Cumin is one of the best spices which not only adds good taste to food but also helps in improving immunity. Cumin spice is the dried seed of the cumin plant and can be purchased whole or in pre-ground seed form. Cumin is a popular spice known for its warm and earthy flavor.
There are many health benefits associated with cumin but sometime when you are making a delicious dish and suddenly you realize that you have run out of cumin, there is no need to panic.
In this guide, we’ll explore simple Cumin Substitutes for cumin that are readily available in your kitchen, so you can use any of the following options to achieve similar results.
1. Ground Coriander
One of the closest flavors to cumin is ground coriander. You can use it as a one-to-one replacement for cumin in your recipes. It has a similar bright, slightly sweet, citrusy and earthy flavor, but coriander is milder than cumin when it comes to smoke and heat. Use half whole or ground coriander as an alternative to cumin.
If the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon cumin, use ½ teaspoon coriander instead.
2. Chilli Powder
If you want a little heat with a cumin-like flavor, try chili powder. It usually contains cumin, so it mimics the flavor of cumin and adds pungency. Be aware that chili powder may contain other flavorings such as paprika, garlic powder, cayenne and onion powder. If you want to add chilli powder in place of cumin, then use only half of it.
So, if your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon cumin, Start with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon chili powder depending on your heat preference and adjust to taste.
3. Garam Masala
If you’re cooking Indian or South Asian dishes, try garam masala as an alternative. This adds depth and flavor complexity. Sprinkle it at the end of cooking for a warm, delectable aroma. Garam masala includes cumin, coriander, green cardamom, black carom, star anise, mace, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. It’s earthy, sweet, sour and spicy and it also resembles cumin.
In place of 1 teaspoon cumin, you can use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon garam masala as a starting point and adjust the amount to suit your taste and the specific recipe you are preparing.
4. Ground Fennel
Ground fennel is a great substitute for cumin due to its mild liquorice flavor, which can pair well with Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. When substituting ground fennel for cumin, use the same amount to maintain a balanced and complementary flavor profile. Its versatility gives a delightful twist to dishes as well as imparts a delicious taste.
As an alternative to 1 teaspoon cumin, you can use 1 teaspoon ground fennel in the ratio 1:1.
5. Curry powder
Curry powder can serve as a substitute for cumin in your dishes, but the blend of spices gives it an Indian or Asian flavor. Before using it, always check the ingredients on the curry powder packaging to make sure it matches your recipe. While curry powder is versatile, it is not commonly found in Southeast Asian cuisine. Be aware that if you have turmeric in your curry powder, it can add a yellow color to your food. It can be a creative way to bring different flavors to your dishes, so feel free to experiment with it in your cooking.
To substitute for cumin, you can start with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of curry powder and adjust depending on the dish and your preference.
Paprika can replace cumin in your dishes, adding a smoky and slightly sweet flavor. It is often used as a substitute for cumin in recipes where you want smoky flavor without the heat. Alternatively, you can use paprika in equal quantity as cumin. However, keep in mind that paprika will not impart the same earthy flavor as cumin, so adjust your expectations accordingly when using it as a replacement.
As an alternative to 1 teaspoon cumin, you can use 1 teaspoon Peprika in the ratio 1:1.