What’s A Good Chaat Masala Substitute?

Chaat masala (or chat masala) is one unique seasoning. A staple of Indian cuisine, it delivers a complex mix of tart, salty, and spicy all rolled into one. So how do you make do if you have none in your cupboard and a recipe calling for this delicious fiery spice mix? What’s a good chaat masala substitute for getting you by? Let’s review your best options.

Your best bet: A homemade chaat masala mix (or as close as you can get)

The bad news: this chaat masala is so unique there’s no optimal substitution. But the good news: As with any spice mix, you can get close with the ingredients you likely have at hand. While chaat masala has some unique ingredients like hing (asafoetida) and mango powder (amchoor), most of the other ingredients will be readily available (or easily substituted for) in a well-stocked spice rack.

The first step: see our homemade chaat masala recipe and pull out as many of the ingredients as you have in your spice rack.

Second, consider the alternatives for some of the less common ingredients. The seed requirements (coriander, cumin, and carom) can be substituted for powders. The same is true for the red dried chilies – using a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder (or more, depending on your heat tolerance) can work as well.

Replicating the recipe as closely as possible will get you about as close in flavor as you can be in a pinch. It’s not perfect, but it’s your best bet.

Not a good substitute: Garam masala

Both seasonings have “masala” in the name, so they should be good substitutes, right? Don’t be fooled by their name similarity. Chaat masala and garam masala are two very different spice mixes in terms of ingredients and flavor. They aren’t good substitutes for one another. Stick to replicating the recipe for chaat masala as closely as you can instead.

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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on January 29, 2023 to include new content.
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