A simple homemade curry powder recipe you can make easily with readily available ingredients so you can make your favorite curry recipes at home anytime you’d like.
Homemade Curry Powder Recipe
If you're a spicy food lover like me, you probably love a good curry. Curries come in so many shapes and sizes flavor-wise. They vary from place to place, and even a single location may have multiple varieties, but the one thing they have in common is BIG CURRY FLAVOR.
The thing you need to understand about the term "curry" is that while it is typically associated with Indian cooking and cuisine, it is a term invented by the West that doesn't actually refer to any specific Indian dish. It is really just a general term referring to a spice blend.
So what exactly IS curry powder?
What is Curry Powder?
Curry powder is a blend of spices and herbs originating from India used to flavor food. It tends to focus on big and bold Indian flavors, like dried and ground chili peppers, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, curry leaf and more.
Curry spice blends vary from region to region in India and throughout the world, depending on the region, the availability of ingredients as well as the preference of the curry blend maker.
There is no singular curry powder just as there is no singular recipe for curry.
Curry has spread around the world from India. You'll find it now in many regions, such as Japanese curry, Jamaican curry, Thai curry and more.
Interestingly, the word "curry" is actually a creation of the West, having appeared in in British cookbooks in the 18th century, borrowing ingredients from Indian culture and cuisine, similar to garam masala.
A List of Curry Powder Ingredients
The ground Indian spices used in Indian curry blends do vary from region to region, but some common ingredients in curry powder include a base of the following:
- Ground Chili Peppers, such as cayenne pepper.
Other additional ingredients might include:
- Asafoetida (Hing spice)
- Fennel Seed
- Mustard Seed
- Green and/or Black Cardamom
- White Turmeric
- Curry Leaf
- Black pepper
- Others, depending on the preferred flavor profile.
Of course you can use a store bought blend of curry spice mix for your recipes, but it is so much more fun and interesting to make your own blends at home. This allows you to customize it to your own personal tastes.
It also allows you to make different blends that you can use for different recipes.
This particular recipe is a basic curry powder recipe that you can use in any simple curry dish or other Indian food for easy weeknight cooking.
Let's talk about how to make curry powder.
Simple Curry Powder Ingredients - What is Curry Powder Made Of?
There are a numerous possible ingredients to make different curry powders, but the following ingredients will make a great general curry seasoning blend:
- Ground Coriander
- Dry Mustard or Mustard Seeds
- Ground Ginger
- Black Pepper or Peppercorns
- FOR HOT CURRY
- Cayenne Powder (use Kashmiri powder if you can find it for medium heat – use paprika for a milder version) or Dried Chilies
How to Make Curry Powder - the Recipe Steps
If starting with whole seeds and pods, lightly toast the ingredients in a hot pan 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the ingredients or your curry powder can turn bitter.
Grind the toasted ingredients in a spice mill until well ground.
Mix together the following ingredients together in a small bowl - cardamom, ground coriander, ground fenugreek, ground cumin, dry mustard, turmeric, cayenne powder, ground ginger and black pepper.
Be sure to mix the ingredients enough until they are well combined.
Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Makes ¼ cup.
About the Chili Peppers / Chili Powders
There is a variability of chili peppers used in curries, and if you dry your own chilies for making powders, you are free to use any of them in your recipes.
The most commonly used are Kashmiri peppers, which are more local to India, though cayenne and paprika are common and easy to obtain.
I like to include ghost pepper powder in some of my curries for the added heat and flavor, though that might be a bit hot for the general consumer. Chiliheads will love the addition, though, so feel free to experiment with ghost peppers and other superhot chili peppers to your liking.
Curry Powder Vs. Garam Masala
People often asks, are curry powder and garam masala the same thing? They answer is - No, curry powder and garam masala are not the same, though they are quite similar.
Garam masala is often used as a finishing spice, while curry is used more in general cooking, though both can used in this way. The name "Garam Masala" translates to "hot spice blend" from Hindi, where "curry" refers to the sauce used for flavoring.
Garam masala tends to be much stronger in flavor because of the robust seasonings used to make it, where many curry spice blends tend to be milder in comparison.
Recipe Tips & Notes
You can use pre-ground powdered spices to make your own curry blends, but if you'd like a fresher, more boldly flavored curry, start with seeds if possible, such as cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, etc.
For more developed flavor, lightly toast the seeds in a dry pan until they become fragrant, then grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Then, mix them as desired.
Store in an airtight container for freshness and enjoy as needed.
How Long Does Curry Powder Last? Storage Information
Homemade curry powder will last a long time, but is best when used within 3 months. It will start to lose potency after 3 months. Curry is best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
That's it, my friends! What's your favorite curry? Is it an easy curry chicken? Madras curry powder? Vindaloo? Do you prefer coconut milk? Favorite curry sauce? Let me know! Always happy to talk curry with you. Time to get cooking! Keep it spicy.
Try Some of My Popular Curry Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Homemade Curry Powder Recipe
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (or use 3/4 tablespoon ground coriander)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (or use 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin)
- 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds (or use 1-1/2 teaspoons ground fenugreek)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons green cardamom pods (8-9 pods) (or use 1 teaspoon ground cardamom)
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (or use 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (black or brown - or use 1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon paprika (or use 2-3 dried Kashmiri chilies if you can)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
FOR HOT CURRY POWDER
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder (or use other hotter dried pods or powders to your preference)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- If using whole seeds, pods, and chilies, heat a small pan to medium heat. Dry toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, cardamom pods, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, and dried chilies for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant.
- Transfer to a spice grinder and grind until smooth. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle to grind them. Sift if needed.
- Mix all of the ground ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
- If using only ground ingredients, simply mix and store.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 4/7/23 to include new information. It was originally published on 6/19/19.