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What can I substitute for Turmeric ?

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What is a good substitute for turmeric if I am out of it when cooking ?
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substituting your turmericHere are a few ideas for substituting your turmeric


  • Ginger’s flavour is the closest to that of turmeric, making it an excellent replacement.
  • Cumin is a good substitute when the recipe calls for a bitter taste, but the spice does not offer turmeric’s characteristic yellow colouring.
  • Saffron does not taste a great deal like turmeric, but it contributes the same yellow hue.
  • Curry powder is a mixture of spices, including turmeric. Therefore, curry spice is an acceptable alternative to turmeric.

Substitutes for Turmeric

  • Curry Powder – Almost all curry powders have turmeric in powdered form as a key ingredient with other seasonings of similar flavours. So, if you ran out of turmeric but have curry powder, worry not for you can substitute it for turmeric. Curry powder will maintain more or less the same flavour that you get by using turmeric and won’t lose out on its benefits either. And who knows, the other seasonings present in the curry powder may end up leaving your dish extra tasty.
  • Ginger – Considered to be a close cousin of turmeric, ginger, though may not bring that colour so famously related with turmeric, but will definitely bring a distinct flavour and fragrances to your dish, along with the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and digestive aiding properties of turmeric.
  • Cumin – The second most popular spice in the world after black pepper, cumin, known for its peppery flavour, can be substituted for turmeric in some of the dishes. Its greyish colour won’t be able to substitute the fiery yellow looking colour of the turmeric, but may bring in something distinct in taste. Cumin also contains high iron content.
  • Mustard – It is a condiment made of seeds of a mustard plant and is a quite extensively used ingredient all over the world. Available in many varieties such as yellow mustard, deli-style mustard, American beer mustard, Dijon mustard, English mustard, sweet mustard, fruit mustard, herb mustard, and others; mustard is considered to be one of the best substitutes for turmeric. Yellow coloured mustard can be used to substitute turmeric without losing out on the colour. Also, it adds a distinctive flavor that makes it a popular culinary ingredient in the world. Different varieties of mustard can be used in cooking.
  • Saffron – Although turmeric is not related to saffron, it is often referred to as Indian Saffron for being almost similar in colour and smell and is often used in place of it. It adds a golden colour to the dishes and a sweet aroma that is entirely its own, leaving your taste buds craving for more. But one thing that goes against the favour of saffron is that it is an expensively priced ingredient as large quantities of plants are used to produce small quantity of saffron.

You can also use any of these substitutes in combination with turmeric to try out what distinct flavours come out of your dishes. If not, then you can always come back to the turmeric substitute that tastes best according to your buds.

See the Culinary Glossary for Turmeric.

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