Roasted Garam Masala

As the weather cools, we tend to SPICE up our food. Fall is a wonderful time to explore the limitless depths of Indian flavors. This easy homemade Garam Masala Recipe is the perfect way to add a kick to your favorite autumn dishes!

Garam Masala Ingredients

Indian flavors are a comfort to me, warming my belly and soul. The fragrance of dark earthy spices conjures up hazy memories of rickshaws, colorful markets and old friends. The colors and rustic flavors of Indian cooking awaken the senses and complement many fall ingredients such as pumpkin, butternut squash, apples and root vegetables.


How To Make Garam Masala

What is Garam Masala? A north Indian spice blend that literally translates “hot mix.” That’s not to say that Garam Masala is always HOT. There are many variations of Garam Masala, however the base generally consists of cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, and cardamom. The emphasis on “hot” is completely optional. I like to add a little heat to mine, but not so much that it takes away from the other flavors. In this batch I used tiny Piquin peppers for an extra punch!

Homemade Garam Masala 1

People are often perplexed by how to incorporate Indian spice blends into their meals. Garam Masala, I believe, is the most versatile of Asian spice blends because of the strong reliance on cinnamon.  Just for kicks, try Garam Masala in: Hot Chocolate, Spiced Nuts, Cookies, and Dry Rubs.  You won’t be sorry.

Homemade Garam Masala Recipe

Why Should You Make Your Own Garam Masala?

  • Cost. A 2 ounce jar of Garam Masala can cost around $7 a pop. Yet, if you use restraint at the grocery bulk bins, you can buy the ingredients to make 1/2 cup for about $1.50.
  • Freshness. Roasting your own spices releases the oils in each spice, bringing the flavors to the surface.
  • Flavor. There is no “official” Garam Masala recipe, because it is made to taste. Making your own, allows you to adjust the heat and ingredients to your liking.

Garam Masala

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59 comments on “Roasted Garam Masala

  1. Francoisposted October 31, 2011 at 7:27 am Reply

    Mouth watering.
    Thanks for sharing this. I hope it incite many to try their hands at mixing their spices to create unique blend to flavor their meals. It is so easy and the result is way above any pre-mixed and pre-grounded product on the market.

  2. Jen at The Three Little Pigletsposted October 31, 2011 at 7:32 am Reply

    I so want to be able to smell that right now! I’ve heard it’s really good in tea as well.

  3. Roxana GreenGirlposted October 31, 2011 at 7:37 am Reply

    I love using Garam Masala but have never made my own. Seemed easier to buy some from the Indian store. Thanks for sharing a homemade version Sommer.

  4. Fresh and Foodieposted October 31, 2011 at 8:16 am Reply

    I love the idea of making spice blends from scratch, and you’re right — this one is perfect for the crisp weather.

  5. Cookin' Canuckposted October 31, 2011 at 8:24 am Reply

    LOVE this, Sommer! Garam masala adds such a wonderful depth of flavor to so many dishes and the fresh stuff always tastes the best.

  6. Bev Weidnerposted October 31, 2011 at 8:27 am Reply

    Seriously. OMG. This is my most favorite spice ever. I’m FREAKING OUT.

  7. Jeanetteposted October 31, 2011 at 9:29 am Reply

    I love garam masala, but I’ve never made it from scratch – I can only imagine how much more fragrant it must be than the preground kind.

  8. Julie M.posted October 31, 2011 at 9:48 am Reply

    I would have never thought to make garam masala from scratch. Great idea Sommer!

  9. Marlyposted October 31, 2011 at 9:54 am Reply

    Those spices looks so beautiful…it’s a shame to grind them up. But I guess that’s the best way to enjoy them. Thanks for another great recipe!

  10. Isabelleposted October 31, 2011 at 10:15 am Reply

    I’m just starting to discover Indian food at home, and I’m amazed at the huge difference a homemade spice blend can make… definitely a huge step up from the bottled stuff.
    Love the idea of using this blend in a pumpkin spice cake. That’s going straight to the top of my must-bake list! :)

  11. Heleneposted October 31, 2011 at 10:17 am Reply

    I’ve never made my home. What a great idea. It must be so fragrant.

  12. Asiyaposted October 31, 2011 at 10:26 am Reply

    Love the pictures! Homemade Garam Masala is much better than the store bought and makes a huge difference in the taste of the food. Mine is a little difference. I also add black cumin and don’t use ginger, star anise and dried cayenne chilli! I also roast and grind my own coriander and cumin powder too….

  13. Kathy - Panini Happyposted October 31, 2011 at 10:26 am Reply

    I fell in love with garam masala this year – I want scented candles in this fragrance so it can fill up my house! Well, I guess toasting my own blend might have the same effect. :-) My new bottle from Penzeys arrived last week but next time I’d love to try your approach.

  14. Diane {Created by Diane}posted October 31, 2011 at 11:04 am Reply

    oh that sounds wonderful!

  15. Lizposted October 31, 2011 at 11:31 am Reply

    Oh, how beautiful!!! Love your photos of the spices…truly lovely. And the scent must be fabulous…

  16. Catherineposted October 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm Reply

    Clever! Thanks for the post!

  17. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.posted October 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm Reply

    awesome one!! Fantastic photos

  18. Angie's Recipesposted October 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm Reply

    I do love homemade garam masala! Not sure about the cost advantage, but freshness and flavours are unbeatable!

  19. Karenposted October 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm Reply

    What a wonderful blend of spices. This would liven up any recipe!

  20. Alaiyo Kiasiposted October 31, 2011 at 1:13 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing your recipe for Garam Masala. I learned, a few years ago, that in India, there are many recipes for Garam Masala since many people make it with spices that they prefer. Great photos and close-ups of the spices. I can almost smell them.



  21. Cassieposted October 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm Reply

    Beautiful photographs! I love having recipes for things like this at home. It sounds wonderful!

  22. Desposted October 31, 2011 at 1:49 pm Reply

    I am loving this! I use garam masala quite a bit. I’m going through bottles all the time. This could make things quite a bit easier. Thanks or sharing the recipe!!

  23. Sneh | Cook Republicposted October 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm Reply

    Inspired! Your garam masala looks fantastic! Must have a nice kick to it.

  24. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.posted October 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm Reply

    These photos are lovely! And that garam masala looks so great! And I bet it tastes and smells even better!

  25. carolinaheartstringsposted October 31, 2011 at 5:48 pm Reply

    This post inspired me. Thanks for sharing it.

  26. Soniaposted October 31, 2011 at 4:32 pm Reply

    Happy Halloween to you……! Hope having fun today and this garam masala is looking superb. thanks for sharing this recipe, too perfect to add indian flavors to any dish. I loved the addition of star anise in it, will try it soon…. !!!

  27. Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmetposted October 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm Reply

    WOW! Look at that…Simply gorgeous, Sommer. So fragrant and delicate! Love it :) Have a great week ahead!

    HUGS <3

  28. Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmetposted October 31, 2011 at 5:02 pm Reply

    BTW, I love every single pic :) Happy Halloween!

  29. Susan in the Booniesposted October 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm Reply

    Your photography is lovely!

    I got my recipe for Garam Masala from Cooks Illustrated.

  30. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchenposted October 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm Reply

    I love all the close ups of the spices, they are really beautiful.

  31. Laurenposted October 31, 2011 at 10:12 pm Reply

    YES! Thank you for this recipe! Making it yourself seriously is the much cheaper alternative!

  32. Savoriqueposted November 1, 2011 at 3:15 am Reply

    Your colorful photos of the spice blend before processing are superb! Glad the cayenne pepper is optional because my vegetarian mouth is quite sensitive to this thing.
    I usually put Cognac XO into my old fashioned hot chocolate for a special kick but I’ll try garam masala now ;) Thank you.

  33. A Little Yumminessposted November 1, 2011 at 9:46 am Reply

    Great minds think alike :) I was just contemplating making my own garam masala. You beat me to it! :)

  34. Dmarieposted November 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm Reply

    I actually have some of this stuff in my spice cabinet, but hadn’t the foggiest what to do with it. thanks for the suggestion, Spicy…will def try it soon in some hot cocoa!!

  35. torviewtorontoposted November 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm Reply

    this masala looks aromatic

  36. Monetposted November 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm Reply

    I’m always so inspired when I see someone take something like spices and turns them into a beautiful photographic journey. Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a beautiful Wednesday full of laughter and love.

  37. Sophieposted November 2, 2011 at 8:14 am Reply

    What a terrific idea to make your own garam masala!! waw!!

    I am so going to make this! yum!

  38. Kristenposted November 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm Reply

    I love making my own spice blends, too. I haven’t tried garam masala at home yet. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  39. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidenceposted November 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm Reply

    Mmmm, I LOVE garam masala. Such a wonderful spice blend. I make spiced mixed nut each year and I always add some garam masala.

  40. marlaposted November 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm Reply

    Those whole spices are so pretty! Must get my hands on some star anise & make my own masala!

  41. Magic of Spiceposted November 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm Reply

    Love the spices you have used here for the garam masala, and really love that they are toasted! I can just imagine the amazing aroma :)

  42. Tiff @ Babes and Kidsposted November 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm Reply

    How cool and unique!

  43. Amy @ Gastronome Tartposted November 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm Reply

    I wish I had this recipe a couple of months ago when I actually bought the stuff :( This one looks so much better!

  44. Charlieposted March 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm Reply

    Love the look of your spice tin. Can you buy them online?

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  51. メンズ ugg ブーツposted December 11, 2013 at 11:42 am Reply

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written any better!

    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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  53. keluargasonyposted March 23, 2014 at 6:27 am Reply

    I wa looking for small batch recipe of garam masala, and your article really made my day hehe

    Have a nice day

  54. keluargasonyposted March 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm Reply

    I just made it, and smell so strong haha.. no wonder this spice called hot spice.. it is really strong, hot and so “indian” for my nose.. would be agreat dish cooked with this spice.
    I made 1/2 batch of your recipes, and its alot.. i skip dry/powder ginger, because i only have fresh one.. so ill add more fresh ginger on the recipes..

    Thanks alot author..

  55. Club Nintendoposted May 31, 2014 at 8:42 am Reply

    Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new
    project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

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  58. skiposted August 1, 2015 at 6:30 am Reply

    Whole star anise isn’t used in Indian cooking -it’s a Chinese spice.

  59. Mark O'Brienposted April 20, 2016 at 6:52 pm Reply

    Hi Sommer. Thanks so much for this recipe. I always love making spice mixtures from scratch as nothing compares to the freshness and POP of toasting and grinding your own. Making chicken tikka masala this week and although I do have garam masala in my pantry I’m going all the way and making your recipe for it! It looks fabulous! Great pics BTW. Life it too short for OLD SPICE!