Easy Garam Masala Recipe

Yields: About 1/4 cup


  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon green cardamom pods (or seeds from about 5 pods)
  • 1 (2-inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg


  • Toast the spices: Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the coriander, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom pods (if you’re using seeds, add them later). Toast the spices, stirring constantly, until they just begin to become fragrant and change color slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Do not let them burn.
  • Cool the spices: Remove the spices from the heat and transfer them to a plate to cool completely.
  • Grind the spices: Once cooled, add the toasted spices (and cardamom seeds if using) to a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Grind to a fine powder. If you don’t have a grinder, you could use a mortar and pestle, but it takes more effort.
  • Add the pre-ground spices: Stir in the nutmeg.
  • Store: Transfer your garam masala to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.


  • Customize it: Experiment with adding other spices like fennel seeds, bay leaves, or star anise for variations.
  • Bulk it up: You can easily double or triple this recipe to make a larger batch.
  • Whole vs. Pre-ground: Toasting whole spices maximizes the flavor of your garam masala. However, if you only have pre-ground spices available, you can still make a decent version.
  • Spice level: This recipe creates a moderately warm garam masala. If you want a spicier blend, add a pinch of cayenne or ground red pepper.

Ways to use your garam masala:

  • Sprinkle into curries, soups, and stews
  • Add to spice rubs for chicken, fish, or vegetables
  • Mix into yogurt for a flavorful dip
  • Use in lentil dishes or other vegetarian meals

Enjoy the complex and warming flavors of your homemade garam masala!


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