Can You Cook With Turmeric?

by Petra Wakefield

    Despite its bright yellow color, turmeric has a mellow, earthy flavor that won't overwhelm other seasonings in a dish. If your children are attracted to brightly colored foods, you're in luck. Turmeric adds vitamin C, iron and calcium, but won't disturb picky eaters with a strong, unfamiliar flavor. You can add turmeric to meals already in your family's dinner rotation, or branch out and try a simple ethnic dish using turmeric.

    Step 1

    Use turmeric in Indian-inspired dishes including meats, seafood, dals and curries. Turmeric appears in almost every Indian dish, and you won't get authentic flavor without it.

    Step 2

    Stir a generous pinch of turmeric into rice while it cooks to add bright color and subtle flavor.

    Step 3

    Add turmeric to almost any kind of soup or stew, including lentil, bean and potato. Start with a small pinch and add more to taste.

    Step 4

    Flavor a stir fry or vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower and cabbage with turmeric. Start with a small amount and increase it gradually to suit your family's taste.

    Step 5

    Complement dishes flavored with spices such as black pepper, cumin, ginger, coriander, cilantro or mustard seeds by adding turmeric. If the recipe doesn't include turmeric, start with 1/4 tsp. and add more if needed.

    Step 6

    Substitute turmeric for saffron. Though it won't give quite the same flavor, turmeric adds a similar color and is less costly than saffron.

    Step 7

    Stir turmeric into a creamy ranch or green onion dip, for an instant Indian-style twist on a raw vegetable platter.


    • Add turmeric to the cooking oil before the main ingredients to impart stronger color and flavor. Add it after the vegetables or meats for a more subtle effect.
    • Use turmeric within four months of purchasing it for the best flavor.


    • Don't add too much turmeric, or the flavor will become bitter and chalky. Start with a small amount and add more if desired, especially when you're first experimenting with it.
    • Turmeric stains fabric, skin and cooking utensils, so keep it away from anything you don't want a stain on.

    About the Author

    Petra Wakefield is a writing professional whose work appears on various websites, focusing primarily on topics about science, fitness and outdoor activities. She holds a Master of Science in agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University.

    Photo Credits

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