Is Tumeric Powder different than Cumin Powder?

Ohhh k. So have of you say its the same thing, and half of you say its not ….

16 Answers

  • Both are spices ,extensively used in cusine of many countries & a common ingredient in spice mixtures,both are powdered before use in cooking,cumin is sometimes used whole for seasoning .The similarity ends there,cumin seed is handpicked & dried before use, it grows on a delicate plant,similar to fennel.Tumeric on the other hand is a dried rhizome,the plant bears a similarity to ginger.Tumeric rhizome is boiled to intensify the yellow colour ,then it is dried.& powdered,both spices have medicinal uses too.

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  • It is completely different.

    Wow. Cumin is a heavy smelling seed, and used in Indian and Mexican cooking.

    Tumeric is bright yellow, and adds a kind of light, bitter coconut flavor to food. It is most used to color food, especially yellow mustard. Tumeric is hardly ever used by itself as the only ingredient in a dish.

    Nothing alike….smell each one. You will know.


    I guess it depends on what you like, if you’re happy with the taste of the food you’ve cooked using your curry powder, then carry on using it, it does have some good spices in it. You may find your dishes lack a depth of flavour if you stick with this basic mix, you might like to explore some different ideas. Pre-made curry powders were invented by eastern traders in the 17th and 18th century to allow westerners to create a spicy sauce that they had tasted on their travels and wanted to bring home, and they don’t reflect local cuisines from around the world such as from different areas of India, Thailand, the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East etc. You can’t create every dish from all of these countries using only this ‘curry powder’. Why not do a bit of research if you’re really interested? For sure, whole spices freshly ground taste 100% better, as the aromatic oils get stale very quickly in powder form. It’s like the difference between using instant coffee and fresh ground coffee. Get a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder, buy whole cardomon, clove, cinnamon, cumin seeds etc, use fresh garlic, ginger and chilli, fresh herbs like coriander and mint, and consider coconut milk, yoghurt etc. You’ll enjoy your dishes so much more! Loads of recipes online, get a Madhur Jaffrey and Ottolenghi cook book.

  • Totally different. Tumeric is used mostly in middle eastern foods and has a real bitter flavor if overused. Great if you need to color something yellow. Cumin is used primarily in Mexican/So west cooking. Has a almost pine flavor and best if slightly roasted before using.

  • Turmeric powder and cumin powder are totally different. Turmeric is used as an antiseptic agent in food and coloring agent in food ,Cumin powder is used as an flavoring agent and used for inducing digestion,controls body heat.

  • It sure is! Turmeric powder is a deep yellow and is used often in Indian cooking. Yum! It is supposed to be good for the stomach and also for bringing inflammation down in the body. It will stain if you get some on your fingers when cooking with it and will turn white rice a shade of yellow.

    Cumin powder is used often in Mexican cooking. Yum!

    both have distinct flavors and both are great spices, IMO!

  • The names say it all.

    Turmeric comes from the turmeric root, a rhizome, ie. very similar shape and same family as the ginger root. Subtle taste, gives the yellow color to curries – DOES exist in powdered form!

    Cumin powder comes from the cumin seed. This is also used in Middle Eastern cooking, and is often a component in curries as well.

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