Garam Masala Seasoning

Garam Masala Seasoning

Publish Date June 27, 2023 5 Minute Read

A hallmark of Indian cuisine, garam masala seasoning has its origins in northern India. These days, it’s also used in Pakistani, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Caribbean cuisines. The word garam means "hot” and masala means "spices," but in a comfort food, belly warming sense, not an overly fiery one.

While it’s often used in curries, don’t confuse garam masala with curry powder, which usually contains spices like turmeric, ginger, cumin and chili powder. Instead, garam masala is often used in classic recipes like chicken tikka masala, saag tofu, butter chicken, biryani and samosas. Once you start using it regularly in your kitchen, you’ll begin to appreciate the way that garam masala seasoning adds a warm and fragrant touch to so many dishes.

Not only is garam masala earthy and sweet in taste, but it’s also rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, which can help with heart health and cholesterol control. In some studies, it’s even been shown to reduce high blood pressure. In Ayurvedic medicine, the spices in garam masala are considered a way to increase metabolism.

How to Make it Your Own

Cooks around the world have their own variations and special additions for garam masala, and it can contain as few as 4 and as many as 14 spices. The good news is that this simple recipe will give you a good launching pad for your own culinary creativity. It includes several things you probably already have in your pantry: cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

As you perform your own in-kitchen taste tests, you can experiment by adding other ingredients like fennel, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, star anise, saffron, red pepper, bay leaves, tamarind, fenugreek, mace, Malabar leaves and dried red chiles. Store your seasoning blend in a tightly sealed glass jar, in a cool dark place, and it should stay fresh for at least 6 months

Try it in Your Favorite Recipes

Of course, no curry is complete without the chef’s custom blend of garam masala. Feel free to expand its use beyond just that dish, though. You can also add a pinch to marinades and salad dressings. It’s a great finishing touch for sautéed or roasted vegetables. Some bakers add a teaspoon or two to their bread. Don’t forget this recipe during grilling season, because it can be a brilliant dry rub on proteins. It even adds a lovely savory-sweet note to deserts.

Like other seasoning blends, garam masala is usually added near the end of the cooking process. Don’t forget to reserve a little on the side so an additional dash can be sprinkled on top of your culinary masterpiece.

Garam Masala Seasoning Recipe

Prep Time: 5 min.

Cook Time: 0 min.

Total Time: 5 min.

Serves: 10 | Difficulty: Easy


1 Tbsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. ground coriander

2 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

½ tsp. ground cloves


  1. In a small dish, combine cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  2. Store in an airtight container. Use to season meat or in curries.

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