Cumin is a spice that is used in a wide variety of the foods we eat. It is hotter in taste and lighter in color than caraway. It comes in three colors: black, white, and amber, each of which has its own flavor palette.
Unfortunately, many people are allergic to cumin. However, there are several safe substitutes to cumin that are available.
These substitutes for cumin can be used as spices, like actual cumin, and will add a similar flavor to the food you are making. You will not be able to match the flavor exactly but it will be very close.
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6 Healthy Cumin Substitutes You Can Use
There are a variety of reasons that you may need a substitute for cumin. You may say “I don’t like cumin what can I use instead?”
Fortunately, there are a lot of different spice options that can act as cumin substitutes. Below, we will discuss the six healthy substitutes for cumin.
1. Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds are also a member of the parsley family, making it a fabulous cumin substitute. This is a dominant spice in traditional European cuisine.
The seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber. Additionally, they contain health benefiting essential oils. They are also a storehouse for many vital vitamins. This cumin substitute is perfect if you have a delayed allergy to cumin.
2. Ground Coriander
Ground coriander is said to promote healthy digestion and provide protection against infections in the urinary tract.
In addition to improving digestion, ground coriander also improves immunity and helps with asthma, bronchitis, and the common cold.
Similar to cumin, this spice is used in numerous cuisines from all over the world. This cumin substitute in taste is also very similar to actual cumin.
3. Chili Powder
Though chili powder can act as a good substitute for cumin, it is important to note that this spice does contain a small amount of cumin.
It is not 100% free of cumin. Chili powder helps cognitive functioning because of the iron it contains. Additionally, it helps maintain healthy blood pressure and supports your digestive system.
4. Garam Masala
Garam Masala is a cumin replacement that does still contain some cumin. This is an Indian spice that contains coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
This creates a complex flavor profile for the spice. The composition of garam masala varies on what region it comes from and no blend is more authentic than others. This spice helps improve your digestive system and fends off constipation.
5. Curry Powder
The ingredients of curry powder vary, but cumin is almost always included. Typical curry powder includes coriander, turmeric, ginger, mustard, fenugreek seed, black pepper, and cinnamon.
This combination makes for an earthy flavor profile. In addition to being a good cumin replacement, curry powder can help reduce inflammation and help with digestion.
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6. Taco Seasoning Mix
The ingredients in taco seasoning mix are very similar to those found in chili powder.
In addition to cumin, you can expect paprika, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. This cumin replacement can be found in most grocery stores.
Spice and Herb Substitutes for Cumin
There are a variety of things that can substitute for cumin seeds. All spices and herbs that are used to replace cumin seeds can be found in your local grocery store.
With cumin being widely used in almost every cuisine, the substitute options are widely used as well. The flavor that they replace will be similar to cumin, but different enough to appease those who don’t like actual cumin.
These spices and herbs are all healthy alternatives for cumin and can be added to whatever food you wish to spice up.
It is important to make sure that you are not allergic to these spices or that you do not have a delayed cumin allergy.
Cumin Substitutes – Spices:
- Allspice: cinnamon, cassia, dash of cloves
- Aniseed: few drops of anise extract, fennel seeds
- Cardamom: ginger
- Cinnamon: allspice or nutmeg
- Cloves: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
- Chili powder: hot pepper sauce along with oregano and cumin
- Mace: cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, allspice
- Nutmeg: ginger, cinnamon, mace
Cumin Substitute – Herbs:
- Basil: thyme or oregano
- Thyme: basil, oregano, savory, marjoram
- Chervil: parsley or tarragon
- Chives: leek, scallions, onions
- Savory: marjoram, sage, thyme
- Cilantro: parsley
- Sage: savory, marjoram, rosemary, or poultry seasoning
With many people allergic to cumin or simply not liking the flavor, there is an increasing number of alternatives to this spice being discovered.
Spices such as chili powder and taco season still contain cumin, but also contain other flavors that mask it. If you are allergic to cumin, ensure that you research what your spice blends contain as cumin is widely used.
Switching cumin for another spice will not drastically change the flavor profile of your food; in fact, changing up some spices may even improve the dish.
“Cumin Substitute: Use These 6 Cumin Alternatives in Your Recipes,” Better Lab Tests Now web site, September 1st, 2017; https://www.betterlabtestsnow.com/cumin-substitute/
Kahn, A., “What Causes Asthenia,” Health Line web site, March 9th, 2016; https://www.healthline.com/symptom/asthenia
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