 min. When they roasted, let them cool down.
  • Then grind all the roasted spices in a grinder. Make a powder type texture. This mix will be about 250 gms of garam masala powder.

By following this recipe, you can make your Garam Masala as a substitute for the one from the market.

2. Curry powder: 

Curry powder is also a ground spice like Garam masala. It has turmeric, chili powder, coriander, bay leaves, cumin, ginger, and pepper. Some of these ingredients are also present in Garam Masala.

Curry powder also has a sweet, spicy, and earthy taste. So, given these points, curry powder is a pretty decent substitute for Garam Masala.

If you are in a hurry, curry powder is you, savior. Use the same amount of curry powder as Garam Masala. And you are good to go.

3. Chaat Masala: 

Chaat masala is a cooling spice blend. But garam masala is a warm spice blend. Chaat masala is not the best substitute for Garam Masala. But it can be used when you are in a hurry.

It has mint leaves, cumin, carom seeds, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, ginger, nutmeg, black salt, etc. It gives the dishes a salty, sweet, and tangy flavor.

It can easily be a good substitute if you are making an Indian dish. But be careful about the amount. If you use too much, it can ruin the dish. Use the same amount of chaat masala as Garam Masala.

4. Allspice and cumin: 

Allspice is from dried berries of a plant. The plan is known as Pimenta Diocita. Allspice is a middle eastern spice. The flavor of allspice is similar to the mix of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper.

So if you include cumin powder with allspice, it will work as a great substitute—mix 1 part cumin with ¼ part allspice. And you are done. Not only is this blend effortlessly to make, but also it gives a similar kind of flavor.

5. A blend of individual ingredients:

Don’t worry if you don’t have any good substitutes for Garam Masala. You can easily make a spice blend with the ingredients you have.

Garam Masala has a warm, sweet, spicy, and earthy flavor to it. You can use coriander, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, cardamom, and pepper for a similar kind of character. Pepper, cinnamon, and cumin will give the spice a spicy and earthy flavor. And cardamon, cloves will provide it with a bit of sweetness.

Altogether the blend will have a lovely aroma and flavor. Mix these ingredients and grind them in a grinder. This blend will work as a great substitute.

6. Spice blend:

Garam masala is a very flavorful spice. An authentic garam masala has more than 30 spices present in it. Not to mention, it has tons of spices that are not available everywhere. That’s why substitutes are a great way.

You can use some useful replacements to give your dish the same flavor as Garam Masala. Mix Masala curry powder, Sambhar Masala, and chaat Masala together to make a blend. This blend will be an excellent substitute when you are in a hurry.

Also Read: 6 Best Swiss Chard Substitute

Cardamom Substitute in Garam Masala

Cardamom is an essential ingredient in Garam Masala. It has a very complex flavor. The flavor of cardamom is nutty, earthy, fruity, woody, herbal altogether. It is not a natural spice to substitute.

Also Sometimes, it can be a bit hard to find. Some of the substitutes of cardamom are below:

1. Cloves and cinnamon: because of the complex flavor of cardamom, you sometimes have to use at least two ingredients. The mix of cloves and cinnamon can work as a great substitute.

Clove has a very intense flavor. And cinnamon has a bit woodiness to it. For 1 tsp of cardamom, use ½ tsp of both clove and cinnamon. Given these points, the mix of cloves and cinnamon can be considered an excellent substitute for cardamom.

2. Nutmeg: Nutmeg is a very intense spice. It has a powerful aroma. Nutmeg has a nutty, spicy, and sweet flavor to it. For some people, it can be too spicy.

Nutmeg is a good substitute for cardamom. Both of these have a very similar feeling. But you have to be careful about the amount you use. Start with using a tiny amount. Then add more if you need it.

3. Allspice: some chefs say that allspice is a decent substitute for cardamom. It has a sweet, spicy, and nutty flavor, which is similar to cardamom’s tastes. Use 1 tbsp of allspice for 1 tbsp of cardamom. It is not the best substitute. But you can work when you are in a hurry.

Spices play a massive role in cooking. Spices are what make a dish flavorful. Different countries of the world have different spices. If you run out of any specific spice, you can always use substitutes. That way, your cooking can be done even without the exact ingredient.

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