Making your own garam masala powder at home is a simple and delicious way to add an authentic flavour to your favourite Pakistani and Indian recipes. It’s quick (10 minutes!), easy, and you’ll never go back to store-bought once you’ve tasted the homemade version!

A heaped spoon of brown spice balancing on a mason jar with pink flowers in the background.
Follow this simple recipe to get restaurant-quality flavours in your dishes!

I’ve been creating my own garam masala recipe for a long time, even before I became a dietitian. And every time I make it, the experience transports me back to my home in Pakistan with my beloved granny. Her mastery in blending spices is an important part of my most cherished cooking experiences. Nowadays, I endeavour to replicate her masterful techniques to create special flavours in my dishes and share them with you.

Garam masala uses

There are many uses for this unique spice blend.

It can be sprinkled on everything from salads and eggs, fish to rice dishes, like this mouthwatering haddock fish biryani or our family’s favourite brinjal curry. Surprisingly, it can even be stirred into tea. Other ways you can enjoy it are:

  • Marinating chicken, seafood and vegetables
  • Incorporating it into yogurt-based dip recipes such as raita and chutney
  • Experimenting with it in baking recipes such as cakes and bread to add a rare yet delightful twist.
A perspective image of a wooden heaped full spoon of brown powdered spice balancing on the rim of a mason jar with a bouquet of flowers in the background.

What is garam masala made of?

A favourite Indian spice blend that has become popular around the world, garam masala is a blend of spices, including cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and coriander seeds. However, the recipe differs from region to region, but typically these spices are dry-roasted in a pan or tava – before being ground together into an aromatic powder.

Garam masala powder adds an authentic depth of flavour to curries, vegetables and rice dishes. In my opinion, the unique combination of spices makes garam masala a distinctive ingredient. Its aroma and taste exude warmth, richness and a subtle hint of sweetness.

Nutrition highlights

When you craft your own garam masala, you can be sure that it is free from preservatives and other additives. It also has a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.

  • Cumin seeds in the mix are rich in iron, which helps in the production of red blood cells and therefore helps you to stay energized.
  • Cardamom seeds in the mix are a source of magnesium which helps to keep muscles and nerves functioning properly.
  • Cloves are rich in antioxidants, touted for their anti-inflammatory properties – to help combat certain diseases.
  • Coriander seeds are a good source of dietary fibre and vitamin A, essential for healthy eyesight.
  • Bay leaves contain vitamins A and C, which are both essential for healthy immunity.

Ingredients

A garam masala spice blend is made up of a combination of whole spices that are dry-roasted, before being ground into a fine powder. The precise recipe varies from region to region and even family to family. Some people like to include other spices such as nutmeg, star anise or mace too – all of which add an extra layer of complexity to your dishes.

A round tray with ramekins of whole South Asian spices like cloves, cardamoms, coriander seeds and more.

I typically stick to a basic garam masala mix, which includes the following spices:

  • coriander seeds
  • cumin seeds
  • cardamom pods
  • black peppercorns
  • cloves
  • black cardamoms
  • cinnamon stick
  • bay leaves

How to make it in 10 minutes

In two simple steps, you will have your own garam masala powder!

Whole spices on a tava (Indian girdle) heating over a mobile stovetop.
Step 1: Dry roast the whole spices in a pan or on a tava (Indian girdle) for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
A bowl of whole spices.
When the spices are lightly browned and begin releasing their fragrance, they are ready. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
A grinder filled with whole spices styled on a patterned mat.
Step 2: Using a spice or coffee grinder, grind the spices.
Top view of powered spices in a small grinder on top of a patterned mat.
You should end up with a fine powder. Store the masala in an airtight container to preserve its flavour and aroma.

Diabetes diet friendly tip

Adding garam masala to your meal plan is a great way to enhance the flavour and health benefits of your diabetes-friendly meals without relying on excessive salt. Avoiding too much salt in your diet is important as it can lead to hypertension which is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.

Commonly ask question (you asked:)

Some specific questions about garam masala powder that I am asked are:

Why do you add garam masala at the end of cooking?

Adding garam masala at the end of cooking helps to preserve some of its volatile oils and flavours that are released when it’s heated. I typically add the blend after most of the cooking is done, as this helps ensure that it remains fragrant and full of flavour.

Is garam masala very spicy?

Most garam masala recipe blends aren’t too spicy. It’s more like a mild heat with subtle sweetness from the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. The black pepper and cumin give it a bit of warmth, but it’s not overwhelming, in my opinion. I think the beautiful flavours of the spices blend together to create a unique and subtle warmth that adds depth to your dishes. If you find it too spicy for your taste, feel free to reduce the amount used in your recipes.

Looking for more health-promoting recipes? Check out this delicious selection of anti-inflammatory recipes which deliver a nutrient-packed punch.

A spoonful of brown spice styled on the rim of a mason jar with flowers in the background.
Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi

If you try this Indian recipe for garam masala, drop me a comment with your feedback. Rate the recipe and share a photo on Instagram by tagging #DesiliciousRD. It is always lovely seeing you make my recipes!

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A heaped spoon of brown spice balancing on a mason jar with pink flowers in the background.
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Get the Recipe:

10-Minute Homemade Garam Masala Powder

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Cooling: 6 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 tbsp
Making your own garam masala powder at home is a simple and delicious way to add an authentic flavour to your favourite Pakistani and Indian recipes. It's quick (10 minutes!), easy, and you'll never go back to store-bought once you've tasted the homemade version.

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 10 green cardamoms, seeds only
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 black cardamoms, seeds only
  • 2 bay leaves, medium
  • 1 cinnamon

Equipment

  • 1 spice grinder or a coffee grinder

Instructions
 

  • To prepare the spices, place them in a pan or on a tava and dry roast them over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir constantly until they turn a light brown colour and begin to give off a fragrant aroma. Allow the spices to cool completely.
  • Grind the whole spices into a fine garam masala powder using a spice or coffee grinder. Store it in an airtight container.

Notes

Diabetes diet friendly tip

  • Adding garam masala to your meal plan is a great way to enhance the flavour and health benefits of your diabetes-friendly meals without relying on excessive salt. Avoiding too much salt in your diet is important as it can lead to hypertension which is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.

Garam masala uses

  • Marinating chicken, seafood and vegetable
  • Incorporating it into yogurt-based dip recipes such as raita and chutney
  • Experimenting with it in baking recipes such as cakes and breads to add a rare yet delightful twist.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 22kcal (1%)Carbohydrates: 4g (1%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 0.1g (1%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.002gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 91mg (3%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 34IU (1%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 51mg (5%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions, and might fluctuate depending on ingredient variations, portion sizes, and recipe adjustments. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: Indian, pakistani
Course: Side, spice blend
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