Amchoor Powder Uses

Amchoor powder, also known as amchur or dry mango powder, is a popular Indian spice made from unripe green mangoes that are dried and ground into a fine powder.

Amchoor Powder Uses

With its tangy, fruity flavor and sour taste, amchoor powder is used to add a burst of tartness to dishes without the need for liquids like lemon juice.

What is Amchoor Powder?

Amchoor powder is made by slicing unripe green mangoes into thin strips, drying them out until crisp in the hot sun, then grinding the dried slices into a light brown powder.

Also spelled amchur or amchoor, this handy Indian spice has been used for centuries to provide dishes with a tangy, sour kick and fruity mango essence, without adding extra moisture.

Unlike ripe oranges and sweet mangoes, unripe green mangoes have very high levels of sourness and acidity. By capturing this tart flavor and converting the unripe fruits into an easy-to-use powdered form, amchoor powder offers a convenient way to spike curries, chutneys, stir fries, snacks and more with bright sour notes whenever needed.

How Does Amchoor Powder Taste?

True to its origins from tart green mangoes, amchoor powder has an intensely sour, acidic taste. Its flavor is reminiscent of lemons and vinegars, with even more puckering tartness.

Underneath the upfront sourness, amchoor powder also carries subtle fruity sweet tones redolent of green mangoes and tropical fruit. This stops the amchoor from tasting one-dimensionally sour, and adds fruity depth.

When added judiciously in small amounts, amchoor powder provides dishes with a sharp, mouthwatering tartness to awaken the palate, combined with fragrant mango fruitiness in the background.

Popular Uses for Amchoor Powder in Indian Cooking

In Indian cuisine, amchoor powder is widely used:

  • As a souring agent in place of lemon juice or tamarind to add tanginess to curries, dals and sabzis
  • Sprinkled over chaat street snacks like bhel puri, sev puri and dahi puri to give a sour burst
  • In the signature spice blend chaat masala, alongside cumin, coriander, pepper and mint
  • As part of the marinade for meats and paneer to tenderize and give a tangy flavor
  • Mixed into yogurt raitas, fruit salads and drinks for a refreshing sourness

Compared to lemon juice and vinegar, amchoor powder provides tartness without adding extra liquid that can thin down dishes. And unlike tomatoes, its sour flavor does not fade with extended cooking times. This makes amchoor powder uniquely useful in Indian cuisines.

How is Amchoor Powder Used in Cooking?

When cooking with amchoor powder, use small amounts and taste frequently, as it has an intensely puckering sourness.

Start with 1/4 teaspoon per pound of meat or vegetables, or 1/2 teaspoon for lentils or curries, and adjust upwards from there. Too much amchoor powder can make dishes unpleasantly mouth-drying instead of pleasantly tart.

Since brief cooking helps retain amchoor's bright fruit flavors, it's often added towards the end of cooking. However it can also be sautéed at the start to mellow and caramelize its sourness.

Amchoor powder mixes easily into thick liquids like curries, chutneys and masalas. For drier items like snacks, stir-fries and nuts, rub the amchoor between your fingers to disperse it before tossing it in.

Key Takeaway: For most savory dishes, start with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of amchoor powder per pound and add more for extra tang. It works well stirred into liquids or rubbed over drier mixtures.

Substitute for Amchoor Powder

If you don't have amchoor powder, substitute equal amounts of:

  • Lemon or lime juice - offers sourness but also adds liquid
  • White vinegar - clear color and aroma
  • Tamarind pulp - fruity sourness
  • Green mango - closest flavor match when minced
  • Dried tart cherries, chopped - muted fruit sourness
  • Sumac - less sour, with lemony flavor
  • Kokum - sour tropical fruit used in Indian cuisine

However none can exactly replicate amchoor powder's intensely tangy, fruity sour kick.

Dishes That Complement Amchoor Powder

Amchoor powder pairs well with ingredients that appreciate a bit of fruity tartness:

  • Lentils and beans
  • Vegetables like cauliflower, okra, eggplants and green beans
  • Meat and seafood curries
  • Snack foods like roasted nuts, chips and fries

It also complements spices like cumin, coriander, chili powder, garam masala and curry leaves.

However creamy or sweet dishes can be overpowered and thrown out of balance with too much amchoor powder. Go light when adding it to raitas, desserts or rich curries.


Since amchoor powder is created from dehydrated raw mangoes, it retains a concentrated dose of the fruit's beneficial nutrients.

  • High in vitamin C and vitamin A from Beta carotenes
  • Contains B vitamins like niacinpyridoxine and thiamin
  • Rich source of essential minerals like potassiumcalcium and iron
  • Supplies beneficial plant phenolic compounds and antioxidants

Adding amchoor powder to dishes helps boost their nutritional value in addition to flavor. It's especially useful for increasing vitamin C intake, which enhances iron absorption also provides immune protective benefits.

Buying and Storing Amchoor Powder

Look for amchoor powder sold in well-sealed packets or jars at Indian grocery stores or the international aisle of well-stocked supermarkets.

When stored properly in a cool, dark, dry place, amchoor powder lasts 6 to 12 months before losing its vibrancy. For best flavor, either refrigerate or use within 6 months and replace yearly.

Signs of stale, lifeless amchoor powder include fading to a pale color, formation of hard lumps, or a flat flavor lacking both in sweetness and tartness.

How to Cook With Amchoor Powder

Now that you understand the unique value amchoor powder contributes with its lip-smacking sourness, try using this versatile Indian spice in the following recipes:

  • Chaat Masala - Make homemade chaat masala seasoning by the spoonful. This blend of amchoor powder, cumin, coriander, pepper and mint chutney spices up snacks from fries to fruit bowls.
  • Amchur Chickpeas - Chickpeas sautéed with this zingy spice mix makes a moreish standalone snack or protein boost for rice and flatbreads.
  • Grilled Chicken Tikka - Amchoor powder and ginger peps up this easy chicken tikka made entirely on the grill or stovetop. No need for an oven or tandoor!
  • Amchoor Paneer Tikka - Marinating cubes of paneer and colorful veggies with amchoor, garlic and spices makes for quick, tasty grilled kebabs.
  • Mango Lassi Smoothies - Blend yogurt, milk and ripe mangoes with a pinch of amchoor powder and cardamom for refreshingly tangy summer drinks.

So head to the Indian markets to pick up this fantastic sour spice powerhouse. A little amchoor powder goes a long way towards adding lip-smacking tartness minus extra moisture.


Can I substitute tamarind paste or lemon juice for amchoor powder?

Yes, equal amounts of either tamarind pulp or lemon juice can substitute for amchoor powder's sourness. However they add extra moisture compared to dry powdered amchoor.

Is amchoor and mango powder the same thing?

Yes, amchoor powder is simply unripe dried mango ground into powder form in Indian cuisine, so amchoor powder and mango powder are different names for the same spice.

How do you use amchoor powder in cooking?

Start with 1/4 tsp amchoor powder per pound of food and stir into curries, sprinkle over stir fries, or rub over snacks. Add more powder gradually according to taste. It easily mixes into liquids or adheres to dry rubs.

Does amchoor powder go bad?

Kept dry and sealed from humidity in a cool pantry, amchoor powder lasts 6 to 12 month before losing its flavor and aroma. Signs of staleness are faded color, hard lumps, or a flat sourness. For best flavor use within 6 months.

What does amchoor taste like?

Amchoor powder has a highly sour, pucker-inducing tartness similar to lemons or vinegars but stronger. Underneath lies subtle fruity sweetness reminiscent of raw green mangoes and other tropical fruit. Use small amounts of this intense powder to provide dishes with bright, mouthwatering acidity.


With its intensely tangy flavor, the tart essence of raw green mangoes, amchoor powder is an innovative Indian culinary discovery that allows cooks to spike dishes with zesty sourness minus added moisture.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *