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List of Culinary Herbs and Spices

Authors Note: This page is a work in progress – it is being updated on the fly – sorry if what you were looking for isn’t here.

This is a list of culinary herbs and spices. Specifically these are food or drink additives of mostly botanical origin used in nutritionally insignificant quantities for flavouring or colouring. This list does not contain salt, which is a mineral, nor fictional plants such as aglaophotis, or recreational drugs such as tobacco. This list is not for plants used primarily as herbal teas or tisanes, nor for plant products that are purely medicinal, such as valerian.

AchioteAnnattoThis lentil shaped seed is brick-red in colour and is used to impart a yellow / orange colour to Latin American or Spanish cooking. It can be used in place of saffron and will impart a slightly peppery, nutty taste to food.

Refer to Glossary : Annatto

AjwainCarom SeedsA pungent, bitter fruit-pod from the Bishops Weed plant. Although not a true seed it is known as a seed and is similar in appearance to caraway. This spice has a strong thyme taste and should be used sparingly. Use in specialty Asian dishes. In particular, it goes well in dahls, breads, vegetable dishes and chutneys.

Refer to Glossary : Carom Seed – Ajwain Seed

AkudjuraRefers to the crushed version of bush tomato. The flavour is a pungent sharp tamarillo – caramelised sun-dried tomato flavour. Akudjura can be added directly to any dish – it does not require further preparation. Uses include seasoning for soups, vegetables, salads, cheese.

See Glossary : Akudjura


AlexandersNative to the Mediterranean but is able to thrive farther north. The flowers are yellow-green in colour, and its fruits are black. Alexanders is intermediate in flavour between celery and parsley. It was once used in many dishes, either blanched, or not, but it has now been replaced by celery.
AlkanetTraditionally used in Indian food under the name “Ratan Jot”, and lends its red colour to some versions of the dish Rogan Josh. Ratan Jot is one possible derivation of the famous curry’s name.
Alligator PepperA North African spice which corresponds to the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum danielli, Aframomum citratum or Aframomum exscapum. It is a close relative of grains of paradise, obtained from the closely related species, Aframomum melegueta. However, unlike grains of paradise which are generally sold as only the seeds of the plant, Alligator pepper is sold as the entire pod containing the seeds (in the same manner to another close relative, black cardamom).
AllspiceWhole allspice berriesIt is used in Caribbean regional cooking, as an ingredient in pickling vinegar and as an essential ingredient in the mix of spices for mulling wine and ale.

See Glossary : Allspice


AmchoorAmchoorA fruity spice powder made from dried unripe green mangoes and is used as a citrusy seasoning. It is produced in India, and is used to flavour foods and add the nutritional benefits of mangoes when the fresh fruit is out of season.

See Glossary : Amchoor


AngelicaAngelica is prized for its crunchy stems, which are often candied and used to decorate baked goods. You can also use the leaves and stems to add a celery flavour to liqueurs, sauces, and vegetable side dishes.
AniseAnise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its characteristic flavour. The seeds, whole or powdered, are used in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including the black jelly bean, British aniseed balls, Australian humbugs, New Zealand aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German Pfeffernüsse and Springerle, Austrian Anisbögen, Netherland muisjes, Norwegian knotts, New Mexican Bizcochitos, and Peruvian picarones.
Aniseed MyrtleSyzygium anisatum, ringwood or aniseed tree is a rare Australian rainforest tree with an aromatic leaf that has an essential oil profile comparable to true aniseed. The leaf from cultivated plantations is used as a bushfood spice and distilled for the essential oil, and is known in the trade as aniseed myrtle or anise myrtle
AnnattoAnnattoThis lentil shaped seed is brick-red in colour and is used to impart a yellow / orange colour to Latin American or Spanish cooking. It can be used in place of saffron and will impart a slightly peppery, nutty taste to food.

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Apple MintThe leaves of this plant can be used to make apple mint jelly, as well as a flavouring in dishes such as apple mint couscous. It is also often used to make a mint tea, as a garnish, or in salads.
AsafoetidaUse in asafoetida in minute quantities, adding directly to cooking liquid, frying in oil, or steeping in water. It is used in many lentil dishes (often to prevent flatulence), vegetarian soups and pickles. It is also suited to many fish dishes and some pappadums are seasoned with asafoetida.
Avocado leafFresh leaves often are used as seasoning, and they can also be used to create a bed on which a person can barbecue meats.
Basil, sweet
Basil, lemon
Basil, ThaiThai BasilThai basil, or Asian basil (húng que^’ in Vietnamese) is a type of sweet basil native to Southeast Asia that has been cultivated to provide distinctive traits.

See Glossary :Thai Basil

Basil, Holy
Bay LeafFresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavour and fragrance. The leaves are often used to flavour soups, stews, braises and pâtés in Mediterranean cuisine.
Black cardamom
Black mustard
Black PepperThe dried, unripe berries of a perennial climbing vine native to South India but now cultivated throughout the tropical zone. Pepper has a sharp, hot aromatic flavour, which was ideal in times gone by to hide the off flavours of old food.

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Blue fenugreek, blue melilot
Bouquet GarniBouquet GarniThe bouquet garni (French for garnished bouquet) is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.

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Brown mustard
CarawayCaraway is a biennial that takes two years for full life cycle, after it produces seeds it dies off. It can reach a height of 30-80cm with foliage that is frilly like the foliage of carrots. It has a thick root, similar to a parsnip and hollow fluted stems. The clusters of small flowers can be white, yellow or green. It is an easily grown plant that prefers a well drained soil and a sunny spot.
CardamomCardamom is one of the world’s very ancient spices. It is native to the East originating in the forests of the western ghats in southern India, where it grows wild. Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China and Tanzania. The ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner; the Greeks and Romans used it as a perfume. Vikings came upon cardamom about one thousand years ago, in Constantinople, and introduced it into Scandinavia, where it remains popular to this day.
Carom SeedsA pungent, bitter fruit-pod from the Bishops Weed plant. Although not a true seed it is known as a seed and is similar in appearance to caraway. This spice has a strong thyme taste and should be used sparingly. Use in speciality Asian dishes. In particular, it goes well in dahls, breads, vegetable dishes and chutneys.

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Cayenne Pepper
CharoliChirongi-Nut-featuredRefer to Chironji

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Chilli pepper
Chilli PowderChilli PowderDepending on the variety of Chilli Pepper used Chilli Powders range from the mildly hot to the downright dangerous and vary in colour from pale yellow/pink to deep red.

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Cicely, sweet cicely
CorianderCoriander LeavesCoriander, also called cilantro or dhania, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia.

See Glossary : Coriander

Cinnamon, Indonesian
Cinnamon, Saigon or Vietnamese
Cinnamon, true or Ceylon
Cinnamon, white
Cinnamon myrtle
Clary, Clary sage
Coriander seed
Cuban oregano
Cubeb pepper
Culantro, culangot, long coriander
Cumin Seed
Cumin SeedOblong shaped, these pale or dark brownish seeds are a very popular spice in the world and are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma.It is an aromatic spice with bitter and warm flavour.

See Glossary : Cumin Seed

Curry leaf
Curry plant
Dill seed
Dillherb or weed
EpazoteepazoteEpazote is an herb well-known to Mexican and Caribbean cooking. The name comes from the Aztec (Nahuatl) epazotl. It is also known as pigweed or Mexican tea and is frequently regarded as a garden pest.

See Glossary : Epazote

Filé powder, gumbo filé
Galangal, greater
Galangal, lesser
Garlic chives
Garlic, elephant
Ginger, torch
Grains of ParadiseAlso known as Melegueta Pepper, a rare spice indigenous to the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola. These seeds, which are closely related to cardamom, have a sharp peppery bite and refreshing astringency.

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Grains of Selim, Kani pepper
Guinea PepperRefer to Grains of Paradise. .

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Houttuynia cordata
Huacatay, Mexican marigold, mint marigold
Indonesian bay leaf
Juniper berry
Kaffir lime leaves
Kala zeera (or kala jira), black cumin
Kawakawa seeds
Kencur, galangal, kentjur
Keluak, kluwak, kepayang
Kokam seed
Korarima, Ethiopian cardamom, false cardamom
Koseret leaves
Lemon balm
LemongrassWhole and Sliced LemongrassA common ingredient in Thai cooking, lemongrass provides a zesty lemon flavour and aroma to many Thai dishes.

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Lemon ironbark
Lemon myrtle
Lemon verbena
Leptotes bicolor
Lesser calamint
Lime flower, linden flower
Mahlab, St. Lucie cherry
Malabathrum, tejpat
Marsh mallow
Melegueta PepperRefer to Grains of Paradise

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Mountain horopito
Musk mallow, abelmosk
Mustard, black,mustard plant,mustard seed
Mustard, brown, mustard plant, mustard seed
Mustard, white, mustard plant, mustard seed
Nigellanigella seedsThe seeds of Nigella sativa, known as kalonji, black cumin, black onion seed, onion seed or just nigella, are used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.

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Njangsa, djansang
Orris root
Pandan flower, kewra
Pandan Leaf, screwpinePandan LeavesPandan leaves have a sweet, unique flavour that is commonly used in Southeast-Asian countries to enhance both desserts and savoury dishes. The leaves are long and bright green, and when pounded or ground, they lend a sweet taste and aroma to many Thai desserts and some drinks.

See Glossary : Pandan Leaves


Pepper, Dorrigo
Pepper, Long
Pepper, mountain, Cornish pepper leaf
Peppermint gum leaf
Perilla, shiso
Peruvian pepper
Pandanus amaryllifolius
Brazilian pepper or Pink pepper
Rice paddy herb
Saigon cinnamon
Salad burnet
Summer Savory
Winter Savory
Sorrel, sheep
Star anise
Sweet woodruff
Szechuan pepper
TarragonTarragonTarragon is a culinary herb from the sunflower family that has a bittersweet taste and an aromatic quality similar to anise. It is an important herb in French cuisine, being one of the four herbs in the mixture fines herbes, and is a prime ingredient in Béarnaise sauce.

See Glossary : Tarragon

Thai BasilThai BasilThai basil, or Asian basil (húng que^’ in Vietnamese) is a type of sweet basil native to Southeast Asia that has been cultivated to provide distinctive traits.

See Glossary :Thai Basil

Lemon Thyme
Vietnamese balm
Vietnamese cinnamon
Vietnamese coriander
White mustard
Wild betel
Wild thyme
Willow herb
Winter savory
Wood avens
Wormwood, absinthe
Yellow mustard
Yerba buena
ZedoaryThe edible root of zedoary has a white interior and a fragrance reminiscent of mango; however, its flavour is more similar to ginger, except with a very bitter aftertaste. In Indonesia, it is ground to a powder and added to curry pastes, whereas in India, it tends to be used fresh or in pickling. In Thai cuisine it is used raw and cut in thin strips in certain Thai salads. It can also be served cut into thin slices together with other herbs and vegetables with certain types of nam phrik (Thai chilli pastes).

Herb and Spice Mixes & Blends

Advieh – Persian Spice MixAdvieh Persian Spice MixA spice mixture used in Persian cuisine and Mesopotamian cuisine. It is used in rice dishes, as well as in chicken and bean dishes.

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Baharat – Middle Eastern Spice BlendBaharat Middle Eastern Spice BlendThe mixture of finely ground spices is often used to season lamb, fish, chicken, beef, and soups and may be used as a condiment.

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Berbere – Ethiopian Spice BlendBerbere - Ethiopian Spice BlendThis spice blend is the most essential used in Ethiopian cuisine. It’s a great addition to help spice up any ordinary dish and take it to the extraordinary.

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Cajun Blackening SpiceCajun Blackening SpicesSpecifically designed for pan-blackening, but it can also be a good all-purpose Cajun seasoning for gumbos and other southern dishes.

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Chaat MasalaChaat MasalaChaat masala (Hindi ??? ?????, Urdu ??? ?????; also spelled chat masala) is a spice powder mix or masala used in culinary traditions of the Indian Subcontinent, primarily in Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisine.

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