What can I substitute for curry powder? (5 Alternatives)

In this article, we will answer the question “What can I substitute for curry powder?”, and what recipes use curry powder?

What can I substitute for curry powder?

You can make your own curry powder at home if you have ingredients like cumin, coriander, chili, pepper, salt, turmeric, etc. these are the basic ingredients that make a basic curry powder. However, if you do not have the time to make curry powder at home, there are plenty of other options to get the same taste in your curries, soups, stews, and rice.

Read on if you want to know what spices from your pantry can be used as a substitute for curry powder. 

What is curry powder?

Curry powder is a blend of spices like  Coriander, Salt, Fenugreek, Black Pepper, Chilli, Allspice, and Celery. The bright yellow color of curry powder comes from the turmeric. Mustard powder can be used as an alternative. Adding garlic and onion powder adds a whole lot of flavor to it.

It originated in the sub-continent and as the name suggests, is primarily used in curry dishes. It also pairs well with soups, stews, seafood, eggs, meat, and vegetables.

The American version of curry powder is not somewhat unique because in the sub-continent a lot of spices are used to create the complex and bold flavor of curry powder. The spices vary depending upon the dish.

Alternatives to curry powder

Garam masala

Garam masala powder is made by blending cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander, and cumin. It does not contain turmeric. Instead, it uses cardamom due to which it has a milder flavor with a sweet hint to it. It can be used to replace curry powder or for garnishing.

Ground cumin

Ground cumin gives a very warm and earthy flavor to your dishes. When using it as an alternative to curry powder, mix some chili powder or black pepper and salt to add some spice to it. Roasting cumin seeds before blending them brings out a lot of intricate flavors.

Turmeric, coriander, and allspice

A blend of turmeric, coriander, and allspice powder is a good substitute for the bold flavor of curry powder. Add chili or paprika powder to add some spice.

Curry paste

Curry paste is typically used to make Thai dishes and is made up of chili, garlic, sea salt, lemongrass, turmeric, and shrimp paste. It can be used as a substitute for curry powder in curries and stews. It gives a warm flavor to your dishes.

Chaat masala

Amchoor, cumin, coriander, ginger, black pepper, asafoetida, fennel, Kala namak, ajwain seeds, tamarind, red chili, and green mango powder. Tamarind and green mango powder add a lot of tanginess to this spice which is complemented by the savory flavor of the Kashmiri red chili powder. 

This spice is a good substitute for curry powder to add a lot of heat to your dishes. It can also be used to garnish.

Other FAQs about Curry which you may be interested in.

How long can curry last in the fridge?

How to make curry powder at home?


  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp yellow mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  • Mix all the spices in the correct proportions. For better flavor, it is recommended to roast cumin, coriander, and black pepper and then grind them. This adds a lot of flavors and extends the shelf life of your curry powder.
  • Store in an airtight container in the pantry. Keep away from moisture.

What recipes use curry powder?

  • Use curry powder to make curry stews with beef or chicken or make rice with shrimp and spice it up with some curry powder.
  • If you love Indian spices, try adding curry powder to your lasagna.
  • Thai soups usually use curry paste but you can also use curry powder to make the classic coconut chicken soup. The rich flavor of the coconut milk pairs well with the sweet and savory flavor of the curry powder.
  • Make fried rice and top it with boiled eggs and some curry. Speaking of eggs, curry powder in scrambled eggs adds a bold flavor.
  • Make your samosa filling using curry powder and enjoy your samosas with green chutney.
  • The bright yellow-orange color of butter chicken cannot be achieved without curry powder. The warm and savory flavor, aroma and taste is to die for.
  • Sprinkle some curry powder into your salad bowls.

Other FAQs about Curry that you may be interested in.

Does Thai curry have fish sauce?

Does red curry paste go bad?

Why is my curry sour?


In this article, we answered the question “What can I substitute for curry powder?”, and what recipes use curry powder?