What is the substitution for curry powder?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What is the substitution for curry powder?” And further, we will discuss what alternative substitutions can be used for curry powder.

What is the substitution for curry powder?

Garam masala is the best substitution for curry powder. It is a masala that is of Indian origin. It is best used in cooking meats and vegetables. Garam masala is made from a wide range of spices that contribute to its strong flavors. 

It can be used while cooking or it can be used at the end of the cooking process as well. It can be used as an alternative if you want a lighter curry powder flavor. It does not contain turmeric powder; therefore, it will lack the yellowish tint that curry powder has. 

How can garam masala be used as a substitution for curry powder?

Curry powder is a blend of turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, pepper, and chili. These are the base ingredients. On the other hand, Garam masala comes with a similar base flavor, omitting turmeric with the addition of strong spices.

To substitute curry powder, 1 portion of garam masala can be used to substitute one portion of curry powder. But, if you wish to get stronger flavors, then add another half portion to match the flavors of curry powder. 

Other alternatives for curry powder

Curry powder made from scratch

If you have all the ingredients in your kitchen, all that you should do is combine them all after drying and broiling, grind them, and you have your very own curry powder. 

The ingredients that should be added are cumin, coriander, chili, turmeric, and black pepper. Give it all a good mix and grind it all together. You will have your own homemade curry powder. Substitute with the same ratio of 1:1. 

Use the below proportions.

  1. Cumin – 45 g
  2. Coriander – 25 g
  3. Dried chili flakes – 15 g
  4. Tumeric – 10 g
  5. Black pepper – 15 g

The above proportions make the perfect homemade curry powder, which can be used as a substitution for curry powder.

Ground cumin

Ground cumin is a good substitute for curry powder as it brings out similar flavors minus the chili. It can be used while cooking or at the end of the dish. The flavor of cumin powder can be overpowering. Use the same proportions of 1:1 to maintain a balance. 

For a closer match to that of curry powder, add other ingredients to bring out flavors closer to curry powder. Add small portions of black pepper powder and chili powder to bring out the flavors of curry powder. 

Sambar Powder 

Sambar powder makes a good substitute for curry powder. It can match the flavors of curry powder as sambar powder is also loaded with spices. It is the main ingredient in many South Indian dishes. 

It comes with spices such as black mustard, ginger, garlic, chili and fenugreek seeds. It can work as a good substitution when used as a 1:1 ratio to substitute curry powder. 

Curry paste

Curry paste makes a good substitution for curry powder. It can be used in making savory dishes. It will help thicken the sauce and release aromatic flavors. It can be used in Indian as well as Jamaican curries. 

Curry paste can easily be bought from the store. Check the instructions on the readymade curry paste for details on proportions. If not, use 1 tablespoon to substitute 2 tablespoons of curry powder as the flavors are stronger in curry paste. 

Chaat Masala

Chaat masala can be used as a substitution for curry powder. But, chaat masala comes with stronger tangy and citrus flavors. If you happen to have it, use a small amount of it. 

Make sure that small portions are added as the tangy flavors are overpowering and can result in the dish turning tangy. As a substitution for curry powder, chaat masala can add an extra kick.

Where can curry powder and its substitutes be used?

Curry powder is used in various cuisines. It is a basic ingredient for curries. It is with the curry powder that the entire dish’s flavors are built. Their flavors of curry powder are stronger, and their substitutes should match these flavors. 

It is used in Thai, Japanese, and Jamaican curries. The flavors of curry powder are strong in these dishes, and most of the time, their flavors depend on them. 

The takeaway!

We have added details on the substitution for curry powder and added further details on how it can be substituted. We have also added options that you could use to make your own substitution. 

Other store-bought alternatives have also been added to substitute curry powder without leaving the dish with much difference. 

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

Can you eat curry powder without cooking it?

What can you substitute for curry powder?

What is the best curry powder?


In this article, we have answered the question, “What is the substitution for curry powder?” In addition to this, we have discussed how the substitution can be used and have other alternative ingredients for you to choose from.

Leave your comments in the section below and pose any questions you might have with regards to the substitution for curry powder. 


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.