Is There Any Fenugreek Substitute?

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Fenugreek Substitute Alternatives – Fenugreek, both as leaves and seeds, is one of the widely used herbs or spices in culinary and therapeutic fields. It smells sweet due to the sotolon chemical although it has a bitter flavor. Fenugreek is extensively in use in Indian, Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Turkish meals.

Thus, there are many recipes that demand fenugreek seeds or leaves. However, at times, you may not have it in adequate quantity in your kitchen. This is where you will start looking for a fenugreek substitute.

fenugreek substitute leaves

Can I Get Such a Substitute?

Well, it is a fact that it is tough to substitute this herb regardless of its form. This is because it has a strong and spicy flavor that no other herb or spice can authentically offer. Even their mix cannot provide the exact flavor.

fenugreek substitute seeds

Due to its discrete taste, it is difficult to get an exact replacement of fenugreek, a plant whose seeds and leaves are used as a spice and herb, respectively. Both the forms taste different due to which it becomes a daunting job to look for a proper substitution.

Some Fenugreek Substitute Options

Nevertheless, it is still possible to find a proximate substitute. This is good news for those who think that fenugreek is not among the readily available spices.

#1. Maple Syrup

Many people who have never tasted fenugreek learn that it tastes similar to maple syrup. There is a justifiable reason for it! Both of them have sotolone, a chemical compound that contributes to aroma and flavor. The taste is so similar that fenugreek is used in artificial maple syrup as a flavoring agent.

See also: Butterscotch vs. Caramel

Maple syrup also has a bit of bitter taste. Thus, it is the most popular Fenugreek substitute. You can use it to replace both fenugreek seeds and leaves. Just one tablespoon of syrup renders a discrete fenugreek smell although it wanes swiftly. Thus, it is ideal to add it at the end of cooking.

As a word of caution, be careful to use this alternative. This is because it tastes very sweet, which is not required in many dishes that need the more bitter taste of fenugreek. So, do not consider it for a very spicy or salty dish.

#2. Mustard

Another common fenugreek seed substitute is the yellow mustard seed whose earthiness is same as that of the former. Further, mustard is not sweet, which further favors it as a fenugreek substitute.

See also: Substitutes for Dry Mustard

Mustard also has a distinct flavor combination due to which it can effectively substitute fenugreek seeds. To make them taste as fenugreek, you can heat the yellow mustard seeds slightly. For replacing fenugreek leaves, mustard greens are reliable.

#3. Curry Powder

Many of us are unaware of this fact that curry powder that is usually present in our kitchen has fenugreek seeds in powdered form and in sufficient quantity. So, you can use it instead of fenugreek seeds for achieving a distinctive taste of fenugreek.

See also: Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitute

However, this option will have a mild aroma and taste, as it has other overpowering spices. Further, in curry powder, the aroma of fenugreek seeds tend to vanish swiftly. Thus, look for a fresh curry powder.

For maximizing taste and aroma, consider using the curry powder during the initial cooking time. For instance, if you are making a dish, add the powder first and then proceed to cook it with butter or oil.

#4. Celery Leaves

Well, this is not a great Fenugreek substitute. However, it is a good option for a few recipes that demand fresh or dried leaves of fenugreek. While celery has no similar flavor, it provides a sweet and bit bitter taste. Even its texture is similar to fenugreek.


Well, there are some easy-to-find alternatives, which can be in your kitchen at present. You can choose a fenugreek substitute as per the role of the herb or spice in a dish.

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Monica Chortle

I am one of the home-makers, engaged in the cooking activities for a long hour. While my relatives get bored with any food, I try to find out the new recipes. Moreover, my friends also request me to arrange a party. I get busy in creating distinctive dishes. Read More