7 Best Alternatives To Turmeric

alternatives to turmeric

The rhizome or root of the turmeric plant has for years been prized for its culinary and medicinal properties. In fact, turmeric has been used in medicine and culinary practices for over 4000 years.

These days, turmeric’s beautiful bright-yellow root is commonly used as a food seasoning, coloring, and preservative, thereby earning itself the nicknames the “Indian Saffron” and the “Golden Spice”.

You can learn more about turmeric health benefits here.

Many spices are wonderful replacements for turmeric. However, they can’t completely reproduce the color and flavor of this amazing spice. They can’t really be an exact substitute for turmeric.

In addition, these spices might not offer the same health benefits that turmeric does.

Although it’s still widely available in most countries, turmeric may not be a staple in every household. And although turmeric may be available in your country, you might also run out of it while cooking.

In either case, you will need a turmeric alternative that can replicate the wonderful flavor of turmeric. If your recipe requires turmeric and you don’t have access to this spice, consider any of the following alternatives to turmeric.

Read on to learn about some important turmeric alternatives that you may utilize in cooking.

If your recipe calls for turmeric, you can use many reliable turmeric substitutes that can imitate the color and flavor, and even offer some of the amazing health benefits of this internationally popular spice.

Nonetheless, before you start experimenting with your recipes, make sure you know your options so you can reproduce the health benefits of turmeric in your dish.

Now, to answer what is a good substitute for turmeric? Here are some alternatives to turmeric just in case you run out of this awesome spice.

1. Ginger

One of the most popular and widely available turmeric substitutes, ginger offers a flavor similar to that of its bittersweet relative.

Ginger has a spicy punch that is lacking in turmeric, so ginger should not be used in large amounts to avoid significant changes in flavor.

Besides, ginger does not give the food the bright-yellow color that’s typical of the turmeric spice.

Therefore, if you choose ginger as your substitute for turmeric, make sure to choose the amount wisely and mix it with coloring agents such as saffron.

Ginger is well known for its digestive benefits, including its ability to reduce nausea and ease stomach upsets.

Besides, research has also shown that it can also ease menstrual pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and migraine headaches.

2. Curry Powder

A good substitute for turmeric powder is curry powder.

Curry powder is a mixture of different herbs and spices. Turmeric is a common ingredient in curry powder so you may want to use it if you run out of turmeric.

Curry powder contains other ingredients, including cumin and chili powder, which are the main elements in turmeric. It is also rich in capsaicin, but low in curcumin, manganese, and iron.

There’s no need to use any other spices in your recipe since it is a complete mixture of all spices and herbs that are needed to make your dish flavorful and healthy.

Curry powder can be simple with mostly turmeric, pepper, coriander, and cumin, or it can be complete, with fenugreek, fennel, cardamom, and cinnamon, among other herbs and spices.

If your recipe calls for turmeric, add a small amount of cumin to counterbalance the brighter, fruity flavors such as cardamom and cinnamon.

3. Mustard Powder

Another good turmeric powder alternative is mustard powder.

Mustard powder is a popular spice that is obtained from the seeds of the mustard plant.

There are numerous varieties available, including the Yellow mustard, Sweet mustard, English mustard, American Beer mustard, Dijon mustard, Deli-type mustard, and fruit mustard, to mention but a few.

The yellow mustard is widely regarded as one of the best substitutes for turmeric. It replicates the flavor of turmeric while giving your food the bright-yellow color.

Yellow mustard may be a suitable replacement for curry and many other dishes that require the use of turmeric.

Again, be careful about the quantity as the sharp, hot, pungent flavor of mustard is somewhat stronger than turmeric.

4. Saffron

Saffron threads are another good substitute for turmeric. Saffron also has a similar flavor and color to turmeric. Nonetheless, this option is quite expensive.

It will only be convenient for you if you already have this spice in your kitchen.

Just like turmeric powder, this ancient spice grants food a yellowish-orange color. You’ll find it hard to differentiate saffron powder from turmeric powder due to the similarities.

5. Cumin

Cumin is a good alternative for turmeric.

Cumin has a more powerful flavor and aroma than turmeric and hence, it can be quite overwhelming if it is used in the same quantities.

However, both cumin and turmeric are used in a wide array of curry dishes.

This means they can be successfully used as alternatives to each other, although the flavor may change if you are not cautious of the concentrations.

6. Annatto Extract

Annatto extract is obtained from the seeds of Bixa Orellana and can be a great choice for anyone who is allergic to turmeric.

Annatto extract adds the same yellowing coloring to food and this explains why it is often called the “Cuban turmeric”.

It has a tasty and somewhat pungent flavor. Therefore, annatto may not be the best turmeric alternative when it comes to taste.

7. Roasted Paprika

Roasted paprika mixed with a mace can also be a good substitute for turmeric.

Smoked paprika effectively imitates the typical bright-yellow color of turmeric while the mace will add taste and flavor to the food.


In the end, turmeric is a must-have ingredient in every kitchen. And we’ve mentioned a lot of alternatives to turmeric in cooking.

Given its ability to improve the color, taste, and flavor of food, and its incredible health benefits, it’s no wonder turmeric is widely used in a variety of dishes and other food items.

However, you don’t have to worry if you find yourself running out of turmeric while cooking. The above turmeric alternatives should work well just like this ancient spice.

Ginger, curry powder, mustard powder, saffron, cumin, annatto extract, and roasted paprika are all good substitutes for turmeric.

However, you might be tempted to think that the taste or flavor is not quite the same as when turmeric is used. The truth of the matter is that whichever turmeric substitute you decide to use is sure to give you a very close flavor.

In general, adjust the quantity of spice to use so that you can customize it based on your personal tastes and preferences. What’s your favorite turmeric substitute?

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I'm a health enthusiast that's struggling with arthritis and weight management.Sharing my journey through these "hopefully helpful" articles about the health benefits of anything to everything. 😊

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