Several spices, including ginger and saffron, are acceptable substitutes for turmeric. Commonly used in Indian food, turmeric is widely available. However, other spices are more likely available in a basic kitchen spice cabinet.
Ginger's flavor is the closet to that of turmeric, making it an excellent replacement. Cumin is a good substitute when the recipe calls for a bitter taste, but the spice does not offer turmeric's characteristic yellow coloring. Saffron does not taste a great deal like turmeric, but it contributes the same yellow hue. Curry powder is a mixture of spices, including turmeric. Therefore, curry spice is an acceptable alternative to turmeric.