What does turmeric taste like? Is the spice something that you use regularly or are you like many others who have simply never tried it?
In fact, many people heard about the health benefits of turmeric long before they knew anything about how turmeric tastes.
For that matter, turmeric can often be a fairly unfamiliar ingredient, especially if you don’t experiment with your food. As a result, you may be hesitant about including it in your cooking.
But, if you read on, I’ll show you precisely what turmeric is like and how you can use it effectively – regardless of your taste preference.
What Does Turmeric Taste Like?
Like many herbs and spices, turmeric is connected to a range of health benefits. It has also been very well researched, with more than 7,000 studies looking into the impacts of turmeric or its active compound curcumin (1). In particular, turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties (2,3,4,5), acts as an antioxidant (6,7) and may help improve the immune system (8,9), boost mental health (10,11,12) and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (13,14,15).
All of these benefits sound amazing and they truly are. But, the taste, well… that isn’t so great. In particular, turmeric has a bitter flavor overall, along with a slightly aromatic scent.
Some people describe the taste as being ‘gingery bitter’, having ‘notes of mustard and horseradish’ or tasting ‘somewhat earthy’. Regardless, it’s clear that turmeric isn’t a particularly appealing taste on its own.
With this in mind, you certainly cannot eat turmeric raw. Instead, it is most often used in cooking. In many cases, turmeric is simply used because it adds color to food.
Still, like many spices, turmeric provides an appealing flavor when used in cooking and adds to the complexity of meals. Turmeric also isn’t as strong as other spices. So, it is entirely possible to bury the taste in dishes, especially if you have other strong flavors present, like ginger.
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What Does Turmeric Look Like?
Turmeric is a root and tends to look fairly similar to ginger – at least on the outside.
The key visual difference between the two is the flesh of the root, which is bright orange in the case of turmeric.
Turmeric also tends to be harder to peel. For that matter, ginger is often used fresh but that pattern isn’t nearly as common with turmeric.
Instead, it is typically used in a powdered form.
What Does Turmeric Tea Taste Like?
Most of the time, turmeric is associated with curries but this isn’t the only way to use it. Indeed, curries aren’t always the best solution anyway, especially if you want to have turmeric on a daily basis.
Turmeric tea offers a way around this. The tea is an appealing drink for any time of the day, particularly because it doesn’t contain caffeine.
Additionally, turmeric tea manages to have an appealing taste and can be very soothing. One reason for this is that the other herbs present mask the bitterness of turmeric and results in a rich drink that works surprisingly well.
There are countless variations out there but turmeric tea can be simple to make.
In particular, one recipe involves the following ingredients:
To make the tea, you start off by boiling the water in a pot on the stove. Once it has boiled, you can take it off the heat and add in the other ingredients.
You could also make the tea directly in a mug using water from a jug if you chose to. You can substitute the raw honey for another sweetener, based on your preference.
Turmeric Ginger Tea
As the name suggests, turmeric ginger tea is a variation that takes advantage of the flavor and health benefits of ginger. Some people also make it using green tea or oolong tea as well, along with other ingredients, like cinnamon.
For example, one recipe uses the following:
All of these ingredients are added into a teapot and are left to steep for a few minutes. The tea can then be strained into a mug and consumed immediately.
You can also add in a sweetener, such as raw honey or something similar.
Turmeric Golden Milk
Sometimes called creamy turmeric tea, turmeric golden milk is a variation on the concept of turmeric tea. Here, the drink relies heavily on coconut oil and milk, rather than water. The end result is a milkier drink that still has the same soothing properties.
As with turmeric tea, there are various ways to make it. Additionally, some people choose to make a paste first and then create the tea from that.
One simple recipe for the paste is:
To make this, you heat the first three ingredients in a pot until a paste is formed. The process typically takes from 7 to 10 minutes.
Then you take the pot off the heat and whisk in the coconut oil. The paste can then be stored in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Making turmeric golden milk from the past just involves heating it up again with coconut milk. You can choose your ratio based on taste preferences but a common recommendation is 1 teaspoon of paste to 2 cups of coconut milk.
Turmeric golden milk can also be made with other plant-based milks, such as almond milk. It is also sometimes created using regular milk.
What Does Turmeric Taste Like in Soups and Meals?
Turmeric is also commonly used in soups and in curries, along with other dishes.
In this role, the bitter taste of turmeric isn’t particularly evident. For that matter, most soups and curries don’t highlight the turmeric flavor at all.
Instead, turmeric becomes just one element of a more complex flavor profile.
Because of this, using turmeric as an ingredient lets you get the benefits from the spice, without having to deal with the flavor.
What Does Turmeric Powder Taste Like?
Turmeric powder doesn’t have an especially appealing taste. It tends to be bitter and pungent, making it incredibly unappetizing.
Some people do consume it in this form, such as by mixing a teaspoon in with a glass of juice or even just water.
On a side note, there are also turmeric supplements available on the market. These are typically turmeric powder with a coating that allows you to swallow it easily.
As a result, you won’t typically taste the powder. In many cases, the supplement may also be formulated to help increase absorption.
Doing so may work well. However, it is normally best to get health benefits from your diet first, if at all possible. And, for many people, getting turmeric in the diet is very achievable.
How Do You Make Turmeric Taste Better?
If you’re looking for the health benefits of turmeric, finding ways to make it taste better can be important. The best way to do so is to use it in conjunction with other herbs and spices.
These help to mask the taste somewhat and create a more appealing flavor overall. At the same time, other herbs and spices do have their own health benefits and this may be another reason for using them.
For example, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander are all commonly used in combination with turmeric. Likewise, raw honey makes a good and healthy sweetener, especially if you go with manuka honey.
Additionally, it’s important to include black pepper in any recipe involving turmeric. Not only can black pepper help with flavor but it plays a key role in the absorption of curcumin.
As a result, it is critical for getting the best benefits from turmeric.
These herbs and spices can be used in many different recipes. Figuring out which one is going to work for you may be a matter of trial and error.
For example, some people also make turmeric smoothies, which are a variation on the idea of turmeric tea and turmeric milk.
This type of smoothie may be particularly appealing in the summer when a soothing hot drink is simply not a great idea.
Alternatively, some people mix turmeric in with hot chocolate or add turmeric and honey to orange juice. Those are also other ways to get the benefits without having to fight the bitter taste.
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If you have other ways that you consume turmeric, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear what other options are out there.