Garam masala is – without a doubt – one of my favorite spice combinations. Of course you can buy it online or in the supermarket, but making your own is much more fun and delicious too. Check out how to make it!

how to make garam masala
Whole spices are best!

How to make garam masala

If you’ve ever made the mistake of buying and storing ready made spice mixes for a very long time, you know that you might be left with no flavor at all. Spices tend to loose their strength after having been kept somewhere for a long time. And I’m pretty sure we all have examples of that. I tend to buy ground spices sometimes, as it is convenient and quick. But I always end up with over date spices.

I once tried to make an authentic curry and all I was left with was a bland mix. The ground spices just didn’t have any flavor left at all. So instead I like to use whole spices. Especially in recipes like curries and such.

whole spices

Not one mix

Now there are many, many variations of garam masala to be found. I’m pretty sure there will be people reading this recipe that have another version. Or another way of making the spice blend. There is no wrong or right. This is my favorite version of garam masala, but of course you can add your favorite spices to it. Most important when making the garam masala is that you roast the spices first.

Roasting it releases all the flavors. You use a dry frying pan for that. You add the spices and roast them until they start to smell. Just be careful not to burn them. Once roasted you ground them to a fine powder. It’s ok if there are some bits and pieces left but try not to have large chunks. That’s unpleasant to eat.

I used the garam masala in this delicious chana chaat salad, but of course it works deliciously well in all sorts of curries. And is even tasty when you make sauces or add it to a mayonaise.

Making garam masala

Which spices

The spices I used here are nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns, cumin, cloves, coriander seeds and mustard seeds. For the cardamom I used the green ones. You can use black cardamom if you have that available to you. You crack the cardamom pods and remove the seeds from the pods. You use the seeds only when roasting the spices.

Once your garam masala mix is ready you can store it in a airtight container for up to a couple of weeks. You can keep it for longer, but the longer you store it the more you loose the original flavor. Just smell before you use it and you’ll know what the status is. If all smell is gone, make a new batch. I keep my batches small so I can make new garam masala on a regular basis.

What is the origin of garam masala?

Garam masala is originally from India, but there are different versions of the spice mix across the regions of India. It’s used in many different dishes such as tandoori.

Which spices are used in garam masala?

Most commonly cinnamon, mace, pepperscorns, coriander seeds, cumin and cardamom. But variaties exist.

When do you add garam masala to the dish?

It depends on the dish but most often garam masala is added at the end of a dish to keep the flavors of the spice blend in tact.

As there are many ways to use this spice blend it is the perfect condiment to keep in your cupboard! You can blend the spices using a pestle and mortar or – easier – to blend it in the food processor.

how to make garam masala

Garam masala

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GangSide Dish
KeukenMiddle eastern

A delicious and easy to make spice blend
Decorative clock showing preparation time
Prep time 15 minutes
Total time 15 minutes


  • pestle and mortar


  • 10 green cardamom pods remove the seeds from the pods and discard the shells
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corns
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed

  • Remove the seed from the cardamom and throw the pods away. Break the cinnamon in pieces.
  • Roast the cardamom seeds, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, peppercorns, coriander and mustard seed for 1-2 minutes in a dry frying pan. Make sure not to burn them (and watch out as the mustard seed can be quite jumpy)
  • Fry until you smell the aroma’s.

Grounding the spices

  • Leave to cool. Ground in a magimix or pestle and mortar and make sure you have no whole cloves left as that is not very tasty.
  • Airtight it will be good to use for about 1 month.


There is no such thing as one recipe for garam masala as each household might have it’s own version. Add the spices that you like and keep trying until you have a blend that works for you!


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

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Simone van den Berg

Food blogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Likes to create healthy and easy recipes for daily use, but also loves the occasional sweet dish. Lives in the Netherlands with her two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer, food blogger, recipe developer and nutritionist