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Pakistani Garam Masala

Garam Masala – Garam masala is an aromatic spice blend that is the main ingredient for many Indian dishes like Butter Chicken and Instant Pot Chicken Biryani. We make it at the beginning of the month and store it in our pantry to use as needed. 

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Garam masala means ‘hot spice’ in English, but not because it’s spicy; it refers to warming spices and the process of toasting before grinding them. While you can buy garam masala in stores, every family has a treasured garam masala recipe they use. The specific spices and their measurements may differ from home to home, but the process of making the spice blend is always the same. Begin by measuring the whole spices and toast them in a pan. Grind them finely, and preserve them for many meals to come!


Whole spices for garam masala.
  • Cardamom: Green and black cardamom flavor the garam masala. Green cardamom is warm and herbaceous, whereas black cardamom has a menthol aroma.
  • Cinnamon Stick: Toasting cinnamon sticks draws out their natural warmth.
  • Black Cloves: Black cloves subtly sweeten the spice blend.
  • Cumin Seed: Toasted cumin seeds provide a nice citrus flavor.
  • Coriander Seed: Coriander seeds balance out the more pronounced spices like black cardamom. It’s a perfect lever because you can use more to tone down other spices.
  • Nutmeg: Nutty and sweet- nutmeg compliments the other spices.
  • Mace: Mace is a bridge between savory and sweet.
  • Bay Leaves: Subtly flavor the garam masala with a clove-like flavor.


Break down the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, then add them to a skillet.

Toast the whole spices in a pan.

Dry roast for 2- 3 minutes over medium heat.

Spices for our garam masala recipe toasting to draw out the flavor.

Add the ingredients to a spice grinder in batches, and blend until fine. You can also use a mortar and pestle if you don’t mind the extra work.

Grind the whole toasted spices in batches.

Grind the whole toasted spices in batches.

Stir in the ground nutmeg and add the garam masala to an airtight glass jar.

Freshly ground garam masala is ready to be used in recipes.


If you love this recipe, try one these meals that feature garam masala!  

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I have a whole post of Recipes Using Garam Masala, but here are some meals to try:


  • STORAGE – Add leftovers to an airtight container; store in a cool, dry place for 4-6 weeks.


What is in garam masala?

You can purchase garam masala spice in most grocery stores, but you should know one thing, the spice is not one size fits all. Travel through South Asia, and you will find that recipes for garam masala are specific to each region.

I use a combination of green cardamom, black cardamom, a cinnamon stick, black cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, nutmeg, mace, and bay leaves to make this spice blend. Other spices used to make garam masala are peppercorns, star anise, dried ginger, asafoetida powder, caraway seeds, and fenugreek.

For something a little different, try our North Indian-inspired Garam Masala!

What does garam masala taste like?

Garam masala is a fragrant spice blend with layers of flavor. The taste of garam masala varies depending on the amount of each spice used; ours is both savory and sweet.

Is there a substitute for garam masala?

There isn’t a perfect substitute for garam masala because it is a stand-alone spice blend. However, if you’re in a pinch, you can combine cumin and ground allspice.


Whole spices for garam masala next to the spice blend.

Pakistani Garam Masala

Tressa Jamil
Garam masala is an essential ingredient in South-Asian cuisine; our Pakistani garam masala recipe elevates the flavor of any dish.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Spice Blends
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 10 tablespoons
Calories 29 kcal



  • Break down the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, then combine them with the other ingredients on a skillet. Dry roast the spices for 2- 3 minutes over medium heat to draw out the flavor and aroma of the whole spices.
  • Allow the ingredients to cool some, then add them to a spice grinder in batches, blend until fine. You can also use a mortar and pestle if you don’t mind the extra work.
  • Stir in the ground nutmeg and add the garam masala to an air-tight glass jar.


Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.


Serving: 1 TablespoonCalories: 29kcalCarbohydrates: 3gFat: 1gSodium: 3mgFiber: 5g
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating


Monday 23rd of May 2022

Such a great spice base, I used it to cook my lamb and it was delicious!

Tressa - Jamil Ghar Team

Monday 23rd of May 2022

Oh, we love using garam masala to flavor our lamb dishes.


Sunday 22nd of May 2022

My most used spice blend, just love it!

Tressa Jamil

Sunday 12th of June 2022

Ours too!


Saturday 21st of May 2022

Tastes very authentic and makes a great base for many Pakistani and Indian dishes that I like.

Tressa Jamil

Sunday 12th of June 2022

Wow, what a compliment, thank you for taking the time to comment.