Your Guide to Cooking with Warming Winter Spices this Season

Even though the winter season can sometimes translate to a lack of fresh produce, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy eating a flavorful and comforting diet every month of the year.

Learn to incorporate these key, warming and ultra-fragrant winter spices into your cooking, and you can reap the benefits of both flavor and health this season. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot better than relying on frozen meals and canned, sodium-heavy soups to carry you through to the spring?

Your Guide to Cooking with Warming Spices this Winter

Warming Spices for Winter

Here are six essential warming spices and how to harness their bold and comforting flavors to your benefit this winter.

green cardamom pods in  steel bowl

1. Cardamom

Cardamom is a seed pod that is native to India, and is often referred to as the “Queen of Spices” for its smoky, pungent flavor with subtle hints of mint and lemon and its ability to be incorporated successfully in both savory and sweet dishes. Additionally, it is lauded for helping to relieve intestinal bloating and gas and being an effective digestive.

When you use cardamom to flavor your savory winter dishes—such as a stick-to-your-ribs stew, or bold and warming curry—make sure to delicately crush the entire pod of cardamom and add it to your dish while it’s cooking. Then, remove the shell before serving.

For a warming winter drink featuring cardamom, out this delicious cardamom chai recipe here.

whole allspice closeup

2. Allspice

Allspice is a fruit that is harvested, before it is ripe, from a flowering evergreen tree often found in Jamaica. It has the ability to facilitate regular and healthy digestion and powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

You can find allspice sold as a whole “berry” (which looks sort of like a peppercorn) or as a ground spice. It’s popular in Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean cuisines.

Allspice is great sprinkled over roasted veggies, can add depth to savory stews and soups, and can add that extra oomph of spice to baked goods or dark chocolate desserts.

Check out how you can turn mundane peas into a memorable and crave-worthy dish with allspice here.

Cinnamon

3. Cinnamon

Made from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum, cinnamon is ubiquitous during the holiday season. You can find it in everything from sweet, caffeinated drinks to warming baked goods to savory meals.

Not only is cinnamon super adaptable and easy to incorporate in a variety of meals, it also comes with a slew of health benefits, such as its high level of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Try adding cinnamon into your morning oats, incorporating it into your favorite apple-based dessert, or even adding a dash to your spicy chai latte. Recipe ideas can be found here.

Wooden Spoon of Cloves sitting next to Glass Bowl

4. Cloves

Sweet, aromatic, and pungent, cloves are the unopened flower buds of an evergreen tree and one of the most healing spices you can incorporate into your cooking this season. Because of their high level of eugenol, cloves actually increase blood circulation in the body, thereby warming us from the inside out—literally. Additionally, cloves are known to be efficient pain relievers and metabolism boosters.

Cloves are often paired with pickled foods; used in rich and decadent sauces, such as Mexican mole; and used in warming beverages like chai and delicious cider. Combine cloves with another winter spice, cumin, to make this healthy and tangy pickled beet recipe.

Nutmegs grated

5. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is the spice that has it all: not only is it viewed as an aphrodisiac in some cultures, but it also is well-known for its ability to enhance food’s flavor and for its health benefits. Rich in minerals and detoxification properties, nutmeg is good for your body, and luckily, its sweet profile tastes great, too.

Sprinkle some nutmeg into your favorite sugar or spice cookie recipe, add a dash of it to a morning latte or even add it to a savory stew recipe for an extra dimension of cozy, warm flavor.

Fresh and dried turmeric roots in a wooden bowl

6. Turmeric

Turmeric has become one of the darling’s of the health-food world over the past few years, and for good reason. The gorgeous, golden-hued ancient spice, which is native to Southeast Asia, contains a high dose of curcumin, a chemical that is suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties and other health benefits.

Turmeric gives dishes a beautiful, deep-golden color and a subtle-but-enjoyable peppery flavor. Sprinkle it into a morning tofu scramble or make your own DIY turmeric latte.

Images via Getty

74 comments

Carol C
Carol C7 days ago

Thank you for this post. Cardamom and Ceylon cinnamon are great additions to cooked cereal, as is fresh ginger. We put turmeric in nearly everything.

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Sharon F
Sharon F15 days ago

Just tried mushroom gravy 1st time; it is good. Recipe from internet. Can add in
good spices!

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D16 days ago

Not a fan of cardamom pods. The others are some of my top choices for spices and use them often. TYFS.

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Frances G
Frances G16 days ago

Thank you

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Danuta W
Danuta W18 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Gino C
Gino C18 days ago

thankyou

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Chad Anderson
Chad A18 days ago

Thank you.

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman18 days ago

THANKS SO MUCH, MANY MAY NOT KNOW HOW TO USE THESE SPICES.

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Mely Lu
Mely Lu18 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Janis K
Janis K18 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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