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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Turmeric

Turmeric’s gone missing in your pantry, huh? No sweat.

We’ve been there, and guess what? We survived.

This golden spice is a powerhouse in the kitchen, brilliant not just for its color but for the subtle earthy tones it brings to dishes.

Finding a substitute can seem like a tall order. Yet, here’s the thing – it’s totally doable.

We’ve scoured our kitchens and the internet to save your culinary creations.

And we found some gems. Substitutes for turmeric don’t just save the day;

they introduce us to new flavors and combinations we might not have thought about.

Ready to get creative?

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.

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.

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.

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.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Turmeric

Revitalize your recipes with our curated list of the 5 best turmeric substitutes. Whether you're out of turmeric or seeking variety, these alternatives will seamlessly replace the vibrant spice in your dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


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


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Turmeric
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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