8 Spice Blend Recipes from Around the World (& How to Use Them)

These easy, homemade spice blend recipes will transport your taste buds, no passports necessary.

Naturally, herbs come from plants, but what about spices? They’re plants, too. Specifically the root, bark, seed or dried fruit of a plant or tree. Spices get their flavors from the essential oils they contain. Many have the same essential oils but in differing amounts. This difference creates the unique flavor profile of each spice. Grinding, grating and crushing help to release the oils inside.

How to Make Homemade Spice Blends

Mixing and blending spices isn’t complicated, but there are a few things to know before getting started.

  1. Spices can expire. It’s tempting to think that those bottles of spices can last indefinitely, but it’s not true. Over time, the essential oils evaporate and with them the flavors of the spice. For the most flavorful taste, check the expiration date on bottled spices and replace them as needed.
  2. Buy in bulk. Ground or whole spices, like the kind found in grocery stores, are rarely the best options. They’re expensive and come in a one-size-fits-all bottle that may be more or less than you need or want. Instead, get just what you need by purchasing in bulk. It’s downright cheap, which is great for trying new or unfamiliar spices.
  3. Buy whole spices when possible. When stored properly, they last longer than their ground counterparts. Easily grind spices yourself using a mortar and pestle (or molcajete).
  4. Blend carefully. Certain spices — like finely ground spices — spread quickly into the air around you when blending. Mix blends in well-ventilated rooms. It’s also a smart idea to wear gloves when combining spicier mixes that contain things like chili peppers or peppercorns.
  5. Start equal, but don’t stay that way. If you’ve never created a spice blend before the infinite options can be overwhelming. Blending beginners can rely on the “equal parts” method; use a half teaspoon or teaspoon for every one part in the recipe. Once the flavors are familiar, adjust the proportions to your tastes.

8 Spice Blend Recipes From Around the World (& How To Use Them)

8 Spice Blend Recipes to Try

Are you ready for a flavor trip around the world? These easy homemade spice blends will transport your taste buds, no passports necessary.

1. Adobo

An all-purpose blend used in Mexican and other Latin American cuisines. There are wet and dry versions. The most popular is the dry mix, which contains garlic, oregano, onion powder and other spices.

Try these spice blend recipes:

2. Berbere

A complex blend of spicy, bitter, and sweet spices like ginger, garlic, fenugreek, chilies, black pepper, cloves, coriander and cardamom found in Ethiopian cuisine. Use in stews or soups, bean dishes, on roasted vegetables, or added to stir-fries.

Try these spice blend recipes:

3. Chili Powder

You’ll find chili powder in a variety of cuisines including Mexican, Korean, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Portuguese and American (think Tex-Mex) cuisines. While blends vary, they commonly contain spices such as ancho chile, paprika, cumin and Mexican oregano.

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4. Garam Masala

Garam means warm, or hot. While the blend differs among regions, most usually contain warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, mace, along with white and black peppercorns. Found in Indian cuisine.

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5. Harissa

This spicy, hot chili pepper paste is made from roasted red peppers, serrano peppers and varying hot chili peppers blended with spices and herbs like garlic paste, coriander and saffron. Widely featured in Tunisian and other North African cuisines.

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6. Herbs de Provence

This fragrant seasoning blend features many of the herbs that grow abundantly in southern France like savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano.

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7. Jerk Seasoning

If you like spice blends with a lot of heat, you’ll love Jamaica’s jerk seasoning. It’s full of things like scotch bonnet peppers, cinnamon and allspice.

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8. Za’atar

This fragrant and tangy blend of thyme, sesame seeds and sumac is a favorite in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Try these spice blend recipes:

It’s time to turn the conversation over to you! What are your favorite spices? Do you reach for the same blend over and over again? Let’s talk spice blends in the comments.

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Photos: Thinkstock

55 comments

Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez27 days ago

These spice mixes and the accompaning recipes look wonderful! I can't wait to try many of them. Thank you for posting this article.

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Mark T
Mark Turner27 days ago

Ty.

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Lesa D
Lesa D27 days ago

spicy article!

thank you KD...

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Clare R
Clare R29 days ago

Thanks for posting

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michela c
michela cabout a month ago

Thanks

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Marija M
Marija Mabout a month ago

tks very much

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Camilla V
Camilla Vagaabout a month ago

thx

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Janet B
Janet Babout a month ago

Thanks

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Janis K
Janis Kabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Alexandra Richards
Alexandra Rabout a month ago

Thank you.

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