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Pakistani Garam Masala

Garam Masala RecipeWarm and full of flavor, our Pakistani garam masala recipe is the main ingredient for many Pakistani and Indian dishes, including our popular butter chicken and Instant Pot chicken biryani.

We typically make this spice blend at the beginning of the month and store it in our pantry to use as needed.


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


  • Cardamom: I use green and black cardamom to flavor our garam masala. Green cardamom is warm and herbaceous, whereas black cardamom has a menthol aroma.
  • Cinnamon Stick: Broken down and toasted, the cinnamon stick releases more aroma.
  • Black Cloves: lack cloves subtly sweeten the spice blend with a warm woodiness.
  • Cumin Seed: Toasted cumin seeds have a nice citrus flavor.
  • Coriander Seed: Coriander seeds balance the more pronounced spices like black cardamom. It acts as a perfect lever; use more to tone down other spices.
  • Nutmeg: Nutty and sweet, nutmeg compliments other spices.
  • Mace: Mace is a bridge between savory and sweet.
  • Bay Leaves: Bay leaves subtly flavor the spice blend.


Spices for garam masala toasting on a pan.

Break down the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, then add them to a skillet. Dry roast for 2- 3 minutes over medium heat.

Grind the whole toasted spices in batches.

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.

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

Stir in the ground nutmeg and add the garam masala to an air-tight glass jar.


If you love this recipe, we hope you will try one these meals featuring garam masala!  


I have a whole post of recipes to make using garam masala, but here are some meals to try:

  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Aloo Gobi
  • Palak Paneer
  • Vegetable Biryani
  • Matar Paneer
  • Bhindi Masala
  • Pulao
  • Samosa


  • STORAGE – Once ground, store leftovers in an air-tight container. Store garam masala in a cool, dry place for 4-6 weeks.


What is in garam masala?

You can purchase Garam masala in most mainstream grocery stores, but you should know one thing, this 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- each one slightly different from the last.
Garam masala varies from region to region, home to home, and even recipe to recipe- depending on what you’re using garam masala to prepare.

The number of whole spices and how much of each to use will change depending on who you ask, but the method for preparing them is always the same. 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 up 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, but ours has a savory sweetness.


Pakistani Garam Masala

Tressa Jamil
Garam masala is an essential ingredient in Pakistani and Indian cuisine, and it can easily alter the flavor of a dish. Finding the right one is critical; I hope you enjoy this recipe we use in our home.
5 from 2 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.


  • Web Story: Check out our web story for garam masala!


Serving: 1 TablespoonCalories: 29kcalCarbohydrates: 3gFat: 1gSodium: 3mgFiber: 5g
Keyword garam masala recipe, pakistani garam masala
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.