6 Best Garam Masala Substitutes

The majority of people occasionally want to season their cuisine with spices. This is due to the scent and flavor that spices provide to meals. Garam Masala is one of the most often used spices. It creates a unique scent and flavor by blending a variety of spices. Many Indian meals and other specialty cuisines contain various mixes.

But is there anything else you may use in its stead if you don’t have a Garam Masala on hand?
Can you use another spice combination in place of Garam?

Indeed, you can. Several other spices can be used instead of Garam Masala. These include Curry powder, Chaat masala, Allspice and cumin, Sambhar masala, Indian Butter chicken, and Chicken Tikka Masala, among other blends of spices.
For one reason or another, finding the perfect substitute for Garam masala to suit your recipe is not that easy. Luckily, we are experts on the matter and will guide you on how to go about it.

Alternatives For Garam Masala

Our comprehensive list comprises the various alternatives for Garam masala. We have also included a list of a blend of spices that can also work the same way as Garam masala. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

1. Curry Powder.

It is usually the first thought of a replacement whenever one runs out of Garam masala. Of course, it may not give you the same results as Garam masala, but it will be worth it.

With that said, curry powder will still give you a flavorful dish. Curry is a regular spice in Indian food, which makes it great for various Indian Foods. You can use curry for various recipes but make sure you use it in amounts that cater to your taste.

2. Cumin and Allspice

A combination of two spices can make the food taste like you used Garam masala. One of the many variants is the blend of Allspice and cumin that can be added to several recipes.

You can use ¼ allspice and part cumin to make an ideal replacement for Garam masala. It is quite convenient and saves you from the trip to the grocery store to buy Garam masala.

This blend offers you a great flavor and can be used in various recipes that require Garam masala. Since Allspice is a blend of different spices and cumin is flavorful and aromatic, your end dish will be full of flavor and very delicious.

3. Chaat Masala

It is the third replacement for Garam masala which you can easily find. It also comes from Indian cuisines and can be used to add flavor to various types of foods. Its combination of spices is a tad different from that of Garam masala, as they are sweet and salty. For this reason, you should ensure not to overuse it.

If you must use Chaat masala in place of Garam masala, make sure to use it in similar amounts as dictated by your recipe. However, some recipes may require less Chaat masala because of the ingredients needed.

Chaat masala is great for spicy sauces and vegetarian stews.

4. Sambhar Masala

This Garam masala substitute is usually full of flavor and aromatic. It is a combination of various spices, that is popular for the cooking style in South India. These spices include cumin, coriander seeds, dry red chilies, and mustard seeds, just to mention a few.

The blend is easy to make, which is why many DIY enthusiasts prefer making and storing them at home in airtight jars for future use. You can use similar amounts as Garam masala, as dictated by your recipe.

5. Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is quite popular for Indian Dishes and can be used in place of Garam masala. Pizza fans will tell you how tasty this combination of spices is. Chicken Tikka Masala is a sauce that has cream, chicken, and tomato coupled up with other traditional Indian spices.

It also contains a little bit of Garam masala, which makes it an ideal substitute. Its flavors are considered heavenly because of the earthy and sweet flavor that makes it quite delicious.

6. Indian Butter Chicken

Aside from Chicken Tikka, Indian Butter is also an alternative sauce that can be used in place of Garam masala. Many people love it because of how perfectly it blends with various recipes.

You can make it from yogurt, spices, lemon juice, chicken, and fresh ginger. It resembles Tikka masala, but its taste is less intense. You can add it to your meal to end up with a saporous dish.

As seen above, Garam is technically just a blend of spices which means you can mix various spices to copy the taste and, therefore, replace it. If you neither have Garam Masala nor any of the mentioned substitutes, you can make your own replacement by combining Cardamom, Coriander, and Cumin.

Although these spices can be used individually, mixing them works best to replace Garam masala.

A Special Recipe for Homemade Garam Masala

Required Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. of ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp. of ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. of ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp. of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. of ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cardamom


After gathering all the ingredients together, place them all in a bowl and mix. The result can then be blended into a fine powder and put in a sealed container. This should be stored in a cool, dry area.

Your homemade Garam Masala can be added to lamb or steak, vegetable stews, or any other foods that call for this spice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Garam masala is an excellent addition to any pantry. Just like any other blend of spices, most people usually have burning questions concerning Garam masala. This is why we did not leave anything to chance by tackling the most asked questions by cooks worldwide.

1. Is Curry Powder the Same as Garam Masala?
These two spices are only similar in that they are both useful when cooking most Indian cuisines. The two are combinations of spices, but Garam masala is known to be stronger and more complex than curry powder. With that said, both blends of spices can be used to replace each other when cooking certain foods.

2. Is Garam Masala a Necessity?
Garam masala is a blend of spices that is usually used to add aroma and flavor. It is not a necessity when cooking, but it sure makes the dish tastier and more presentable.

3. Can Garam Masala  be Substituted with Tikka Masala?
Depending on your personal preferences, you can replace Garam masala with Tikka masala.  You can use Tikka as a blend with other ingredients or as a side, just like tomato sauce.

Leave a comment

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