Cumin Powder, How To Make & Use It

Updated: May 27, 2024, By Swasthi

Learn How to make Cumin Powder at home – a quintessential of Indian cooking. Homemade Cumin Powder is pure, with a burst of flavors, easy to make and is more economical. Cumin is the seed of the flowering plant cuminum cyminun which belongs to the Apiaceae family. Apart from imparting an earthy, smoky and delicious flavor to the food, cumin also provides some nutritional and health benefits.

Cumin powder is ground cumin made from whole seeds

It is basically used in 2 different forms – 1. Whole seeds and 2. Ground form which is known as ground cumin, cumin powder and jeera powder (in Indian languages). While it is commonly used in the Indian sub-continent, it is also used in the Mediterranean region, Latin America, North Africa, Mexico and the Middle East.

In Indian cooking, the whole seeds are usually added to hot oil or ghee. This process known as tadka or tempering brings out the complex flavor and aroma of the spice. Whereas cumin powder is added to dishes while simmering (curries/gravies) or at the finishing stage like in stir fry dishes, soups, salads, chaats etc. It plays a very important role in a recipe and it cannot be substituted with the whole seeds and vice versa.

New to spices? Explore more about Indian Spices here.

Why Homemade Cumin Powder?

Just like homemade Curry Powder, Chai Spice, Biryani Masala and Garam Masala, homemade cumin powder is more flavorful than the store bought bottled one for the simple reason that ground spices oxidize and begin to lose their real flavor overtime. Store bought ground spices can never have the same amazing depth of flavor as the homemade one.

So I always make it at home in small batches. All you need is good quality whole cumin seeds, preferably organic or at least NON-GMO kind & a good spice grinder. Store bought ground cumin comes in 2 kinds.

  1. Raw cumin powder where the seeds are simply ground without roasting. This is mostly labelled as ground cumin. This kind of ground cumin is always added while simmering/ cooking dishes like curries, soups etc.
  2. Roasted cumin powder which is made by roasting the seeds first. Then they are ground. This kind of powder can be used while simmering, finishing or for garnishing. It is also known as bhuna jeera powder.

Why Roasting is Important?

Whole cumin seeds naturally taste sharp and slightly bitter. Roasting them not only reduces these sharp and bitter tastes but also enhances the flavor profile by releasing a more earthy and warming flavors. Once you begin to use the roasted cumin powder you will never want to go back to the unroasted one. Also this step of roasting makes it more shelf stable and lasts longer.

However unroasted ground cumin can be used in marinades, grilled dishes, fried foods, soups and stews where it is added much earlier in cooking.

Making your own cumin powder at home is a 2 step process. The first step is to roast the whole seeds on a really low heat to bring out the aroma. Then they are cooled down and ground in a spice grinder to a very fine powder. Stored in a clean air tight glass jar, this homemade ground cumin retains its flavor for 2 to 3 months.

So this well-known spice not only flavors & adds nutrition to your dishes but also has immense potential to work on the overall body system.

Recipes using Cumin
Jeera water
Jeera Aloo
Cumin/Jeera rice
Chicken Tikka Masala
Butter Chicken

Photo Guide

Step-by-step photos to make Cumin Powder

1. Add cumin seeds to a pan.

cumin seeds in a measuring cup

2. Begin to dry roast on a medium heat stirring often for 1 to 2 minutes.

roasting cumin seeds

3. Once they become hot, turn down the flame to lowest and keep stirring. Within 1 to 2 minutes, they will begin to smell good, earthy, strong and aromatic. They will also turn slightly deeper in color. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove. Keep stirring for another 1 to 2 minutes after taking it off the heat. Cool completely.


4. Add them to a spice grinder and grind in intervals of 30 to 50 seconds until fine.

grinding in a grinder

5. Scrape down the sides with a spoon and grind a little longer if needed.

ground cumin in a glass jar

6. If you do not have a powerful grinder, sieve it and grind the coarse ground spices again. Let the cumin powder cool down completely after grinding. Store in a air tight glass jar and store it in pantry for 2 to 3 months. If stored in the refrigerator it keeps good for 6 months or even longer. If you make it in larger quantities, store them in separate smaller jars and use them one after the other so the flavors remain intact for longer.

cool cumin powder

How to Use Cumin Powder?

You can sprinkle this in your stir fry dishes, curries, soups, salads, chaats etc. It is best to use this when you are about to finish in stir fry and soups. To use it in curries, use it along with coriander powder or garam masala. To use it in raita, salads and chaats, sprinkle as much when you are serving.

Cumin powder is made by roasting jeera

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

cumin powder

Cumin Powder (Roasted Jeera Powder)

5 from 17 votes
Learn to make cumin powder at home with the help of these simple steps. Homemade ground cumin is more aromatic, pure, hygienic and economical than the store bought.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings72 grams
Diet : Gluten Free, Vegan

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • ½ cup cumin seeds (72 grams)


How to make Cumin Powder

  • Clean cumin seeds and add them to a heavy bottom pan. Turn on the heat to medium and keep stirring until the seeds become hot to touch.
  • Reduce the heat to the lowest and roast them. Keep stirring continuously so the seeds roast evenly.
  • When done, they will emit a strong earthy, pungent and smoky aroma. Remove from heat. Do not over roast they will burn and taste bitter.
  • Cool them completely and add to a grinder. Grind in short intervals of 30 to 50 seconds until ground to a fine powder.
  • Cool completely and transfer to a air tight glass jar. If you plan to store for longer, store in smaller jars and use them one after the other so most of the aroma is retained.
  • Use cumin powder as needed in curries, stir fry dishes, soups, salads and chaats.


The nutrition values is for 1 gram (half teaspoon) of ground cumin.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Cumin Powder (Roasted Jeera Powder)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 13mg0%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 9IU0%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 7mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
First time I made cumin powder at home. It smells so good and very different from the readymade. Thank you for showing us how to make it. It was worth the effort.

Does cumin have fish oil in it yes or no

5 stars
What about black pepper powder? Pls make detailed explanation video… If possible…

5 stars
I love this idea.
I only want a small amount of cumin seeds ground enough for 4 to 6 weels.
Will this work for ground coriander seeds?
Love the site, thanks.

5 stars
Best Recipe. Thank you for sharing with us.