Turmeric Substitute

Are you making Moroccan Curry today? And by chance, you missed grabbing the bottle of turmeric from your local store? No worries! What turmeric substitute can you use? Below is a  list of comprehensive turmeric substitutes we have here for you, you can easily mimic the color, taste and get the best of both easily! Let’s dig in!

Also, see Organic Turmeric and Ginger Turmeric Shot

8 Perfect Turmeric Substitutes 

Turmeric is a part of the ginger family and comes with a unique earthy and pungent taste. In addition, it comes with a bright orange color and an aroma that’s pretty hard to match. It’s added to various food items such as soups, in the making of curries, baked goods, in Turmeric Rice, and even in marinades. Turmeric is used in multiple dishes but trust us; you can easily swap and use any of the ingredients below when you do not have turmeric in your spice cabinet; let’s find out!


1. Turmeric Paste:

Do you not have ground turmeric at home? Are you worried and don’t know what to add to your recipe, try using turmeric paste! Turmeric paste is easily used as an alternative when there isn’t fresh turmeric at home. Although in terms of flavor, you need to keep one thing in mind, add a little more than the normal teaspoon of turmeric powder for a balanced taste and color.


2. Saffron:

saffron threads in white bowl on white background

One of the most important ingredients that you can normally find in your home is saffron. This is an excellent and the closest substitute that you can find in your kitchen cabinets. It’s got that vibrant orangish-yellow hue and can be added for good color and smell. Saffron can be used in rice, various slowly cooked casseroles, and even in soups. It provides a pretty color as turmeric! Remember that saffron has sweeter undertones, so make sure you add small amounts of it to avoid tainting your dish.


3. Curry Powder:

Did you know that the madras curry powder includes turmeric in it? The flavor notes of them are a bit similar! So if you’re cooking an Indian dish, then this spice can be easily used to add it because it even has a hint of cumin and fenugreek. The dish may turn out quite decent! But keep in mind that madras certainly have a stronger taste, so keeping it on the minimum is ideal. Also, try my Easy Curry Powder Recipe.


4. Annatto Seeds:

Originated and found from the achiote trees, these annatto seeds make an excellent substitute for turmeric if you are looking to get a similar hue. Annatto seeds spread a yellowish and orangish flavor and are quite vibrant too!

They’re easily used in multiple dishes, such as in the making of casseroles, for rice, and even in different marinading meats. To make use of these seeds, you can infuse approximately 1/4 cup of seeds in half a cup of oil and allow the pigments to get infused in the liquid.

It’ll give of its color, and you can then use it as you wish. The flavor of these seeds is quite peppery, nutty, and sweet, making it a little different from turmeric, but if you add it in the right amount, you won’t face any trouble in the change of taste of the dish! Read More About Annatto.


5. Mace & Smoked Paprika:

Mace & Smoked Paprika in tablespoon on beige background

If you cannot find any of the ingredients mentioned above, then you may go for mace and smoked paprika; it’s a pretty okay substitute for turmeric and comes with an intense spiciness of mace and a dash of muskiness, and a reddish hue. You can use mace and smoked paprika in your savory dishes!


6. Ginger Powder

Did you know that ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family? Making it a stronger and more close substitute to turmeric! They may have similar health benefits, but the flavor of ginger is a blend of sweet, spicy, and pungent! It may not work well in a few food items, but if you plan to add it, make sure it’s not a lot! Add it to savory items or even in the making of smoothies. How yummy! Read More about Ginger.

7. Cumin Seeds:

You do not have turmeric at home and need to prep your food? Add cumin seeds as an alternative to your dish! With its earthy and robust taste, it can be added to the making of yummy curry and soups. You can also combine smaller quantities of cumin and galangal powder and add them to your Curries for an excellent taste!


8. Galangal Powder:

Galangal Powder on white background

Are you confused about what galangal tastes like? It’s got a piney flavor with a dash of sharpness and is an excellent addition to various curries. Though it may not bring any vibrant hues to the dish, it brings along a lot of flavors making your dish taste really good!

It’s a great turmeric substitute if you are tired of using turmeric and want a quick change in your dish taste. When using it, make sure it’s used sparingly as it is extremely overpowering and can completely change the taste of your dish, which you don’t want at all. Keep the hand lighter and add galangal powder.

Final Verdict!

The real question is: To use or to not use? There may be multiple reasons why you may need a turmeric alternative, it could be a bad allergy or just the empty bottle of turmeric, and even its taste is a problem for you. Whatever your reason is, you can easily incorporate any of the substitutes of turmeric mentioned above and carry on with making your delicious meal!

Other Food Substitutes

  1. The Perfect Substitute For Cilantro
  2. Potato Starch Substitute
  3. Substitute For Thyme
  4. The 10 Substitutes For Oregano
  5. Substitute For Cumin
  6. Bay Leaf Substitute
  7. Vegan Butter Substitutes

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