What can I substitute for garam masala?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “what can I substitute for garam masala,” discuss why garam masala is so prevalent in Indian cuisine and the most readily available alternatives for garam masala.

What can I substitute for garam masala?

You can try substituting curry powder or making your garam masala by combining allspice, black pepper, and cinnamon in equal quantities (about 2 tsp each). One is berbere seasoning, which has a similar flavor profile and can be found online or at most grocery stores.

This complexity means that if you don’t have garam masala on hand but still want to use it in a recipe, there is no other spice that will do the trick. But there are some alternatives you can try!

When you are cooking, you can use these substitutes to approximate the flavor of garam masala:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Whole cloves
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg

Garam masala is made of different spices, including coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom. It is most commonly used in Indian cuisines but can also be found in other Asian, African, and Caribbean cooking styles.

What do the substitutes for garam masala have to offer?

Garam masala mixes warm spices, including cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. Garam masala is often used to add flavor to stews and rice dishes.

If you do not have garam masala on hand when a recipe calls for it, you can easily substitute with one of these alternatives:

Pumpkin pie spice

A combination of cinnamon, ginger, and allspice, pumpkin pie spice makes a great substitute in certain types of recipes. Both cinnamon and ginger are familiar flavors in garam masala. You can add a small amount of allspice to increase the dish’s spiciness.

Curry powder

This Indian-inspired blend works well as a replacement for garam masala as long as the recipe does not call for many other spices.

Chinese five-spice powder

Chinese five-spice powder contains star anise, fennel seed, cloves, Sichuan pepper, and cinnamon, some of the same ingredients found in garam masala. Use Chinese five-spice powder sparingly as it is pretty strong.


Paprika can be an excellent replacement for garam masala because they share some common ingredients. However, paprika is made with sweet red peppers instead of the spicy chilies used in garam masala, so it will not have a spicy kick like garam masala does.

Chili powder

Chili powder is a good substitute for garam masala cooking with Indian spices. Chili powder can be easier to find than garam masala at many grocery stores. This is because chili powder is more commonly used in cooking than garam masala, and many people prefer the taste of chili powder to that of garam masala. 

In addition to being a possible alternative to garam masala, chili powder has other health benefits. For example, it is known to help the body burn calories and fat more quickly. It also helps the body’s metabolism function at a higher level.

Why is garam masala so prevalent in Indian cuisine?

If you are a fan of Indian cuisine, you may have come across the spice blend garam masala. This is a trendy spice blend used in many Indian dishes. It is often used as a finishing spice and is sprinkled over foods before serving them. The name translates to “hot spices.”

Garam masala is a spice blend used in Indian cooking. It comprises ground coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, but some recipes call for more ingredients.

If you have garam masala and do not know what to do with it, consider using it in the following ways:

  • Use it as a dry rub for chicken or fish.
  • Make a sauce for curries with yogurt, rice, or lentils.
  • Mix it into a stir fry.
  • Blend it with coconut milk, coriander, and garlic to make a curry paste.
  • Sprinkle it on pizza or popcorn.

Garam masala is used in many different dishes. You will find it in curries, rice dishes, vegetable dishes, and marinades for meat or fish. Its flavor is similar to curry powder, a mixture of spices and herbs. Some other uses include:

  • As a seasoning for meats
  • In soups
  • In desserts
  • In beverages like chai tea

What are the health benefits of garam masala?

Some health benefits of garam masala include:

  • It’s full of antioxidants that help fight cancer.
  • It helps with digestion.
  • It may help control blood sugar levels.

Other FAQs about Seasoning that you may be interested in.

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What can i use instead of old bay seasoning

What is Korean chili powder?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “what can I substitute for garam masala,” and other questions about the subject, such as why garam masala is so prevalent in Indian cuisine and the most readily available alternatives for garam masala.