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The 5 Best Substitutes for Turmeric

Turmeric is an orange-colored spice widely used in Indian cuisine.

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

While turmeric is generally safe, it can cause stomach upset in some people.

If you’re looking for a turmeric substitute, there are several options available.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the 5 best substitutes for turmeric that can be used in both cooking and baking.

What’s Turmeric?

Turmeric is a yellow-colored spice that is often used in Indian and Asian cuisine.

It has a slightly bitter taste, and its powder form is often used to add color and flavor to dishes.

Turmeric is derived from the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant, and it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

Today, turmeric is gaining popularity as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including inflammation and arthritis.

Additionally, turmeric is prized for its antioxidant properties.

When shopping for turmeric, look for bright-colored powder or fresh rhizomes.

When using turmeric powder, be sure to add it towards the end of cooking to prevent it from losing its color.

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Fresh turmeric can be grated or sliced and added to stir-fries, soups, and curries.

It can also be enjoyed on its own as a tea or supplement.

Whether you’re cooking with it or drinking it, turmeric is a delicious and health-boosting addition to your diet.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Turmeric

If you don’t have turmeric on hand, or can’t find it at the store, don’t worry.

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

Here are the 5 best substitutes for turmeric:

1 – Saffron

Saffron is a spice with a characteristic yellow-orange color and distinctive flavor.

It is derived from the flower of the saffron crocus, and has been used for centuries in both cooking and medicine.

Saffron has a slightly bitter taste, and its fragrance has been described as similar to hay or grass.

When used as a spice, it is typically added in very small amounts.

In cooking, saffron can be used to flavor rice, chicken, fish, and other dishes.

It is also used as a natural food coloring agent.

Saffron is sometimes used as a substitute for turmeric, another yellow-orange spice with similar flavor notes.

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While saffron is more expensive than turmeric, it can provide a similar flavor profile when used in small amounts.

2 – Curcumin

Curcumin is a spice that has a warm, slightly bitter taste and a faint, ginger-like aroma.

It is the main ingredient in turmeric, and is often used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, and other food products.

Curcumin can also be purchased as a dietary supplement.

Although it is generally considered safe, some people may experience stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea.

When used as a spice, curcumin should be added at the end of cooking to preserve its flavor.

When substituting it for turmeric, use one-third as much curcumin as you would turmeric.

3 – Ground Ginger

Ground ginger has a warm, spicy flavor that is perfect for adding a little zing to your favorite recipes.

It is also a versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet or savory dishes.

Unlike fresh ginger, which has a fibrous texture, ground ginger is smooth and easy to use.

You can substitute ground ginger for turmeric in any recipe.

Just use 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger for every 1 teaspoon of turmeric.

Whether you’re making curry or cookies, ground ginger will give your dish the perfect flavor punch.

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4 – Ground Cumin

Ground cumin is a popular Spice used in many cuisines around the world.

It has a strong, pungent flavor and a earthy, slightly sweet aroma.

Ground cumin is made from the dried, ground seeds of the cumin plant, and it is available in both Whole and ground form.

While whole cumin seeds have a longer shelf life, ground cumin is more convenient to use and has a more intense flavor.

Ground cumin can be used as a substitute for turmeric in many recipes.

It has a similar earthy flavor, but it is more pungent and less sweet.

When substituting ground cumin for turmeric, use half as much cumin as you would turmeric.

For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of turmeric, use 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin instead.

5 – Turmeric Paste

Turmeric paste is a thick, bright yellow paste made from turmeric and other spices.

It has a strong, earthy flavor and a slightly bitter taste.

Turmeric paste can be used as a spice in curries, soups, and stews, or as a colorant in sauces and dips.

It can also be used as a substitute for fresh turmeric root.

To make turmeric paste, the fresh turmeric root is first boiled until it is soft.

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Then, it is ground into a fine powder and combined with water, vinegar, salt, and spices.

The paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

When using turmeric paste, it is important to add it slowly to dishes so that the flavor does not become too overwhelming.

A little bit of turmeric paste goes a long way.


In conclusion, turmeric is a versatile and flavorful spice that can be used in many dishes.

If you don’t have turmeric on hand, or if you’re looking for a change of pace, try one of the following substitutes: ground ginger, ground cumin, or turmeric paste.

Each of these spices has a distinct flavor that will add an extra zing to your favorite recipes.

Make sure to use them sparingly, though, as they can quickly overpower a dish.

With a little experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect spice to suit your taste.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Turmeric

The 5 Best Substitutes for Turmeric
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Saffron
  • Curcumin
  • Ground Ginger
  • Ground Cumin
  • Turmeric Paste


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