How to make your own Curry Powder

Step by Step Homemade Recipe

Friday, 19 August 2016

How to make your own Curry Powder

For most Indian households curry powder is a bit of a strange concept and is not usually used. When I cook, every dish is prepared differently because they all require a different combination of spices, all added at different times to produce an aromatic masala or paste.

Also, the food from different regions across India varies significantly in both the cooking methods and ingredients used. This careful use of ingredients is vital in producing distinct flavours from that area. Many Indian cooks find that having a generic blend of spices for Indian food across the board is an insult to such a varied and vibrant cuisine (as is the word ‘curry’, but that's a different story!).

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Origins of Curry powder

All this being said, spice blends have been used in India for many many years from garam masala in north India to panch phoran in Bengali food.

Curry powder has its roots as an ingenious way for Brits who had lived in India to bring the flavours of the East and the cuisine they had come to adore back to 'Blighty' in an easy to use format. This very British invention is essentially a spice blend of all the key spices used to produce a ‘curry’. It provides the aromatic fragrance of Indian food, the generic curry flavour and yellow turmeric hue colour all in one hit.

To suit different tastes, curry powder is sold in mild, medium or hot varieties, determined by the amount of chilli powder used. The key ingredients include turmeric (for colour), chilli powder (for heat), ground coriander seeds (for a fresh zing), cumin and dried ginger (for warmth) and pepper (for a bite). 

How to use it

Curry powder is used by many western cooks in all kinds of dishes to impart those special flavours of Indian cuisine. It can be sprinkled into fried onions for making a curry masala base, or added to yoghurt, oil or lemon juice to produce marinades. Add it to mayonnaise for a spicy kick, or to sandwich fillings (chicken + mayo + curry powder = coronation chicken). Even pickles such as piccalilli benefit from the addition of a little curry powder.

Benefits of making your own curry powder

No commercial curry powders will reveal the content or quantity of spices used to make their magical power – but if curry powder is a staple in your spice cupboard then have you ever tried to make your own?

It's really easy to do and you will feel like a little alchemist putting a beautiful concoction together so it's good for the soul too. By making your own curry powder you will truly know what has gone into the blend and because it's so flexible you can tweak it so it's perfect for you and your family.

It's also super easy and doesn't take too much time to make – but more importantly, it will taste fresher and more fragrant than anything you have ever bought. As with most things you make yourself, it will also work out to be cheaper in the long run too.

Storing Curry Powder

As with all spice blends, it's really important that you store them correctly. Spices are natural ingredients that hold aromatic oils. Once the spices are heated, ground or exposed to the air those aromatic oils will begin to evaporate so storing them correctly is vital. Keep these points in mind:

1. Keep away from heat sources 
2. In an air tight container
3. Away from direct sunlight

If stored correctly your curry powder should last 6-9 months. I would recommend making up small amounts as in the recipe below as if you make too much it may lose its freshness before you come to use it.


There are so many different recipes you can use but these are my key components for a really good curry powder.

To make approx 6 tablespoons:

  • 2tbsp cumin seeds

Cumin Seeds

  • 1tbsp coriander seeds

Coriander Seeds

  • 1tbsp black peppercorns

Blsck Pepper

  • 1tbsp methi (dried fenugreek or 2 tsp fenugreek seeds)


  • 1tbsp chilli powder (more for a hotter curry powder)

Chilli powder

  • 1tbsp turmeric


Method - How to make curry powder:

    1. Place the individual whole spices into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

Grind spices

    1. Combine all the powdered spices in a bowl or a plastic bag and mix

Combining spices into a mix

  1. Place into an airtight jar until needed

Curry powder in an airtight jar

Feeling adventorous? 

If you want to be a little more adventurous you could start to make up some regional curry powers:

  1. For a South Indian version, you could add more chilli powder, ½ tbsp mustard seeds and 1 tbsp of dried curry leaves
  2. For a Punjabi flavour, you could add a little bit of dried ginger and some cassia bark


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Comments (20)

  • Sandra


    04 October 2016 at 15:32 |
    If making my own curry and masala, what would be the difference with both. Is it different spices used in each? Would you use both together for some recipes?

    Thank you


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      27 October 2016 at 09:43 |
      Hi Sandra thanks for your question but I'm not totally sure I understand. The masala is the base you need to make for the curry which is usually the onions, ginger, garlic, chillies and tomatoes. The spices then depend on the dish you are trying to create - does that make sense? Let me know if you need more help and I will do my best. Thanks so much for using the website. Hari


  • Heather


    22 November 2016 at 14:10 |
    I just wanted to thank you for you're amazing curry recipes I have found on Yummly.
    I have been working through them and surprising my husband with a different curry.
    I have never cooked with a lot of the spices so this has been spicetastic journey.
    Thank you


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      25 November 2016 at 10:11 |
      Hi Heather Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Thank you for using the site and starting your spice journey with me. Hari


  • Lesley


    28 June 2017 at 17:53 |
    Thank you for the recipe. I have been making my own version of curry paste for years (I got a list from Jamie Oliver with a few different types and they do taste good) and I want to make a spice mix for a quicker mid week curry so I'll try yours. I really don't like when a recipe says "curry paste" or "curry powder" and I dismiss the recipe straight away! I'd like to get a bit more experimental and authentic with my Indian cooking. I like to toast whole spices and blend them in my coffee grinder- which I never actually use for coffee! Just Indian spices.. Any ideas or recommendations? I want to go up a notch! But not really sure what to do..


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      29 June 2017 at 07:33 |
      Hi Lesley I have lots of recipes on the website that will take you through the basics of putting a masala together. How about trying the Lamb Bhuna to start with How does that sound? Thanks Hari


  • Penny


    09 August 2017 at 12:59 |
    Thanks for this recipe. I have been experimenting with different mixes of spices. My husband is allergic to coriander, so I have to leave that out of everything (I love it). Any suggestions for dishes that won't suffer from the lack of coriander?


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      14 August 2017 at 18:31 |
      Hi Penny Is he allergic to the seed or the leaf or both?


  • Conrad Roelofse

    Conrad Roelofse

    21 November 2017 at 14:15 |
    Hari,I make my curry,but it needs more depth in it.It tastes like there is something missing,that will give it the indian taste.I know you will sort this out.I want it also to taste a little bit more sweeter.


  • Tim Lorimer

    Tim Lorimer

    27 March 2018 at 21:48 |
    I'm growing my own turmeric, or attempting to, what is the ration if using fresh vs dried, or maybe the question is, can you use fresh over dried?
    Of note, I'm trying to grow all my own spices or as many as I can as fresh.



    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      14 May 2018 at 14:05 |
      Hi Tim That is super impressive. Yes you can use fresh turmeric - you will need to wear gloves as i goes everywhere! Just grate it and use the same quantity. Please do share you pictures of the spices in my app I would love to see them - Thanks so much Hari


  • Roberta


    10 June 2018 at 19:25 |
    Hello, thank you for this recipe! i have dried fenugreek powder, should i use less than 1 TBSP? It looks like you have used leaves, so 1TBSP of those ground up would be a smaller volume i think. Does that make sense?


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      15 June 2018 at 07:31 |
      Hi Roberta I have used the herb - if you are using the ground spice then 1/2-1 tsp is enough. The herb and spice are very different, the spice is much stronger and more bitter so yes don't use as much for this blend. Hope that helps. Thanks


  • Ritchie Davidson

    Ritchie Davidson

    14 September 2018 at 11:20 |
    Hello came across your amazing blends and just wanted to ask how you cook the spice and when would you add it in the dish. I am using chicken and making a curry cauliflour cous cous to accompany this.

    Any help would be great



    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      09 October 2018 at 10:48 |
      Hi Ritchie so sorry I missed your comment. It depends on the blend but in general they are pretty versatile. You can mix them with fresh ginger, garlic, oil, yoghurt and make them into a marinade. You can make a masala by frying onions, ginger and garlic add tomatoes and add spices to that. You can even use them as a dry rub. for the cous cous you could fry some onions add the cauliflower and add the masala too. Does that help or do you need something more specific? Thanks Hari


  • Thelma Williams

    Thelma Williams

    09 December 2018 at 17:40 |
    Hello, i am going to make indian curry. I wanted to know if masala, mustard,mace ginger and 5 star alone with your recipe would be good for gravies.


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      10 December 2018 at 09:04 |
      Hi Thelma Which dish are you going to try?


  • Christina


    27 January 2019 at 06:50 |
    Hi Hari, your recipes look amazing. I'm keen to try ASAP. Only problem is my daughter is allergic to turmeric which is a shame as she loves curries! I'm now having to get a bit more creative in the kitchen. When a recipe called for turmeric what can I use in its place? Or is omitting it OK (which is what I tend to do). Thanks, Christina


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      28 January 2019 at 08:56 |
      Hi Christina It's great to hear that you are enjoying the recipes. I would suggest just omitting it for now. Let me know how you get on and please do share pictures of the dishes you cook on my app as I would love to see your dishes. Here is the link - it's free to download but gives you access to all the recipes, videos and a huge food loving community all on your phone - Thanks so much Hari


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