Excited to cook some Indian but don’t have any Garam Masala? I’ve got you covered. Here are my favourite simple Garam Masala substitutes.
What is Garam Masala?
Garam Masala is an Indian blend of spices which generally includes Fennel Seed, Caraway Seed, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves, Black Pepper.
In India the spice blend Garam Masala is used as a ‘finishing spice’ to add flavour without any chilli heat at the end of cooking. But it can also be used earlier in the cooking process.
It works well with eggs, meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables.
The Best Garam Masala Substitutes
1. Mild Curry Powder
While curry powders generally contain heat from the chilli and yellow colour from turmeric which you don’t get in Garam Masala. But I like to use them interchangeably. It’s not authentic but it is delicious!
2. All Spice
Even though Garam Masala doesn’t contain any all spice, there is something very similar about the two. I’d be happy to use them interchangeably.
3. Make Your Own
I haven’t ever had to do this, but in a pinch I’d be happy to mix up a batch of my own Garam Masala. with equal parts ground fennel seeds, caraway seeds and cinnamon.
4. Ground Cumin
While this is a completely different vibe, plain ground cumin will give a mellow spice flavour to your dish. For a closer match add lots of black pepper and some ground fennel seeds.
More Tips for Cooking with Spice
- Have You Tried this Amazing Spice?
- My 3 Favourite Spice Blends (and their substitutes)
- Interview with a spice master
- How to stock a minimalist spice collection
More Ingredient Substitutes
- Smoked Paprika
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!