Tandoori Spice Mix

Tandoori Spice Mix

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Yield: 10 ounces
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
897 Calories
42g Fat
144g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 897
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 54%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8600mg 374%
Total Carbohydrate 144g 52%
Dietary Fiber 56g 198%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 20mg 101%
Calcium 1564mg 120%
Iron 97mg 541%
Potassium 3867mg 82%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Popular dishes at Indian restaurants in America include tandoori chicken and shrimp, which are typically marinated and seasoned using a spice mix and then cooked in a clay oven (a tandoor). Tandoori masala is an Indian spice blend consisting of a variety of spices; it will include cumin, coriander, and turmeric but can vary slightly from recipe to recipe, sometimes calling for the Indian seasoning blend garam masala. It is used to flavor many Indian dishes and provides a savory, aromatic, and lightly spicy flavor.

You can make this spice mix ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for a month or two, but you'll get the best flavor the fresher it is. Having the spice mix handy makes creating a tasty meal a simple matter of marinating and grilling.


  • 1 cup/100 grams cumin seeds

  • 1/3 cup/35 grams coriander seeds

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons/20 grams whole cloves

  • 5 cinnamon sticks, 2 inches each

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons/20 grams ground ginger

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons/20 grams garlic powder

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons/20 grams Indian red chili powder

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons/20 grams turmeric

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons/20 grams mace

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons/20 grams salt

  • 1 teaspoon orange food coloring

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tandoori Spice Mix ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Toast the cumin, coriander seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a pan over low heat until they begin to release their aroma. Remove the spices from the heat and allow them to cool.

    Toast the cumin, coriander seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Grind the toasted spices along with the ginger, garlic powder, chili powder, turmeric, mace, salt, and food coloring (if using) in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Process to form a smooth powder.

    Grind the toasted cumin, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon along with the ginger powder, garlic powder, chili powder, turmeric, mace, salt, and food coloring in a spice grinder

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Store the spice mixture in an airtight container for 6 to 8 weeks.

    Tandoori Spice Mix in a glass

    The Spruce / Christine Ma


  • Toasting and grinding whole spices yourself provides far better flavor than using already ground packaged spices.
  • It is important to use Indian chili powder, not Southwestern American chili powder. The two spices have a very different flavor profile; whereas American chili powder is actually a blend of spices, Indian chili powder is ground-up chili, similar to cayenne. If you can't find Indian chili powder you can substitute cayenne pepper.
  • Make sure your coffee or spice grinder is very clean before making the mix to avoid any cross-contaminating flavors. Clean it immediately after to avoid a lingering scent.

How to Use

Tandoori spice mix is used to marinate foods before cooking in a tandoor or on the grill. The seasoning blend is usually combined with yogurt to create a thick coating that can be used to flavor paneer, rotisserie chicken, shrimp, and even fish.

Food Coloring Substitute

If you do not want to use food coloring, substitute it with 2 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) of Kashmiri red chilis. They provide a terrific color without as much heat as other varieties of dry red chilis. If you are using Kashmiri red chilis, omit the chili powder from the recipe. Before you use the chilies, lightly toast them in a hot pan until they are aromatic, then grind them into a fine powder in a clean, dry coffee or spice grinder. Combine with the rest of your spice mix.

What's the Difference Between Tandoori Masala and Garam Masala?

These spice blends play a significant role in Indian cooking and share similar ingredients. But the difference between the two is that tandoori masala contains spice from the chili powder while garam masala has more of a mild taste. Some recipes for tandoori masala include garam masala.