substitutes for Fenugreek

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Are you making a recipe that calls for fenugreek? Have you ran out of fenugreek and you’re looking for a good substitute for fenugreek? Here, you’ll find 12 easy ways to substitute for fenugreek, with ingredients you might have in your pantry right now!

What is fenugreek?

Fenugreek is a clover-like spice from the family of Fabaceae that is native to the Mediterranean. Both the seeds and the leaves from the Fenugreek plant are edible and used in cooking.

Fenugreek seeds smell and taste like maple syrup and is used in spice blends, to add flavors to beverages, foods and also in soaps, cosmetics and medicine. 

Fenugreek leaves are used as a herb and is mainly used to add flavor to dishes at the end of the cooking process. 

What is the flavor of fenugreek?

Fenugreek spice has a sweet, nutty flavor very similar to maple syrup and burnt sugar. It adds a nice sweetness to many dishes when cooked. However, when eaten raw, fenugreek is bitter and tangy. 

Uses of fenugreek

Fenugreek is a popular spice used to flavor recipes such as curries, chutneys, pickles, vegetables, soups, salads, stews, naan, and lentil dishes. It’s also used in desserts and other sweet recipes.

Best substitutes for fenugreek seeds

Maple syrup

best substitute for fenugreek

Because fenugreek tastes and smells like maple syrup, this ingredient is the perfect substitute for fenugreek in a recipe. 

In fact maple syrup is ranked as the number one fenugreek replacement. Why do you ask? This is because of two reasons. The first is that both maple syrup and fenugreek taste almost the same and second, they have almost the same texture.

Maple syrup is slightly sweeter with a more delicate flavor, while fenugreek has more of a nuttier, dark brown sugar flavor.

Maple syrup can be used to replace fenugreek in the preparation of roast chicken and potatoes. You should use half the amount of maple syrup than you would fenugreek. This represents a ratio of 1 teaspoon of Fenugreek Seeds to ½ teaspoon of maple syrup.


Fennel seeds

Next up are fennel seeds which is a type of spice produced by the fennel plant. Fennel seeds are used in very many different dishes and like fenugreek also possess some great health benefits. 

Fennel seeds can be a good substitute for fenugreek in the preparation of lentils and soups. For 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds you should use ½ a teaspoon of fennel seeds; a ratio of 1: ½



mustard - substitute for fenugreek

Similar to the previously mentioned substitutes, mustard is derived from the yellow seeds of a mustard plant combined with vinegar, salt, and some other ingredients.

Mustard is commonly used in meat dishes and salads due to its strong spicy taste. Some people love it, others are not so much into it. Mustard can be used to replace fenugreek in the preparation of vinaigrettes, sauces, or even marinades. 

You should use the same amount of mustard as you would fenugreek representing a 1:1 ratio.


Yellow mustard seeds

yellow mustard seeds

Yellow mustard seeds are produced by the mustard plant and are mostly added to dishes for their unique salty and bitter taste.

Second, only to maple syrup, yellow mustard seeds serve as a fine choice for a substitute for fenugreek. Yellow mustard seeds are a good substitute for fenugreek in recipes like curry and rice, masalas, some sauces, chili and even dips and condiments. 

You should use the exact amount of fenugreek seeds as you would the yellow mustard seeds. This denotes a ratio of 1:1


Kasoori Methi

Kasoori Methi

This is another name for dried fenugreek leaves. Like fenugreek itself, kasoori methi is obtained from the fenugreek plant. Fun fact, ‘Methi’ stands for Fenugreek in Hindi. Kasoori methi also has some health benefits besides being used in dishes. 

Kasoori Methi, as a substitute for fenugreek, is used in the preparation of curry dishes, sauces and soups. It should be used in the same quantity as the fenugreek thus the substitution ratio is 1:1 i.e., 1 teaspoon for 1 teaspoon.




The Alfalfa is a leguminous plant that grows in many countries around the world. In some aspects, it is considered a herb. 

As a substitute for fenugreek, it has an almost identical taste similar to maple syrup but slightly nutty.

So, if you’re making a recipe that calls for fenugreek sprouts like a salad, sandwich, stir fry, soup or stew, and you’re out of fenugreek sprouts, alfalfa sprouts will work great as a replacement.

The substitution ratio should be 1:1


Curry powder

curry powder

And the final substitute for fenugreek is curry powder. Curry powder is a spice made from combining different ingredients which are ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and pepper.

It can be used in a wide variety of dishes. This is because it seamlessly integrates with the other different ingredients without altering the taste too much. Its flavor is unique, imagine having a mouthful of the various available spices but not in a bad way.

It can be used as a substitute for fenugreek when preparing many dishes like chicken pilau, curried goat, chickpea and cauliflower curry, barbecued ribs and so much more.

The ratio when using is that you should use a slightly smaller amount of curry powder than you normally would fenugreek when preparing dishes. That is 1 teaspoon of fenugreek to 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder.




The aroma of celery is similar to that of fenugreek and thus can be used to replace fenugreek in certain recipes. Keep in mind that celery does not have a very similar taste to fenugreek to when using celery as a substitute for fenugreek, consider adding some sweetness to the meal in the form of sugar or syrup. 

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