What Does Turmeric Taste Like? Nasty or Tasty?

What Does Turmeric Taste Like

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 in various recipes such as turmeric golden milk, and even turmeric tea, regardless of your taste preference.

Also, keep in mind, there are ways to change the flavor profile of turmeric in recipes by including other spices and seasonings. We go over that as well.     

What Does Turmeric Taste Like?

A quick look at turmeric's benefits show 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 heart diseases (13,14,15).

All of these benefits sound great, but to some the taste of turmeric may not be that appealing. Depending on who you ask there are various opinions about turmeric's flavor

For example, Emily at thekitchen describes it as earthy, peppery, and slightly bitter.

While Rachael Ray describes it as more of a pungent, earthy-sweet taste.

In general, turmeric has a bitter flavor to a degree, along with a slightly aromatic scent.

Some others 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.

What Does Turmeric Look Like?

Turmeric root

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 (like this brand here).

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.

Turmeric tea

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.

Turmeric Tea

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.

There are also many ways to cook with turmeric. For example, the site Rodale's Organic Life provides 5 different ways to use turmeric in cooking. Additionally, the food blog Jar of Lemons has a comprehensive list of turmeric recipes. These offer new insight into how turmeric can make your food taste better. 

What Does Turmeric Powder Taste Like?

Turmeric on a spoon

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.

Turmeric Golden Milk Benefits

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. The site Minimalist Baker offers one good recipe to get you started.

Alternatively, some people mix the turmeric powder 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.

Turmeric Smoothie

Want to Improve Your Health?

Turmeric Smoothie

Better health starts in the kitchen, with the food that you eat and the meals you prepare. Getting the best outcomes involves making good choices about the food and the ingredients that you use. 

Check out my recommended products to see where you can get started. 

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.

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4 thoughts on “What Does Turmeric Taste Like? Nasty or Tasty?”

  1. Hi Vince,

    You are absolutely correct Turmeric on its own has a truly ghastly taste. I recently jumped on the turmeric bandwagon due to its reported health properties. It certainly is something you have to mix with something else like ginger (nice and refreshing).

    Also adding black ground pepper increases turmeric’s absorption rate by your body by 2000%! apparently and despite it being a very healthy spice it is very difficult for the active compounds to be absorbed by the body!

    Currently experimenting with home made turmeric and black pepper tincture!

    Reply
    • Black pepper does play a key role in absorption, which is partly why curries are such a good way to get the benefits of turmeric. At the same time, many recipes for turmeric milk and tea contain black pepper for precisely that reason – although it can help with the overall taste of the drink as well.  

      Reply
  2. What a most extensive article about this much talked about spice. I must admit I have been totally confused over the last few months by reading various pieces about the benefits and also the drawbacks of tumeric.
    Personally, I quite like the taste of it but I am able to tolerate bitter foods perhaps because I consume a lot of water with mineral additives in them which are quite often bitter.
    I am going to try some of your drinks, I have a feeling I will enjoy them, knowing my tastes. As for sweetening the drinks, I would prefer to use only natural sweeteners such as honey, pure maple syrup or even the dreaded sucrose. At least sucrose is better than the chemical sweetener aspartame! Thanks for this post. Ches

    Reply
    • Aside from the taste, I don’t think there are many drawbacks associated with turmeric, which is always a plus.

      Please let me know how you get along with the drinks, I’d love to hear.

      On a side note, I agree with you about sweeteners. That’s partly why I recommend raw honey. There are many artificial alternatives out there that are supposed to be better for you. But, whether or not they are is debatable. At least with natural alternatives, we have a good idea of what they do in the body and their long-term impacts.

      Reply

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