Got a jar of turmeric but not sure how to use it up? Here are our top turmeric recipes, from curry to mac and cheese to bright yellow turmeric rice.
Turmeric is one of the hottest new spices: you’ll see it in everything from trendy golden milk to traditional Indian curry recipes. Turmeric has a warm flavor and adds a beautiful bright yellow color to dishes. There are lots of claimed health benefits of turmeric, which is mostly why its become so popular. But regardless of the health claims, turmeric adds a unique flavor and color to dishes that we absolutely love. If you have a jar of turmeric and are looking for recipes to use it up, here’s a collection of our top turmeric recipes!
But first, a little more on turmeric…
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a root, similar to ginger. While you can buy turmeric root fresh, the main way that turmeric is used is ground and dried. You can buy ground turmeric at your local grocery store. It has a warm taste that is also slightly bitter. Turmeric also has a bright yellow color, and is often used as a plant based dye. Turmeric is a common spice used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, turmeric contains curcumin, which may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties. Turmeric is currently being studied in human clinical trials for illnesses such as colon and pancreatic cancers and Alzheimer’s.
First up in our turmeric recipes: turmeric rice bowls! Adding turmeric to rice gives it a vibrant, yellow color. It turns out beautifully; the bright yellow rice is lovely when served in a bowl of veggies. Here it's accessorized with deep green broccoli and kale, and chickpeas for added protein. To top it off, we used our favorite zesty, creamy, Best Tahini Sauce.
Turmeric in a mac and cheese recipe? Oh yes. This creamy mac and cheese is a healthy spin that features spinach & Greek yogurt. The yogurt is stirred in at the end to give a creamy texture and provide a shot of live and active cultures and protein. Fresh spinach is gently wilted in for all the added nutrients without a strong flavor, and turmeric gives a tiny immunity boost and a lovely yellow color.
And the flavor? Spot on delicious. The combination of cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese and fresh garlic makes it taste a bit more grown up–but still tasty enough for kids too!
Next up in our turmeric recipes: turmeric eggs! This avocado toast proves is a 15 minute meal that works for any time of day: a hearty breakfast, lunch, snack, or even a light vegetarian dinner. At the center is the star: turmeric eggs.
What’s a turmeric poached egg? It’s an egg poached with turmeric stirred into the water, and what comes out is a beautiful bright yellow orb that looks infinitely more exciting than a normal poached egg. Making a turmeric eggs only takes a couple minutes, but it’s a lovely addition to anything: avocado toast, a grain bowl, or a big salad.
Turmeric in a muffin recipe? These vegan blueberry muffins are incredibly tasty and are a total crowd pleaser! The hint of turmeric adds a beautiful golden color. To top them off, they've got lemon zest for a little brightness, and turbinado sugar for a sparkly, crunchy topping. They come out perfectly moist, with a nuanced flavor and seriously tangy pockets of blueberries. They’re everything that you could want in a muffin!
Adding turmeric to soup recipes adds warm flavor and a golden color. This homemade vegetable soup recipe is all things comforting, featuring turmeric and lots of veggies. You know that noodle soup that your mom made you growing up? This one tastes like a cross between that and an elevated version of canned soup. Use it as a template and you can other veggies to your liking!
This crispy breaded cauliflower features a bit of turmeric in the spice blend for color and flavor. It's baked, not fried: and it's amazing how it turns out perfectly crispy! What we love about this recipe is that it is so many things at once: savory, tangy, sweet, and spicy. Your palate is simply overwhelmed by the complexity. Serve it as a side dish, or part of our Cauliflower Tacos with Yum Yum Sauce.
This Moroccan cauliflower soup features turmeric in the spice blend, which gives it this beautiful yellow color. This soup has been made by many readers and gets rave reviews! It’s both healthy and tasty, featuring cauliflower that is roasted until lightly charred in a very hot oven. Then it’s blended with onion, carrot and Moroccan spices into a silky puree: think cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon.
For the garnish, a bit of the roasted cauliflower, green onion, and a drizzle of olive oil. This soup is gluten free and vegan, full of nutrients, and pretty simple to make, too.
Another great way to use turmeric in recipes: simply as a yellow coloring! This vegan queso dip uses turmeric for color, not necessarily flavor. It’s made with cashews, canned green chilis, turmeric, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and yellow mustard. They make a dip with just the right flavoring and amount of heat, with a texture very similar to a standard queso! In fact, we like it even better.
Another one of our turmeric recipes with Moroccan spices is this Moroccan stew with chickpeas! It tastes complex and fresh: full of spices and topped with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lemon and a touch of Greek yogurt. Of the Moroccan elements, the easiest to spot is the spice blend! We’ve used a blend of savory and sweet spices: paprika, cumin, coriander and turmeric on the savory side, and ginger and cinnamon on the sweet side.
Another Moroccan element: using sweet flavors to offset the savory, which is where the sweet potatoes come in! It’s absolutely satisfying and is a tried and true reader favorite.
Paella in a list of turmeric recipes? Well, keep reading. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish of rice, vegetables, and seafood or meat, flavored with exotic spices like smoked paprika and saffron. Paellas are celebratory, many times cooked over an open fire. But this easy paella recipe with shrimp is simple enough for a weeknight!
The key spice in paella is saffron. But since it’s the world’s most expensive spice, here we've used a common substitute: turmeric! Turmeric is much cheaper and gives a bit of earthy flavor and a brilliant yellow color.
A list of turmeric recipes wouldn't be complete without a traditional Indian dish. Masoor dal translates as “red lentils” in Hindi. There are many types of dal: you may have heard of chana dal (chickpeas) or urad dal black lentils). Or you may have dried dal makhani, literally “buttery lentils.” This authentic masoor dal recipe is a basic dal and it comes out cozy and nuanced, with just the right amount of gentle flavoring from the turmeric.
Last up in our turmeric recipes: this sweet potato soup! It's nourishing, delicious, and easy to make. To get maximum flavor out of this soup, onion and garlic are sauteed together, then cooked with sweet potato and spices like cumin and turmeric. It's served with harissa, a North African red pepper paste. Peanut butter gives a creamy, savory undertone to the soup while keeping it vegan. Topped with crunchy peanuts, this sweet potato soup is a tasty way to get a variety of nutrients in your diet!
Looking for turmeric recipes to use up a jar? Vibrant turmeric poached eggs can be whipped up in no time. Serve them over avocado toast for a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner.
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
4 large eggs
In a large saucepan, pour a few inches of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and stir in the vinegar and turmeric.
Crack each egg into a small bowl, then carefully slide each egg into the water. Make sure to give plenty of space between each egg. Allow to simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still liquid.
Line a plate with a paper towel. Remove the eggs from the pan using a slotted spoon, then allow them to drain while preparing the toast. (Throughout the process, take care with the turmeric water, as it can stain clothing.)
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.