Learn how to make Garam masala seasoning or spice blend at home. Having this homemade mix on hand will make it easy to whip up your favorite Indian curry dishes.
My version of Garam masala spice mix is simple and gets ready in less than 5 mins. It requires a few ingredients which you might already have in your pantry or can easily obtain from a nearby grocery, specialty store or online.
This recipe post contains helpful tips, tricks and answers to FAQs. Please read through to ensure you get the recipe right when you try it.
The Garam masala Spice recipe consists of ground spices and herbs, eliminating the need for toasting whole spices. However, I have also included the steps for using whole spices if that’s your preference.
What is Garam masala seasoning
Garam masala is a traditional spice blend commonly used in Indian cuisine. It is a combination of ground spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, and black pepper, among others.
The term "garam" translates to "warm" or "hot," referring to the warming and aromatic nature of the spices used in this blend. Garam masala seasoning adds depth, complexity, and a touch of heat to various dishes, particularly curries, stews, and meat marinades.
It is known for its rich and fragrant flavor profile, enhancing the overall taste of Indian recipes.
Why make your own seasoning mix?
- When you make your own spice blend, you have full control over the quality and freshness of the ingredients used. You can ensure that the spices are of high quality, free from additives or preservatives.
- Customizable: Adjust proportions of each spice in the blend to suit your taste.
- Freshness: you can grind the spices just before using them or ensure that the ground spices are fresh going by the expiry date. Don’t buy slices that are close to the expiry date.
- Flexibility: Being able to whip up your own spice blend gives you the flexibility to prepare a wide range of dishes whenever you want.
Garam masala substitutes
If you don't have garam masala on hand, there are a few substitutes you can use to add similar flavors to your dish. However, remember, these substitutes can provide a similar flavor profile, but they won't be an exact match for garam masala.
Curry Powder: Curry powder is a common spice blend that shares some similarities with garam masala. While the flavors are not identical, curry powder can still provide a warm and aromatic taste to your dishes. Use it as a substitute in a ½ to 1 ratio, but keep in mind that curry powder may have additional ingredients like turmeric and fenugreek, which can alter the flavor profile.
Cumin, Coriander, and Cardamom: If you have these individual spices available, you can create a makeshift garam masala substitute. Mix together equal parts of ground cumin, ground coriander, and ground cardamom. This combination can provide a comparable flavor profile to garam masala, although it may lack some of the complexity and depth.
Allspice: Allspice is a spice that has flavors reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, which are present in garam masala. While it won't replicate the exact taste, it can add warmth and depth to your dishes. Use allspice as a substitute in a smaller quantity, around half the amount of garam masala required.
Garam masala is a spice blend that varies across different regions in India, each with its unique combination of ingredients. However, there are core elements commonly found in this blend, such as cumin and coriander (👈 affiliate links)
In addition to these, other ingredients often included in garam masala seasoning are
How to make Garam Masala seasoning
See recipe card at the end of this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions!
Using Ground spices
- Measure out the individual spices
- Mix the spice blend together with a fork or a small whisk.
- Use as per recipe or store for later in a dry spice bottle.
Using whole spices
While using ground spices is more convenient, for freshest results consider grinding whole spice. Toasting whole spices before blending can intensify flavors and aromas.
- Transfer seeds to a dry skillet and turn heat to medium high. Lightly toast the seeds for about 2 to 3 mins while stirring constantly until fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn
- Turn off heat and let the toasted seeds cool completely before blending till smooth. Store in the spice bottle for up to 3 months.
Recipes that use Garam masala seasoning.
Many Indian curries include Garam masala seasoning. It is also included in chicken marinades, beef marinates, tofu marinades and lots more. Here are some of recipes that use this spice blend.
- Butter chicken and naan
- Butter chicken meatballs
- Indian chicken meatballs
How to store
To ensure the freshness and potency of your Garam Masala spice blend, store it in an airtight spice jar in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Label the container with the name and date of preparation for easy reference. While it will keep for up to 6 months, it’s best to use it up within 3 months. It’s best to make smaller quantities at a time and make more with fresh ingredients as needed.
- Use high-quality spices and herbs from reputable brands. Fresh and aromatic ingredients will enhance the flavor of your spice blend.
- If you prefer the taste of an individual spice in the mix or don’t like one you can start with smaller amounts and adjust as needed to find the desired flavor and heat profile.
- If toasting the spices, allow them to cool before grinding.
- It's best to make spice blends in small quantities, especially if you don't use them frequently. This ensures that the blend stays fresh and flavorful. You can always make more as needed.
Garam masala seasoning is a blend of ground spices commonly used in Indian cuisine.
It usually includes spices like cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Garam masala adds a warm and aromatic flavor to various dishes, especially curries.
Garam masala is used as a seasoning in cooking. It can be added to dishes during the cooking process or sprinkled on top as a finishing touch.
It is often used in curries, stews, marinades, rice dishes, and even some desserts to enhance the overall flavor profile
The shelf life of Garam masala seasoning can vary depending on the freshness of the ingredients used.
Properly stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, it can retain its flavor for about 6 to 12 months.
However, it is best to use it within 3 to 6 months for optimal freshness and potency.
Garam masala is not typically known for its spiciness. It is more about adding warmth and complexity to dishes rather than intense heat. However, some variations of Garam masala may have a subtle level of heat due to the presence of spices like black pepper or dried red chilies. The spiciness can vary depending on the specific blend or recipe used.
While Garam masala is traditionally used in Indian cuisine, it can also be experimented with in non-Indian dishes to add a unique twist.
It can be used to season roasted vegetables, soups, sauces, or even sprinkled over popcorn for a flavorful twist.
Be mindful of the flavor compatibility with the dish you are preparing.
More Recipes like this
- Bbq chicken rub
- Nashville hot seasoning
- Dry rub wings seasoning
- Check out all our chicken recipes.
Did you find this post helpful? Please leave a comment below and use the star rating to let us know how much you enjoyed it.
Have you shared this recipe yet? This is the time to use the share buttons and share this chicken recipe with your family and friends.
Thank you for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon! If you’d love more chicken recipes, sign up for our free newsletter and come hang out with us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Tiktok and YouTube for updates.
For now…. Let’s cook chicken!
Love it? Pin it!
Garam masala seasoning
- 2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground Cardamom
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon cayenne (or chili pepper)
- Measure out spices into a bowl.
- Whisk till well combined. Use immediately or store in an air tight container for later.