What can you substitute for curry powder?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can you substitute for curry powder?”. We will elaborate on different alternatives of curry powder with their advantages and drawbacks.

What can you substitute for curry powder?

You can substitute curry powder with: 

  • Cumin
  • Garam masala
  • Turmeric
  • Curry paste 

What are the substitutes of curry powder?

The purpose of curry powder, which is an amalgam of spices that come together, is to provide a warm and strong flavor to the dish to which it is added. The main components of curry powder are turmeric, cumin, ginger, and black pepper. 

Garlic and cinnamon are also used but their use is not common. The taste of curry powder is sweet and warm. Curry powder provides a toasty tinge wherever it is used.

Following are some of the things which can substitute curry powder successfully.·    


Cumin is basically a dried seed. It belongs to the family “Cuminum cyminum”. The length of the cumin plant is thirty to fifty cm. Harvestation of cumin is carried out by hands.  

Cumin is an annual herbaceous plant. The stems of cumin are glabrous and branched. About two sub-branches are present in every branch with the same height of each branch.

Some naturally occurring substances are present in cumin. These substances act as antioxidants that destroy cancerous agents. Cumin has antibacterial and anti-parasite activities. Blood sugar is maintained by using regular consumption of cumin. 

Cumin has been seen as an effective agent in the treatment of diarrhea. The fiber content of cumin helps to control weight and cholesterol levels can also be regulated.

Due to the narcotic properties of cumin, these are not used frequently. Cumin has various drawbacks like mental clouding, sleepiness and nausea—which may be caused by too much consumption. Oil extracted from cumin seeds is volatile. 

Due to this volatility, the liver and kidney are compromised. But this happens only when cumin is consumed in high amounts. So it must be used in moderation.

Garam masala

Garam masala is actually a spice amalgam. This spice amalgam is frequently used in the cuisines of India. To make garam masala, toast whole spices of cinnamon, mace, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and cardamom pods in a pan. These all ingredients release their flavor. 

Although garam masala resembles a lot with curry powder, these are two different entities. Garam masala is used while cooking a dish and sometimes after, to give a finishing touch to the recipe.

Garam masala is very effective for boosting the digestion process. Metabolism can be regulated properly by including garam masala in our diet. Garam masala has antioxidants that destroy cancerous agents. 

People with halitosis problems use it to fight off bad breath. Bloating and flatulence can be treated by using garam masala. 

Garam masala is hot in taste and is spicy. Due to the presence of spice, garam masala can cause acidity. Besides, high consumption of garam masala can cause piles, heartburn and stomach burn. 

Garam masala can also cause some skin-related issues when used in high amounts. Skin reactions like pimples, black marks and bumps have also been noticed. Garam masala can also affect the intestine negatively.·    


Turmeric can be obtained from the root of Curcuma. Turmeric can be used as an alternative to curry powder effectively. The taste of turmeric, which is a common spice, is warm and a little bit bitter. 

A chemical compound “curcumin” is present in turmeric. This component is used to reduce swelling. Turmeric is commonly used to provide color to curry powders, mustards and butter.

Turmeric is very effective in the treatment of Hay fever. To treat Hay fever, turmeric is taken orally and it also reduces the symptoms of itching, cough and sneezing. In turmeric, a chemical is present which is curcumin. This chemical is beneficial to reduce the symptoms of depression.

Possible side effects of turmeric are dizziness, diarrhea as well as upset stomach. With the high dose of turmeric, these symptoms become more prominent. In some rare cases, turmeric can cause skin allergies.

Curry paste

The taste of curry paste is not much different from the taste of turmeric and cumin. Curry paste is added in oil, garlic, lemongrass, galangal and some chillies. One of the best brands of curry paste is Mae Anong.

Curry paste is well known for its fighting ability against Alzheimer’s. Curry paste is also very effective for boosting the digestion process. Metabolism can be regulated properly by including curry paste in our diet.

The most common drawbacks of using curry paste are diarrhea, nausea and dizziness. Besides this, some cases of the stomach being upset have been reported.

Other FAQs about Curry powder that you may be interested in.

How do you turn curry powder into paste?

Can you mix curry powder and garam masala?

Is Garam Masala the same as curry powder?


In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “What can you substitute for curry powder?”. We have elaborated on different alternatives of curry powder with their advantages and drawbacks.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.