Best Curry Powder Substitutes

In a pinch and need a replacement for curry powder? Chances are you have the perfect substitute in your panty! I have a list of five perfect solutions to help you out, including a recipe to make your own curry!

Hand holding a container filled with spices.

What is Curry Powder?

Typically, store-bought curry powder includes turmeric, cumin, chili powder, fenugreek, ginger, and hopefully a curry leaf. The flavors are generally mild and have an earthy flavor to them.

Two spoons of powder.

The Top 5 Curry Powder Substitutes

1. Garam Masala

  • Pros: Offers a rich and aromatic flavor profile with warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom. Complements Indian and South Asian dishes perfectly.
  • Cons: It is not as hot as curries at restaurants. To compensate, you can add a hot pepper spice. Examples are cayenne or Aleppo pepper.

2. Madras Curry Powder

  • Pros: Brings a robust, spicy flavor reminiscent of traditional curry powder. Provides a balanced flavor profile.
  • Cons: It may be too spicy for those who prefer milder dishes.

3. Turmeric and Cumin Blend

  • Pros: Simple and readily available combination. Turmeric adds vibrant color and earthy flavor, while cumin provides a warm and nutty element.
  • Cons: Lacks the complexity of traditional store-bought curry powder.

4. Homemade Curry Powder Substitute

  • Pros: Allows for complete customization of flavors and heat levels. If you are using ground spices, the flavor will be fresh. All you need is cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, and cayenne pepper if you want to add heat!
  • Cons: Requires more ingredients and preparation time.

5. Five-Spice Powder

  • Pros: Provides a unique flavor profile with anise, cloves, and other spices. Works well in Asian-inspired dishes.
  • Cons: Five Spice has a unique flavor that will not suit all recipes. Add a test on a small portion before adding to the overall recipe to ensure it complements your recipe.

A spoonful of turmeric

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes curry powder yellow?

The spice that gives curry powder its vibrant yellow color is turmeric.

How do I use curry powder?

Generally, curry powder can be used as a universal seasoning. Common uses include soups, vegetables, eggs, chicken, and meat. In college, I loved it as a seasoning with a tuna sandwich with Swiss cheese.

How do I store homemade curry powder?

Store in an airtight container/sealed jar. Make sure you place the container in a cool, dry place.

Read my Other Substitution Articles

If you tried one of these substitutions, leave a comment below and let me know how your dish turned out.

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