14 Best Fenugreek Substitute You Can Use

Fenugreek is the indispensable spice of Indian cuisine, starting from breakfast to dinner. But, What if you run out of fenugreek seeds or leaves? No worries, you can always use a fenugreek substitute.

fenugreek seeds
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Here, we have compiled a list of substitutes for fenugreek seeds and leaves1. Using these as a fenugreek substitute may not provide the exact flavor, but they can replace the lack of nutty and burnt flavor of fenugreek.

1. 14 Substitutes for Fenugreek Seeds

1.1. Fenugreek Powder

You can obviously substitute fenugreek seeds with fenugreek powder and vice versa. But, powdered fenugreek tends to provide a more concentrated flavor.

So, if your recipe calls for a half teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, you need to use 1/3 to 1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek powder.

fenugreek substitue
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1.2. Curry Powder

This blend of spices contains powdered fenugreek seeds as one of its components. However, curry powder blends may not be a good fenugreek substitute due to the presence of other powdered spices in curry powder.

However, this makes it overpowering as a fenugreek substitute. You can cook the curry powder in oil first to lessen its intense flavor profile. Also, you need to use freshly made curry powder or a recently purchased blend since the aroma of fenugreek fades away with time.

1.3. Masala Curry Powder

Like curry powder, masala curry powder is also a blended spice mix containing powdered fenugreek seeds. However, compared to curry powder, this masala powder has a more intense flavor profile.

fenugreek substitute
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Also, it is more aromatic. It is worth remembering that using masala curry powder will not give you the same fenugreek taste. But, no doubt, your dish will be bursting with flavors.

1.4. Mustard Seeds and Maple Syrup

You will find many places recommending maple syrup as the replacement for fenugreek seeds. But, adding maple syrup can bring an undesirable sweet taste to your food.

Sure, you can play with the proportion to strike a balance. But, honestly, we say, let’s save the syrup for your waffles, bacon, and pancakes.

fenugreek substitute
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Now, unlike maple syrup, mustard seeds lack sweet flavor. But, then again, the pungently aromatic flavor of mustard seeds may be too overpowering as a fenugreek substitute. So, a safer choice would be combining ground yellow mustard seeds with maple syrup to achieve the desired flavor of fenugreek.

1.5. Honey-Dijon Mustard

If your kitchen lacks mustard seeds, you can use honey-dijon mustard as the replacement for fenugreek seeds.

1.6. Fennel Seeds

You can substitute fenugreek seeds with fennel seeds. However, fennel seeds are sweeter. This requires you to use fennel seeds sparingly as the substitute for fenugreek seeds.

fenugreek substitute
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As a fenugreek substitute, you can also combine fennel seeds and mustard seeds. The pungency of mustard seeds dampens out the sweetness of fennel seeds. So, crush equal measures of both to substitute the flavor of fenugreek.

1.7. Mustard Greens

Mustard greens work well as one of the fenugreek substitutes. It is spicy and bitter-tasting and has a peppery taste.

1.8. Kale

Kale is a pretty convenient option if you want to substitute fenugreek leaves. It makes good options for casseroles or curries that contain fenugreek leaves.

fenugreek substitute
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1.9. Spinach

The best thing about spinach is its easy and common availability. Spinach makes for a good replacement for fenugreek leaves. It provides a similar texture to fenugreek leaves. But, it may not provide the same taste.

fenugreek substitute
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1.10. Collard Greens

Collard greens are another substitute when you are running short of fenugreek leaves. This tastes like fenugreek leaves but has a slightly more bitter taste.

You should substitute fenugreek leaves with equal amounts of collard greens.

1.11. Alfalfa

It has a nutty and sweet flavor. This may make up for the lack of fenugreek leaves.

But, if you are looking for a good fenugreek substitute, celery leaves should be your preferred alternative. Now, if you don’t have celery leaves, you can opt for alfalfa.

1.12. Celery Leaves

Celery leaves have the same bitter taste as fenugreek leaves. You can chop celery leaves into small pieces and use them in recipes requiring fenugreek leaves.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay Copyrights 2015

Chinese celery leaves2 also function well as a fenugreek substitute. But, it may not be as common as regular celery.

1.13. Watercress

Watercress carries a similar taste to celery, which acts as a great alternative for fenugreek leaves. So, it is obvious that watercress can also be a good substitute.

Image by silviarita from Pixabay Copyrights 2017

1.14. Kasoori Methi or Dried Fenugreek Leaves

Kasoori methi is nothing but dried fenugreek leaves. So, it’s not rocket science that the dried form of fenugreek leaves can replace fresh fenugreek leaves. But, Kasoori methi may not serve your purpose.

People use fresh fenugreek leaves as the main ingredient of Indian dishes. But, dried leaves only serve the purpose of imparting aroma and flavor. They never function as the main ingredient. For example, people add Kasoori methi in chicken recipes, lentil soups, and vegetable dishes.

Few things to keep in mind when using Kasoori methi to replace fenugreek leaves:

  • You may need to use it in bulk to achieve the desired volume.
  • You can soak Kasoori methi in water for a few hours before cooking. This will help in losing the dryness of the leaves.
  • The dried form can never bring the freshness or texture of fresh ones. So, when using Kasoori methi as a replacement for fresh fenugreek leaves, don’t make it the star of your dish.
  • Try using it with potatoes or corn.

2. Replacing One Form of Fenugreek with Other

Fenugreek is available in five forms.

  • Powder
  • Seeds
  • Sprouts
  • Fresh leaves
  • Dried leaves
fenugreek substitute
Image by S V from Pixabay Copyrights 2018

But, fenugreek seeds are more commonly used in Indian food as compared to other cuisines. You can easily swap seeds with powder.

But, leaves, whether fresh or dried, are a different matter. The recipe that calls for fenugreek powder or seeds can use the five mentioned substitutes if using leaves as a substitute for seeds or powder fails to seal the deal.

3. In the End

So, whether you want to substitute fenugreek leaves or seeds, you have several options to choose from. We hope we have made your cooking journey easy by shedding light on these spices and ingredients!

But, you can always experiment with flavors and discover a new fenugreek substitute!

4. Frequently Asked Questions

4.1. What is the best combination among the substitutes for fenugreek seeds?

Among the substitutes for fenugreek, yellow mustard seeds, and maple syrup are found to be the best combination.

4.2. What is fenugreek called in Ayurvedic?

Fenugreek is called Methi in Ayurvedic form.

4.3. What flavor is fenugreek seeds?

Fenugreek seeds are bitter and tangy in taste.

4.4. Are curry powder and fenugreek powder the same?

No. Curry powder is a mixture of other spices as well. Curry powder overpowers fenugreek powder.

10 Amazing Health Benefits of Fenugreek
Icy Health
  1. Sharma, R. D. “Effect of fenugreek seeds and leaves on blood glucose and serum insulin responses in human subjects.” Nutrition Research 6.12 (1986): 1353-1364. ↩︎
  2. Liu, De-Kun, et al. “Evaluation of bioactive components and antioxidant capacity of four celery (Apium graveolens L.) leaves and petioles.” International Journal of Food Properties 23.1 (2020): 1097-1109. ↩︎

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Poushali Mondal

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