How to Store and Use Indian Onion Masala in Recipes


I love preparing a big batch of Indian Onion Masala because it makes it so easy to cook fresh and authentic Indian food. Thankfully, it also lasts for a long time in the freezer.

Indian Onion Masala

If you’re wondering how to make Indian onion masala, then I suggest you read this post which explains how to make the masala.

You can also watch this video to get an idea of the process:

Ok, is your masala ready? Let’s talk about how to store and use Indian onion masala in recipes!

How to Store Onion Masala:

You can keep this masala in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks but I typically freeze almost all of it and use it as I need it. It will last up to six months in the freezer (and truthfully, as I mentioned in my onion masala post – I once found some in the very back of my freezer that was a year old and still used it… judge me if you want to but it tasted perfect).

In the past, I used to freeze this masala in zip-top bags, then lay them flat in my freezer so that I could stack them in a large pile. The problem with freezing masala this way is that it’s hard to break off a frozen chunk of masala and it’s also hard to “eyeball” how much I’m going to need for a recipe.

Now, I use these silicone trays. I bought them a while ago when making this egg bite recipe and I can’t tell you how perfect it is for storing this masala! I love that each “well” in the tray holds ¼ cup of masala. Plus they are so easy to pop out!

Indian Onion Masala

Again, each “puck” or “cube” is ¼ cup of masala and that’s the minimum amount that I use when making a recipe, which is perfect. This is what they look like when you pop them out:

Indian Onion Masala

I store the pucks in a freezer-friendly zip-top bag, which I then label with a sharpie.

Basic Indian Onion Masala

How Can I use Indian Onion Masala in Recipes?

Use this masala in any recipe calling for onions and tomatoes!

I am sharing recipes that call for exact amounts of this masala but feel free to experiment with any dish! Having this masala handy will allow you to make so many different Indian dishes!

Don’t worry about getting the exact quantity right when it comes to creating recipes that use this onion tomato masala. The great thing about this masala is that it’s already cooked down and full of flavor – so if you make something and decide that it needs more flavor, you can always toss in another cube of onion masala.

You can use this masala in SO many ways! Use this masala to give extra oomph (flavor) to pretty much anything you make. For example add some masala when making a stir-fry; use it as an Indian tomato sauce on pizza (or add Italian herbs to it!); mix it with pasta; spread it on a sandwich; stir it into your scrambled eggs, etc.

Want more guidance in adding this masala to recipes? Check out my Indian Onion Masala Headquarters where I share recipes that call for exact amounts of onion masala. Once you familiarize yourself with this Indian sauce, you’ll feel more confident in improvising and using it on your own.

Basic Indian Onion Masala

How to Store and Use Indian Onion Masala in Recipes

Indian Onion Masala

How to Store and Use Indian Onion Masala in Recipes

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  • Make sure the onion masala is cold before putting it in the freezer. I store it in the fridge first, then once it’s cold I put it in the freezer. This helps to reduce freezer burn.
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Peter Kelly says

    5 stars
    Hi, Ashley!
    I signed up for your email “tricks” on cooking Indian food.
    Originally from the UK but now residing in Canada, Indian food has always had significance for me. You could say it is the national cuisine of the UK and although I love it, I have always felt that it is too complex (spices, etc) and time-consuming to feature as a regular in my home cooking – until now.
    Your insight in preparation and your wonderful recipes have changed all that.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful website.

  2. Lawana Seeman says

    If I don’t have the onion masala made can fresh ingredients ie tomato, onion etc be substituted & in what quantities

  3. Ketaki says

    Hi Ashley,

    Thank you for the masala recipe. It is a game changer indeed!! I tried this last weekend and my weekday cooking was a breeze. Never been this happy in the kitchen before 😃

    My instant pot has gone kaput so I had to do it on stove top. I wasn’t sure how long it needs to cook – from the video it looked like the masala had left oil after the pressure cooking, so that’s how long I let it cook too. But that reduced the masala so much so that I ended up with only 9 pucks. Reading through the comments now I realized I should have got 21! Can you advise at what consistency should I stop cooking the masala?

    Many thanks,

  4. Astha says

    Awesome recipe!! I have heard it’s not healthy to cook tomato if we are storing the masala. Is this true? If yes, shall we add tomato after defrosting masala?

  5. Sachin says

    Hi Ashley! I just found your page! I can’t wait to try this out. Can you direct me to a silicone tray that could work – the link doesn’t work – the product doesn’t exist anymore. 🙁

  6. AJ says

    Hi Ashley, this is exciting. Amazed at how many recipes you have that can be quickly put together with the Onion Masala. The amazon link you posted for the silicone trays is broken. Would you mind sharing which silicone trays you used. Thank you so much

  7. Britt says

    5 stars
    This makes cooking Indian food so easy especially dal! I keep a batch of these in my freezer at all times. I bought a little camping table to cook the entire thing outside because I hate the smell of onions in the house. I also bought silicone trays that have embossed measurements on them so I can freeze a bunch of different amounts and quickly know how much sauce I’m using. Hope my review isn’t duplicate- thought I reviewed in the past but don’t see it!

  8. Gita says

    5 stars
    Haven’t try but I read this and I know some people do make masala this way specially Punjabi people and it is vary handy specially when u come home from a vacation or u have some guest coming where u need to make multiple dishes

  9. Suki says

    Hi Ashley
    After defrosting the masala, for how many days the recipes made with this masala will be good? Pls reply

  10. Surya says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley
    After defrosting this masala, for how many days can i use the curry made with this ? I usually use curry for two days.
    Can I use it for two day?

  11. Rashmi Jadon says

    Dear Ashley, I made lots of your onion masala and was excited ready to use it, but soon after my husband’s doctor recommended he follows the low FODMAP diet, which requires no onion (only spring onion green tips) and no garlic. I wonder if you have come across this, and whether you have any low FODMAP versions of your recipe I can try! With thanks.

  12. Udit says

    Hi there
    I love the onion masala and use it a lot. Thank you for the recipe. I wanted to ask if you’ve ever tried a tomato-less version of this for recipes that dont have tomatoes. If so, does it still work well? I imagine there’s a lot less volume to freeze though.

  13. Shreya says

    5 stars
    This is wonderful!!! I am buying some silicone trays and store my masalas 🙂 your post is spreading joy. Thank you for sharing

  14. Tania says

    How many 1/4 cup wells/balls do you get from your original recipe using 2 lbs onions/2 lbs tomato?

  15. Dhanya says

    Hi Ashley,

    This masala is a great idea. I’m going to make it and freeze today.. can imagine many uses for it.
    Question – How do you thaw these cubes generally? Is it okay to heat the frozen cubes up in a microwave safe bowl or do you recommend doing it in a saute pan on the stovetop?

    Thank you!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Dhanya, thank you! That’s great to hear 🙂 I just thaw them in a bowl or in the fridge but you can put them in a microwave safe bowl and heat them that way too!

  16. May says

    5 stars
    I made my first batch yesterday and froze in silicone Muffin pans. It worked perfectly – 1/2 cup sized pucks. Just wondering how long it will take to defrost. Do you defrost in microwave? Or do you put it in the instant pot frozen? Thanks for your recipe!

    • My Heart Beets says

      May, that is great to hear!! In the recipes for this series, I have included whether you can use the masala frozen or if you have to thaw it first – let me know if you have any questions about a particular recipe as I’m more than happy to help!

      • May says

        Ahh. I see that I wasn’t reading carefully enough. I ended up half defrosting it in the microwave for the Aloo Matar. When I added the onion masala to the coconut oil in my instant pot, there seemed to be a lot of splatter. Is that normal? It was delicious but next time I will have to double the recipe. I used a pot in pot method and made cauliflower rice at the same time. Thanks so much for the recipes!

        • My Heart Beets says

          May, I’m not sure why it splattered but I have had food splatter sometimes while cooking – perhaps try to pour it in slowly if you use thawed masala? Sorry that happened to you!

          • Piara Singh says

            Many years ago ( before the days of Instapot ) I made this bulk masala and froze in ice cube trays. Then pop out masala cubes and store in a zip lock bag or a snap container. Use one or two masala cube per cup of any lentils.
            Now I’ll try to make masala cubes in Instapot.
            Thank you.

  17. Chris says

    Hi, I’m looking forward to making the onion masala but noticed the “this silicone tray” link above doesn’t go to silicon trays!

  18. Cristina Tijerina Sepúlveda says

    I made this masala and I’m learning to add more heat as I enjoy spicier dishes. My question becomes: am I able to substitute this masala in dishes like your Butter Chicken that call for the exact same ingredients and spices? And if so, what would be the substitute amount of the onion masala?

    Thanks for another great recipe. I served with basmati rice and aloo gobi. My husband was elated (especially since making it at home is MUCH less expensive than eating at an Indian restaurant)!!

    Anyhow, thanks again!

paneer lababdar

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