Best Fenugreek Substitutes

You’re in the kitchen preparing a delicious lunch for your family when you see the recipe asks for fenugreek. What exactly is fenugreek? What should you do if you don’t have any on hand?

This tutorial will teach you all you need to know about fenugreek and its alternatives. If you don’t have any on hand or want to use another ingredient, we’ll reveal the best 5 fenugreek alternatives for every cook.

What is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek is technically a herb that occurs in both seed and leaf form. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, and is mostly farmed in India, where families use it in a variety of recipes.

Fenugreek seeds and leaves have a harsh flavor when consumed fresh. When fenugreek is cooked, it tastes sweet, somewhat like maple syrup and caramelized sugar. Most people use fenugreek as a thickening factor in sauces, but it may also be used as a dry rub on meat.

Fenugreek, also known as Greek hay, is an annual herb that many people utilize for medicinal purposes. Fenugreek has been used for thousands of years in alternative and Chinese medicine to cure skin issues, among other disorders, according to

Eating fenugreek has many health advantages, including decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduced heartburn, anti-inflammatory properties, and appetite management.

Fenugreek extracts may be found in a variety of household items, including soap, shampoo, and cosmetics. The plant may also be found in teas, sauces, and fake maple syrup.

Although fenugreek may not be as popular as salt and pepper or other herbs like parsley or sage, if you’re making an Indian cuisine, you’ll want to have some on hand. Consider using a fenugreek leaves alternative to come close to the taste and texture required by the meal.

If you don’t have fenugreek in your kitchen or just want a substitute, there are a few products that would suffice.

We’ve also discovered that mixing some of these components (particularly the first two) offers an additional choice for your fenugreek substitute.

1. Maple Syrup

We have discovered that maple syrup is by far the greatest fenugreek alternative. There’s a reason fenugreek is used in counterfeit maple syrup; the two tastes taste (sweet with bitter undertones) and have a similar consistency.

You most likely have maple syrup in your cupboard for those pancake breakfasts. And, while it may seem strange, substituting fenugreek with a tiny bit of maple syrup is a perfect method to do so.

The thickness of maple syrup also adds the proper firmness to the meal that fenugreek is known for. You should add a little sprinkle of maple syrup at the end of the cooking time since the syrup loses taste as it cooks.

You may use maple syrup for fenugreek seeds and leaves. Here’s one of our favorite maple syrups to substitute for fenugreek.

Although maple syrup is our preferred fenugreek substitute, yellow mustard seeds are out. And occasionally we mix the two, yellow mustard seeds and a tiny bit of maple syrup, for a delicious fenugreek alternative.

2. Mustard Seeds – Fenugreek Seed Substitute

When you hear the word mustard, you may think of the yellow condiment that goes wonderfully with hot dogs and hamburgers. There are, however, several mustard tastes and mustard shapes. Did you know that mustard seeds come in three varieties?

We’ll leave the yellow condiment with the ketchup for now. Alternatively, obtain yellow mustard seeds to replace fenugreek seeds and mustard greens to replace fenugreek leaves. You may also use mustard powder instead of fenugreek powder.

Yellow mustard seeds are our favorite since they have the same flavor as fenugreek. Yellow mustard seeds have the same mild bitter taste as fenugreek, with some earthy or nut characteristics.

Yellow mustard seeds are ideal for savory sauces and soups that call for fenugreek. Just cook the mustard seeds at a moderate temperature to get the same fenugreek flavor. Add the same number of mustard seeds as the recipe calls for fenugreek seeds.

If you don’t have yellow mustard seeds, you may use a teaspoon of honey-dijon mustard. Again, the mustard flavor comes in second to the fenugreek tastes.

3. Curry Powder/Masala

Curry powder is sometimes simpler to get than fenugreek. Although you may not have fenugreek in your spice cabinet, most curry powders do, so you’re good to go!

Masala, often known as garam masala, is a spice combination that is widely used in Indian meals, however it is regarded spicier than curry. Masala includes fragrant spices like cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom that curry powder does not. Yet, the flavor profile and thickening agent of marsala make it an acceptable fenugreek substitute.

Curry originated in the United Kingdom and tastes similar to masala; however, we prefer curry powder due to the fenugreek component and softer character.

To optimize the flavor and fragrance of the meal, add the spices at the beginning of the cooking period, regardless of which powder you choose.

4. Fennel Seeds

While fennel seeds might overpower the tastes of a meal, a tiny amount of the sweet seeds can be used in place of fenugreek.

Fennel is a carrot-family flowering plant with seeds that are extensively used in Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, and European cuisines. Fennel bulbs and seeds smell similar to licorice or maple.

As a substitute to fenugreek, you may use dried fennel seed or minced fennel bulb. Fennel seeds and bulbs are sweeter than fenugreek seeds, but they do a good job of mimicking the nutty and sweet characteristics of fenugreek.

When using fennel as a fenugreek substitution, we suggest using a modest quantity since the fennel seed may overpower a meal, and a tiny bit can go a long way in the taste profile.

Related Article: Fennel Seed Replacement

5. Celery Leaves

Celery leaves, while not a spice, make great fenugreek substitutes. Celery leaves are widely available in supermarkets, grocery shops, and farmers markets worldwide. If you can’t get fenugreek or don’t have any on hand, start cooking using celery leaves instead.

Celery leaves have a nutty, bitter taste comparable to fenugreek. Celery leaves, on the other hand, are not sweet, and you may miss the fenugreek maple taste. To help sweeten the sauce and make it taste more like fenugreek, we suggest adding a tiny bit of sugar.

To make celery leaves seem like fenugreek leaves, first pluck, rinse, and slice the leaves. If available, Chinese celery works nicely, albeit it is not as common as normal celery. As a final resort, celery seeds might be used.

Other Fenugreek Leaves Substitutes

Our favorite fenugreek substitute is a blend of maple syrup and mustard seeds, although curry powder, fennel seeds, and celery leaves are other acceptable options.

Numerous other leafy green choices may suffice; if you’re short on time, try the following fenugreek substitutes:

1. Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa is regarded as a replacement for the substitution. Since alfalfa sprouts taste similar to celery leaves, we substitute alfalfa when we don’t have celery leaves.

In this situation, if you don’t have fenugreek, substitute celery leaves; if you don’t have celery leaves, use alfalfa. It’s two doors down from the original flavor you’re attempting to recreate, but it’s still a choice.

Alfalfa has a similar nutty and sweet flavor to fenugreek and isn’t far off from the original taste profile.

2. Kale

If you’re making a casserole that asks for fenugreek, try substituting cooked kale. Cooking the kale will minimize the bitterness of the leaves, and adding sugar (or a sugar substitute such as stevia) will bring sweetness to the meal.

Before cooking, wash and cut the kale leaves, and then add the cooked kale to the sauce or dish at the beginning of the cooking period.

Kale is a prominent green vegetable of the cabbage family. Its leaves are curled or smooth, with green and purple variants. Kale is high in nutrients and gives several health advantages to your diet.

3. Spinach

Spinach, like kale, is a leafy green with a high nutritional content. Using spinach instead of fenugreek may alter the taste somewhat, but the vegetable closely mimics the perfume and texture of the spice, so it is a fine substitution.

Collard greens are another leafy vegetable with a similar texture and scent to fenugreek.


Although any of the following items are excellent replacements for fenugreek, we do not advocate substituting fenugreek seeds for fenugreek leaves or vice versa.

The taste profiles are quite different, and this replacement would completely alter the meal. Alternatively, for the ideal fenugreek substitute, use maple syrup, yellow mustard seeds, or any of the previously stated items.

Additional Substitutes:

  • Best Juniper Berries Substitutes
  • The Greatest Sage Herb Substitutes
  • Best Lemongrass Substitutes
  • Best Paprika Substitutes


What does fenugreek taste like?

Fenugreek seeds, also known as methi, have a tangy, bitter flavor. Learn how to cook them for the finest flavor, how to select the best, and how to properly preserve them. This little, hard, mustard yellow seed, known as methi in Indian cooking, has an acidic, bitter, burnt-sugar flavor.

Is fennel the same as fenugreek?

To begin with, fenugreek and fennel are two very distinct plants. Fenugreek is a legume (related to beans, peas, and other legumes), but fennel is a vegetable in the parsley or carrot family. Fenugreek and fennel seeds have distinct looks and flavors.

Does fenugreek taste like ginger?

Ginger, of course, is hot and earthy, but fenugreek, although also earthy, has a sweetness about it that tastes similar to actual maple syrup.

What spice tastes like fenugreek?

Seeds of Fennel

Since fennel seeds have a strong taste, you won’t need much of them. They do, however, have a comparable fresh flavor to fenugreek, making them an excellent substitute. Fennel has a strong anise taste that I believe works well in meat rubs and savory recipes.

Why not to use fenugreek?

The dangers of using fenugreek supplements

Since fenugreek may mimic estrogen in the body, it should not be used by women who have a history of hormone-sensitive malignancies. It may also interact badly with the blood thinner warfarin, causing internal bleeding.

Is fenugreek similar to cumin?

Fenugreek seeds, one of the most aromatic spices, have a delicate earthy taste and a pleasant spiciness, making them a perfect substitution for cumin, especially when your recipe asks for seeds. Fenugreek seeds have a unique, somewhat sweet, nutty mustardy taste and are well-known for their incredible health benefits.

What is the difference between fenugreek and cumin?

Although fenugreek seed is an antacid that helps with bowel motions, cumin secretes enzymes that assist the body break down sugars, fats, and carbs and maintain the gut healthy.

What is another common name for fenugreek?

Trigonella foenum-graecum, generally known as methi, is a plant used in Ayurveda medicine to treat bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis, abscesses or wounds, and digestive disorders.

Does fenugreek act like estrogen?

Fenugreek works as an estrogen receptor modulator and promotes breast cancer cells in vitro (26), although there is minimal evidence that it may increase breastfeeding.

Why does fenugreek make me smell sweet?

They are included for flavor, but they also contribute a scent owing to sotalone, a chemical that has an unique maple syrup-like odor at low quantities. Since sotalone goes through the body unaltered, it may leave a fragrance in both urine and perspiration.

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