Your Guide to Herbs and Spices

You've probably reached into your cabinet and pulled out a spice that you couldn't identify or maybe you've googled a new recipe but had no idea what you were reading. Next time that happens, you can reference this guide! We've created a guide to the most commonly used spices, so next time your feeling creative in the kitchen, you won't have to hold back!

Allspice: Usually put into spice mixes, this is a lot like cloves but more pungent and richer in flavor.

Anise: This spice is derived from a seed has been used in a variety of ways throughout history. It has a licorice-like flavor.

Basil: Like anise, it has a licorice like flavor. It is a leaf that is great for pesto, pastas and sandwiches!

>> We used basil in these delicious Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes! Get the recipe here.

quinoa stuffed tomatoes

Bay leaf: Often put into soups and stews, these leaves are sold dry. Choose those rich in green color and remove them from your soups before serving.

Cardamom: Warm and aromatic, this spice is used in many Indian cuisines, but can also be used in baking when paired with clove or cinnamon.

Cayenne pepper: Used in many cajun and Indian recipes, this sweet and spicy pepper is a foundation for a lot of hot sauces. Cayenne Pepper is often just a hotter version of red peppers.

Celery Seed: Tasting just like celery, this seed is not extremely flavorful but it very versatile.

Chives: Making for a great garnish, chives have an onion flavor that is very common.

Cilantro: Used in Caribbean, Latin American and Asian cooking, cilantro gives a very fresh and herby flavor.

Cinnamon: Used in baking for a bittersweet flavor or in stews and curries for earthiness, cinnamon is a must have for every spice rack! Read more about cinnamon in our Glossary of Foods!

Cloves: Usually ground, a little of this spice goes a long way! You've most likely put this in gingerbread, thanks to its rich sweetness.

Coriander Seed: Used in a lot of Mexican and Indian dishes, this seed is earthy and lemony!

Cream of Tartar: Used in meringues, this fine white powder comes from the crystalline acid inside wine barrels!

Cumin: Ground from a seed, this earthy aromatic spice is used in Southwestern US, Mexican Middle Eastern, and Indian dishes.

Dill: Put it over fish, potatoes or use it for pickling, dill is a light and feathery herb.

Fennel: Chew it by itself to aid in digestion and breathe freshening or put this licorice-flavored herb over meat dishes!

Fenugreek: It may smell like maple syrup, but it actual has a burnt sugar and bittersweet flavor. It's used in many Indian and Middle Easter dishes.

Garlic Powder: From dried garlic cloves, this is used in dished for a sweeter and softer garlic flavor.

Ginger: Dehydrated Ginger will give you a great powder for a spicy bite in your next dish. Want to learn more? Click here!

Hyssop: Tasting mostly like mint but with a more floral and pleasant bitter taste, you can most likely find hyssop in Middle Eastern markets.

Kosher Salt: Kosher salt has larger crystals than table salt, so it's easier to pinch and control the amount you use. It's typically made without the addition of iodine.

Licorice: While you've probably had licorice candies, it can be used in lots of cooking as well. It is often used in sodas for a sweet after taste, to cover up unpleasant taste in medicine and as a savory flavor in Asian cuisine.

Click through to the next page for more spices and herbs!

Lemon Verbena: These leaves are used to add a lemony flavor to fish and poultry dishes, salad dressings and more.

Lavender: This can be grown as a condiment and used in salads and dressing. Bees also use it's nectar for high quality honey!

Lemongrass: Use it fresh, dried or powdered. This can be found in many asian cuisines as well as teas, soups and curies. It has a subtle citrus flavor.

Loomi: Also known as Black Lime, this is ground from fried limes. It has a sour kick that is used in some Middle Eastern Dishes

Marjoram: Try this out in your next homemade sauce! It has a woodsy and floral favor.

Mint: Mint goes great with chocolate, but you can also try it alongside lamb or potatoes.

Nutmeg: Nutmeg is sweet and pungent, which is great for baking, but you can also use it to add warmth to meats!

Oregano: Used in a lot of Mexican and Mediterranean dishes, oregano is robust and has a lemony undertone. Learn more about oregano in our Glossary of Foods!

Paprika: You can get paprika in varying degrees of spicy depending what you like! It'll give your food a great  red color and a sweeter taste!

Parsley: Light and grassy in flavor, this herb is very popular as a finishing touch on many dishes.

Peppercorn: Buy whole and crack or ground them yourself. The freshly cracked peppercorn will give a great pungent smell and taste.

Rosemary: Woody and piney, rosemary goes great with grilled meats, potatoes, eggs or beans!

>> Try out these Skinny Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes tonight as a side dish!

rosemary garlic mashed potatoes

Saffron: With a hay-life and sweet taste, saffron is rich in yellow color and is used for many Indian, Persian, European and Turkish cuisines. Saffron can be quite expensive however, so you may not have gotten to cook with it before.

Sage: A pine-y like taste with more lemon to it that rosemary and is used is many italian dishes.

Sesame Seeds: Brownish in color, the sesame seed is used most in breads, stir fries, Jewish and Chinese confectionaries and Middle Eastern dishes.

Spearmint:A minty flavor that inspire most chewing gum, you can find this in many teas, mojitos and mint juleps!

Sumac: Get a zing of lemon with this! It's a great Middle Eastern spice for marinades and spice rubs.

Tarragon: Eat raw or use it to add some extra flavor to tomato based dished, chicken, seafood or eggs! It tastes a lot like anise.

Thyme: Thyme can be used for just about any dish. It gives a pungent and woodsy flavor.

Turmeric: Often found in curry powder, turmeric is a great replacement for saffron with it's yellow color and woodsy flavor.


Vanilla: Often considered the 'default' flavor of ice cream, vanilla is most used in baking and appears brown or yellow, depending on concentration.

Wintergreen: Historically, wintergreen was used by Native Americans to make a medicinal tea, but today is found more commonly in chewing gum flavoring, candies and tobacco products.