Mango powder can be found around the world, but it is popularly used in Indian cuisine. As it is made from dried, unripe mango, it is a difficult flavor to replicate.
If you are needing to use mango powder, but don’t have any, you might be hard-pressed to find a substitute that mimics its delicious, mangoey flavor!
What are the best substitutes for mango powder? The best substitutes for mango powder would depend on what you are cooking, but the best options include lemon juice, tamarind, sumac, anardana powder, chaat masala, and more.
Keep reading to find out the best substitutes for mango powder, and how you can use them in place of mango powder for different cooking purposes.
What Is Mango Powder?
Mango powder, otherwise known as “amchoor powder,” is a fine, fruity powder made from unripe, green mangoes that have been dried.
The mangoes should ideally be sun-dried to slowly lock in the flavor and keep the mango taste fresh and prominent.
Once fully dried in the sun, the mangoes are then ground down into a very fine powder, which can then be used as a spice and flavoring in many different ways.
The Best Substitutes For Mango Powder
Below are the best substitutes for mango powder, but when picking one out to use, keep in mind what you are using it for and the flavor that you need.
1. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice might have a fairly different taste to mango powder, but it can work as an easy substitute when you are in a pinch — you probably have some sitting in the fridge already!
When using lemon juice, you would be using it to replace the acidity in a dish where the mango powder was needed. This makes it a great option to use for salad dressings, meat, fish, and for soups and sauces too.
The lemon juice will bring acidity and sourness to the dish, but it will also have that citrusy, fruity flavor that mango powder would have as well.
Lemon juice works great to tenderize meat, making it a good replacement for mango powder when you are making a marinade.
Just keep in mind that lemon juice is a liquid, whereas mango powder is dry, so make room for this in the recipe you are cooking.
Many people consider tamarind and mango powder to be interchangeable with each other, so tamarind would probably be your best option as a mango substitute in many different recipes.
Tamarind comes from a fruit found on the tamarind tree, and like mangoes, these fruits are sour and slightly sweet when unripe.
The biggest difference between mango and tamarind is that tamarind has more of a citrus taste to it, however, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in its place, as the sourness is very specific.
The other benefit of using tamarind powder as a substitute for mango powder is that it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Sumac is a spice that is also made from a fruit, sumac berries, which are also dried and then ground to a powder.
However, sumac berries are left to ripen before being dried, so they do not have the full sourness that dried mango powder does.
Sumac powder works well because it is acidic, similar to the acidity found in a lemon, although it isn’t as sour as some other acidic substitutes.
Sumac does not need to be cooked out, so you can either use it to flavor curries and meat dishes, or you can add it to vegetables, dips, and more.
4. Anardana Powder
Anardana powder is similar to mango powder. It is actually pomegranate powder, known by its Hindi name of anardana.
Anardana powder and mango powder both share a balance of sweet and sour flavors, so they can be used in place of each other.
This powder is made by drying pomegranate seeds and then crushing them into a fine powder. It can be used in curries, on vegetables, and other cooked dishes, and goes great with different herbs and spices.
One thing to keep in mind is that anardana powder is sweeter than mango powder, so you might want to hold off other sweeteners in the recipe.
5. Chaat Masala
Chaat masala is not a powder made from fruit, but it is instead a spice blend made from many different flavors.
The reason why chaat masala works so well in place of mango powder is that mango powder is actually one of the main ingredients in chaat masala, so you get a very similar flavor.
Chaat masala can be used as a spice blend to make curries, but it can also be used to flavor snacks and cooked food.
The blend of flavors is much more complex than mango powder on its own, but it can bring a fruity, sweet, sour, and tangy flavor to a meal.
6. Citric Acid
Citric acid is often used to increase the acidity in a dish, so if you were using the mango powder to bring some acidity to a meal, then citric acid might work well.
The benefit of using citric acid is that you do not need to cook it out for a long period of time, and it is as simple as adding it to a dish.
Citric acid can be sourced from natural fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, but it can also be manufactured too, and found in either a crystal or powder form.
Loomi is made from limes that have been dried and brined, and it is a good substitute for mango powder when you are looking for something more sour than sweet.
There is some sweetness to loomi, but it is predominantly sour, and it is commonly used as a souring agent in different marinades, rubs, and sauces.
Just be wary when adding loomi to a meal in place of mango powder — start off with a small amount first, taste, and work your way up from there to avoid the loomi adding too much sourness to the meal.
8. Tajin Seasoning
Tajin is a delicious spice blend from Mexico, and it replicates a lot of the same flavors that mango powder has.
It is made from a combination of dehydrated limes, ground chili peppers, and salt. This means it is sweet, sour, hot, and tangy, and adds a pleasantly complex flavor to a dish.
Even though it contains salt, tajin seasoning can be used for both savory dishes and certain beverages. It replicates the sweet and tangy flavor of mango powder but just brings a little more heat to a dish.
9. Homemade Mango Powder
If you cannot find a suitable substitute for mango powder, you could always try to make your own mango powder at home! You just need to get your hands on some unripe green mangoes and a food dehydrator.
You would need to start by peeling the mangoes completely, and then slice them very thin. The flesh of the mango should be firm as they would not be ripe and soft yet.
Lay the mango slices in the food dehydrator and follow the appliance instructions. Wait until the mangoes have dried out completely, and then place them into a spice grinder or food processor to grind them down to a fine powder.
How fine the powder is will depend on what you prefer, but once ground down, place the mango powder into clean, air-tight jars.
You can then use your own homemade mango powder in place of store-bought mango powder!
Whether you have run out of mango powder or your local store doesn’t stock any, you don’t want to find yourself in a position where you need mango powder and don’t have a suitable substitute.
Take a read through the above best substitutes for mango powder, and try to find the one that would suit your needs best.
Keep in mind what you are needing the mango powder for, and whether it would go through cooking or not, to find one that would be a good substitute.
If all else fails, you could always attempt to make your own mango powder at home — you could even add spices to make your own unique blend!
Can I use tamarind paste in place of mango powder?
You can use both tamarind paste and tamarind powder in place of mango powder, but just take note that tamarind paste has more moisture to it, so it might affect certain recipes, which call for a dry powder instead.
However, the tamarind paste will have similar flavor qualities to mango powder.
Does mango powder smell like real mangoes?
A good, high-quality mango powder should be made from real mangoes, and real mangoes only, so it should definitely smell of mango!
What is mango powder used for?
There are many uses for mango powder, but the most common use of mango powder is as a souring agent. It is a popular ingredient used in marinades, curries, soups, and chutney.