Substitute for cumin seeds

Substitute for cumin seeds
Substitute for cumin seeds

Cumin is a spice that originated in the Middle East and is quite popular in the Mediterranean region. However, spice is commonly used across the continents of Africa and Asia, specifically in India. Also, Mexicans have shown some love for the seasoning.

Cumin can be employed as spices while grounding into fine powder or wholly as seeds. When finely ground, the powder is red-brown. It can be used in baked beans, chili, curry, etc. Below are the alternatives to cumin.

1. Caraway seeds

These seeds are similar to parsley. They have the same appearance, aroma, and flavor. Compared to cumin seeds, they are still a little low on aroma and spiciness, but when needed, they can be an exciting spice in place of cumin,, especially when used with anise seeds.

You should also note that caraway seeds do not change the taste and flavor of the food to differ from when cumin is used. The amount of spice depends on the amount of food. Therefore, add sparingly until when you will achieve a rich flavor similar to that of cumin.

2. Chilli powder

Chilli powder is an assortment of spices, including cumin seeds. Therefore, using it instead of cumin makes a lot of sense. However, the amount to be used here should be limited. Because chili powder is a mixture of spices, you will ruin your dish with too many spices if you exceed the amount.

3. Garam masala

This is also an assortment of different individual spices. The masala consists of cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. Garam masala is not a direct substitute for cumin. However, it can be used as much as you would have used cumin.

4. Curry powder

There are different kinds of curry powder. The most common ones do have cumin as an ingredient. If you don’t have cumin seeds for any reason, you can easily use curry powder, which will have the same spicy aroma and flavor. Additionally, due to changes, the flavor will be maintained; however, the color will change.

5. Ground coriander

Coriander is another parsley family member with almost similar characteristics to caraway seeds.

Just like cumin, coriander has an earthy smell and a lemon-ish flavor. This slightly differs from cumin, meaning they will not have similar tastes. But ground coriander is an excellent alternative for cumin.

6. Taco seasoning mix

Taco seasoning, just like other seasonings, contains different kinds of spices blended to make one better spice. This seasoning, therefore, contains chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. However, this spice has variations in that it will cause wide deviations in taste and smell.

Summary Table

Substitute Flavor Profile Texture Best Used In Source
Caraway seeds Nutty, Earthy Whole seeds Breads, Sauerkraut Spice Stores
Chilli powder Spicy, Smoky Powder Chili, Mexican Dishes Grocery Stores
Garam masala Warm, Aromatic Powder Indian Curries, Stews Indian Markets
Curry powder Complex, Spicy Powder Curries, Sauces Grocery Stores
Ground coriander Citrusy, Nutty Powder Curries, Baked Goods Spice Stores
Taco seasoning mix Spicy, Tangy Mixture Tacos, Mexican Dishes Grocery Stores


Can you use ground cumin in place of cumin seeds?

Yes, you can use ground cumin as a substitute for cumin seeds, but remember that ground cumin has a more concentrated flavor, so you may need to adjust the quantity in your recipe.

How much cumin seed to substitute for ground cumin?

Generally, you can use about 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds to substitute for 1 teaspoon of ground cumin. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet before using to release their flavor.

Is cumin seeds the same as ground cumin?

Cumin seeds and ground cumin are derived from the same source: the cumin plant’s seeds. However, they have different culinary uses and flavor profiles. Cumin seeds have a more pronounced aroma and flavor when toasted or ground, while ground cumin is more convenient for direct recipe use.

The bottom line

Cumin doesn’t have very many substitutes out here except those that it is used to blend spices. However, these spices also have the same effect on food as cumin, except for a few variations in flavor and the color of food for some seasonings, including tacos.

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

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