Turmeric and curry powder are two cooking ingredients that we are often confused with mainly because of their resemblance in appearance. But, they are different from one another, so let us explain everything you should know about turmeric vs curry powder.

Although many curry powder options readily available in the Western market look a lot like powdered turmeric, they are two completely different cooking elements. In fact, turmeric is simply a single spice derived from the Curcuma longa plant, while curry powder is a blend of several spices. Accordingly, curry powder has a more pronounced, strong flavor than turmeric.

So, there’s literally a lot more to share with you about these two ingredients. Keep reading!

Turmeric vs Curry Powder

TurmericCurry Powder
FormsIs a single element.
May come as:

– A fresh rhizome
– A dried rhizome
– As a paste
– As an essential oil
– Powdered or ground
– As pills or capsules
– As tea

Click on this link if you are interested in discovering more information on turmeric.
Is a combination of several spices such as:

– Turmeric
– Red chilies (cayenne pepper/paprika/ – Kashmiri red chilies)
Coriander seeds
– Fenugreek
– Garlic
– Cloves
– Ginger
– Cinnamon
– Cumin seeds
Black pepper
– Mustard seeds

Some varieties might also contain:

– Nutmeg
– Curry leaves
– Bay leaves
– Fennel seeds
– Cardamoms
– Allspice
Base flavorEarthy and bitterSpicy and savory
Flavor profileLess potent, spicy, and vivid than curry powder. Turmeric usually has a very earthy, warm, slightly bitter, and peppery flavor.More intense and vivid in flavor than turmeric. Has an overall spicy, warm, earthy flavor profile with a flavor combination of many spices.
Color– Fresh rhizome is vibrantly yellow in color. 
– Powdered/ground turmeric has a yellowish-orange hue
Colors vary depending on the ingredients used. Most curry powder options used in Western cuisine are yellow or light brown in color.
General use– Used in cooking and baking
– In modern medicine, Ayurvedic medicine and incorporated into home remedies
– Used to make various commercial beauty products like soap, lotions, creams, etc.
– Used in DIY beauty hacks such as face scrubs, masks, and teeth whiteners.
– To make herbal tea bags.
As a cooking ingredient.
Purpose in cookingAs an ingredient in savory, sweet dishes and beverages.As an ingredient to savory dishes.
Usage in cooking– Mainly used in Asian-inspired curries.
– To add color and flavor to broths, soups, stews, and stir-fries.
– Is added to desserts, baked goods, and many Indian sweetmeats.
– Is a key ingredient in many seasoning and spice blends.
– Used to make healthy tea, smoothies, golden milk, and various juices.

Read more – 10 Best Practical Ways To Use Turmeric
– Mostly used in coconut milk-based curries, stews, and soups.
– Can be incorporated into savory rice and noodle dishes.
– To make curried egg dishes.
– When making fillings for Indian fried snacks like Samosa and stuffed rotis.
– As a rub and to combine into the marinades made for meat and seafood.

Read more – 6 Interesting Ways To Use Curry Powder In Cooking
Main featuring cuisines– Indian
– Thai
– Middle Eastern
Sri Lankan
– Pakistan
– Southeast Asian
– Western
– Caribbean
OriginKnown to have originated from Southern India and IndonesiaWestern cuisine (considered as an Indian-inspired British creation)
Availability– Powdered/ground turmeric is widely available in supermarkets, conventional and Asian grocery stores and can be bought from online sellers.
– Fresh or dried rhizomes can be found in most Asian grocery stores and online shopping sites.
– Curry powder typically comes under many brands in different quantities.
– Readily available in grocery stores, Asian groceries, supermarkets, and online shopping sites.
Turmeric vs Curry Powder – SpiceRally
Turmeric vs Curry Powder - SpiceRally

More About The Difference Between Turmeric And Curry Powder…

Although sometimes we might fail to identify the real difference between these two ingredients, it must be clear to you that turmeric and curry powder are not at all the same. Turmeric powder is a key ingredient in most Western cuisine-based curry powder recipes. Yet, that doesn’t make these two elements one thing.

As you see, curry powder is simply a blend of other spices, while turmeric is a single spice without any additives. This is the major fact that makes them different in flavor, may be in color, usage in cooking, and in general. 

Despite the fact that curry powder is different from turmeric, it could still be a possible substitute for dishes like coconut milk-based dishes. So if you are interested in learning about more such alternatives for turmeric, click on this link and refer to our detailed post.

In fact, turmeric, as a single spice, covers many nooks and corners in human life, being a part of cooking, baking, beauty, and health. On the contrary, curry powder confines itself only to savory dishes. However, turmeric does not make a good substitute for curry powder.

However, we cannot give the victory to one ingredient here in terms of health benefits since curry powder is also considered as healthy as turmeric. Although curry powder is not renowned for its health benefits as turmeric, it still contains many nutrient-rich ingredients.

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