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Cook Authentic Indian Cuisine: 5 Best Tandoori Masala Substitutes

Indian cuisine is known for its rich and flavorful spices, and tandoori masala is no exception.

This spice blend typically contains a variety of warming spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, and cumin.

While tandoori masala can be found in many grocery stores, it’s also easy to make at home.

And if you find yourself out of this spice blend (or want to try something new), there are several excellent substitutes.

In this article, we’ll share the five best substitutes for tandoori masala.

What is Tandoori Masala?

what is tandoori masala

Tandoori masala is a spice blend used in Indian cooking.

It typically includes ground ginger, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and garlic powder.

The spices are combined in different proportions to create different flavors.

Some tandoori masalas may also include paprika, nutmeg, or cardamom.

The spice blend is used to flavor meat cooked in a tandoor, a traditional Indian clay oven.

The high heat of the tandoor helps to bring out the complex flavors of the spices.

Tandoori masala can also be used to flavor other dishes, such as vegetables or rice.

It is typically available in Indian markets or online retailers.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Tandoori Masala

If you’re not able to find tandoori masala, don’t worry.

There are several substitutes that will work just as well in your recipe.

Here are the five best substitutes for the tandoori masala:

1 – Mix of Garam Masala and Cayenne Peppers

mix of garam masala and cayenne peppers

When it comes to spice, there is no one-size-fits-all.

Some people like their food so spicy it makes their eyes water, while others prefer a more mild flavor.

For those who like it hot, a mix of garam masala and cayenne peppers is the perfect way to add some extra zing to your meal.

Garam masala is a traditional Indian spice blend that typically includes cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper.

Cayenne pepper is a chili pepper with a sharp, biting taste.

Together, these two spices can give your food a real kick.

If you’re feeling adventurous, add a little extra cayenne pepper to heat things.

Just be warned – this spice mix is not for the faint of heart.

2 – Madras Curry Powder

madras curry powder

Madras curry powder is a blend of spices originating from the city of Madras in India.

The spices used in the powder vary depending on the region and the cook but typically include chili pepper, cumin, coriander, and turmeric.

Madras curry powder has a distinctive flavor that is both earthy and fiery, with a touch of sweetness.

It is commonly used to flavor meats, vegetables, and rice dishes.

While Madras curry powder is widely available in supermarkets, it is also easy to make at home.

By blending your own spices, you can create a powder tailored to your taste preferences.

3 – Vindaloo Curry Powder

vindaloo curry powder

If you’re looking for a curry powder that packs a punch, look no further than vindaloo curry powder.

Named for the popular Indian dish, vindaloo curry is known for its fiery flavor and intense spice.

The key ingredient in vindaloo curry powder is black pepper, which gives the powder its signature heat.

Other spices in vindaloo curry powder include cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili peppers.

While the exact blend of spices can vary depending on the manufacturer, most vindaloo curry powders are spicy.

If you’re not a fan of heat, you may want to start with a milder curry powder.

However, vindaloo curry powder is the way to go if you’re looking for an authentic Indian flavor.

4 – Tikka Masala Powder

tikka masala powder

Tikka Masala powder is a fragrant, flavorful spice blend from India.

It is typically made with a combination of cumin, coriander, paprika, and chili powder, though the exact spices used can vary depending on the region.

Tikka Masala powder is commonly used to flavor chicken, lamb, and seafood dishes.

It can also be added to rice or used as a dry rub for meats.

Whether you are looking to add a bit of heat to your meals or want to explore the rich flavors of Indian cuisine, Tikka Masala powder is a great place to start.

5 – Ras el Hanout

ras el hanout

Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice blend that translates to “head of the shop.

” This potent mix typically includes a wide variety of spices, including cloves, cinnamon, and cumin.

While the exact ingredients vary depending on the particular blend, ras el hanout is always packed with flavor.

The spice blend is commonly used in Moroccan cuisine, particularly in stews and curries.

However, it can also be used to add flavor to rice, vegetables, and even grilled meats.

This versatile spice blend is a great substitute for tandoori masala.


In conclusion, tandoori masala is a great spice to have on hand to add flavor to your food.

However, there are many other spices that can be used in its place.

All of the spices listed above can be used to create a similar flavor profile.

So, if you don’t have tandoori masala on hand, don’t worry.

You can still make delicious, flavorful food.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Tandoori Masala

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Mix of Garam Masala and Cayenne Peppers

  • Madras Curry Powder

  • Vindaloo Curry Powder

  • Tikka Masala Powder

  • Ras el Hanout


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

Recipe Video

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