5 Perfect Turmeric Substitutes

If you are reading this right now, it’s likely because your recipe needs turmeric, and you’ve just run out of it, right?

It’s a surprisingly common situation that many of us have found ourselves in before, so don’t panic, because we are going to show you some of the very best substitutes that you can use in place of turmeric!

What are these alternatives? And how do you substitute them in? Dive in below to find out right now!


1. Saffron

Turmeric is often added to various recipes to help bring the food a sense of color. Turmeric is well known for its incredibly vibrant yellow color, and saffron also boasts the same vibrancy! 

Saffron can be a little expensive, but it is easy to find at your local grocery store, so it is likely that you may already have some in your kitchen pantry. If not, you can easily head out to grab some! 

Saffron also has a very strong and iconic flavor, so make sure that you do not use too much when using it as a substitute.

For every teaspoon of turmeric that you may have used, add a single pinch of saffron. This will keep the saffron from altering the flavor of a recipe, while still giving the food that yellow color!

Ground Ginger

2. Ground Ginger

Ginger and turmeric actually belong to the very same family, so it can quite easily stand in for turmeric where it counts.

However, you should keep in mind that they do not taste totally alike, so you may need to substitute in the perfect ratio. 

Try to use around half the amount of ginger as you would have used for turmeric. If you were going to use a teaspoon of turmeric, try to use just half a teaspoon of ground ginger. 

Ground ginger (see also ‘7 Great Ginger Substitutes‘) is best if you want a replacement with the right flavor, and less so if you need a replacement that looks the same. 

Mustard Powder

3. Mustard Powder

Mustard powder not only works as a replacement for the flavor of turmeric, but it also helps to give recipes the iconic yellow color that you seek from turmeric. 

Mustard powder is one of the best options because it is very affordable and easy to find, and you likely already have some in your kitchen pantry!

Madras Curry Powder

4. Madras Curry Powder

If you are able to get your hands on madras curry powder, then you can easily use it in place of turmeric, thanks to the fact that it contains turmeric among its list of ingredients. 

However, naturally, this curry powder also contains a number of other ingredients, so your recipe may not look or taste exactly as you would expect, so make sure to account for this.

Add much less madras curry powder if you want your dish to taste as it should.

Turmeric Paste

5. Turmeric Paste

If you are currently in the grocery store, and unable to find standard turmeric, then make sure to also check for turmeric paste which, of course, tastes just right, and can also help to provide your dish with the color you seek. 

However, you should keep in mind that turmeric paste is a little less intense than standard turmeric, so you may need to add more to achieve the flavor or color you seek.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cumin Same As Turmeric?

No. Cumin and turmeric are both totally unrelated spices, though they do have slightly comparable taste profiles, hence why they are often confused.

Is Cumin An Anti-Inflammatory?

Yes. Cumin does have a number of anti-inflammatory effects, making it great for stomach pains.

Are Turmeric And Curry The Same Thing?

Definitely not. Turmeric is an individual spice, while curry is a collection of spices!

5 Perfect Turmeric Substitutes

5 Perfect Turmeric Substitutes

Recipe by Jenna

Turmeric is an incredibly valuable ingredient in countless recipes, but what can you use if you find yourself running out of it? Let’s take a look!

Course: Substitutes
5 from 1 vote


  • Saffron

  • Ground Ginger

  • Mustard Powder

  • Madras Curry Powder

  • Turmeric Paste


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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