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Tropical Flavor: 5 BEST Tamarind Paste Substitutes

Tamarind paste is the superhero in lots of our favorite dishes.

You might not always find it chilling in your pantry, and that’s where the real fun begins. We’ve all been there, halfway through a recipe only to realize we’re missing a key ingredient.

No sweat, because we’ve got you covered with some amazing swaps.

Finding a substitute can feel like trying to solve a puzzle without all the pieces. Yet, here we are, ready to drop some knowledge bombs.

Think of these substitutes as your kitchen’s sidekicks, stepping up when tamarind paste is on a break.

They bring their own unique twist to your meals, ensuring you never miss a beat (or a bite!).

From the tangy to the sweet and everything in between, these alternatives are about to make your cooking game even stronger.

Stick with us, and you’ll be dishing out flavors that’ll have everyone asking for seconds.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Tamarind Paste

In Southeast Asian cooking, tamarind paste is a common ingredient that adds sour and tangy flavors.

If you don’t have any on hand or can’t find them at your local grocery store, there are several substitutes that will work just as well.

1 – Fresh Lime Juice

fresh lime juice

While tamarind paste is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes, it can be difficult to find in stores.

Fortunately, fresh lime juice makes an excellent substitute.

Add the juice of one lime for every tablespoon of tamarind paste called for in the recipe.

The lime juice will provide the same tart flavor as the tamarind paste while adding sweetness.

In addition, the acidity of the lime juice will help to balance out the other flavors in the dish.

If you are unable to find fresh lime juice, bottled lemon juice can also be used.

However, you may need to add more sugar to compensate for the lack of sweetness.

2 – Mix Vinegar and Sugar

mix vinegar and sugar

Looking for a tamarind paste substitute? Try mixing sugar and vinegar.

This combination can be used in place of tamarind paste in recipes and has a similar tart and sweet flavor.

To make your tamarind paste substitute, mix equal parts sugar and vinegar.

You can use any vinegar, but white vinegar or apple cider vinegar are the best choices for this recipe.

Once you’ve mixed the sugar and vinegar, use it in your recipe as you would tamarind paste.

If you find that the flavor is too tart or too sweet, adjust the proportions until it’s just right.

With a little trial and error, you’ll be able to create the perfect tamarind paste substitute for your favorite recipes.

3 – Pomegranate Molasses

pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate molasses is a thick, sweet-tart syrup from boiling down pomegranate juice until it concentrates.

It’s used in sweet and savory dishes and is a favorite in Middle Eastern cuisine.

The deep ruby color and tangy-sweet flavor of pomegranate molasses make it a tasty substitution for tamarind paste.

To substitute pomegranate molasses for tamarind paste, add an equal amount of the molasses to your recipe.

For every tablespoon of tamarind paste called for, use one tablespoon of pomegranate molasses.

You may need to add a bit more sweetener to your dish if you find the pomegranate molasses to be too tart.

When substituting in baking recipes, keep in mind that pomegranate molasses is more liquid than tamarind paste, so you may need to reduce the number of other liquids in the recipe.

Start by reducing liquids by one-fourth and go from there.

4 – Amchur Powder

amchur powder

Amchur powder is made from dried, unripe green mangoes and has a sour, tangy flavor.

It is commonly used as a seasoning in Indian cuisine and can be used as a substitute for tamarind paste.

To substitute amchur powder for tamarind paste, use equal amounts of both ingredients.

Amchur powder can also be used to add a sour flavor to dishes without the use of tamarind paste.

When substituting amchur powder for tamarind paste, add the powder to the dish at the beginning of cooking to allow the flavors to meld.

For a more intense flavor, consider using amchur powder in conjunction with other sour ingredients such as lime juice or lemon juice.

5 – Marmalade


Marmalade is a type of jam made from citrus fruits, typically oranges.

It can be used as a spread on toast or as an ingredient in various recipes.

Marmalade can be used to add a similar tartness to dishes without being quite as intense.

While it is not exactly the same as tamarind paste, it can be used as a substitute in some cases.

When substituting marmalade for tamarind paste, use about half as much marmalade as you would tamarind paste.

You may also need to add a bit of water to thin out the marmalade if it is too thick.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Tamarind Paste

Looking for alternatives to tamarind paste? Look no further! We've compiled a list of the 5 best substitutes that will effectively replace tamarind paste in your recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Fresh Lime Juice
  • Mix Vinegar and Sugar
  • Pomegranate Molasses
  • Amchur Powder
  • Marmalade


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for tamarind paste
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