How to Make Indian Curry Powder at Home

Creating your own curry powder at home will allow you to customize your spice blend and control the quality of your ingredients.

January 30, 2019
How to Make Indian Curry Powder at Home

Curry is a classic Indian flavor that is used in dishes around the world. There are countless variations on the curry recipe, which speaks to the vast diversity of the Indian people and their cuisine. When creating a curry, most people flavor their dish with packaged curry powder from the supermarket. However, creating your own curry powder at home will allow you to customize your spice blend and control the quality of your ingredients. Best of all, making Indian curry powder couldn’t be easier. Keep reading to learn how to make this delicious blend yourself.


What is Curry?

The word curry is used to describe a variety of things. Curry can refer to curry leaves, which are a popular herb in South Indian cooking. Curry leaves may or may not be an ingredient in curry powder, a spice blend that is used to give dishes an ethnic, earthy flavor. Lastly, curry can describe the flavorful stew or sauce that you most likely associate with Indian cooking. Each region of India has unique curry recipes and different variations on the curry spice blend. Curry can be used to create meat, seafood or vegetable dishes. The possibilities are endless.


Creating a Basic Curry Powder

There are countless spice combinations that can be used to create a curry powder. While it might seem strange to make your own spice blend, this is a common practice in India, where curry powder is usually referred to as garam masala. Creating the spice blend by hand allows Indian families to play with ingredient ratios and create something personal in the kitchen. Start with this basic recipe, then adjust the spices to your taste.

(Note: All three of the following recipes call for whole spices, but you can use ground spices instead. Just be sure to use either all whole spices or all ground spices as they have different flavor concentrations.)


  • 3 tbsp. coriander

  • 2 tbsp. cumin

  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns

  • 1 tbsp. cardamom

  • 1-2 dried bay leaves

  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon


Variations to Try

As we’ve mentioned, you can combine flavors however you like to create a curry powder that is perfect for you. Try adding ingredients like saffron, fennel seeds, or mustard seeds for a twist on the classic taste. These are two popular curry variations:


Madras Curry Powder Recipe

Turmeric is a key ingredient in Madras curry powder, giving this blend a vibrant yellow color. This curry powder has a little more heat than the traditional garam masala, though the heat is balanced by the earthiness of ingredients like fenugreek and cumin. This unique variety of flavors makes it a tasty, versatile curry.


  • 3 tbsp. coriander

  • 3 tbsp. cumin

  • 2 tbsp. turmeric

  • 2 tbsp. black peppercorns

  • 2 tbsp. fenugreek

  • 1-2 tbsp. chili powder

  • 1-2 inch piece of cinnamon


Vindaloo Curry Powder Recipe

This is the best curry for those who love the heat! Vindaloo curry powder is popular in the Goa state of western India. Its spicy taste is thanks to Indian chili peppers. Add these peppers to your classic garam masala blend to create this curry.


  • 3 tbsp. cumin

  • 3 tbsp. coriander

  • 2 tbsp. black peppercorns

  • 1 tbsp. turmeric

  • 1 tbsp. mustard seeds

  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper

  • 1-3 whole dried Kashmiri peppers, de-stemmed and chopped finely


How to Make Curry Powder at Home

It’s easy to make curry powder at home. One way to create your own spice blend is to purchase ground spices and combine them based on your tastes. While this is certainly the easiest way, there is another option to consider. Purchasing whole ingredients and grinding them yourself will give you the freshest curry taste.

This might seem intimidating, but it’s actually a very simple process. First, purchase your whole spices and seeds and determine the ratio you’d like to use in your curry powder. Next, bring a dry skillet to medium-high heat and gently toast your spices, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. When the spices are toasted and fragrant, remove them from the heat. Be careful not to overcook your spices as they burn easily!

Transfer toasted spices to a plate. When the spices are cool, it’s time to grind! A mortar and pestle is the classic way to do this, and it will allow you to easily control the coarseness of your ground spices. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle (or you’re looking for something a little quicker), a spice grinder or even a coffee grinder will work just as well.


Storing Your Curry Powder

Store your curry in a cool, dry place, using an airtight container such as a mason jar. Excess air, moisture, and heat can make a fresh spice blend go rancid. If stored properly, this blend will stay fresh for up to two months.


Using Your Curry Powder

One of the best things about curry powder is its versatility. Use this powder in sauces, sprinkle it on roasted veggies, or create a comforting stew with meat. Curry chicken is one of the most popular ways to use this blend. If you’re looking for easy chicken recipes to make with your curry powder, try butter chicken or chicken tikka masala.

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