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Have you ever been in the middle of a recipe and realize you don’t have Cumin? We have the Best Substitute for Cumin. You don’t have to throw out your meal, just use these preferred methods for Cumin.

Close up image of ground cumin in a jar with a teaspoon of ground cumin.
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What is Cumin?

We love adding Cumin to our chili, soups and marinades. It is a recognizable seasoning that is usually found in spice blends such as chili powder and curry powder. It is a member of the parsley family.

Dried Herbs and Spices are essential when making recipes. Cumin tends to be a staple in my spice cabinet. Its warm, earthy flavors as well as black pepper flavor adds so much flavor to a lot of dishes that I make.

Cumin is the perfect spice for your favorite fajita recipe, beef or pork. But is also great on some roasted vegetables such as sweet potatoes or carrots.

What is Cumin used for?

If you are making Indian Curries, cumin is a staple spice in most of these recipes. It also works great in a lot of rice dishes. We use it in a lot of our stew, soups, barbecue sauces, and chili recipes.

When cooking with Cumin it is best to start off with a little. If used too much it can take over the dish. You can always add more if you need to.

Close up image of ground cumin in a jar with a teaspoon of ground cumin.

Best Substitute for Cumin:

We have all been there when we are making a recipe and we think we have all the ingredients on hand. I tried to make sure that I always have Cumin on hand because it is great in a lot of recipes that I make.

When you are in the middle making dinner, you can’t just run to the store to get that spice that you thought you had. So I usually use what I have. These substitutes for Cumin powder have been tried and worked great when I was in a pinch when making my favorite meal.

Chili Powder:

Chili Powder is one of those season blends that contain cumin. We always seemed to have chili powder in our spice cabinet so I tend to use this blend when I need a substitute for cumin. Chili Powder is great in many recipes and a good substitute for cumin.

If you do substitute chili powder for cumin you will use half the amount of cumin with chili powder. It would be ½ teaspoon of chili powder to 1 teaspoon of cumin.

Chili Powder does contain a little more heat, because it has ground cayenne peppers, than cumin so beware when using this as a substitute. Chili Powder is a great substitute if you are making Mexican or Chili recipes.

Close up image of ground cumin in a jar with teaspoons to the side.

Taco Seasoning:

Taco seasoning is also a great substitute for cumin. We make our own Homemade Taco Seasoning so we know exactly what and how much of each spice we are putting in it. We like to store them in these spice containers and label it so it is easy to locate in the spice cabinet.

If you are using store bought taco seasoning from a packet it does contain more salt so you might need to adjust your recipe. With taco seasoning, you will again use half the amount of cumin for taco seasoning.

If you are making taco’s or burritos, taco seasoning is a great substitute for ground cumin in these recipes.

Ground Coriander:

Ground coriander is a great substitute if you have it. Ground Coriander is great for Middle Eastern cuisines so I would only use this seasoning for a substitute when making these recipes.

The flavor of ground coriander is similar to cumin but I would still use ½ teaspoon of coriander to substitute 1 teaspoon of cumin.

Close up image of ground cumin in a jar.

Curry Powder:

Curry powder contains cumin and a great season blend to have on hand. Curry Powder is usually a seasoning that you will use for Indian cuisine. Curry Powder works great if needed when making Indian recipes.

Curry Powder contains a spice called turmeric that has a yellow color. It could change the color of the recipe that you are making so keep that in mind.

When making the substitution of curry powder for cumin, you will again use ½ teaspoon of curry powder to 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds.

Close up image of Ground Cumin in a jar with cumin in a teaspoon.

Whole Cumin vs Ground Cumin:

When you are making a recipe, it will specify rather you need to use whole cumin seeds or ground cumin. It is very important to watch this closely as that amount does change rather it calls for whole or ground.

You will find whole cumin need in a lot of Indian spice recipes. When whole cumin fennel seeds is added to a skillet and cooked it infuses the oil that it is cooked in so it blends well with other ingredients. Ground Cumin is a spice that is added anytime during the recipe.

Most recipes that I cook with call for ground cumin. But if you are switching between the whole and ground make sure you are adding the correct amount. If your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of ground cumin then you would use 1 ¼ of whole cumin.

More Substitution ideas

Recipes that use Cumin Powder:

These are some of our favorite recipes that contain cumin powder.

We have the Best Substitute for Cumin so you don't have to ruin your meal. Just use these methods the next time you are in a pinch. Here’s the best substitute for cumin in recipes.  #eatingonadime #cumin #substitutions #ingredientsubstitutions

More Substitutions and Kitchen Tips

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

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