The spice cumin is nutty, lemony, and widely used in many cultures and dishes…
…from Latin American dishes to Indian curries.
That is why you may go blank once you realize that the cumin is missing!
You need a cumin substitute ASAP.
Perhaps you feel what Priyanka felt that time!
I was ready to make “aloo jeera”.
I have onions, garlic, potato, turmeric and…
And something is missing!
The cumin seeds!
There was no way I could get cumin seeds in such a short time.
Moreover, our house is a bit far from the market.
Then I saw my savior right in front of my nose.
The chili powder!
It has the same spicy flavor and could richen the taste of my ‘aloo jeera’.
That time, I’m glad I still have some chili powder in my pantry.
Yup, don’t fret if you’re out of cumin.
8 Best Substitutes For Cumin
You do not have to fret if the spice you need is missing…
…from your favorite recipe halfway through.
Cumin can be substituted with these eight great alternatives.
Here’s the thing…
Coriander and cumin are produced by plants in the parsley family, Apiaceae.
Both are used to season Latin, Middle Eastern…
…and Indian cuisines (fresh coriander seeds are ground into a powder or used whole).
The dried seeds are used as whole leaves.
With both coriander and cumin, dishes receive an earthy, lemony taste.
However, coriander imparts a milder heat.
To use coriander as a cumin substitute, add half the quantity to your dish.
Add a dash of cayenne or chili powder if you need more heat.
Due to their botanical cousinship, coriander makes an excellent substitute for cumin.
An earthy and lemony taste is imparted to a dish by both.
Coriander has a milder heat than chili powder and cayenne…
so if you’re looking for a little more heat, add some chili powder and cayenne.
Cumin and caraway seeds, which have a similar mustardy-brown color…
…and oblong shape, appear similar side by side.
This makes sense from a botanical standpoint since they are cousins.
Cumin and caraway are both members of the parsley family.
Their appearances are similar.
Additionally, they taste very similar, although cumin has a more spicy flavor.
As a substitute for cumin seeds or powder, caraway seeds or powder can be used.
Start off with 1/2 amount of caraway for the total amount of cumin…
…and adjust according to your taste.
Caraway will not affect the colors of your dishes if used in place of cumin.
It is often used as an alternative to cumin depending on your culinary taste preferences.
As a general rule, caraway seeds should replace cumin seeds…
…while ground caraway should replace ground cumin.
Caraway should be used in place of half of the cumin.
After that, gradually increase the amount to your taste.
As another member of the parsley family with a taste similar to cumin…
…caraway is an appropriate cumin substitute.
Scroll down to find out the best cumin substitute…
As an alternative for cumin substitute, chili powder…
…which usually includes cumin as a primary ingredient may be used.
Remember that chili powder will also provide additional flavors…
…as it may contain paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, and onion powder.
In a dish like baked beans, this substitute works well…
…but may not complement other dishes such as Indian curries.
Among the ingredients in chili powder are ground chili, paprika, garlic powder…
…cayenne pepper, oregano, onion powder, cumin, and paprika.
By using chili powder, you have the same effect as including cumin in your dish.
As chili powder contains paprika and cayenne…
…it may also impart a reddish hue to your dish.
To make it as a cumin substitute, use half the quantity in the recipe.
When the recipe calls for 1 tbsp (14 grams) of ground cumin…
…use 1/2 tbsp (7 grams) of chili powder instead.
Chilli powder is a spice blend that often contains cumin, among other ingredients.
If substituting cumin, use half the amount in the recipe.
Take into account both the additional flavors chili powder will bring, as well as its red hue.
Chili powder has a unique taste without cumin’s bitterness.
Although cumin is more commonly used to season savory dishes people can use this healthful spice in sweet recipes, as well.”Jillian Kubala, MS, RD A Dietitian From Healthline.com
Due to the presence of a lot more other spices in chili powder…
…make sure they are balanced in flavor.
If you don’t want your dish to become too spicy…
…you can use ½ amount of chili powder for every amount of cumin.
Afterward, the flavor can be adjusted easily.
If you’re using chiller powder in place of cumin…
…bear in mind that the dish’s color will be affected.
Cumin is light brown, while chili powder is red.
Here’s another option for you!
Cumin is an essential ingredient in curry powder.
Curry powder blends commonly contain cumin, making them a great substitute.
Like other spice blends mentioned above, it also brings other flavors into the mix.
There is a wide variety of curry powders.
The spices contain about twenty ground herbs and spices, along with cumin…
…such as fenugreek, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric.
Their combination creates a warm, aromatic flavor with a deep yellow hue.
Southeast Asian dishes benefit from curry’s versatility.
Due to the turmeric, the dish will have a striking yellow color.
Curry powder is largely based on cumin as a base ingredient…
…though many other warm and aromatic spices are also present.
This will make your dish a bit more yellow, but it’s a good option.
Curry powder could be used as a cumin substitute…
…but the dish will change it slightly in color.
1/2 amount of curry powder can replace the amount of cumin powder.
Adjust as necessary.
Remember, taco seasoning blends will contain varying degrees of salt.
Therefore, use taco seasoning before salt…
…or other high-sodium condiments like Worcestershire sauce.
This method prevents you from oversalting your dish.
After that, taste and adjust accordingly.
Taco seasoning is also a spice mix containing cumin.
It also contains salt, so use it before you add salt…
…or higher-sodium condiments to the recipe.
Spice blends such as this one contain garlic powder, onion powder…
…oregano, cumin, anise, and cayenne pepper.
Furthermore, taco seasoning contains salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
With this cumin substitute, you can expect a more complex flavor profile…
…with a hint of heat than cumin does by itself.
Looking for a cumin substitute that has the same citrusy taste?
Like curry powder, this spice blend is often found in the cuisines of India, Mauritius…
…and South Africa. The spice is also made of cumin, so it is an ideal replacement.
Garam masala is typically tossed in after the food has been cooked…
…giving it a pleasant citrusy taste.
If you wish to use garam masala in this recipe as a cumin substitute…
… just use half of the quantity of cumin called for in the recipe…
…and adjust the amount to your taste.
If you want the most flavor, add garam masala later in the cooking process.
Spice blend garam masala has citrusy notes…
…and is traditionally served in Indian restaurants.
Paprika offers more smokiness and less heat than cumin.
Paprika is also known for its vibrant red color…
…so using it as a cumin substitute will also give your dish a reddish hue.
You can substitute half the amount of cumin in the recipe…
…and add cayenne or pepper if you still need a little more heat.
The aroma of paprika adds smoke to dishes, but it is not as hot as cumin.
Be aware that it will also color your dish red.
Also from the parsley family, fennel seeds are a suitable alternative to cumin.
The flavor of fennel seeds is anise-like, licorice-like, which is not found in cumin.
In a pinch, fennel seeds won’t taste out of place either.
They’re not going to deliver the same smokiness or earthiness.
Replace ground cumin with ground fennel and cumin seeds with fennel seeds.
Fennel seeds can also be pulverized for a few seconds…
….in a coffee grinder or food processor.
As with all the other spice alternatives discussed here…
…you should start slow with half the amount of cumin required in the recipe.
After that, add the spice pinches one at a time.
You can add paprika to your dish if you miss the smoky taste.
The fennel seed family is also related to parsley…
…and so they can be a great alternative to cumin in a recipe.
They won’t taste out of place, even though they don’t mimic the exact flavors.
You can adjust the amount of fennel seeds to taste…
…by starting with half the amount called for in the recipe.
Spices like cumin give recipes a citrusy flavor.
In an emergency, there are many better alternatives that are already in your pantry.
Curry and chili powders already contain cumin in their blends…
…while caraway seeds and ground coriander closely mimic its flavor.
These cumin substitutions will ensure that your recipe still tastes fantastic…
…even if you are out of cumin!
In my opinion, my favorite cumin substitute is chili powder and I have tried them all.
There is a lot of cumin in chili powder, but it doesn’t have cumin’s bitter flavor.
Did you use any of the cumin substitutes mentioned above?
Did you use any other spices instead of cumin?
Let’s share our thoughts in the comments section and learn from each other.
Thanks for reading!
Hi, I am Phoebe! Regardless of some personal preferences, I believe that we are all foodies at heart. Everyone loves food. I mean, who doesn't? Food is so good for you and it tastes great! Who doesn't enjoy every delicious bite of a chocolate chip cookie or a juicy burger with fries? I know that there are some people out there who don't care about eating, but they must be crazy.
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