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.

A simple authentic Indian recipe for Garam Masala that can be made with ground or whole spices in just 15 minutes. Fragrant and flavorful!

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.

A simple authentic Indian recipe for Garam Masala that can be made with ground or whole spices in just 15 minutes. Fragrant and flavorful!

What Spices are in Garam Masala?

The most common spices in Garam Masala are:

  1. Cumin
  2.  Coriander
  3. Green Cardamom Pods or Black Cardamom pods
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Nutmeg
  6. Cloves
  7. Bay leaves
  8. Black Peppercorns (or black pepper)
  9. Fennel seeds
  10. Mace
  11. 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.

Garam Masala spices toasting in a pan.

Step Two: Grind the toasted spices in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or use a mortar and pestle.

blending garam masala in a spice grinder

Step Three: Store in an air-tight container for a shelf-life of up to 6 months.

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! #garam #garammasala #curry #masala #spices #indianspices #indianrecipes #authenic #masalaspice #indiancurrypowder

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 

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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! #garam #garammasala #curry #masala #spices #indianspices #indianrecipes #authenic #masalaspice #indiancurrypowder

Garam Masala Recipe


Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

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.


Notes

To make a more authentic version of Garam Masala using whole spices, toast the following in a skillet.

Lightly toast over medium heat in a dry skillet, until crackling and fragrant, stirring often, being careful not to scorch. Grind in a Spice grinder or blender until ground into a fine powder. Store in a sealable jar.

Nutrition

  • 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,

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  1. I haven’t made it but by the reviews. I will. One lady asked for Chia tea recipe. I would like that also.

  2. I only have ground cardamom, but I have all the rest for whole ingredients. Can you tell me how much ground to use in place of the seeds?

  3. It was difficult to find all of these spices in the cupboard + 2 trips to pick up mace and coriander! It was well worth it and now I can make it again since I have all the ingredients.

  4. We have a bay tree in the garden, so can fresh bay be used for garam masala or do we need to dry them? If so how long does this take?
    Thanks

  5. Curious, and I haven’t tried it yet, but aren’t coriander and cardamom the same thing? Should I use dried coriander and ground cardamom?

  6. No one, absolutely no Indian would put any form of red chilies in Garam Masala.

    Please revise your recipe, red chilies are added separately in all recipes and at a different point in the cooking.

    Usual steps in an Indian dish start with mustard/cumin -> onions [optional]-> garlic/ginger [optional] -> turmeric -> red chilis/powder -> other spices[optional] -> tomato [optional] -> main ingredients -> -> -> when the dish is almost done do we add Garam Masala.

    So adding red chilis to GM rather changes the interaction of the spices.

    There is a concept of double tadka for some dishes, but that still is adding a second tadka at the end [tadka ingredients varies from kitchen to kitchen, but usually oil(or some form of fat) and jeera/mustard, with an addition of red chilis in the second tadka].

  7. Oh my gosh this was Awesome!! I dont do HOT, so I left out the cayenne, but added a tad bit more of the spice mix and black pepper! Thank you!! Oh yes, I made the butter chicken!

  8. Oh my gosh this was Awesome!! I dont do HOT, so I left out the cayenne, but added a tad bit more of the spice mix and black pepper! Thank you!!

  9. This is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this for others to enjoy. My family was very impressed by this mixture. I used it on thanksgiving 2019 to prepare the turkey breasts and stewed the remaining turkey wings and quarters using a separate recipe. This garam masala was, by far, the winner of the day!

  10. I love this recipe. The best I’ve made.
    Other recipes call for too much clove to my liking. I also double the ingredients.

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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