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12 BEST Amchur Substitutes + 1 To Avoid

I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of amchur substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry swap, or want a substitute that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.

Lemon or limes are the best substitutes for amchur powder in terms of flavor and convenience. Sumac or citric acid are also great options. Tamarind concentrate is perfect for adding acidity. And in a a pinch you can try pomegranate or grapefruit juice.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

The experiment

I made small batches of Indian-inspired garlic ginger chicken to test out several different amchur powder substitutes.

Amchur powder (also known as mango powder) is a ground spice from sun-dried green mangoes.

It boasts a tangy, citrusy flavor with a fruity hint, and it’s a famous souring agent in Indian cuisine. It helps balance out other flavors in a dish like salty, sweet, or spice.

I was looking for a substitute with the same flavor profile that could easily be added to dishes. 

Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:

SubstitutesHow to SubstituteVerdict
Lemon/lime juiceReplace with ½ the amount8/10
Citric acidReplace with ½ the amount7/10
SumacReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Tamarind pasteReplace with ½ the amount9/10
VinegarReplace with 1/2 the amount7/10
Pomegranate powderReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Chaat masalaReplace with a 1:1 ratio8/10
Homemade amchur powderReplace with a 1:1 ratio10/10

Common uses of amchur

Here are some popular ways to use amchur and the best substitutes for those situations:

  • For curries, soups, and stews: Lemon and lime juice are the most convenient amchur substitutes. You usually only need a spritz, so it won’t affect the consistency. Sumac or citric acid also works if you prefer a similar powder alternative to amchur powder.                             
  • For marinades and dressings: Try using lemon/lime juice. A splash of vinegar or tamarind paste also works. Or you can skip the other seasonings and use chaat masala instead. 
  • For spice blends: Try using sumac or citric acid. They’re in powder form, like amchur, so mixing them with other spices is a breeze. You can also go with the homemade version. 
  • As a seasoning: Lemon/lime juice is the most accessible alternative for amchur powder in terms of seasoning. Sumac is also a good option, and you can sprinkle it over anything – from proteins and even snacks. 

Lemons or limes 

Lemon or lime juice is the easiest substitute for amchur powder if you’re able to add a bit of moisture to your dish.

A spritz of lemon or lime juice will add a bright, tart flavor to your dish but with a fresher undertone than amchur.

But always go for the fresh stuff. Bottled lemon juice should be banned!

To help get all the juice out of your fruits, roll your lemons or limes on a countertop before squeezing them. Or heat them in a microwave for about 20 seconds.

If you don’t want to add moisture, you can use the zest of a lemon or a lime instead.

How to substitute: start by replacing half of the required amchur with lemon or lime juice, then adjust to taste.

Citric acid 

Citric acid is another excellent substitute for amchur powder and bonus, it’s a powder!

Psst… citric acid is VERY potent.

I tried tasting this one by itself, and it was a big mistake – my face immediately scrunched up with how sour it was.

The flavor is a bit one-dimensional compared to amchur, but there’s no denying it added a tangy hit to my chicken’s marinade. 

If you have citric acid crystals, grind them in a mortar and pestle first.

How to substitute: replace 1 tsp amchur with half the amount of citric acid, then adjust to taste.


Next in line is sumac, an exceptional Mediterranean spice that originates from the berry fruit of the Rhus coriaria shrub. 

Sumac is like amchur’s distant cousin – it’s got bright, citrusy notes that will remind you of lemons despite being bright red.

But my favorite thing about sumac is its mild smoky undertone that gave my garlic ginger chicken loads of depth.

And since sumac comes in powdered form, you can use it seamlessly as a substitute in your dishes. 

How to substitute: replace amchur on a 1:1 ratio with sumac.

Tamarind paste 

Like amchur powder, tamarind paste boasts an intensely tangy flavor with a subtle fruity sweetness that tempers the acidity.

It’s a popular souring agent in Southern India, and if you like samosas you’ll have tasted it before (it’s a common ingredients in the chutneys that accompany samosas).

It’s not a powder, but the paste form allows it to dissolve easily into saucy dishes and marinades. 

I recommend using half the amount of tamarind paste to replace amchur because the flavor is pretty concentrated.

Pro-tip: you can also use tamarind pulp or tamarind powder if that’s what you have. 

How to substitute: replace amchur with half the amount of tamarind paste, then adjust to taste.

Dried pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate is commonly used in Indian and Persian cuisine for its tangy flavor.

There are a few different pomegranate ingredients you can use: dried pomegranate seeds, pomegranate powder, or pomegranate molasses.

All these ingredients have a tart, fruity flavor with a background sweetness. Just what we’re looking for.

I went for the seeds.

If you’re making a sauce, Serious Eats recommends adding the seeds whole to your sauce and then straining them out at the end for the best flavor.

But you can also grind them into a powder.

How to substitute: replace amchur in a 1:1 ratio with pomegranate seeds or powder.


While vinegar might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an amchur substitute, it can stand in if all you need is some acidity.

It’s essential to select the right kind of vinegar – distilled white vinegar’s sharp tang can quickly overpower subtler flavors.

I like white wine vinegar’s milder tangy kick, but you can also try raspberry vinegar for sour, fruity notes similar to amchur powder.

Apple cider vinegar is a good option too.

How to substitute: swap amchur for half the amount of white wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar.

Chaat masala 

Chaat masala is an Indian spice blend with amchur in the ingredients list, making it a possible substitute. 

The inclusion of amchur lends the spice a tart edge, but additional spices like cumin, black salt, and coriander bring an added savory punch.

Because of the extra flavors, you need to make sure this ingredient wont clash with your dish. And you might need to adjust the amounts of other spices in your recipe.

I skipped the coriander and chili powder in my garlic ginger chicken recipe to keep the flavors balanced and it worked fine. 

How to substitute: replace amchur with an equal amount of chaat masala.

Homemade amchur powder

If you’re in a DIY mood and have fresh green mangoes, homemade amchur powder can be a fun project. 

I won’t lie to you, this isn’t a quick fix. 

The process takes about three days because you’ll need to sun-dry the green mangoes after slicing them.

Once the mango slices are thoroughly dried, season them with salt before grinding them to a fine powder. There you have it, your very own homemade amchur powder! 

Pro-tip: Ensure your dried mango slices are completely moisture-free before grinding. Any leftover moisture can make your powder clumpy.

How to substitute: replace store-bought amchur powder with an equal amount of your homemade amchur powder.

Other substitutes to consider

The list above are my top amchur powder substitutes, but they’re not the only options!

Here are some other alternatives to consider. You can try any of the following if you have them on hand: 

  • Dried lime powder– this is also called loomi or black lime powder. It’s primarily used in Middle Eastern dishes. It has a more prominent sour kick than amchur powder, so start with ¾ the amount the recipe calls for. 
  • Pureed green mango – if you don’t have time to wait for the green mango to dry, you can simply puree it and use this in your dish.
  • Pomegranate or cranberry juice – this is a last resort substitute. Both fruit juices will add a tart, fruity flavor strikingly similar to amchur powder. But you can’t add it in large quantities because it’ll add moisture which can alter your dish.

Avoid these substitutes

I came across a lot of recommendations for amchur substitutes but not all of them impressed me.

Someone suggested tajin, and while this tasted nice with my chicken it had a decent amount of heat which isn’t something you find with amchur powder. Use with caution!

Tomato paste was also suggested and I’m not really sure why! It’s nowhere near as tangy as amchur powder and you can’t really use it in the same way.

12 Best Amchur Substitutes + 1 To Avoid

I tested several different amchur substitutes to find the best one and I also found a homemade version you can try if you're up for a waiting game.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: amchur substitutes, substitutes for amchur
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Sun-drying time: 3 days
Total Time: 3 days 30 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 30kcal


  • 3 green mangoes
  • ½ tsp salt


  • Wash and dry the mangoes. Peel the skins and dip them in water.
  • Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the mangoes thinly. Soak them in water. Once all your mangoes are sliced, strain them.
  • Spread the mango pieces over a clean cloth. Let them dry under the sunlight for 2-3 days.
  • Once fully dried, place the dried mangoes in your spice grinder and add salt. Give them a blitz until completely pulverized. Transfer into an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.


other options: lemon/lime juice, citric acid, sumac, tamarind paste, vinegar, chaat masala,  dried pomegranate seeds, dried lime powder, tajin, pomegranate or cranberry juice, tomato paste


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 30kcal

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