19 Unexpected Ways to Use Turmeric

Turmeric Spices

I have been a longtime turmeric lover. Years ago, when I was throwing it into everything, it was considered wacky and weird. And now? Oh, you know how it goes! Now everyone and their mom (or just mine?) are putting turmeric into and on just about everything. And for great reason! There are so many ways to use turmeric and I’m so excited to share my favourites with you!

Health Benefits of Turmeric

It might be tough to believe that one ingredient can do all this and more, but it can. That’s the magic of using whole, real, powerful foods. They never work on just one action – but have a multitude of applications.

How Powerful Is Turmeric?

Check out this slide from Josh Gitalis’ presentations on Crohn’s Disease, comparing the anti-inflammatory actions of turmeric as compared with some of the more popular drugs.

Anti-inflammatory Turmeric

Josh explains:

“In the botanical world, there is one herb that really shines above the rest, turmeric. I showed a chart which outlined all of the inflammatory compounds turmeric affected, and then I compared that with the inflammatory compounds that some of the most popular drugs target.”

How To Integrate Turmeric Into Your Diet


You’re going to want to start slowly. The flavour is strong and for many of us, not one we are accustomed to. Typically I’d advise starting with a pinch working your way up. But once you begin using it, you’ll never want to stop!

Here are some of my favourite ways to use turmeric to get you started.

1. Turmeric Teas and Tonics

Turmeric Tea Recipe - Ways to Use Turmeric

My turmeric tea recipe is one of the most popular posts on this blog. I first developed this recipe almost a decade ago and have been refining and rejigging it until it reached perfection.

You can brew your turmeric tea with a load of aromatic spices like ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper (that last one helps to improve turmeric’s bioavailability). You can experiment with what spice combination works best for you, as well as how much turmeric you’d like to add.

During cold and flu season, make a turmeric tonic using fresh or ground turmeric, immune-boosting citrus and ginger, and honey. This concoction reminds me of Jamu Juice, a beverage we sipped on regularly during our time in Bali.


2. Dips and Spreads

black bean burrito

Take your dips and spreads to the next level with the addition of turmeric. Hummus is the perfect dip for turmeric as it blends amazingly with chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon and cumin, but any favourite dip of yours will do.

Turmeric works especially well in vegan cheese-style spreads like cashew cream cheese or nacho cheese sauce, as the bright yellow/orange colour adds that visual similarity to traditional dairy-based dips and spreads.


3. Smoothies

Smoothie and Juice

Add a pinch of turmeric to your next smoothie and enjoy the anti-inflammatory powers. The key to creating a smoothie you won’t regret is dialling down the turmeric, especially if you’re a turmeric newbie. So don’t make turmeric the star attraction until you’re ready for it.

Instead, load up your smoothie with greens, plant-based milk, fruit and a little sweetness like dates or raw honey. Go for ¼ tsp of ground turmeric and then add more as needed. This is a good way to disguise turmeric for your kidlets, too.

4. Gluten-Free Grains

Infuse your grains with the power of turmeric by tossing it into the pot while your grains cook. You can use the powder, or add a few chunks of fresh turmeric and then remove them when you’re ready to serve your dish.

As with turmeric tea, you can certainly add more aromatic herbs into the pot for a tastier flair. Lots of herbs like fresh cilantro and parsley work well when folded into the mix at the end, or you can garnish the grains with chopped nuts or coconut. Suddenly, a plain side dish has a lot more pizzazz. Be warned: this will definitely stain your gluten-free grains bright yellow, but it’ll just be prettier that way.


5. Marinades

Turmeric adds a lovely flavour and colour to a variety of marinades for tempeh, tofu, fish, chicken and red meat. One of my favourite ways to use turmeric is in the maple orange tempeh recipe from the UnDiet Cookbook – it’s like sunshine in a pan! You can also add turmeric to your salad dressings, too.

6. Roasted Vegetables

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Sprinkle a teaspoon of turmeric onto your vegetables with a little olive oil, coconut oil or ghee before you roast them. You can also add a pinch of salt. Any vegetables will work, from the cruciferous family to root veggies to winter squash. This is a simple yet nutritious side dish that can add some turmeric goodness to virtually any meal.

7. Stir-Fries

Whenever I am making a stir-fry (or gently frying anything, like burgers, patties, falafel, etc.), I like to add a teaspoon of turmeric – or more – to the pan with some oil and let it fry for a minute before adding the rest of the ingredients to the pan. This helps to offset oxidation from the heat of the pan, and it helps to bring out the volatile properties in the turmeric.

8. Breads

Most commercial gluten-free breads are not the most health-supportive, as they’re typically filled with starches and more refined gluten-free flours. Instead, I like to make my own! For an extra dash of turmeric love, mix in ground turmeric with your dry ingredients. If you’re concerned about your bread being too orange, tread lightly and use 1/2 teaspoon. Some recipes to try:

9. Juices

Ways to Use Turmeric - Turmeric Tonic

My juicer is one of the most well-used appliances in my kitchen. So many of us tend to lean towards green juices or sweeter juices and totally forget that juicing turmeric is super awesome! You can juice turmeric alongside citrus fruits and ginger, and it also works amazingly well with sweet potatoes or yams, green apple and lemon. Go for it!


10. In Fermented Nut Cheese

Dairy Free Nut Cheese

Have you tried making fermented nut cheese yet? If you haven’t, get on that right now. I’m a big fan of fermented foods in general, but once I discovered how to make fermented vegan cheese, my life got infinitely better. You can start off with this recipe as a base and then add your favourite herbs and seasonings. Can you guess which one I recommend? Yep, it’s the one with turmeric.


11. As a Popcorn Topping

One of my favourite snacky ways to use turmeric is in popcorn seasoning. Blend ground turmeric with hemp seeds, nutritional yeast and sea salt for the most delicious mixture. Generally, I like to blitz 1/4 cup hemp seeds, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp salt. These are all strong flavours, so you can definitely alter this ratio to suit your own tastes.

This seasoning isn’t only great for popcorn – you can sprinkle it as a garnish on your dips and spreads, blend it into your vegan nut cheese, toss it on your vegetables, and sprinkle it on top of homemade crackers too.

12. In Homemade Spice Mixes

You all know that I prefer to kick it from scratch and that means almost everything, including spice mixes. The spice mix that I blend most frequently is the homemade curry powder in the UnDiet Cookbook. It’s a mix of a variety of spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, cayenne and more.

You can also blend turmeric with Italian-style herbs (dried basil, oregano, parsley), with onion powder and garlic powder, with dried fennel and dill, or cinnamon and black pepper. Play around and see what you love the most.

13. Roasted Nuts and Seeds

Ground turmeric is the perfect seasoning for your roasted nuts and seeds, as well as for roasted chickpeas. All you need is turmeric and salt to taste, along with a little bit of oil. I like to slow roast my nuts and seeds at a lower temperature for longer, rather than blasting them at a higher heat.

And, for an even more delicious version, try soaking your nuts/seeds in water overnight with the turmeric and salt. The next morning, drain and dry out in the oven. This really takes the flavour to the next level and helps to remove some of the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that interfere with our digestion.

14. Oatmeal + Breakfast Porridges

Who says oatmeal has to be sweet? I’ve been seeing a load of savoury oatmeal recipes that include plenty of vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu and eggs. This is a great way to combine the comfort of oatmeal with more vegetable power.

Spice up your oatmeal, quinoa porridge or buckwheat porridge with some ground turmeric, herbs and sea salt. You will love this.

15. Bone Broths + Vegetable Broths

Bone Broth - Health Benefits

I always view my bone broths and vegetable broths as opportunities to pack in as much nutrition and superfood power as possible. This means adding the traditional veggies and herbs for sure, but also using more unusual items like goji berries, maca powder and of course turmeric.

You can use ground or fresh turmeric in your bone broth or vegetable broth to really amp up their health-supportive properties. It’s a win-win with either!


16. Your Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte

Yes, I know this one is rather specific, but given how cuckoocrazy everyone goes for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, this one gets its very own number on the list. I have a most awesome recipe for a pumpkin spice latte that is dairy-free and processed sugar-free and combines the warmest and most powerful immune supportive herbs, including turmeric. So skip the coffee shop, and make up this spice blend instead.


17. Hearty Soups and Stews

Vegan Celery Root Soup

A rich hearty soup is one of my all time favourite ways to enjoy turmeric. Not only will give your soup a rich glow, but typically with all of the other ingredients slow cooked together, you rarely can even taste the turmeric. This is a great introduction to turmeric loving.


18. Tooth Whitener

I am not down with those chemical whitening strips and instead choose to use a natural tooth whitener recipe. Recently, I’ve seen a ton of tooth whitening recipes with turmeric and I’m definitely going to try this the next time my teeth need refreshing. Check out this recipe for a tutorial on how to do it but in a nutshell, it’s pretty easy to do – just rub turmeric and coconut oil on your teeth. Easy peasy.

Turmeric is also great for dental health, reducing inflammation and pain, so it’s worth trying.

19. Soothing Compresses

We tend to forget that our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it can permeate through to our insides. It’s important to reduce our exposure to the chemicals in conventional beauty care products, but it’s equally important to lather ourselves in beneficial ingredients that will soak in to our skin.

When used topically, castor oil can help heal injuries and tamper inflammation. Make a castor oil pack with turmeric to glean the anti-inflammatory benefits of both of these beneficial ingredients.

I think you’ll find that these easy ways to use turmeric can amp up your nutrition game and are accessible, not off the wall. Try them out and see what you think!

Bonus Turmeric Tips

Turmeric root costa rica

  • Did turmeric stain your blender yellow?
    You have a couple options. You can do a quick blend with water and baking soda or try soaking with some white vinegar.  My preferred method? Leave your blender out in the sunshine and let the sun work its magic. Also remember, our appliances are meant to be used. It’s okay!
  • Does turmeric need to be combined with black pepper for optimal absorption?
    If doing your own research, you will find several references which say that turmeric combined with black pepper will increase the absorption. But this isn’t always the case, especially when consuming turmeric in its whole food form. Why don’t my recipes include black pepper? Because I’m allergic. Instead I always aim to combine turmeric with a fat so that the fat can help increase the absorption of the fat soluble constituents.
  • What’s better, fresh or dried?
    The best option is the one that is most readily available to you! For most of my recommendations you can use them interchangeably. The typical rule when swapping fresh for dry or vice versa is that 1 part dry spice is equal to two parts fresh. So 1 tsp dried turmeric is the equivalent of 2 tsp of fresh.

Let me know in the comments if I missed your favourite use for turmeric!

19 Unexpected Ways to Add Turmeric To Your Life


  1. I use cayenne as a tincture and use it in a tea. Can you use turmeric and cayenne together? I love my cayenne, I grow my own and make my own tincture and powder. Both my husband and I use it every day. I have bought the powder turmeric because I can’t get fresh where I live. I would love to know if you can mix the two.


  2. The subject of your email for this article was “What’s orange, stains everything and rocks your health?”
    The first thing that came to mind was “the poop of a breastfed baby”!
    Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. You will never see orange the same way once baby comes!

  3. I really love turmeric in everything including my face :D so I would add to your list turmeric facial mask, you’ll love it too! btw the broth sounds just perfect, I’ll try it soon

  4. I have been taking a teaspoon of turmeric with some pepper and mixed with honey.
    However I was a but concerned when I read on the packaging of some turmeric I bought recently that it should not be consumed uncooked. Any thoughts?

  5. Hi MEGHAN.

    Thank you for your information about Turmeric!
    As a newbie i am trying it slow 1/4 to 1/2 tsp in
    my cooking meals and juices.

    As i have an inflammation in my back (above) an left shoulder blade all the time. I have noticed that the back pain gone after a day but my left shoulder blade is behaving but i could still feel like something is fighting there every time i am taking turmeric. Is my dosage too small as i have mention before?

    I am glad that the Turmeric cleans and protects the liver. Still i am concern about taking too much if that might harm the liver in the short or long run? And if not then is nothing to worry about.

    With this inflammation i couldn’t sleep good at night and its starting to get better. I don’t know how long i have to use it before i see better results. Does it take a week or 2 or 3 before everything goes away? That i am free from all the inflammation and having better rest all night.

    Until now you are the only site i have read more about Turmeric and what its used for.
    And i love the way you tell your story.

    Have a good day


  6. I just finished reading your article. I am new (again) to the healthy lifestyle. (I am realizing and working on my self worth and self love!). My fiancé has been taking this journey with me and we recently remembered that turmeric had added health benefits and we are looking into it. We bought some dried, ground today and I am currently looking for things to incorporate it into as I am not a huge fan of the taste from past experience. I make a lot of fruit smoothies i.e. mango chunks, fat free Greek yogurt, pure vanilla extract & milk- do you think the turmeric would taste okay in that and be masked enough for me to stomach it?? I’d really like to experience the anti inflammatory benefits and others but finding it hard to come across something I think I’d be okay with adding it into!

  7. I am going to try to incorporate turmeric into my diet as I have been told I have elevated liver enzymes. Don’t know why. I don’t drink much at all.

  8. My St. Bernard dog was diagnosed with bone cancer (Osteosarcoma) April22, 2018 and was give 3weeks-3 months to live. After amputation and chemo I have been giving Tumeric pills from GNC with his oncologist’s and vet’s approval! 80% of dogs with this cancer do not survive even a year. He is at 27 Months and still going strong! I am sure it’s the TUMERIC that saved him!!!!

  9. You should at least mention prominently the pepper thing.
    AND, on popcorn demands! gloves!
    If you’ve actually put it on popcorn, you should know that…..(or use tongs).
    All in all, tho, a wonderful article on a wonderful subject. Thanks.

  10. Love the recipes. I make sauerkraut with onions, garlic, and smokey tempeh. Then season it with turmeric, black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and a dash of Himalayan pink salt. Excellent for gut health as well as anti- inflammatory .

  11. I’ve been making turmeric tea, ginger, a bit of black pepper and some honey. Make it in batches, and give to my friends and family. The benifets have been great for me. I have a cup or two daily before I eat anything when I get up.

  12. I put powder turmeric in and on everything I can. Was you get the feel of the taste you can adjust easily . Makes everything taste more earthy to me. I love what it does for taste of everything.

  13. I also can’t eat black pepper which can really be a challenge!

    My favorite smoothie with turmeric:

    Plain Greek yogurt
    Cashew milk
    Plain unsweetened protein powder
    Mangoes or peaches

    It looks like sunshine!

  14. Golden Avocado Toast. Toast thick slice whole grain bread. Top with half avocado. Melt 1T butter or ghee in skillet. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp tumeric on butter. Crack 1 egg on tumeric. Cook till set. Turn over and sprinkle with additional 1/4 tsp tumeric and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Cook to desired doneness. Serve egg on top avocado toast. Pretty, golden, and good.

  15. I really enjoy the article. Thanks for the great work done. May I know if it is advisable to put tumeric powder in cold water and drink.

  16. Thank you for this article. I’ve been hesitant to try turmeric powder since I don’t personally know anyone that has, but I just bought some today and I’m really excited to try it out now after reading this!

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