What spice can I substitute if I don’t have the correct spice on hand?

When you are cooking any regional cuisine, you need all the right ingredients to make the dish completely authentic. However, there are times when you miss out on a couple of ingredients because you could not find it in your local stores.

And ordering it online means waiting for a couple of days for it to arrive. But, a good thing about spices and herbs is that you can mix and match without compromising the authentic taste of the cuisine. Below we are sharing some common substitutes of spice and herbs –

  1. Asafoetida substitute – Onion powder, garlic powder, fresh garlic, shallots, or leeks
  2. All Spice substitutes –Cassia, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, mace.
  3. Cardamom substitutes –Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg
  4. Aniseed substitutes – Anise extract, fennel seed, or anise star
  5. Caraway seed substitutes –roasted cumin seeds or dill
  6. Apple pie spice substitutes –Mixture of ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
  7. Carom seed substitutes – Roasted cumin seeds, and dried thyme
  8. Chili powder substitutes –Hot pepper sauce along with cumin and oregano.
  9. Curry leaves substitutes Lemon zest or kaffir lime leaves
  10. Coriander leaves substitutes – A combination of tarragon, dill leaves, and parsley.
  11. Sage substitutes –Marjoram, poultry seasoning, or rosemary
  12. Savory substitutes –Thyme, sage or marjoram
  13. Thyme substitutes – Oregano, savory, marjoram, or basil
  14. Mint substitutes – Basil, rosemary, or marjoram.
  15. Oregano substitutes –Basil or thyme
  16. Vanilla substitutes –Maple syrup, soy milk, vanilla almond, or almond extract
  17. Turmeric substitutes – Saffron and mustard powder (1:1 ratio) or annatto powder
  18. Pumpkin pie spice –A combination ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon cloves,

Tips to Substitute Herbs and Spices without Influencing the Taste

As mentioned above, there are many ways you can substitute herbs and spices, but how you will replace them will influence the overall taste of the dish. Below are some useful tips that will help you with that –

  1. Consider the Spice Type

Every spice comes with its distinctive flavour, with some being stronger as opposed to other spices. If the substitute you have chosen is stronger than the actual spice, then use it is less quantity. If the substitute, on the other hand, is subtler than the original spice, then you should use it a higher quantity.

  1. Choose Fresh Instead of Powder

Fresh herbs substitute offer more similar flavour as opposed to a dried variant of it. Additionally, when you use fresh ingredients, you can settle for less quantity in order to get the required balance and taste.

  1. Your cooking quantity

The number of heads you are cooking for is an important factor to consider when you are adding the substitute ingredients into the dishes. Along with the flavour of the herbs or spice, you should also consider the cooking portion while adding the substitute spice.

The substitute we have mentioned above will not give you the exact flavour of the original spice or herb; instead, they will provide somewhat similar tastes. Awareness with regards to different herbs and spices is very important when it comes to substitutions. When you know the flavour of different spices and herbs provide, you can mix and match the ingredients in a way that the authentic flavour of this particular dish is not lost in the process.