What Can I Use Instead of Turmeric?

Ground and non-ground turmericTurmeric has been used as a spice and traditional medicine for thousands of years. Its health benefits are well-recognized today, and many people try to incorporate it in their daily meals for a wellness boost.

In addition to that, it’s a wonderful addition to many dishes, as it throws in vibrant color, and incorporates a vivacious earthy flavor into the food. A dash of turmeric in a spicy risotto transforms it into a gourmet dish. And a pinch in a smoothie brings it to life and makes it super healthy.

But we all run out of the essentials at one time or another, and if you’re wondering “what can I use instead of turmeric?” read on. We know of a few things that might just work!

Finding a Good Turmeric Powder Substitute

We add it to our foods and beverages for one of three reasons:

  • To enhance the taste with its opulent flavor
  • To increase the nutritional value of what we eat or drink
  • To add a dash of colour to the food or beverage

Finding another spice that performs exactly like turmeric isn’t a highly likely matter, but there are close substitutes that can do the job. The most important thing is, as you look for a replacement, to specify what you actually want it for: taste, colour, or nutritional value?

What Can I substitute for Turmeric?

The following spices can perform in a similar manner, but they might need a bit of creativity to recreate the presence of that charismatic spice.

Curry powder

Turmeric is the main ingredient of curry mixes. Therefore, they can substitute each other, to an extent. Curry powder is loaded with other pungent spices together with the turmeric. That’s why it would provide several more layers of flavor.

Both spices give a deep golden color to foods and a hearty warm aroma. In addition, curry has similar healthful benefits, so it’s a viable substitute that can play the part with confidence.


2 spoonfuls of saffron

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the whole world, with a pound of saffron reaching up to $6500. It’s good then that nobody needs a whole pound for cooking purposes! A pinch is more than sufficient to add color and flavor to your food.

It doesn’t contain the same nutritional profile as turmeric though.


Fresh ginger

Ginger is a very close cousin. Even their fresh forms are similar, despite the fact that ginger is a root while turmeric is a rhizome (modified stem). They both have a hot temper that stays within reason compared to chilli pepper, for example.

Ginger has comparable health benefits, but it wouldn’t supply the reddish orange hints of turmeric at all.

Mustard Seeds

This is another option that would bring the flavor, heat, and colour close to that of turmeric. However, it would easily overpower the taste of your food if you add more than a pinch.

The nutritional profiles of mustard seeds and turmeric are quite different.

In Conclusion

That was the full answer to the recurrent question; “what can i use instead of turmeric?”. Hopefully, it would help you in finding a passable substitute for turmeric.

You can also experiment with other spice combinations like cumin and garlic powder, or paprika and ginger. While it’s not easy to find a replacement for turmeric, you can still cook up a wonderful meal with what you have.