9 Turmeric Alternatives

Turmeric is a powdered spice derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. Its blindingly bright yellow color will leave you with a stain from as little as a touch.

Due to limited use in American households, turmeric is one of the last things you will find in your kitchen. Here are 9 substitutes you could use that will make a great addition to your dish.


Due to its golden hue, saffron is an excellent substitute for turmeric, if color is what you’re looking for. Only a few strands of it are enough to add color and aroma to a dish.


You can describe this spice as an “imposter” of saffron. They look uncannily alike, as the primary difference between them is the intensity of color.


If you’re looking for color, Annatto is a great turmeric substitute. Although predominantly used for its color, annatto has a faint earthy, peppery aroma.


Mustard will give your food a beautiful color along with a distinct aroma. Make sure you adjust the amount of mustard as per your tolerance for its flavor.


Paprika is one of the most popular of all spices, and you’re sure to have some variety tucked away in your kitchen cabinet.


As a turmeric substitute, you can use ginger powder to marinate vegetables, meats, and prepare sauces as well.


You can use cumin powder as a seasoning by sprinkling it on deviled eggs, salads, soups, or just about anything!

Curry powder

A prominent ingredient in curry powder is turmeric and a bright yellow spice. This makes curry powder a great substitute for turmeric, both in terms of color and flavor.

Garam Masala

Compared to curry powder, garam masala has a more robust and spicier flavor and should be used in lesser quantities. Dilute the spice in a tablespoon of liquid and add it to the dish.

You do not need to follow any hard rules when cooking. The absence of a single spice does not mean you have to give up on the recipe — you can always improvise.

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