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Garam Masala Recipe

Used frequently in Indian cooking, garam masala is mix of ground spices, but there is no standard recipe for it. This tends to beg the question – just what’s in garam masala?

Garam Masala Recipe Photo

Let’s first of all understand exactly what garam masala is.

‘Garam’ means hot and ‘masala’ means spices, although the term garam does not necessarily refer to hot as being spicy hot.

Instead, it is the rich warmth provided by the blend of spices.

North vs South

In North India you will typically find garam masala used as a powder, whereas in South India it is more of a paste in which the spices are mixed with either coconut milk, vinegar or water.

Furthermore, the garam masala that you will find in the northern parts of India tend to only use black pepper as the sole spicy ingredient, with the other spices being more aromatic and sweet.

The further south you go, you will find that dried red chilli is often added, making it spicier than the garam masala you will find in the north. 

Easy Chicken Curry Picture

How Do You Use Garam Masala?

Using garam masala helps to balance flavors within your dish and can reduce the need for too much salt.

Not only is it a delicious spice blend to add to your dishes, but it also has a range of health benefits such as boosting your digestion and metabolism.

Many of the spices found in garam masala are full of antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation. It  also helps to reduce bloating and gas and can even tackle bad breath!  

Quick Chicken Curry Image

What Is in Garam Masala?

The typical spices used in garam masala include:

  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg 
Coconut Chicken Curry Pic

However, you can also find some garam masala recipes that include: 

  • Turmeric
  • Saffron
  • Fennel seeds
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Mustard seed
  • Mace
  • Star anise 
  • Tamarind
  • Fenugreek
  • Bay leaves
  • Malabar leaves
  • Dried red chilli  

As there is no standard when it comes to garam masala, you can create it as spicy or as warm as you would like.

We prefer more of a warm garam masala and then spice up our dish with the addition of hot peppers as we go along.

Spice Mix Photo
Garam Masala Recipe Photo

Garam Masala Recipe

Amber Bracegirdle
Find out what’s in garam masala and try our simple recipe to make your own! No need to buy it pre-mixed!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Cuisine Indian
Servings 10 1 tablespoon
Calories 9.3 kcal


  • 3 Coriander Seed
  • 2 Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Cardamom
  • 2 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Grated Nutmeg
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Whole Cloves


  • Begin by toasting coriander, cumin, cardamom and peppercorns in a skillet over medium heat. Shake the skillet and stir occasionally to toast the spices evenly.
  • Once the spices are toasted and the aromas released, remove them and set aside. 
  • In a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, grind the cooled spices.
  • Add in the grated nutmeg.
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  


Calories: 9.3kcalCarbohydrates: 1.3gSodium: 0.8mgFiber: 0.8g
Keyword Easy, Homemade Spices, Indian, No Cook
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