10 Best Garam Masala Substitutes You Should Try!

Note- This post may contain affiliate links, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

Garam Masala’s unique flavors can enhance your dishes in a second, but what do you do if you run out of it? It can be challenging to replicate the taste of garam masala, but don’t worry—we’ve found some excellent garam masala substitutes.

Garam Masala

Some best garam masala substitutes are curry powder, masala curry powder, pumpkin pie spice, black pepper powder, and cinnamon.

As you already know, Garam masala is a staple spice used in Indian kitchens. Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, green cardamom, fennel seeds, and bay leaves are dry roasted and then ground to make it.

Garam masala has a flavor profile that is exceptional for an aromatic mixture. It is an amalgam of heat, warmth, earthiness, and musky with slight sweetness because of the ingredients involved.

With its impeccable flavors, it is a health-boosting spice. It treats digestive disorders, has antioxidant and antibacterial properties, and works as a breath freshener.

If you’ve ever used garam masala, you know a small amount can transform a good dish into a fantastic one. Soups, stews, curries, and other foods use it to enhance their flavor.

Check out the information below if you’re curious about garam masala’s alternatives. 

10 Best Garam Masala Substitutes

1. Curry Powder

You can substitute curry powder for garam masala, as it primarily consists of turmeric, cumin, ginger, and black pepper. It can add a pleasant tang and sweet warmth to your food.

It is yellow because of the use of turmeric. Therefore, it’s best to use foods like gravies, curries, and non-vegetarian meals where color doesn’t matter as much.

Given that it has less flavor than garam masala, you can use it however you like. However, use a similar amount in place of garam masala.

2. Sambar Masala

Sambar masala is the primary ingredient in the south Indian food known as sambar podi. Sambar is a spicy, tangy curry made with yellow lentils, vegetables, and sambar powder.

Sambar powder includes spices, such as cayenne pepper, ground coriander seeds, fenugreek, ground ginger, black mustard seeds, garlic powder, and clove powder.

As a substitute for garam masala, it can elevate the dish with its flavors. It pairs well with robust flavors like red meat and fish. You can eat it with rice, dosa, and idli. 

As a substitute for garam powder, use an equal amount of sambar masala.

3. Ras El Hanout

Ras El Hanout, exotic luxury spice. Ingredients for preparation oriental spice mix in ceramic bowls. An essential spice for any Moroccan dishes. Stone background copy space top view

Ras El Hanot is used as a substitute for garam masala due to its woody, zesty, bitter, and sweet flavors. 

It is also known as “a choice mix of spices” because of the spices including like cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric.

Start with a small amount since its flavor profile is more potent than garam masala.

You can use ¼ of what the recipe calls for in garam masala and slowly add more to reach the desired taste.

4. Vadouvan

Vadouvan can work as a substitute for garam masala. It contains 10 to 12 ingredients, including onion, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, mustard seed, thyme, coriander, fenugreek, and red pepper.

It has a complex taste of sweetness with a touch of smokiness. Due to its flavors, it can be used to enhance the taste of meat rubs, soups, stews, starchy vegetables, and grains. 

It is milder, a little bit sweeter, and smokier than garam masala and can have a range of colors because not all vadouvan contains turmeric. 

You can use vadouvan as a garam masala substitute if you only need a pinch.

5. Chaat Masala

Chaat Masala is an Indian mix of spice powders. A tangy powder that  spruce up any dish with a pinch.

When your dish needs warmth and earthiness, chaat masala can fill the bill. It has spices like amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, asafoetida, and chili powder.

Its taste is a blend of tart, spicy, salty, tangy, and sour with a hint of sweetness, and you can use it in flatbreads, yogurt, and sandwiches.

Chaat masala is way tangier than curry powder; you can use it in small batches first and check the taste while adding it so the perfect flavors can overwhelm your food. 

As a substitute for garam masala, start with ¼ of the measurement the recipe calls for.

6. Moroccan Spice

Moroccan spice is one of the most complicated and diverse spice blends. It contains 40 different spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, and turmeric.

Moroccan spice is orange in color and gives savory and smoky flavors. Although it is occasionally another name for Ras El Hano, it can be used as a substitute for garam masala if it is not the same blend.

You can use it for the same amount as garam masala. 

7. Pumpkin Pie Spice 

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice are the flavorful spices that make pumpkin pie spice. Due to the ingredients involved, it exhibits warm, sweet, and spicy flavors.

Pumpkin pie spice is primarily used in sweet dishes but can also be used in savory dishes. 

As some of the ingredients in pumpkin pie spice are comparable to those in garam masala, you can use it as a garam masala substitute. 

You can use it in a 1:1 substitution. 

Pro Tip: After adding pumpkin pie spice, add a dash of cumin, coriander, or black pepper to balance the flavor.

DIY Garam Masala Substitutes

If you don’t have anything or cannot use it according to the type of dish, you can tweak some ingredients and make your own garam masala substitute.

8. Allspice and Cumin

In the pantry, cumin and allspice are popular spices. You can use them as a substitute for garam masala.

They both give a good combination of both savory and sweet. You can get the warmth and earthiness of garam masala by using cumin, and by allspice, you can get a bit of fruitiness. 

You can substitute garam masala with four teaspoons of cumin and one teaspoon of allspice, or 4:1.

9. Cumin, Coriander, and Cardamom 

cardamom and coriander

You can use one combination of cumin, coriander, and cardamom if you don’t have allspice. It can work as an alternative to garam masala. 

Although they don’t offer the perfect garam masala flavor, they can add a nice flavor to the food. You can also add cinnamon if you need more sweetness.

For garam masala substitute, use one teaspoon of cumin, two teaspoons of coriander, and ½ teaspoon of cardamom.

10. Homemade Garam Masala

You can make your garam masala. You need two teaspoons of ground cumin, one teaspoon of ground coriander, one teaspoon of black pepper, ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of cardamom, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, and ¼ cloves.

Combine them, place them in an airtight container, and keep the container.

These ingredients can provide the warmth and earthiness of the garam masala. It is preferable to toast the whole spices in a skillet.

Short Recap Of Garam Masala Substitutes

You must have decided for yourself after reading the list of Garam Masala alternatives. If you don’t, I made a list that can help you.

Best Easily Available Garam Masala Substitutes

  • Homemade Garam Masala
  • Allspice and Cumin
  • Curry Powder

Most Suitable Garam Masala Substitutes

  • Ras El Hanout 
  • Curry Powder

Substitute Options To Consider Last

  • Vadouvan

How To Use Garam Masala Substitutes In A Recipe

Garam Masala

10 Best Garam Masala Substitutes You Should Try!

Some best garam masala substitutes are curry powder, masala curry powder, pumpkin pie spice, black pepper powder, and cinnamon.
No ratings yet


  • Curry Powder
  • Chaat Masala
  • Ras El Hanout
  • Moroccan Spice
  • Vadouvan
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Sambar Masala
  • Allspice and Cumin
  • Homemade Garam Masala
  • Cumin, Coriander, and Cardamom


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


We’ve reached the end of the article, and I hope you were able to find a garam masala replacement. These alternatives can still help you obtain the same flavors and textures. 

I hope you find these substantives useful and that they produce good results for you.

You can see the alternative on our website if your search is successful.

Till then, happy cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a substitute for garam masala?

You can use curry powder or chaat masala as a substitute for garam masala.

Can I substitute garam masala with curry powder?

Yes, you can substitute curry powder in place of garam masala. Curry powder doesn’t have the same warming spices, but it does help to provide a nice amount of flavor depth to curry dishes.

Can I substitute cumin for garam masala?

You certainly can, but add all the spices to preserve the flavor profile of garam masala.

What is an easy garam masala substitute?

Curry powder and chaat masala are easy substitutes for garam masala.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating