Does garam masala have turmeric?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Does garam masala have turmeric?” We will also discuss the taste of garam masala and the different spices used while making garam masala. Moreover, we will also describe how you can make it at home.

Does garam masala have turmeric?

Usually, garam masala does not contain turmeric, but there are different variations of garam masala available in the market or that are made at home, some of these versions might have turmeric. 

The primary spices used in garam masala are coriander, cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, and nutmeg. 

Turmeric can be used as a secondary spice in some of the variations. You can check for the ingredients in the back of the garam masala container to ensure that turmeric is used.

What is garam masala made of?

The different spices used in garam masala are discussed below:

Coriander seeds

The coriander seeds are the main ingredient that forms the base of garam masala. It has a mild aroma and flavor so it also helps to tone down and balance the flavors of other spices, especially the pungent and bitter side.


Cardamoms add a bit of sweetness to your garam masala. Its sweet aroma adds a unique flavor to the spices. You can use the whole pods or just the seeds inside according to your preference.

Black peppercorns

Of course, the king of spices black pepper can’t be missed out. It adds smoky flavors and a pungent taste to the garam masala. 


Nutmeg is a unique spice that adds delicate and sweet flavors and aroma to your garam masala.

Bay leaves

It is also known as “tej patta” which is pungent. It is optional so you may avoid it if you don’t like its strong smell.

Cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon adds a great flavor to your garam masala. Its unique taste and aroma give you perfect flavors when used in a reasonable quantity. Avoid using too many of these to balance your flavors.

Can we substitute turmeric for garam masala?

No, you cannot substitute turmeric for garam masala. Turmeric is not even used in most of the garam masala variations. The only reason it is added in some of the variations is for its bright yellow color and not the flavor. 

Garam masala and turmeric have two very distinct flavors and aromas, which make them very hard to use as one another’s substitutes. 

On the contrary, garam masala which contains turmeric can be used in place of turmeric but you should reduce the amount considerably as garam masala is a lot more flavorful than turmeric.

For more information on substitutes for garam masala, please click the link here.

How does garam masala taste?

Garam masala tastes like a complex blend of all of the ingredients used while making it but it also adds a unique taste and aroma to your recipe that none of those spices can give when used individually. 

It’s a warm and fragrant spice blend that has a lot of layers of flavors to it. There is no particular taste or aroma to describe garam masala since every blend is different, but you’ll find hints of cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns, and other stronger spices used in it.

How to make your garam masala at home?

If you don’t want to use a store-bought garam masala, you can always easily make it at home. All you need is the ingredients mentioned above.


  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons green cardamom seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace or grated nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Heat all of these ingredients in a pan for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat until they are dried and toasted completely.
  • Make sure the spices don’t overheat otherwise it may turn out to be bitter
  • Let it cool for a while.
  • Blend all these spices in a grinder and store them in an airtight container.

Is garam masala similar to curry powder?

Yes, garam masala is similar to curry powder in terms of its flavors. It is the closest replacement for garam masala. Both garam masala and curry powder are two widely used spice blends. 

Both use many similar spices like cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves but curry powder uses comparatively more cumin and coriander than garam masala.

Other FAQs about Spices that you may be interested in.

Is garam masala the same as allspice?

What is the difference between masala and garam masala?

Is garam masala just curry powder?

What is cumin used for?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Does garam masala have turmeric?” We have also discussed the taste of garam masala and the different spices used while making garam masala. Moreover, we will also describe how you can make it at home.