Garam Masala Substitute

Everyone stuck at least once, in a situation when the recipe needs garam masala to cook, but the kitchen ran out of garam masala or can’t find any. This is the time when anyone will think of making a garam masala substitute or buy one from the store. But the problem is, you don’t even know what is garam masala made of and what are the substitutes.

Don’t panic! We are here to show you the spices and its home making formula that you can alter for garam masala when it needed. This will save your time and make your dish aromatic almost as if you used garam masala, not the alternatives.

When Need a Garam Masala Substitute?

When Need a Garam Masala SubstituteHave you ever tried any Indian cuisine? If you had one then obviously, you know that without Garam masala an Indian dish is incomplete. Although, garam masala is also becoming popular among European and Arab cousins. However, if you don’t have the garam masala at your hands reach, you have no choice but to use an alternative of Garam masala. Let see when you need a garam masala substitute.

  • While preparing an Indian curry, kebab or any other dish that requires garam masala
  • If you can’t find a quality Garam masala in superstore
  • it’s an Indian Spice, you can’t find it often in the shops
  • Ran out of  garam masala that has in your  kitchen and forgot to buy one
  • When you need to make thick and aromatic gravy for roti or bread
  • For seasoning  meat or other animal items
  • If need to sprinkle the spice over any curry or soup

Types of Substitutes One Can Use for Garam Masala

Garam masala is a mix of multiple ground spice, which is roasted first then ground to powder. Therefore, if you are looking for its substitutes you must keep in mind that the alternative has to have those ingredients in common in their mix. However, we collect four of the best alternatives from different spice genre, to make your work easy. The substitutes are given below with a brief description of its use and ingredients with the recipe, so that, you can make them at home if needed

4 Best Used Garam Masala Substitutes Are

  • Blended Curry Powder
  • Jamaican Spice Or Allspice
  • Indian Chat Masala
  • Garam Masala Flavor Substitutes

Blended Curry Powder

Blended curry powderCurry powder is an excellent choice to replace garam masala. If you are making an Indian recipe than curry powder will compensate the garam masala well. The warmth and sweet and sour taste would not be same as garam masala, though it will do the job fine.

Ingredients of a curry powder

Coriander, Turmeric, Cumin seeds, black peppercorn, Red pepper, Cardamom without pods, Cinnamon stick, Whole cloves, Ginger these are the ingredients that are used in a curry powder to make it a hot flavorful spice.

How to make it at home

  • 22 ml coriander
  • 10 ml turmeric
  • 7.40 ml cumin seeds
  • Whole black peppercorn (1/2 or 1) – 2.50 ml
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (1/2 or 1) – 2.50 ml
  • Cardamom (without pods) – 2.50 ml
  • 1-inch cinnamon
  • 1.30 ml cloves
  • 1.30 ml ginger

Grind all together in a coffee grinder or any blender and you will get your homemade curry powder.

Jamaican Spice or Allspice

Jamaican spiceAllspice also is known as Jamaican spice or new spice. It is a fruit, when dried and grained its become aromatic flavorful spice. It has a strong flavor that’s why mostly used in the Caribbean, Palestinian and Middle Eastern cuisine, though you can use it in other dishes instead of garam masala. Just use a cumin mix and one or two tablespoons of Jamaican spice substituting garam masala and your guest will never find out that you did not use garam masala at all.

Ingredients of a Jamaican spice

Jamaican spice or allspice is made of cumin seeds, cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, pepper flakes, dried thyme, and black pepper. These elements make the Jamaican spice stronger than others.

How to Make It At Home

  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves(whole)
  • 2 tablespoon allspice berries
  • Cinnamon – ½ teaspoon
  • Nutmeg – ½ teaspoon
  • Garlic powder – ½ teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl then put those in a pan with light heat. When they roasted a little, remove them from fire and grind them well. You will sense a fragrance that will blow your mind, just use them in your curry or any dish and it will replace the missing of garam masala.

Indian Chat Masala

Indian Chat MasalaFirst of all, there is no shame to say that chat masala is not an exact match for garam masala, though they are both from India. Chat masala is almost opposite to garam masala comparing to their strength of spice and aroma. Garam masala is a hot spice on the other hand chat masala rather cool one. Take caution while using the chat, because too much use can change the entire flavor of a dish, so try to pour them gradually according to the taste of your recipe.

Ingredients of an Indian Chat Masala

If you are interested in knowing the ingredients of a chat masala, this segment is for you. The ingredients of the chat masala are coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon thymol seeds and ajwain, mango powder, black rock salt, black pepper, citric acid, and powdered mint leaves.

How to Make It At Home

  • coriander seeds 1 cup
  • cumin seeds ¼ cup
  • thymol seeds/ ajwain ½ cup
  • mango powder ½ cup
  • black rock salt ¼ cup (grained)
  • 4 teaspoon black pepper (grained)
  • 2 teaspoon citric acid
  • grained mint leaves the ½ cup
  • 2 or 3 cinnamon stick (large)

Fry the coriander, cumin, and ajwain in a heavy-based pan with medium heat until it gets dark brown. After having the spice, let them cool off for few minutes and then drain them well. That’s how you get your homemade chat masala, it’s easy, right? Now you can store them in a jar or bottle for further use.

Garam Masala Flavor Substitutes

Garam Masala Flavor SubstitutesWhen you have no door open towards bringing a suitable alternative spice for garam masala then only one thing you can do, and that is making garam masala recipe at home with other spices.

Now the question is how to make garam masala? We have a recipe, where the mixture will give you a spicy taste though not exactly as your expectation because you know that very well best garam masala substitute is only garam masala, nothing else hence let’s try to make one that could at least give 60%to70% similar flavor as garam masala.

First, make a 3:1:1/2 ratio with coriander, cinnamon and cloves powder and pepper powder. Mix all the ingredients and use them as a garam masala. This is the quickest possible way to make a homemade garam masala. You can use them in any Indian or other spicy dishes. Trust me it will blend well.

Few Interesting Facts about Garam Masala

Few Interesting Facts about Garam MasalaThough garam masala born from Indian cuisine, it is heavily used all over the world. People becoming keen about it tastes and scent day by day. However, plenty of things still remain a mystery about garam masala that needs to be uncovered. People don’t even have the information where they can find a better quality garam masala or where to buy it or how to collect it from the original source. We will give a transparent picture about this matter in this part and try to cover some other fun facts about garam masala.

Where to Buy These Spices?

Local Indian Stores

Local Indian StoresNow you might be thinking where to buy garam masala with premium quality You know well that this is Indian spice, so try to find some local Indian store in your community. There you have a 90% chance; you will find garam masala fresh from India.

Super Shops

You can also go to Wallmart to grab a bottle of garam masala, which at least delivers a good product to satisfy their consumers. There are also other super shops are available but you might get dodgy spice with a higher price, so try to avoid them.

Online Stores

Online Stores

This is the least possible place I will suggest you go because there is 100% chance that you will become hopeless after buying your favorite spice from online. This is also a no situation to be advised, if you have no other option in hands then you can try your like by buying your garam masala from online.

Garam Masala Variations

Garam Masala VariationsDo you know that there has a variation in garam masala recipe in India? The recipe differs according to the different region of India and chefs choice as well. However, the universal ingredients used are coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and nutmeg.

South Indian vs North Indian Garam Masala Recipe

South Indian vs North Indian Garam Masala RecipeSouth India is hotter region than any other part of the whole India that’s why they blend their masala with a paste of coconut milk, vinegar or water, which is hotter resisting while North India is typically cooler than South India and that’s why they use the powder garam masala.


The best solution to substitute garam masala is to store extra gram masala in multiple jars and use them where needed. Nevertheless, the substitute we illustrate for you will help to get out from tight situations. You can make them and store in your pantry for further use hence try to collect original garam masala from your source. Finally yet importantly, try to experiment different recipe of spice, after all, kitchen is better placed to invent and it will not hurt.

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My name is Sherry F. Solar and I am a Registered Dietitian, Certified Nutritionist, and Certified Personal Trainer with a private practice in Somerville, MA. I got my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Boston University and finished my Dietetic Internship at Oregon Health and Science University. After working as a personal trainer for almost five years and completing the dietetic internship, I took a detour on my career path to pursue a role as a blogger. There will be plenty of information shared on losing weight, building muscle, eating healthy, and living a happy, healthy life on my blog. I enjoy blogging and strive to share accurate information about nutrition and health knowledge. My blog is for those who are on the journey of healthy eating, and it is also for anyone wishing to attain total health all while aging with no worries. I believe that anyone can have a healthier body and a happier mind when armed with the right education, resources, and knowledge. I want my readers to know that they will learn a lot about becoming healthier and happier through this blog. I try to ensure all articles are informative and useful.


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