9 Perfect Cumin Substitute


Caraway seeds, coriander seeds, chili powder, black cumin, garam masala, celery or radhuni, curry powder, taco seasoning mix and oregano and coriander are some of the perfect cumin substitute.

On a fine day you decided to cook something special for your special one or you have invited some of your friends and family over dinner and decided to prepare a special dish for them all by yourself. You check the entire ingredient list and started the process and then you realize your kitchen is running out of Cumin, one of the main ingredients of the dish. Now what will you do? You cannot go to the market as you don’t have much time left, you have to do something all by yourself.  You must know one tiny ingredient can spoil your entire dish. If you are thinking why all the bad things happens with good people like you or whatever, stop cursing your precious fate and heat up your stress level! Just give us a chance to be your savior for this day. You have the magic substitute in your kitchen, you just need to know how to use it.

Replacing cumin in a recipe is surely not an easy task since cumin has such strong and distinctive flavor. Cumin is a main ingredient in Indian and Mexican food primarily. In some Middle Eastern and African dishes you can find cumin as a strong ingredient too. Legend has says that cumin is used by the Greek too and you must hard about mummies of Egypt. Cumin is used in the mummification process.

Cumin has a very distinctive flavor, something warm. It is nutty, earthy and a bit spicy not as a chili powder but has some smoky spicy flavor.  Generally in Indian cuisine one can add whole cumin seed in hot oil and let the aroma of cumin infuse with the oil through the dish slowly and the ground cumin is easily available but it has an intense flavor and it had to use by proper measurement in the mentioned recipe.

So running out of cumin can’t be a problem, you just need to learn the trick and look clearly in the cupboard or shelves of kitchen cause the magic ingredient is resides in your kitchen.

9 Fantastic Substitutes for Cumin

cumin substitute


Caraway seeds

Caraway seeds are considered the most perfect substitute of cumin seeds. Caraway and cumin belong to the same parsley family. Both the seeds have same appearance and its taste similar but cumin seeds are much hotter in taste. Mainly flavor characteristic and aromatic appearances of both the seeds are similar, so it is one of the best substitutes

However, caraway seeds are much potent so if you need 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds in your recipe, you need to half the amount of caraway in that case. Use ½ teaspoon of caraway seeds and don’t worry it won’t change the colour of the dishes.

Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds too belong from the same parsley family. It shares the same flavor as cumin. The coriander leaves are famously known as cilantro and these are a common ingredient in mexican food. This spice is also commonly used in indian cuisine. Most food experts suggest using 1 teaspoon of cumin for every ¾ teaspoon of cumin.  Coriander is often considered as a last resort to add on in any recipe.

Chili powder

This ingredient is a common one in the kitchen. And it can be found in every grocery store. It is a mix of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano. Some brand includes a bit of cumin in it. But be careful to use it; as chili powder is generally much spicier than cumin. And it will alter the colour of the dishes as most ingredients are red in colour.

Actually some of the brand use ground cumin in the mix of chili powder so based on that material and proportion you can use it in your dish. And please don’t get confused with chile powder and chili powder, in chile powder consist of simple ground chile it will not contain any cumin in it.

Black cumin

There are three varieties of cumin seeds black, white and amber. We mainly use amber in our recipe. White cumin taste almost similar to amber while black cumin is less bitter in that case. You can substitute black cumin for white o amber cumin. Black cumin is easily available in indian spice market and it is popularly used as a main ingredient, famously known as “kalonji”.


Garam masala

Garam masala is one of the great cumin substitute as it consist a plenty amount of cumin in it. This famous indian spice includes cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and it creates a strong and distinct aroma. As it contains a high percentage of cumin, it can easily be used as a substitute.

Celery or radhuni

This spice generally used in bengali cuisine, in hindi it is known as ajmod.  It belongs to the parsley family and is quite similar to cumin. It is one of the main ingredients in “paanchforon” a mixed up spice in bengali cuisine which includes cumin seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed and kalonji.

Curry powder

A typical curry powder includes coriander, turmeric, ginger, mustard, fenugreek seed, black pepper and cinnamon and cumin.  The ingredients may vary but cumin is always present in it. It adds an earthy, sweet and spicy flavor in the dish.

Taco seasoning mix

The ingredients in taco seasoning mix are quite similar to chili powder. In addition, to those it includes  chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes pepper and salt. As this mixture includes a fair amount of salt in it you need to be very careful to use it.  You can’t spoil your dish while your intention is to save it!

Oregano and coriander

While oregano is usually considered as a main ingredient in Italian cuisine however it can save you from the disaster. If you have oregano in your kitchen mix 1 teaspoon of oregano and 1 teaspoon of coriander for every 1teaspoon of cumin, the blended spice will add an extra flavor in your dish and will be consider as your savior.

So, next time if you are running out of cumin seeds in your kitchen, don’t get panicked you just need to remember those magic trick and just wave your wand. And you can be a savior or a fairy godmother for your friends too who isn’t aware of this hacks. Make sure you add the spices in appropriate proportion and correct measurement.  What are you waiting for? Make some special dishes without any worries. Bon appetit!

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women and Happy and Healthy Babies!!