Used as a food additive for the purpose of flavoring and has been a part of human history since their inception. They were the most valuable items of trade in the ancient and medieval world. Actually you can even find spice in the bible. In the biblical poem Song of Solomon, the male speaker compares his beloved to many forms of spices. Today there are around 2 billion tonnes of spices produced yearly to cater to the demands of the world. Below are 53 of the most common spices used in kitchens of the world today. On a side note, you might also want to check out the medicinal uses of these 22 common spices.
- Bay Leaves
- Black Pepper
- Broiled Steak Seasoning
- Cayenne Pepper
- Celery Seed
- Chili Powder
- Chinese 5 Spice Powder
- Creole Spice
- Curry Powder
- English Pickling Spice
- File Gumbo
- 4 Pepper Mix
- Garam Masala
- Herbs De Provence
- Italian Seasoning
- Jamaican Jerk
- Juniper Berries
- Kosher Salt
- Mexican Hot Chili Powder
- Mexican Spice
- Moroccan Spice
- North African Spice
- Nutmeg & Mace
- Poultry Seasoning
- Southwestern Spice
- Szechuan Peppers
- Turbinado Sugar
- White Pepper
- Whole Mixed Pickling Spice
Used mainly as a thickening agent because arrowroot tubers contain about 23% starch. Arrowroot is used as an article of diet in the form of biscuits, puddings, jellies, cakes, hot sauces etc., and also with beef tea, milk or veal broth, noodles in Korean cuisine, or boiled with a little flavoring added, as an easily digestible food for children and people with dietary restrictions.
With an aroma of mint and tea, Basil is available in leaf form. Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto, a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce from the city of Genoa, its other two main ingredients being olive oil and pine nuts. Chinese also use fresh or dried basils in soups and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh basil leaves into thick soups and eat fried chicken with deep-fried basil leaves. Basil is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces, in particular with strawberries, but also raspberries or dark-colored plums. Arguably the flat-leaf basil used in Vietnamese cooking, which has a slightly different flavour, is more suitable for use with fruit.
However, basil is also used commonly as a seasoning for pizza, spaghetti sauce, sausage, soup, tomato juice, dressings, salads, and any other dish where oregano would also be used.
They have a woody, astringent flavor with a pleasant, slightly minty aroma. Bay leaves should always be removed before food is served unless they are crushed or ground before cooking.
Normally it works well in soups, with meat and poultry dishes, pasta sauces, fish and is also used to flavor some desserts. The leaves also flavor classic French dishes such as bouillabaise and bouillon. The leaves are most often used whole (sometimes in a bouquet garni), and removed before serving. In Indian cuisine, bay leaves are often used in biriyani and many salans.
Black pepper has a sharp, penetrating aroma and a characteristic woody, piney flavor. It is hot and biting to the taste. It is found on nearly every dinner table in major parts of the world, often alongside table salt.
A unique blend of seasonings including black pepper, onion, garlic, paprika and celery seed. Especially good flavor with beef as well as pork and lamb.
With a tangy flavor similar to dill, caraway is used as a seasoning in potatoes, cabbage, carrots, sausages, rich meats, in breads and pastries. Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, and other foods, especially in Central European and Scandinavian cuisine, for instance sauerkraut. It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as havarti.
A seasoning ground from small, red chili peppers. It has been used as a spice in the dishes of many countries and is also used as a table condiment. It’s heat and spiciness varies.
Celery seed tastes like celery and is aromatic with a slight bitterness which enhances other flavors. Celery seed is available whole, ground, or mixed with salt. Celery salt is a blend of ground celery seed and fine salt. It is used primarily as a flavoring in salads (especially potato), sauces, pickling, soup, tomato juice, and meat. It is also an integral part of the flavoring of traditionally prepared crabs and other seafood.
It is also used to enhance flavor of cocktails such as Bloody Mary. Celery is one of three vegetables considered the holy trinity, along with onions and bell peppers, of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. It is also one of the three vegetables, together with onions and carrots, that constitute the French mirepoix, which is often used as a base for sauces and soups.
An essential spice in French cuisine, it is used like parsley and provides a herbal taste with the slight flavor of anise. Chervil is used much like parsley, but is more delicate and has a faint taste of liquorice. It is most commonly used on fish, egg dishes, salads and as a glaze on vegetables such as carrots.
It is made from dried chilies, usually blended with garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, chili peppers, allspice, garlic, and salt. Color and spiciness varies. It has an earthy, slightly sweet, and sometimes hot flavor. This spice blend usually dominates food rather than enhancing it. Mexican and other Latin American dishes depend on chili powder for their characteristic flavor.
A blend of star anise, fagara (Szechwan pepper), cassia (cinnamon), fennel and clove. It is heavily used in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine.
Cilantro has a bold flavor often described as a mixture of sage, parsley, and citrus. In Mexican dishes and salsas, cilantro is the ‘indescribable’ flavor note that sets them apart. Cilantro adds pungent flavor to many Latin American and Asian dishes such as stews, soup, steamed fish, curries, vegetables, salads, relishes, tomato based sauces, and noodle dishes. It is often called ‘Chinese parsley’.
Cinnamon, ultimately originating from the Malaysian language ‘kayu manis’, has a characteristic woody, musty, earthy, and sweet flavor. It is warming to taste. It is available whole, as cinnamon sticks, and ground. Cinnamon is generally used in spiced vegetable dishes, also in sweet dishes such as baking, pies, compotes, and also with meats, stews, vegetables and curries.
It is also used largely used in the preparation of certain desserts, chocolate, spicy candies, tea, hot cocoa and liqueurs. In the Middle East, it is often used in savoury dishes of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavour cereals, bread-based dishes, and fruits, especially apples. A cinnamon-sugar mixture is even sold separately for such purposes. Cinnamon can also be used in pickling. Cinnamon bark is one of the few spices which can be consumed directly.
The flavor of cloves is strong, fruity, and sweet almost hot. Cloves are available both whole and ground. Used for flavoring ham, pork, pickled fruit, onions, gravy, and syrup, spice cake, pumpkin pie, fruitcake, gingerbread, chili sauce, ketchup, and in combination with many other spices.
Coriander has a sweet, slightly lemony flavor. Cilantro, mentioned above, are coriander leaves. Coriander is available as whole seed or ground, is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Middle Eastern, Indian, Russian, North African, and Mexican recipes include coriander for its distinctive flavor. Coriander seed is a pleasant addition to potato salad, rice’s, bean, vegetable dishes, hot dogs, apple pie, poached fish, or bean, pea, and lentil soup.
A blend of garlic, onion, cayenne, black pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika.
Cumin has a penetrating musty, earthy flavor with some green, grassy nuances. Cumin is available as whole seed and ground. It is a principal ingredient in both chili powder and curry powder. Middle Eastern, Mexican Indian, and North African recipes often include cumin. Also used in curries, stews, and chili.
A blend of many spices which includes turmeric, ginger, black pepper, coriander, cumin, chilies, fenugreek and can also contain cinnamon and clove. Flavors vary according to the use or the creator of the blend. All curry blends have a rich, warm, earthy, and pungent flavor with a great many overtones. The characteristic golden color comes from turmeric. Curry powder is available in mild or hot blends. Curry powder is usually intended to be the dominant flavor but it also may be used in small amounts simply to enhance the flavor of foods such as corn bread, stuffed eggs, soup, and sour cream dips.
Dill is an annual of the parsley family and is related to anise, caraway, coriander, cumin, and fennel. The seeds are light brown in color, strongly aromatic, and warming to the taste. Dill weed has a subtle, anise like, sweet flavor. Dill is available as the whole seed and as chopped leaves, called dill weed. Dill weed is used in salads, sauces, egg dishes, and especially in seafood dishes. Dill seed is used primarily to flavor pickles and in bread, potato, and vegetable dishes. It works well with a variety of culinary dishes such as omelets, soups, stuffed grape leaves, potato salad, cucumber, veal, breads, cabbage, meat stews and rice. It is also widely used with herring, salmon and other seafood dishes.
A blend of mustard seed, coriander, allspice, red chilies, bay leaves, ginger.
Has a bitter, maple-like flavor. It is primarily used in Indian cuisine and is also used with curry, as a pickling spice and as imitation maple.
A blend of dried ground sassafras leaves and thyme. It is used as a thickener in and with soups, gumbo, meat, fish, stew and poultry.
A blend of black pepper, white pepper, rose pepper and green peppercorns.1
A Northern Indian blend of cumin, coriander, cardamom, black peppercorn, clove, mace, bay leaf and cinnamon. While commercial garam masala preparations can be bought ready ground, it does not keep well, and soon loses its aroma. Garam masala can be used during cooking, but unlike many spices, it is often added at the end of cooking, so that the full aroma is not lost. Garam masala is not “hot” in the sense that chilies are, but is fairly pungent.
It has a strong, pungent green flavor and is one of the most popular seasonings used today. Garlic can be conveniently purchased as fresh bulbs, dehydrated powder, minced flakes, and blends with salt. It adds flavor to almost any dish. Garlic is especially popular in Italian cuisine and throughout the Mediterranean region and Asia. Sprinkle to taste on hamburgers, lamb, chuck roast, steak, chicken, Italian green beans, zucchini, tomatoes and green salads. Use with sour cream or cream cheese for dips. Sprinkle on stuffed eggs. Use it sparingly to begin with and add small amounts until it suits your taste.
The flavor of ginger is pungent, lemon/citrus, warm, and sweet. Ginger is available ground, whole (gingerroot), and crystallized. Used to add zest to many dishes such as gingersnaps, gingerbread, in Asian dishes and in sweets such as cakes, cookies, puddings, pumpkin pie and sweet breads.
A Mediterranean blend containing oregano, savory, rosemary, thyme and marjoram, use to flavor stews, chicken, kabobs and tomato dishes and pizza. The mixture can be added to foods before or during cooking or mixed with cooking oil prior to cooking so as to infuse the flavor into the cooked food. They are rarely added after cooking is complete.
A blend of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano and basil. Add to dip, herb breads, any tomato dish, good in marinades and rubs.
Ground chilies, accented heavily with thyme and allspice. Used as a spicy flavoring to meats and vegetables. Jerk chicken, pork, or fish is said to be at its best when barbecued over aromatic wood charcoal or briquettes. Pimento (allspice) wood or berries placed over coals give Jerk its authentic flavor.
Aromatic and spicy with the slight flavor of pine. It is mostly used a spice for meats in marinades, on roasts and in sausage mixes.
They also season pork, cabbage, and sauerkraut dishes. Traditional recipes for choucroute garnie, an Alsatian dish of sauerkraut and meats, universally include juniper berries.
A course ground salt, with no chemicals added. Used in brines, rubs, and marinades. Also used to coat the rim of the glass for Margaritas!
Marjoram has a distinctly aromatic green and pleasant woody flavor, with a slightly bitter undertone. Available in both leaf and ground forms, marjoram should be used sparingly at first. It complements the flavor of chicken and turkey stuffing, vegetable and bean soup, as well as tomato sauces. Marjoram also enhances the flavor of many meat dishes.
A blend of spices and chili pepper, is a U.S. invention. Similar blends were used by the Aztecs. It is usually used to dominate the flavor of a food but can be used as a background flavor. Use in Mexican dishes such as chili, tacos and enchiladas. Add to quacamole, dips and salad dressings.
A blend of cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, coriander seeds, aniseed, cumin, chili powder.
A blend of saffron, cumin, ginger, paprika, cinnamon.
Mustard has a clean, fresh aroma and a pungent, biting flavor. Ground mustard enhances meat, fish, poultry, sauces, salad dressings, cheese, and egg dishes. It must be moistened for about ten minutes to develop its sharp, hot, tangy flavor. The whole seed is used in pickling, boiled with beets, cabbage, or sauerkraut, and as a garnish for salads.
A blend of garlic, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, mint, coarse sea salt.
Nutmeg has a strong cinnamon, nutty flavor used to flavor sweets, fruit dishes, sauces and vegetables. Nutmeg is available both whole and ground. Mace is sold primarily in the ground form. Nutmeg and mace are most commonly used in flavoring sweet foods such as puddings, cakes, and cookies. They are also used in meat products such as sausage. Mace is the lacy covering of the Nutmeg which is the seed of the fruit.
Onions are an important flavoring in almost every country in the world. When combined with other ingredients, onion flavor is rarely overwhelming or assertive. Onions, pungent when raw and sweet in flavor when cooked, are an extremely versatile flavoring and can be used to accent nearly any kind of dish.
Similar in flavor to marjoram, it is not as sweet and is slightly more pungent and bitter. Use oregano in your favorite ethnic dishes as well as in fresh garden salads, egg dishes, quick breads, rubs, and sauces.
The brilliant red powder is the ‘garnish spice contributing color and sweet pepper flavor. Hungarian paprika is characterized by a hotter taste, achieved in recent times by adding hot, red capsicum pepper to ground paprika. Sold in ground form. Used as a garnish for light-colored food such as fish, potatoes, eggs, and cheese dishes. A popular addition to many rubs, marinades and sauces. It is the principal seasoning in Hungarian goulash and often is used in French dressing. To retain its red color, paprika should be kept in the refrigerator.
Parsley has a slightly mild green taste. Parsley is available fresh or as dried flakes. It adds both flavor and visual appeal to salads, soup, pasta, butters, shellfish, meat, poultry, sauces, potatoes, omelets and soft cheeses. The fresh flavor of parsley goes extremely well with fish.
A mixture of ground thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg. Poultry seasoning was created mainly to season stuffing but it also adds an unusual flavor to all poultry, pork, or veal dishes.
Rosemary has a distinctive fresh, sweet, piney aroma and flavor. Rosemary is available in leaf form. Use with lamb, pork, potatoes, carrots, stews, sauces, marinades, fish, poultry, bread, on grilled or skewered meat and in roasted potato dishes. Try this, add rosemary to lemonade.
Comes in whole, crushed or ground form. The herb is distinctively aromatic and fragrant with slightly peppery, piny and bitter flavors. In Britain and Flanders, sage is used with onion for poultry or pork stuffing and also in sauces. In French cuisine, sage is used for cooking white meat and in vegetable soups. Germans often use it in sausage dishes, and sage forms the dominant flavoring in the English Lincolnshire sausage. Sage is sauteed in olive oil and butter until crisp, then plain or stuffed pasta is added. In the Balkans and the Middle East, it is used when roasting mutton.
Generally, you can use it to flavor pork, pork sausage, poultry stuffing, veal, stuffing, and tomato sauces.
Available in ground form and gives a piquant flavor to many dishes. It has a strong, slightly peppery flavor and is used to flavor legumes, meat, fish (especially trout), sausage, stuffing, tomato sauces, bean soup, meat loaf, hamburgers, eggs, or poultry.
A sweet/spicy blend of cinnamon, cumin, cloves, cayenne.
Not a true pepper but a dried berry of a prickly ash tree. It has a woody aroma with a spicy, tingly taste. It is an essential ingredient in Chinese 5 Spice. It is considered to go well with fish, duck, and chicken dishes, as well as with fried eggplant.
It is rich and sweet with an aromatic property reminiscent of anise, due to the presence of estragole. In French cooking, Tarragon is one of the four fines herbs and is particularly suitable for sauces, dressings, meat, poultry, fish and egg dishes.
It has a pungent and sweetly herbal fragrant. Thyme is often used to flavor meats, soups and stews. It has a particular affinity to and is often used as a primary flavor with lamb, tomatoes and eggs.
Also known as ‘Sugar in the Raw’. Used in many rubs and sauces because it can take higher temperatures without carmelizing.
White pepper has a similar but more earthy flavor than black pepper. Used in many dishes, sauces, rubs, and marinades. Experiment to decide how much you like.
A blend of whole and broken spices, herbs and seeds. In it you find cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, chilies, black pepper, mace and cardamom. Used by some as a rub.