Garam Masala

Sweet, warming spices with a little heat meant to liven up just about any dish. Perfect to have on hand when you love Indian food.
Garam Masala, an Indian spice, in a bowl.

Authentic and traditional in its diversity.

The name “garam masala” is Hindustani in origin, and just means “hot spices.” There are countless versions of this blend throughout the Indian subcontinent, as different regions and families each have their own recipes, so there’s no single “authentic” version – they’re all authentic. This one is authentically Kate’s, and will liven up just about any dish.

A little effort, a lot of return.

Of all the seasoning blends we make, this one definitely takes the most effort to create, so we make lots at a time. Garam masala doesn’t just involve mixing spices together, or even just grinding them. To get the right flavor, you do need to roast some whole spices before grinding this time. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you think and it’s absolutely worth it!

More uses for garam masala.

I know knowledge of Indian flavors has improved as Indian restaurants have become more popular and Indian products are available in the grocery store. I can assume you are familiar with curry, naan, chai, and chutneys. However, garam masala has so many other uses.

We like to roast pecans with it, mix it in with popcorn, sprinkle on fried eggs, and make quick breads. You make Asparagus Punjabi Style, which is a great side dish for spring. That’s just a few things – so once you taste it, think about what else you’d like with it and do some taste-testing. It’s a task I guarantee you’ll enjoy.

A final bit about masalas.

‘Garam’ isn’t the only masala (spice mixture). There’s chai masala, which just means ‘tea spices’. Chaat masala is a tangy blend for chaat – which are snack foods. One more example is tandoori masala, which is basically a meat rub used in a tandoor.

Garam Masala whole spices spread out on a pan.

FYI, this recipe is also featured in our cookbook. (Shameless plug) We wrote our cookbook to answer the question, “What on Earth do I do with these seasoning blends?” We start each chapter with a recipe for a seasoning blend, then give you at least ten recipes to use it up. Clever, right?

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Garam Masala whole spices spread out on a pan.

Garam Masala

  • Author: Spice (Kate)
  • Category: seasoning
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan


Sweet, warming spices with a little heat meant to liven up just about any dish. This can be added at any point in the cooking process, including sprinkling on your food at the table.



1/2 cup coriander seeds

1/4 cup green cardamom pods, husks removed

1/4 cup cumin seeds

3 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken up

2 tablespoons whole cloves

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

4 dried hot chiles, broken up

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. In a medium-sized pan over low heat, toast (don’t add oil or butter) all the spices except the nutmeg until they are a nice toasted color and fragrance. Stir frequently so you don’t burn them. Just a little warning, too – the chiles might be more fragrant than you can handle. If you want, leave them out in a bowl and then when the other spices are done cooking, pour them over the chiles. Either way, when the spices are done transfer them to a different bowl and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  2. Once cool, use a spice/coffee grinder or a processor to grind them to a powder. Return them to the bowl and mix in the ground nutmeg. Transfer to a jar for storage up to six months.


Dried hot chiles can be found in grocery stores that carry Mexican options. If you have an Indian grocer near you, that’s the best place as they will have the right kind of chiles.

Keywords: seasoning, spice, Indian food, masala

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