Best Fenugreek Substitute (Leaves, Seeds, Kasoori Methi)

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Need a quick substitute for fenugreek or methi, fenugreek seeds, OR kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)? I’ve used them extensively as it’s common in Indian cooking and I can give you an overview and introduce you to new recipes!

Fenugreek seeds in a plate.

Need a quick substitute for fenugreek or methi, fenugreek seeds, OR kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)? I’ve used them extensively as it’s common in Indian cooking and I can give you an overview and introduce you to new recipes!

Looking for the best fenugreek substitute? Fenugreek is a staple herb in Indian cooking and a popular ingredient in many Indian dishes. 

It has a unique taste and is used in various forms: fresh leaves, seeds, and dried leaves.

Dried fenugreek leaves are known as kasuri methi or kasoori methi, which can easily be made at home.

Maybe you can’t find it or maybe you want to learn more about fenugreek, I’ve got you covered! 

Fenugreek leaves.

Methi Gota, Aloo Methi (Potato Fenugreek), and Methi Masala are some examples of recipes I have using this herb.

I’ve been on a mission to provide information on commonly used Indian ingredients to give some perspective as I have experience in making Indian food.

I see many blog posts on this from people who are not familiar with Indian cooking, which leads to misleading information and advice. 

I’ve seen people suggest maple syrup or curry powder is a good substitute for fenugreek, it is not!!!

Particularly, I’d like to note the types of recipes in which fenugreek substitutes can be used in a pinch.

Other popular Indian ingredient substitutes are found here: Asafoetida Alternative, Saffron Alternative, Tamarind Paste Substitute, Gram Flour Substitute, Ghee Substitute and Kashmiri Chili Powder Substitute, Paneer Alternative

Fenugreek stalks in a glass vase.

Ways It Is Commonly Used

The good news is that fenugreek is used in Indian cuisine in different forms.

So if you can’t find it easily in one form (I’m guessing fresh leaves), you can find it easily in it’s alternate forms.

All three forms are easily found in an Indian grocery store.  It is also available frozen if you want to keep it handy but don’t use it often. Frozen, seeds, and kasoori methi are all available online as well.

  1. Fresh Leaves: Chopped fresh leaves are used in pakoras (fritters), bread (Gujarati thepla is a famous example and as an ingredient in vegetable dishes like Aloo Methi.
Fresh fenugreek leaves with water droplets.
  1. Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi): have a more pronounced bitterness compared to the seeds. They are commonly used as a herb to flavor curries, soups, and stews.

This is commonly available online for purchase. Kasuri methi is also easy to make at home.

Dried fenugreek leaves.

➜Added as a spice: In some dishes, it is added as one of many spices to a dish or as part of a spice blend like Tandoori Masala Powder.

➜Finishing spice: Many times this is used at the end of the cooking process.  Kasoori methi is sprinkled on top of a dish.

I like to add it to Indian Tomato Soup, Paneer Sabzi, and Aloo Palak (Indian Potato and Spinach).

3. Seeds: Fenugreek seeds have a slightly sweet and nutty taste. They are often toasted or roasted before use to enhance their flavor.

They can also be soaked the night before to reduce bitterness then toasted.

Used as a spice added to Gujarati Kadhi or added to a tadka when layering flavors for an Indian dish.

Fenugreek seeds.

Fenugreek and methi are the same things! Fenugreek is known as methi in Hindi.

What makes a good fenugreek substitute?

The best alternatives include many or most of the characteristics of the herb itself:

Flavor: Fenugreek has a distinct, slightly bitter taste with nutty undertones. It adds a robust, earthy flavor to dishes.

Aroma: Strong and aromatic scent that is often described as similar to maple syrup or caramel.

Subtle Sweetness: Despite its slightly bitter taste, fenugreek can add a subtle sweetness to dishes, especially when used in small quantities.

Culinary Uses: Common ingredient in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines. It is used in a variety of dishes, including curries, spice blends, pickles, bread, and even teas.

Kasuri methi powder in a white bowl.

So, What is the Best Substitute For Fenugreek?

The truth is that the best substitute for fresh fenugreek is to use kasuri methi and the second best option is to use fenugreek seeds. Use spinach as a leafy green if you just need the color and some greens and if fenugreek is not a star ingredient in the recipe. Maple syrup can be used only for aroma, it won’t replicate taste.

These three forms of fenugreek will work interchangeably to provide some sort of substitute for each other in a pinch. 

Using fenugreek in its alternate forms is the best substitute.  The seeds or dried leaves are typically easier-to-access.

Methi leaves.

It has a distinct taste and purpose that cannot be easily replicated the way you can easily use butter instead of ghee in a pinch.

You can use other alternatives to replace the leafy green color of fenugreek or the aroma, but not the taste, which I will discuss further below.

If you happen to live in an area in the US with Shop-Rites, they just started selling methi leaves!

Kasoori Methi

Search for kasuri methi or kasoori methi.  It is dried fenugreek leaves.  

More accessible than fresh fenugreek

Can be kept stored to easily use down the road

How to use it as a substitute

They have a very strong taste and smell, more potent than fresh leaves

Cannot be used in recipes where fenugreek leaves are the main ingredient (it just wouldn’t work, unless you are subbing some powder in for fresh leaves for something like Methi Thepla as a quick fix).

Kasuri methi in a tray.

 Quantity Conversion: Dried fenugreek leaves are more potent than fresh leaves. As a general guideline, you can use approximately one-third of dried fenugreek leaves compared to fresh leaves.

Crushing and Soaking: Before using kasuri methi, crushing the dried leaves between your palms or using a mortar and pestle to release their flavor is beneficial.

Additionally, you can soak the crushed leaves in a little warm water for about 15 minutes to rehydrate them slightly.

For a kasoori methi substitute, you can use fresh fenugreek leaves.  Kasuri methi can be easily made at home from fresh leaves by using a microwave or air drying.

Proportion: 1 packed cup of fresh fenugreek leaves = 2 tablespoon kasoori methi.

 I have a guide to making kasuri methi (dried fenugreek powder) at home for easy reference!

Kasuri methi being made.

Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Seeds)

While these are not exact matches despite being from the same plant if you wanted you could try it. 

The seeds are used in tadka, added to kadhi, or even ground to make masala, like methi masala.

 Fenugreek seeds have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor with a hint of bitterness, while fresh fenugreek leaves have a more herbaceous and slightly bitter taste.

Fenugreek seeds in a white plate.
Fenugreek seeds

However, if you don’t have access to fresh fenugreek leaves and want to use fenugreek seeds as a substitute, you can try the following:

Use a smaller amount: Fenugreek seeds have a stronger flavor than fresh leaves, so it’s best to use them in smaller quantities. Start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.

➜Toast the seeds: Toasting fenugreek seeds can help enhance their flavor and reduce their bitterness. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and toast the seeds until they become fragrant and slightly darker in color. Then grind them into a powder or use them as is in your recipe.

➜Type of recipe:   Use in recipes that call for very small quantities of methi, not instances in which it is a primary ingredient.

Proportion: 1 cup packed fresh leaves =1 teaspoon toasted and ground seeds

Fresh fenugreek leaves on a paper towel.

Fresh Fenugreek Leaves

Use to make kasoori methi (using a microwave it just takes 2-4 minutes)

Chop finely to use in place of methi seeds

Other Alternatives

The two options mentioned above are really the only two alternatives.  Below, I’ve outlined other options I see commonly suggested and reviewed with thoughts based on experience.

The honest answer is, if I didn’t have fenugreek at home or easily available I would:

Use kasoori methi powder if it is used in a very small quantity

Not make it until I had the ingredient available if it is one of the star ingredients of the dish 

In a select few recipes, just use spinach as a leafy green if you just need the color and some greens

Fresh and frozen fenugreek leaves are found easily in an Indian grocery store or online. The seeds and kasoori methi are also easily available there.

Methi aloo on a gray plate.

Maple – For aroma only

Why is there this confusion that maple can be substituted for fenugreek?

It’s because fenugreek has a distinct flavor that is often described as reminiscent of maple syrup or caramel. The seeds of the fenugreek plant have a slightly sweet and nutty taste with hints of bitterness. 

Because they both share sotolone. Sotolone, also known as maple lactone or fenugreek lactone, is a chemical compound that is responsible for the characteristic maple syrup aroma and flavor. 

When cooked or toasted, fenugreek develops a rich, maple-like aroma, which is why it is often associated with the flavor of maple. 

 Also, fenugreek is sometimes added to maple syrup to enhance the aroma.  

However, it’s important to note that while fenugreek shares some similarities with the taste of maple, it is not an exact match and has its unique flavor profile.

 In reality, replacing fenugreek (methi) with maple syrup isn’t really practical.  If you’ve cooked with the spice/herb, I’m sure you’d agree!

The only way I can imagine it being used is in a VERY tiny amount in a dish that uses a few fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi as a finishing to a dish for aroma only.  

It just isn’t practical to use it as an alternative in the majority of Indian dishes.

Methi thepla on a plate.

Chinese Celery Leaves

Chinese celery leaves and fenugreek have different flavor profiles and are not typically considered to taste the same. While both have distinct tastes, they are distinct from each other.

Chinese celery leaves:

Have a strong, pungent, and slightly bitter flavor, with an intense celery taste

They have a herbal and savory quality that is unique to celery

It is more akin to fennel and star anise.

Fenugreek, on the other hand, has a flavor that is often described as slightly sweet and nutty, with a hint of bitterness.

Washed spinach in a bowl.

Spinach, Good Option For Leafy Greens

Spinach leaves are not a good substitute unless you are just looking for a leafy green!

The recipes I can think of in which it could work are to make Aloo Methi or Methi Na Gota.  

The taste won’t be the same and it’s not really the ingredient meant to be used, but it’ll still work.  

Spinach is often used in thepla instead of making Methi Thepla people make spinach thepla.

Yellow Mustard Seeds

These seeds have a strong, pungent, and somewhat spicy flavor. 

I’d avoid using it as a substitute as it can easily take the dish in a different direction.

Fennel seeds in a plate.
Fennel seeds


Fennel is not an ideal substitute for fenugreek because it has a significantly different flavor profile. 

Fennel seeds have a sweet flavor and licorice-like taste.

These distinct flavors can greatly impact the overall taste of a dish.

Mustard Greens

While they both have a slightly bitter and earthy taste, mustard greens can have a stronger and spicier taste compared to the fenugreek taste.

If you choose to use it in a pinch, adjust the quantity to your preference.

achar masala methi masala

Indian Recipes

I’ve outlined many recipes using the herb, but I have two more favorites!

The first is Paneer Tikka.  Fenugreek is used in the yogurt marinade.

Another easy way to use it is on bhurji which can be tofu or paneer based.

Pictured above is Gujarati methi masala, a popular pickling spice!

Best alternatives Summary

Fresh fenugreek leaves, kasuri methi, and fenugreek seeds are really the best alternatives for each other.

Fresh and frozen fenugreek leaves are found easily in an Indian grocery store or online.

The seeds and kasoori methi are also easily available there.

Fenugreek seeds in a plate.

Best Fenugreek Substitute (Leaves, Seeds, Kasoori Methi)

Shilpa Joshi
Need a quick substitute for fenugreek or methi, fenugreek seeds, OR kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)? I’ve used them extensively as it’s common in Indian cooking and I can give you an overview and introduce you to new recipes!
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Total Time 1 minute
Course indian spice
Cuisine Indian
Servings 1 serving
Calories 130 kcal


  • 1 measuring spoon


  • fenugreek seeds
  • fenugreek leaves
  • kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)


  • Substitute your choice of ingredient to use. Dependent on which form of fenugreek you are using and quantity. See post and notes below for more details.


Calories: 130kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 10gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 28mgFiber: 3gVitamin A: 2IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 936mgIron: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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