Best Tamarind Substitutes – 4 Ideas To Try

Tamarind is an evergreen tree native to India and Sri Lanka. It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments. Tamarind is also known as Indian date, sour date, and tamarindo.

Tamarind is a fruit that grows on a tree. The fruit is round and greenish-yellow in color. The pulp inside the fruit is white and soft. The seeds are black and hard.

It contains a lot of nutrients such as vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and fiber. Most of the time, if you’re looking for a tamarind replacement, it’s because your recipe calls for tamarind paste.

Maybe you’ve never heard of it before, or maybe you just don’t want to go out and acquire some. If you’re in the first category and have googled what tamarind is, you’re probably even more perplexed. What can be used as a substitute for that strange-looking fruit and the even stranger-looking paste it produces? Are there any suitable alternatives available?

Best tamarind substitutes

Tamarind is an amazing fruit that has been used for centuries in Asian cuisine. It’s also known as Indian date and is native to India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Tamarind is a sour fruit that comes in two forms: fresh and dried. Fresh tamarind pods are usually sold in grocery stores, while dried tamarind pulp is found in the spice section of supermarkets.

Fresh tamarind pods are often used in curries, soups, and other dishes where their tart flavor works well. Dried tamarind pulp is used in chutneys, pickles, and sauces. You may also use lime and sugar or vinegar and sugar instead of lemon and sugar. The goal is to create a flavor that is both sweet and sour. Tamarind has a lot of tartaric acids, especially early on, thus it’s a sour fruit. It’s been dubbed "nature’s sour candy" on occasion.

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The real flavor of tamarind, on the other hand, varies greatly, from sweet and tangy to sour and acidic, and what you end up experiencing depends a lot on when you consume it. If you consume less mature tamarind, anticipate it to be on the sour side of the range. If you eat it when it is completely ripe, though, you can anticipate it to be much sweeter and tangier than it is truly sour.

Here are some of the best tamarind substitutes that you should try if you’re looking for a new way to use this delicious fruit.

Lemon or lime juice and sugar

If you need something quick and easy, then using citrus juices with added sugar will do the trick. Lemon juice alone won’t cut it; you’ll need at least 1/4 cup of lemon juice per 2 cups of water. Lime juice isn’t quite as strong so you might only need about half as much. Sugar helps balance the acidity of the citrus juice.

The ideal alternative is lemon or lime juice combined with sugar. This is advantageous since, of all the things on this list, they are the most likely to be found in your refrigerator or cabinets.

To make this substitution, combine equal parts lemon or lime juice and sugar, then add the same quantity of the combination to the recipe where tamarind is called for. If you don’t have any lemon or lime juice on hand, you may use vinegar. If you don’t have any sugar, you can substitute dried fruit for lemon, lime, or vinegar. Place the dried fruit (raisins, prunes, etc.) in a blender with the liquid of your choice.

Mango powder

This one sounds like a bit of a cheat but mango powder really does work very well as a tamarind replacement. Mango powder is made by grinding whole mangos into a fine powder. There are many different brands of mango powder available online.

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Some people prefer the taste of natural mangoes over processed ones. Others find them too bitter. Either way, mango powder is a great option because it doesn’t require refrigeration and it lasts indefinitely.

Mango powder is a close second as a tamarind replacement. It’s also known as amchur or amchoor, and it has a flavor that’s quite similar to tamarind. Mango powder is made from dried, unripe mangoes that have been crushed into a fine powder. If you’re looking for mango powder, head to an Indian grocery shop because it’s most often used in Indian cuisine. It isn’t used very much in other places.

If you use mango powder instead of tamarind, you’ll need to use 50% more mango powder than the recipe asks for. This is because mango powder is not as sour as tamarind, so you’ll need a lot more to obtain a similar flavor. You’ll also need to prepare a paste with it (equal parts mango powder and water), because mango powder doesn’t provide moisture to the dish as tamarind does.

Pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate molasses is another good option for replacing tamarind. The pomegranates themselves aren’t particularly tart, but their seeds contain tannin which makes them perfect for adding a little extra tartness to dishes.

You can buy pomegranate molasses in bottles or jars, but it’s easier to get fresh pomegranate juice. Simply blend together two-thirds of a cup of pomegranate juice with one tablespoon of honey. Assume you don’t have any of the aforementioned options.

Pomegranate molasses, which is commonly used in Middle Eastern recipes, can also be used in this situation. Although it has a distinct flavor, you may use it since the tartness complements the tamarind flavor. Even if you do not choose the sugar-free version, it does not contain a lot of sugar. If you’re using pomegranate molasses instead of tamarind, use the same quantity of molasses.

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Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, garlic, onion, mustard seed, salt, and spices. Since these ingredients all contribute to its unique flavor, they should be included when making substitutions.

However, there are some versions of Worcestershire sauce that include less spice than others. These sauces tend to be sweeter and milder. They will still give you a hint of the original flavor without overpowering the rest of the dish.

If everything else fails, Worcestershire sauce can be used, although it is not a suitable substitute because it includes so many other flavors. Because many Worcestershire sauce manufacturers include tamarind in their formulations, you’ll get a taste of the real thing in your dish, making it a viable substitute.

Check the ingredients to see whether it contains tamarind before purchasing Worcestershire sauce. If you have tamarind-flavored Worcestershire sauce on hand, substitute it with the equivalent amount of tamarind.


In conclusion, I hope my article helped you find out how to replace tamarind in various recipes. There are several different ways to go about doing this, depending on what kind of substitution you want to make.

For example, if you just want to add a bit of tanginess to a dish, then simply adding lemon juice would work well enough. However, if you want to completely eliminate the bitterness associated with tamarind, then try using something like apple cider vinegar.

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