What To Use When Fenugreek Isn’t Available – 9 Fenugreek Substitutes

Fenugreek Substitutes

Some herbs and spices are used mainly for aroma, and fenugreek is one such herb.

Having uses in all its forms – fresh, dried, and seeds – fenugreek is now popular in certain western dishes as well, besides being a must-have spice in Indian kitchens.

So, let’s talk about a scenario, that is, your dish requires fenugreek, but you don’t have it.

Let’s look at 9 fenugreek substitutes:

Fenugreek Seeds Substitute (Fenugreek Powder Substitute)

Fenugreek has a sweet, nutty flavor closer to burnt sugar and maple syrup.

Now let’s look at the spices and herbs that can replace fenugreek seeds.

1. Maple syrup

Maple Syrup
Image Sources Pinterest

Maple syrup is the closest ally of fenugreek leaves, for it smells and tastes very similar. This is due to the presence of a chemical compound called Sotolon in both of these.

Since it’s the best fenugreek alternative for its aroma, you should add it at the end to prevent fading it sooner.

How much to use?

1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds = 1 teaspoon maple syrup

2. Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

For being slightly sweet and spicy, mustard seeds can be used in place of fenugreek seeds.

Here it’s pertinent to note that not all types of mustard seeds give you the same taste. White or Yellow mustard seeds are recommended because the black ones give you a spicy flavor, which isn’t needed when substituting fenugreek seeds.

The recommended method is to crush and heat mustard seeds to reduce their strong aroma and make one of the perfect fenugreek substitutes.

How much to use?

1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds = ½ teaspoon mustard seeds

Fun Facts

Ancient Egyptians used fenugreeks for embalming, as evident in the tombs of many pharaohs.

3. Curry Powder

Curry Powder

Not the exact match, but still curry powder can also be used to replace the fenugreek seeds, for it also contains fenugreek already along with some sweet spices that add brightness and pep to the dish.

To get the best out of curry powder, it’s recommended to cook it with oil to reduce the overpowering aromas.

How much to use?

1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds = 1 teaspoon of curry powder

4. Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds

Quite surprising, the fennel is from the carrot family, the seeds of which look like cumin having a slightly sweet licorice-like taste similar to caraway seeds.

Since fennel seeds make the dishes sweet, it’s recommended to use them in combination with mustard seeds.

How much to use?

1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds = ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds

Fenugreek Leaves Substitute (Fresh Fenugreek Substitute)

The dishes that require fenugreek leaves can easily be replaced with the following fenugreek substitutes.

5. Dried Fenugreek Leaves

Dried Fenugreek Leaves
Image Sources Pinterest

The closest alternative to the fresh fenugreek leaves is the dried fenugreek leaves. Although the dried leaves are a bit stronger in taste, you’ll get almost the same taste and aroma.

It’s usual in South East Asian countries to collect and dehydrate in the winter and then use throughout the year. Another name for the dried leaves of fenugreek in their local language is Kasoori Methi.

How much to use?

1 tbs of fresh fenugreek leaves = 1 teaspoon dried leaves

6. Celery Leaves

Celery Leaves

Celery leaves are another alternative to fresh fenugreek leaves because of their bitter taste. The darker the celery leaves, the bitter the taste.

Although you can’t get the same taste, yet you would get similar bitterness and sweetened notes.

How much to use?

1 tbs of fresh fenugreek leaves = 1 tbs of celery leaves

7. Alfalfa Leaves

Alfalfa Leaves
Image Sources flickr

Alfalfa is another replacement of fenugreek leaves because of its mild and grassy-chlorophyll flavor.

It’s a grass-like plant with sprouts that is too delicate to cook and can be eaten raw as well.

How much to use?

1 tbs of fresh fenugreek leaves = 1 tbs of alfalfa

Fun Fact

A mysterious sweet smell wafted over the Manhattan city periodically from 2005 -2009, later discovered to be of fenugreek seeds emitted by a food factory.

8. Spinach Leaves

Spinach Leaves

Fresh green leaves of spinach have a bitter taste as well. Here, it’s pertinent to note that the darker and bigger spinach leaves are bitter than the baby spinach leaves.

How much to use?

1 tbs of fresh fenugreek leaves = 1 tbs of spinach

9. Fenugreek seeds

fungreek seeds

Sounds funny but yes. Its seeds can easily replace fresh fenugreek leaves, but with a caution of not overheating them. Otherwise, it would become bitter.

How much to use?

1 tbs of fresh fenugreek leaves = 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds


The best fenugreek replacement is maple syrup for its same aroma. The next best alternative is yellow or white mustard; then a bit remote alternative is curry powder, and so on.

Whichever substitute you intend to use, it’s better to read about its taste and aroma first.

Which one of these fenugreek substitutes have you tried yet? What’s your experience with your chosen substitute? Let us know in the comments section below.

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