What is Garam Masala and How To Make it at Home

Sharing is caring!

Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen

Garam masala is a well-known spice blend, and it is greatly used in Indian cuisine. This spice blend is made up of different spices, which combine to produce a rich flavor and an unmistakable aroma.

What Is Garam Masala?

Garam masala is typically made up of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and mace. This is the reason why it is called ‘garam’ masala; ‘garam’ means ‘warm’ in Hindi. Furthermore, these warm spices are in charge of the spice blend’s unique depth and heat. Garam masala is also used to cook vegetarian and non-vegetarian subzis and curries in India. It is often added at the end of cooking.

Spices Used to Make Garam Masala:

  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Nutmeg
  • Peppercorns

Is Garam Masala Spicy?

Garam masala isn’t hot or spicy, but it gives the dishes a warm and rich flavor. In the northern part of India, garam masala is used in powder form. While in the southern part of India, it is used as a paste made with coconut milk, water, or vinegar. This mixed spice powder is also vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.

Homemade Garam Masala Varieties

Furthermore, garam masala recipes vary depending from which region they are from, and what the chef prefers. Some recipes are even passed down from generation to generation like family heirlooms. Every good cook makes sure that the garam masala has a perfect blend, so they can use it for different dishes. Garam masala can be made with a variety of ingredients, including Malabar leaves, bay leaves, fenugreek, tamarind leaves, mace, mustard seeds, cassia leaves, fennel seeds, saffron, and a pinch of turmeric.

The Flavor of Garam Masala

Garam masala is a spice that adds a bit of heat to dishes. This is due to cumin and black pepper, some floral notes and a little sweetness. It also has a strong scent since it is rich in flavor. It smells like curry since it contains cumin, turmeric, and coriander. However, garam masala still has a mild spice level.

How to Use Garam Masala

Garam masala is usually added to a dish at the end, or just before it is about to be cooked. If it is added at the end of any dish, then it will act as a seasoning and add flavor and aroma.

Making traditional garam masala

Traditionally, garam masala is made using fresh spices. It also must be used within a few days since it has a short shelf life. Additionally, garam masala can be sprinkled on different dishes, such as meat, scrambled eggs, curry and other dishes to give it a warm flavor.

How to Make Garam Masala At Home

Garam masala is available in a shop, and it can be made in the comfort of your own home. However, garam masala made at home has better flavor and taste.


  • 2 dried chilies
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg (grated)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 15 cloves
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 8 black cardamom pods
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon


  1. First, place a frypan over medium-high heat until it is fully heated and has a slight smoke.
  2. Mix all ingredients together into the frypan. Then, stir for about 1 minute, or until the fragrance of the spices is toasted, a bit dark, and slightly smoky.
  3. Remove the pan from the stove, and let the ingredients cool down. Then, grind the ingredients in a spice grinder, or using a mortar and pestle.
  4. Then, place it in an airtight container once it’s prepared.

How to Properly Store Garam Masala

Garam masala should be kept in a dark and cool place, and stored in an airtight container. Ground garam masala loses its potency quickly, so it should be used immediately. Garam masala can also be kept for up to six months. However, as it ages, its flavor will diminish.

The Benefits of Garam Masala

  • The purpose of garam masala is to balance out different flavors. So, when you use it for your dishes, its flavors are enhanced.
  • Garam masala is a great choice since you don’t have to add many other spices.
  • Ingredients of garam masala also carry a lot of health benefits. However, one thing they all share is the ability to improve digestion.
  • In the tradition of Hindu Ayurveda Medicine, garam masala is used as a warming spice. For instance, it raises the body temperature and improves metabolism.

Delicious Dishes to Enjoy the Flavor Of Garam Masala

Garam masala is a flavorful spice that can be used to enhance a variety of dishes. Some of the dishes and food garam masala can be used in are the following:

  • Aam Panna
  • Apple crisp
  • Carrot pudding
  • Shortbread
  • Chocolate zucchini bread
  • Cupcakes
  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Minced chicken
  • Chicken tikka masala
  • Chicken breast
  • Basmati rice
  • Samosas
  • Vegetables
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Butternut squash
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Hash browns
  • Baked potato
  • Afghan chili
  • Red lentil soup
  • Broccoli soup
  • Popcorn
  • Coffee

To sum everything up, garam masala is definitely a versatile spice. It is a blend of a variety of spices which makes it a staple in Indian kitchens. So, if you have not tried this spice blend yet, make sure that you try to reap its various benefits and flavors.

Sharing is caring!