How to Cook with Curry Powder

How to Cook with Curry Powder

Curry powder is an indispensable staple of Indian cooking. Its bold flavor and aroma make everything taste better, but how do you cook with curry powder?

The smell of curry powder alone instantly brings to mind the deliciously complex flavors of great Indian cuisine, but for many home chefs in the west, it can be a tricky ingredient to master. With this helpful guide, you can become a true spice expert and cook the best dishes using curry powder!


What is Curry Powder?

Curry powder is actually not just one spice but rather a spice blend. It is a colorful mix made up of common flavors, including ginger, garlic, fennel, mace, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and turmeric.

In traditional Indian cuisine, this ingredient is actually called garam masala. If you ever see this name on a label, it is interchangeable with curry powder. The term curry also refers to a traditional Indian-style stewed dish that uses the flavors of curry powder as its signature flavor.

India is not the only place that loves curry powder. This flavorful blend of spices is commonly used in Japanese cooking, Caribbean cooking, and modern British cooking.


Why Cook with Curry Powder?

Learning how to manipulate flavors is such a fun and rewarding journey, and no cuisine is more emblematic of bold flavor mastery than Indian cuisine. Learning how to cook with curry powder unlocks a whole world of amazingly interesting and craveable flavors.

All of the colorful seasonings that make up curry powder also have a lot of nutritional benefits to offer. The average store-bought curry powder has nearly half of your daily calcium recommendation in a single serving. It also delivers all of your daily iron intake and about a quarter of your necessary protein.

Overall, cooking with curry powder is a simple way to supercharge your meals with flavor and nutrition!


How to Store Curry Powder

Since curry powder is made with a mixture of dried spices, it can be stored like other dried herbs and spices. Keep homemade or store-bought curry powder in an airtight container at room temperature. It has a shelf life of up to 6 months.

After 6 months, the flavors in the spice may turn or deteriorate. It is best to throw out any spices after this point.


How to Cook with Curry Powder

large jar of curry powder

Curry powder is the ultimate way to punch up a recipe. Here are a few common ways to cook with curry powder!


Coconut Curry

Coconut Curry Sauce

Coconut curry is one of the most internationally beloved dishes that use curry. Everywhere from India to the Philippines to the Caribbean to Japan and beyond, they have reinvented coconut curry over and over. It’s a creamy stewed dish and the perfect place to start cooking with curry powder.

Curry powder can be used in the dry roasted spice blend for your favorite coconut curry, added as a final seasoning, or both. Any way that you choose to use this yummy powder, it will add tons of flavor! Amazon sells some delicious coconut curry simmer sauces!


Curried Rice

Curried rice is one of the most popular dishes to cook with curry powder. The curry will add tons of spiced flavor to your favorite rice dish.

To make curried rice, add oil or butter to a pot and heat it on the stovetop. Add some curry powder and stir, then add the dry rice. Toast the rice until it is aromatic, then add the broth or water to cook the rice. Customize the finished rice with peas, carrots, beans, or plantains.

Amazon sells premade curry rice mixes that are delicious.


Curried Eggs

Curried eggs are a delicious way to use curry powder! There are a few tasty ways to make curried eggs.

Try making delicious curried egg puffs! Grab some puff pastry and hard-boiled eggs. Cut each hard-boiled egg in half, then season it generously with curry powder. Wrap each egg half in puff pastry and then cook according to the puff pastry directions. Each delicious pocket will be packed with complex curried flavor!

If you’d prefer something more simple, make curried scrambled eggs. Dry toast some curry powder and then add beaten egg. Scramble and enjoy with toast and cold orange juice for a perfect breakfast!


Dry Spice Rub

Curry powder has so much tasty flavor that it can really elevate anything, including rich meat dishes. One great way to use curry powder when cooking meat is in a dry spice rub. You can throw this together in minutes, taking your cooking to new heights!

To make the perfect spice rub that features curry powder, mix together curry powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic, onion, mustard seed, brown sugar, salt, and ground pepper. Tweak the blend to suit your tastes and then rub all over chicken, steaks, or pork to make an intensely flavored dish you won’t forget!




Curry powder is an explosion of flavors thanks to its layers of dry spices and herbs. That makes it great for practically anything. If you have a recipe that just needs a little pick-me-up, try sprinkling in a little curry powder. This trick can improve soups, stews, fries, and practically anything you can imagine!



small bottle of curry powder

Is Curry Powder Spicy?

Spiced is the operative word when it comes to curry powder. It is full of layers of fresh herbaceous flavors, but it is not especially hot. The spices in curry powder actually err more on the warm to the sweet end of the spice spectrum than the hotter end.


Final Thoughts

Curry powder is the ultimate upgrade for practically any dish you can imagine. Armed with this information, you can follow your culinary inspiration to some truly amazing curried dishes!


Additional Kitchen Resources

If you’re hungry for more spice, try these awesome articles about mastering kitchen staples:


Written by Laurie Graves

Laurie is a 50-something wife and boy mom, who loves to share easy recipes, DIY home ideas, and food hacks. She truly believes that with a little inspiration, anyone can make their home and meals feel special.