This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
A simple, authentic Indian recipe for Garam Masala that can be made with ground or whole spices. Make this aromatic spice blend in under 15 minutes! Flavorful, fragrant and easy! Video.
While in Mumbai recently, I visited a spice market and met a kind man who blended his own spices. He sweetly and generously walked me through his way of making Garam Masala. He then told me how his wife’s version was different, each of them having their own personal blend. Of course they each thought their own blend was better.
What is Garam Masala?
If unfamiliar, Garam Masala is an essential Indian spice mix, a fragrant combination of aromatic spices used to season many Indian dishes. It varies greatly across India, depending on the region, household and personal preference.
It would not be an exaggeration to say, that each household’s version is different and unique – and that’s what makes Garam Masala so special and nuanced.
Homemade Garam Masala | 60-sec video
Are Garam Masala and curry powder the same?
You may be wondering what the difference is between regular yellow curry powder and Garam Masala, both being a combination of different spices.
One of the main differences between these two spice blends is that curry powder is more savory and is often based around turmeric, hence the typical golden, yellowish color.
Garam masala is richer and deeper in color, and tastes warming and slightly sweet in comparison-due to the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves.
A completely different flavor profile.
What Spices are in Garam Masala?
The most common spices in Garam Masala are:
- Green Cardamom Pods or Black Cardamom pods
- Bay leaves
- Black Peppercorns (or black pepper)
- Fennel seeds
- Star Anise
And the quantities, combinations and variations are endless.
These spices are typically toasted whole, then ground down into a fine powder. An incredibly fragrant process.
Can I use ground spices?
Yes. To simplify this, I’ve taken simple ground spices and mixed them, leaving out the bay leaves and substituting cayenne for the dried chilies – no grinding required. To enhance their flavor, simply dry toast in hot skillet before using.
And for you adventurous cooks – there are directions in the recipe notes if you want to make Garam Masala from whole spices – a more authentic Garam Masala recipe.
How to make Garam Masala
Step One: Dry-roast whole spices in a skillet, until fragrant. This will help them release their oils and revive their aroma.
Step Two: Grind the toasted spices in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or use a mortar and pestle.
Step Three: Store in an air-tight container for a shelf-life of up to 6 months.
Lastly, and very interesting to me personally, are the Ayurvedic properties of Garam Masala.
Healing Properties of Garam Masala:
Ayurveda is the ancient, traditional Hindu system of medicine that is based on the premise that balance is key to our body’s health.)
- In Ayurvedic medicine, it is thought that when there is not enough heat in our bodies, our bodies can become sluggish and may be slow to remove toxins. The word garam means to “heat the body,” and these warming spices are actually believed to elevate body temperature and boost metabolism in Ayurvedic medicine.
- Other beliefs about the healing benefits of garam masala include boosting our immunity
- promoting weight loss
- aid digestion
- lowering blood sugar
- lowering inflammation
And what I’ve noticed personally is Garam Masala’s mood-boosting qualities, especially on cold dark winter days. The warming spices not only warm the body, they warm and uplift the spirit.
You’ll find a million uses for Garam Masala but here are a few recipes on the blog that use Garam Masala!
Ways to use Garam Masala Spice
- Coconut Pecan Energy Balls
- Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- Indian Lamb Meatballs
- Roasted Butternut Tikka Masala
- Indian Butter Chicken ( or Cauliflower or Tofu!)
- Chicken Tikka Masala
Garam Masala Recipe
- Prep Time: 10
- Total Time: 10
- Yield: ⅓ cup 1x
- Category: Spices, Spice blend
- Method: Mix
- Cuisine: Indian
A simple homemade Garam Masala Recipe that can be made in 10 minutes – with ground fragrant spices you already have in your pantry. Easy, healthy and authentic! See notes for toasting whole spices.
Mix all ground spices together in a small bowl and store in a sealed jar.
To bump up the flavor and fragrance, lightly toast the amount called for in a recipe, just before using, in a dry skillet, over medium heat, stirring until fragrant and lively.
To make a more authentic version of Garam Masala using whole spices, toast the following in a skillet.
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds from green cardamon pods (or a mix of black and green)
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1-3 dried red chiles, more to taste ( or sub 1 teaspoon chili flakes)BOTH OPTIONAL
- 2 inch piece cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon chunk or piece of whole nutmeg ( roughly)
- Calories: 5
Keywords: garam masala, best garam masala recipe, garam masala recipe, easy garam masala recipe, how to make garam masala, garam masala substitute, what is garam masala, garam masala spices,
Hi, when buying an already mixed powdered marsala from a spice shop is it necessary to roast and grind the fresh star anise, coriander seed, cardomam, mustard seed etc etc and add to the already bought mixed marsala.
No it is not necessary to add more spices unless you want to make more, or alter the flavor? If adding more spices, I do recommend toasting and grinding first though.
I just made your recipe. Aromatic to the sky! Delicious!! I am making cold carrot soup for my daughter this afternoon and of course I will add your garam masala thank you thank you thank you
Hi! I love how informative and great your articles are. Can you recommend any other blogs that share blogs that share information on Spiritual Awakening or spirituality in general? Thanks a lot!
Hi Abhisha- I really don’t follow spiritual blogs- but maybe I should! 😉 Find what speaks to your heart.
Nice posting. Very helpful.
Really good, although I made some minor changes and it was excellent. Thank you.
Great! And thanks Joe!
In the ground version, how much fennel is called for? I don’t see it listed. In the whole seed version it is 1/2 tsp, so I’m guessing the same? Just want to make sure. Thanks!
Yes, 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel. 🙂
I use whole spices and a Thermomix. Put all spices in bowel together. 3.5 mins at 120°c 0.5 speed. Then speed 10 for 1 minute.
Perfect Richard! Thanks!
Made your version of garam masala mix with roasted spices, I didn’t have fennel seeds but will look for them next time. This is the best I have ever tasted. Thank you for sharing
I found you because our store has had a shortage of spices. I really prefer using whole spices for the freshness, so thank you for this! I happen to have all these whole spices! I knew I could make my own, but never looked it up. Now I’m going to try some of you recipes using this spice … and maybe look at what else you’ve got.
I found you! wow good stuff, love it
I love this recipe! I tried the easy method and look forward to trying the roasting method soon. My daughter helped make it and then we used it in the butter chicken recipe. The whole family loved it. Thank you!
Loved the way in which the ingredients were described….
Very nice authenticity flavor
I will appreciate very much for tea masala recipe please
THANKS AND REGARDS
Thanks for the great recipe. I enjoyed the easy way last time. This time I will try the whole seed/skillet way.
I RARELY actually read the blog posts attached to recipes I’m looking for, but I read yours and enjoyed the information/your story. ~Thanks!
You mentioned the difference between yellow curry and garam masala. Do you have a yellow curry recipe?
I don’t think I do, but that is a great idea Sue! I will work on one. 🙂
Awwwww- thanks appreciate this Sue!
I use mustard seeds in mine and pimento. It gives it a warm savor.
Love using seeds rather than already ground spices. Easy and great smelling.
My grateful appreciation…after going around and around trying to find Garam Masala and then going around and around trying to assemble the spices – I couldn’t find a recipe that didn’t require toasting some of the spices. A no can do for me when nary a cardamon pod is to be found much less a Garam recipe that I could actually find the spices for!! Your recipe is possible for me. All these ingredients can be purchased at my local grocery store…I do not own a car. 2 miles there/grocery and back and well struggling to find the right spices is a challenge. Sure I could order them. But by the time I got them…my fresh ingredients would already be used and I’d be on to a new set of recipes. And I don’t want to end up with a lot of spices, such as amchur (okay I could probably find uses for this if I could find mango powder anywhere) asofoetida…even Fenugreek…that I will only use every once in a while instead of spices that I can find uses for pretty routinely! My limited budget can do this…and you’ve given a formula that I can make more or less of as needed. The spices I buy can go to make cookies or roasts or cakes, you name it and Woot, woot!! I’m on it with your help! DONE!! Thank you.
Glad this works for you!
Your recipes are really delicious n yummy
Mix spices adds extra flavour