10 Best Turmeric Substitutes You Can Try!

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Turmeric is a popular spice used around the world. From curries and desserts to drinks, this spice is making sure to have a special place in our pantries. But when you don’t have turmeric at hand, a good turmeric substitute can help you in such a situation.


The popular golden-orange spice turmeric is known for adding color to many recipes along with its unique earthy taste. 

Its eye-catching color comes from the presence of its natural pigment called curcumin, which is also responsible for many of its health benefits. Turmeric is commonly found in powdered or whole form. A few pinches of turmeric go a long way.

Are you wondering what could match the taste and color of turmeric? Dried or fresh turmeric, turmeric paste, saffron, safflower, paprika, curry powder, and galangal powder are some of the best turmeric substitutes that you can try.

Now that you have an idea of some turmeric substitutes let’s find out about the others in the sections below.

10 Best Turmeric Substitutes

1. Fresh/ Dried Turmeric 

fresh turmeric

Fresh or dried turmeric is one of the best substitutes for turmeric powder. It can help you achieve the same flavor and color. 

One teaspoon of ground turmeric can replace half an inch of raw turmeric. However, ground turmeric has a stronger flavor. Therefore, you must use it in lesser quantities.

Fresh turmeric is a ginger lookalike. It can be cut and used in various shapes. On the other hand, dried turmeric is sold whole or ground. It is made by peeling fresh turmeric and boiling and drying the rhizomes.

When using fresh or dried turmeric as a substitute for turmeric powder, keep in mind that the flavor may be slightly different. 

Therefore, you may need to adjust the amount used in your recipe based on your preferences. It’s always a good idea to taste your dish and make adjustments as needed.

2. Turmeric Paste 

Turmeric paste is also a good alternative to turmeric powder. It is made by cooking and blending fresh turmeric root with water, coconut oil, and black pepper into a paste.

In comparison to ground turmeric, the flavor of turmeric paste is generally milder. So, when you use turmeric paste as a substitute for turmeric powder, adding some extra paste is a good idea. 

But it provides a similar color to your dishes and the same health benefits.

Turmeric paste can be used in a variety of recipes, including curries, soups, stews, and smoothies, as well as in teas and other beverages. One of its best uses is that it is used as a natural food coloring agent. 

3. Saffron 


If you are looking for a good substitute for a color that matches turmeric, saffron is a good choice. It provides a bold color like turmeric. 

However, its flavor doesn’t match turmeric and is much more expensive than turmeric, so you may want to use it sparingly. 

Saffron is sweet in taste as compared to turmeric. A pinch of saffron threads would provide a good substitute for one teaspoon of turmeric in terms of color.

4. Safflower


Another substitute for turmeric for color is safflower. It provides a rich and vibrant yellow color like turmeric but has a milder flavor than saffron. Two pinches of safflower would be a good substitute for one teaspoon of turmeric.

5. Curry Powder

Curry Powder

If you’re looking for a similar color and some of the flavors notes that turmeric provides, curry powder can be a good substitute for turmeric in certain dishes. 

However, it’s important to note that curry powder contains a blend of other spices like ginger, black pepper, and cumin in addition to turmeric, which can affect the overall flavor profile of your dish.

If you’re using curry powder as a substitute for turmeric, begin by adding a small amount and adjust the other flavors in your dish accordingly. This practice should be followed, as the mix of spices in the curry powder may affect the overall flavors of your dish. 

Additionally, you can make your own curry powder by blending the spices in lesser amounts. This will allow the flavor of turmeric to shine through.

6. Ground Ginger 

Ground Ginger

Turmeric comes from the ginger family. Thus, using ground ginger as a substitute for turmeric may provide similar warming notes. 

But it will not have the same unique flavor or color as turmeric. You could use half the quantity of ground ginger in combination with other spices to achieve a turmeric-like flavor.

7. Garam Masala

Garam Masala

Garam masala typically contains a blend of warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, and coriander. It is used in many Indian curries.  

While it can certainly add a rich and robust flavor to your dish, it does not have the same yellow color that turmeric provides. You can use garam masala sparingly as a substitute for turmeric.

8. Paprika


Paprika can be a great alternative to turmeric for both flavor and color. It is commonly found in many households. But it should be noted that paprika comes in different varieties with different heat levels and smokiness. 

Thus, it’s always a good idea to start with a small amount of paprika, test your dish’s flavors, and adjust accordingly. 

Moreover, depending on the recipe, you may want to use a specific type of paprika to achieve the desired result.

9. Galangal Powder

Galangal Powder

Galangal is also a root related to the ginger family. Therefore, some recipes can use galangal powder as a substitute for turmeric. However, galangal powder has a more complex and spicy flavor. Furthermore, it has hints of citrus and pine. 

These flavors contrast with the earthy and warm flavor of turmeric. Therefore, you should use it sparingly and taste your dish as you go. 

Remember that the galangal powder color is not as vibrant as turmeric. So, using galangal powder to replace turmeric to achieve a similar flavor would work rather than its color. 

10. Annatto 


Annatto powder is commonly used in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine. It is derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. Annatto can be used as a good substitute for turmeric if you are looking for a turmeric yellow color in your dish.

Annatto has a mild, slightly sweet, and peppery flavor. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. If you are using annatto as a substitute for turmeric, start by using a small amount and adjust to taste. 

Remember that annatto is more commonly used as a food coloring than a spice. So, in order to achieve the desired flavor profile in your dish, you may need to combine it with other spices.

Short Recap Of The Best Substitutes For Turmeric

If you don’t have turmeric at hand, you know what to use in its replacement. But let me help you further by telling you which substitute would suit best for your use.

Easily Available Turmeric Substitutes

  • Paprika
  • Annatto

Most Suitable Turmeric Substitutes

  • Turmeric Paste
  • Fresh Turmeric

Substitute Options To Consider Last

  • Curry Powder
  • Garam Masala

How To Use Turmeric Substitutes In Recipes

10 Best Turmeric Substitutes You Can Use

Dried or fresh turmeric, turmeric paste, saffron, safflower, paprika, curry powder, and galangal powder are some of the best substitutes for turmeric that you can try.
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  • Fresh/Dried Turmeric
  • Turmeric Paste
  • Saffron
  • Safflower
  • Curry Powder
  • Ground Ginger
  • Garam Masala
  • Paprika
  • Galangal powder
  • Annatto


  • 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!


Turmeric is a spice that is commonly used in many cuisines. It is used to flavor dishes as well as to add color. 

If you are out of turmeric, you can use its substitutes. However, in terms of flavor, you should use turmeric substitutes sparingly and increase their quantity as needed. 

Try using the substitutes mentioned above. If you have any more suggestions, share them with us in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there any substitutes for turmeric?

Turmeric can be substituted for other ingredients like fresh turmeric, turmeric paste, annatto, paprika, curry powder, and galangal.

What is the best substitute for turmeric powder?

The best substitutes for turmeric powder are turmeric paste or fresh turmeric.

What is the best turmeric substitute for color?

The best turmeric substitute for color is saffron, paprika, safflower, and annatto.

What is the best turmeric substitute for taste?

The best turmeric substitute for taste is fresh turmeric or turmeric paste. You can also try paprika, curry powder, ginger powder, or galangal.

Is turmeric good for health?

Turmeric has many health benefits due to the presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

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