12 Best Substitutes for Tamarind


Wondering what substitutes can be used to replace Tamarind?

Check out my personally curated substitute list to find some great alternatives!

So without further ado, let’s get rolling.

12 Best Substitutes for Tamarind

1. Lime Juice

This is an easy, common, and cheap substitute instead of tamarind, which in many cases is much harder to find.

Lime Juice is a flavor we are well accustomed to and can use to our liking. It won’t give exactly the same flavor, but it’s close.

How to Substitute

Mix equal parts of lime juice with brown sugar and substitute this in a 1:1 ratio with tamarind.

Here’s how to cook with Lime Juice –

2.  Rice Vinegar 

Rice Vinegar is one of those ingredients that enhances the flavour of your food to another level.  

This substitute will give your recipe a nice sweet and sour flavour, which will go well in stir-fries and solid dishes.  

How to Substitute

Mix rice vinegar with equal parts of brown sugar and sub this out with tamarind. Make sure to use a good quality brand.

Here’s how to cook with Rice Vinegar-

3. Pomegranate Molasses

This is another ingredient that is difficult to find but comes the closest to giving the same effect as tamarind.  

It’s made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and some other additives that depend from brand to brand.

The product is thick and syrupy and provides moisture to your recipe.  

How to Substitute

Molasses has a strong flavor, so use it to your preference.   

Here’s how to cook with Annatto:

4. Worcestershire Sauce

This is probably a condiment you already have on hand due to its ubiquitous use in salad recipes and stir-fries. 

Worcestershire sauce is made from anchovies, molasses, and other flavouring agents, making it the perfect substitute for tamarind in savory recipes.

How to Substitute

Mix this with a little tomato paste, lemon juice, and brown sugar to get a more accurate taste. Then this mixture is ready to replace tamarind.  

Here’s how to cook with Worcestershire Sauce:

5. Mango Chutney

This is an increasingly popular ingredient that you have a great chance of finding at your local store now. If not, try online stores.    

Though on the sweeter side, mango chutney has the same flavour profile and is a very close substitute without having to mix anything else with it. 

How to Substitute

It can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio. Blend it if it’s too chunky.

Here’s how to cook with Mango Chutney:

6. Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice is the most easily available ingredient you’ll find on this list. 

It’s a great food to include in your daily diet because of its vitamin C content which is known to boost your metabolism. 

How to Substitute

Mix brown sugar and lemon juice in equal parts and then replace it with tamarind in a 1:1 ratio. This works best for salad dressings. 

Here’s how to cook with Lemon Juice:

7. Marmalade

Marmalade is slightly more attainable compared to Mango Chutney and can work just as well. 

It’s made from oranges and a lot of sugar, which provides the same sweetness and texture as tamarind.

How to Substitute

Marmalade can be replaced in a 1:1 ratio, but you need to consider which recipes it works for. Use a little lemon or lime juice to reduce the sweetness.  

Here’s how to cook with Marmalade:

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the most popular kinds of vinegar out there, apple cider has a wide array of health benefits that are not hidden from us.   

In addition to that, it has a sweet, almost mellow flavor compared to other varieties of vinegar.

How to Substitute

Add a little sugar to your vinegar before using it in your recipe. Start with a small amount since vinegar can be overpowering.  

Here’s how to cook with Apple Cider Vinegar:

9. Dried Fruits and Lemon Juice

Although it may sound weird, this mixture actually gives a very similar effect to tamarind paste. 

The sweet and tangy flavor will go well in your dishes that require Tamarind paste. Not to mention, the added health benefits are always a plus.

How to Substitute

Add a little sugar to your vinegar before using it in your recipe. Start with a small amount since vinegar can be overpowering.  

Here’s how to use Dried Fruits:

10. Amchur Powder

Famous in Indian cuisine, Amchur Powder is nothing but dried raw mango powder.

Its sour taste matches that of tamarind and can add a nice tanginess to your recipe.   

How to Substitute

Mix this dry powder with some water to form a paste. This paste can then be used to replace tamarind paste in a 1:1 ratio. 

11. White Wine

White wine is a staple in most pantries, and while it’s most enjoyable as a drink, do not underestimate its value in cooking.   

White wine is sour to taste, which is why it makes for a great substitute. 

How to Substitute

Mix white wine with equal parts of sugar before replacing it in a 1:1 ratio. Use good quality white wine to make sure it doesn’t ruin the taste. 

Here’s how to cook with White Wine:

12. Fruit Syrups

As weird as they might sound as a substitute for tamarind, fruit syrups can actually work quite well.   

Their overly sweet taste and texture may mimic that of tamarind paste if it’s store-bought. This substitution is best for salad dressings. 

How to Substitute

You may want to use a little lemon juice to cut the sweetness, but otherwise, you can replace tamarind with this substitute in a 1:1 ratio. 

Here’s how to cook with Fruit Syrups:


Is tamarind the same as tamari sauce?

No. Tamari is a soy sauce that is made by excluding wheat. Tamarind is a tangy, sweet, and sour fruit that is converted into forms like extracts, pastes, powders, candies, and more.   

Can I use lemon instead of tamarind?

Yes, you can. No substitute is going to give you the same exact flavour. However, when you mix lemon with brown sugar in equal parts, you can copy the taste of Tamarind pretty well. This option works best in cold recipes like salad dressings, but you have to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved before substituting. Follow the guidelines mentioned above for the best results with this option.

What is the difference between tamarind and turmeric?

As mentioned above, Tamarind is a fruit that is processed into different forms that add flavour to your food. Turmeric, on the other hand, is a spice that has a subtle, bitter taste and is popularly used as a colouring agent. It has a bright yellow colour and is very common in Indian cooking. Turmeric is also used as an anti-inflammatory ingredient which has numerous amount of other important health benefits too. 

Bottom Line

I hope this article has helped you choose the right substitute for Tamarind, be it for flavour or simply unavailability. 

Please feel free to leave a comment below for any feedback or suggestion you might have. 

And lastly, do share this article with your family and friends as I’m sure it’ll help them if it has helped you! 

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About Irene Clark

Irene is a supermom of 4 kids who always has a smile on her face. She's an amazing dancer - you should see her moves! - and she loves to eat, especially with wine. She also loves pop music and travels across the country with her family and friends.

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