Turmeric is a flowering plant that belongs to the ginger family. Since the ancient time, its root has been used as a spice in Asian culinary, mostly in India.

Turmeric is quite popular for its numerous medicinal properties. People use it as a spice because of the unique flavor it brings in every dishes.

Although readily available, you may sometimes run out of this spice in the middle of cooking. In that case, you need a turmeric substitute that can imitate the flavor effects of turmeric.

Some spices can be used as alternatives to turmeric. But, they can’t completely mimic the flavor and the color of this ancient spice. Besides, these spices may not have the same health benefits as turmeric.

Continue reading to learn about some substitutes for turmeric that you may use in cooking.Turmeric Substitutes That You Can Use in Cooking

7 Turmeric Substitute in Cooking

1. Saffron

Saffron is a spice that originates from the plant Crocus sativus.

It is one of the most expensive condiments in the world. But, you can consider it as a suitable alternative to turmeric in terms of flavor and color.

Saffron will provide your dishes with bright yellow color with orange tint. However, the active ingredients and health benefits of these two spices are notably different.

You must use saffron much more sparingly that turmeric as a little of this spice goes a long way.

2. Ginger

Ginger can be a good substitute for turmeric where it’s mostly used for its health benefits.

Both turmeric and ginger belong to the same Zingiberaceae family of plants and contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Ginger is quite beneficial for health. It can effectively treat nausea, vomiting, pain, chronic indigestion, menstrual pain, etc. It can also reduce blood sugar and promote a healthy heart.

A study published in the Gastroenterology Research and Practice shows ginger possesses the anticancer activities against gastrointestinal cancer.

Ginger will bring a distinct flavor and fragrance to your dish. But, use it moderately as it may cause an unexpected change in the flavor and taste of the food.

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3. Curry Powder

Curry powder is a blend that contains some herbs and spices, including turmeric. So, it can be a good substitute if you run out of turmeric.

Curry powder can provide the color and flavor to the dish, along with some health benefits. It contains a high amount of capsaicin, but a low amount of curcumin, iron, and manganese, some of the vital components of turmeric.

Be careful while using curry powder instead of turmeric. It’s because the flavor can be too strong for some dishes.

4. Mustard Powder

Mustard powder is a spice that comes from the seeds of the mustard plant.

It has many varieties such as yellow mustard, American beer mustard, deli-style mustard, English mustard, Dijon mustard, fruit mustard, sweet mustard, etc.

Yellow mustard is considered as one of the best alternatives to turmeric. It can partially mimic the flavor while giving the dish a yellowish color.

Yellow mustard can be suitable for curry and some traditional dishes that call for turmeric.

But, be cautious about the quantity, and the sharp, pungent aroma of mustard is quite powerful than turmeric.

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5. Cumin

Cumin is another popular spice that originates from the herbaceous plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family.

If your recipe requires a bitter, earthy taste, you can use cumin as a substitute for turmeric.

It may not bring the yellowish color to a dish but can give a distinct flavor.

But, cumin has a much stronger flavor than turmeric. So, using it in the same concentrations will change the flavor of the dish.

6. Annatto Extract

If you are allergic to turmeric, annatto extract can be a good choice for you. It is derived from the seeds of Bixa Orellana.

Also known as ‘Cuban turmeric,’ annatto can bring the same bright yellow color to a recipe.
It has a sweet and slightly peppery flavor. So, annatto can’t be a good alternative to turmeric in terms of taste.

7. Roasted Paprika & Mace

If you want a spice that can mimic both the color and flavor of turmeric, you can use the combination of roasted paprika and mace.

Mace can complement the spiciness of turmeric while roasted paprika can bring the golden yellow color in the dish.

Bottom Line

The unique flavor of turmeric is difficult to imitate.

While most cooks still suggest, there’s no perfect alternative to turmeric in the world of spices, some of them can partially mimic the color and flavor of this popular spice.

If you are in the middle of cooking and has no time to go to the grocery, you can use any of the above-mentioned spices as a turmeric substitute.

But, make sure you use them sparingly as some of them are strong in flavor and taste. Using them in the right proportion can bring the desired flavor to your recipe.

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