Exploring Colombo Powder: A Spice Blend From the Caribbean

If you’re a foodie, you’ll have come across Colombo Powder at some point in your culinary journey.

But for those who haven’t discovered this spice mix, you may be missing out on a beautiful addition to your spice cabinet.

Colombo Powder, or Colombo Spice, is a blend of roasted and ground spices commonly used in Caribbean cuisine. It typically includes coriander, cumin, fennel, mustard seeds, turmeric, and black pepper, although variations may include additional spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The result is a fragrant, flavorful spice blend that adds a warming, earthy note to dishes.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the origins of Colombo Powder, its health benefits, and how you can incorporate it into your cooking.

From traditional Caribbean dishes like Colombo de poulet and goat curry to inventive new recipes like Colombo Powder roasted vegetables, you’ll be inspired to start cooking with this versatile spice blend.

Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the world of Colombo Powder.

What is Colombo Powder?

Colombo Powder 1 1

Colombo powder is an incredibly flavourful and fragrant spice blend in French-Caribbean cuisine. To prepare all the ingredients, clean the chicken pieces, then marinate them with spices and herbs.

After that, you can add chopped vegetables – usually tomatoes and onions – to complete the marinade. Stir everything well for a few minutes to ensure the flavors are evenly distributed.

Once your ingredients are ready, it’s time to introduce yourself to Colombo Powder: a unique spice blend of the Caribbean.

Colombo Powder Ingredients And Flavor Profile

Colombo powder is a flavorful blend of spices and a regional version of the traditional curry powder spice mix. It comprises several spices, such as cumin, coriander, brown mustard, cloves, fenugreek, turmeric, and roasted rice, as a thickener.

To make the blend, start by toasting the rice in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden. Then, add all spice ingredients to the same skillet except turmeric and ginger.

Next, roast the spices for a few minutes until they change color and become fragrant. Once cooled down for a few minutes, grind everything together using a coffee/spice grinder into a fine powder.

Colombo powder creates an intense flavor profile with its diverse ingredients adding unique taste and aroma when cooked together.

Culinary Uses Of Colombo Powder In Caribbean Cuisine

Colombo powder is a versatile spice blend used in many dishes to add depth and flavor. Try experimenting with it in your cooking to create delicious meals.

Here are some culinary uses for Colombo powder and recipes that feature it:

Use it as a dry rub for meats

Chicken Colombo
Chicken Colombo

Colombo powder contains a combination of spices that go well with meat, especially chicken and pork. Simply mix the Colombo powder with some salt and neutral oil like vegetable oil, to create a paste.

Rub the paste all over your meat, let it marinate for an hour or two, then grill, roast, or pan-fry it.

Make a delicious curry

Colombo powder is a common ingredient in Caribbean-style curries. To make a curry, first sauté some onions, garlic, and ginger in oil until fragrant.

Add some Colombo powder to the pan and cook for a minute, then add your protein, vegetables, and coconut milk. Let it simmer until everything is cooked through, then serve over rice.

Use it in a marinade for seafood

Colombo powder adds a nice, earthy flavor to seafood like shrimp or fish. Combine Colombo powder with lime juice, coconut milk, and grated garlic to make a flavorful marinade for seafood.

Let it marinate for 30 minutes to an hour, then grill or pan-fry the seafood.

Add it to soups and stews

Colombo powder can add a lot of flavor to hearty soups and stews. Try adding it to a gumbo or jambalaya recipe for a Caribbean twist on the classic dish. You can also spice up a simple chicken or vegetable soup.

How To Incorporate Colombo Powder Into Your Cooking

Some tips and techniques for preparing, storing, and using Colombo powder in your cooking:

Preparing Colombo Powder

Use whole spices

To make Colombo powder, it’s best to start with whole spices, as they have a stronger flavor and aroma than their powdered counterparts. Toast the spices in a dry skillet until fragrant before grinding.

Grind the spices

Use a spice grinder, mortar, and pestle to grind the toasted spices into a fine powder. Be sure to work in small batches to ensure that the powder is ground evenly.

Blend the spices

Mix the ground spices together until well combined. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Storing Colombo Powder

Keep it airtight

Use an airtight container to store Colombo powder. Exposure to air can cause the spices to lose their flavor and aroma.

Avoid moisture

Moisture can also affect the quality of the spice blend. Keep it away from moist areas such as the kitchen sink or stove.

Store in a cool, dry place

Keep your Colombo powder in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cabinet. Avoid storing it near heat sources like the stove or oven.

Using Colombo Powder

Season at the beginning of cooking

Add Colombo powder to dishes at the beginning of cooking to allow the flavors to meld together. This will ensure that the spices are evenly distributed throughout the dish.

Use sparingly

Colombo powder is a potent spice blend, so use it sparingly. Start with a small amount and adjust as needed.

Experiment with different dishes

Aside from traditional Caribbean dishes, try using Colombo powder in other types of cuisine, such as Indian or Southeast Asian. It can add a unique flavor to many dishes.

Where to Buy Colombo Powder

If you’re looking to buy Colombo powder, several options are available. You can find it at specialty grocery stores that cater to Caribbean, African, or Indian cuisine.

You can also find it online from a specialty spice retailer or larger e-commerce sites like Amazon.

When buying Colombo powder, look for high-quality blends from fresh, whole spices for the best flavor.

Prices can vary depending on where you purchase it from, so compare prices and read reviews before purchasing.

Colombo Powder Substitutes

Some potential substitutes for Colombo powder that can be used in recipes:

Curry powder

Curry powder contains a mix of spices that may include turmeric, cumin, coriander, and other ingredients that can help mimic the Colombo powder flavors.

Garam Masala

Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend commonly used in curries and has a similar flavor profile to Colombo powder.

Cajun seasoning

Cajun seasoning is a mix of spices typically used in Southern Louisiana cooking. It has a complex blend of flavors that includes salt, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and other spices that can mimic the flavors of Colombo powder.

Ras El Hanout

Ras El Hanout is a spice blend from North Africa and can substitute for Colombo powder. It contains more than 30 spices and can impart complex flavors like Colombo powder.

Homemade Colombo powder

If you cannot find Colombo powder, it’s possible to make your own by mixing equal parts of turmeric, cumin, coriander, and fenugreek.

Homemade Colombo Powder Recipe

Colombo Powder Recipe

Colombo Powder Recipe

Colombo powder is a spice blend used in Caribbean and Creole cuisine. It typically includes a combination of spices such as coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, and fenugreek, as well as other herbs and spices like thyme, cloves, and black pepper.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns


  1. Toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Transfer the toasted seeds to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and grind them into a fine powder.
  3. Add the turmeric powder, whole cloves, dried thyme leaves, and black peppercorns to the spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and grind everything together until it forms a smooth, homogeneous powder.
  4. Store the Colombo powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.


You can adjust the quantities of the spices in this recipe to suit your taste preferences. Some recipes also call for adding cinnamon, ginger, or bay leaves to the blend.

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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