People love to cook, but they don’t know what herbs and spices can be used in it.
There are so many different types of herbs and spices that you could use in your cooking, but most people do not know them all. This is a problem because you might miss out on some great-tasting recipes by using the wrong herbs or spices.
To solve this problem we have created this in depth-guide with pictures and descriptions of each type of herb and spice. It’s really easy to read through this list when you’re looking for inspiration for new meals. Now go make something yummy.
Table of Contents
Basil comes from the Greek word for royale and it is a very popular herb in Italian cooking. You will find it in several types of pasta dishes and pesto sauces.
If you would like to add a bit of anise flavor to a meal, a few leaves of basil could be just what you need.
Dill is one of those herbs that are great when used sparingly but can overpower your dish if you add too much. On the plus side, dill has been linked to preventing cancer. This makes it a super-healthy addition to any meal.
This is another Mediterranean herb that is frequently found in recipes like soups or meats (i.e. chicken).
Rosemary is a great spice to use if you are going for a savory-spicy taste that pairs well with a lot of foods. You can even use it on some types of bread, but the bread has to be olive bread or cheesy bread – plain white bread doesn’t go well with rosemary.
Parsley is one of those herbs that people love to add to recipes because it gives your meal an added bit of color and flavor. It goes well with almost any dish (and side dish) too. This makes parsley really versatile in the kitchen – not like other herbs which are more specific in their uses (like rosemary).
Marjoram is a very sweet herb that can be used in many ways – just like oregano. It goes well with meats and pasta dishes, but also with vegetables or cheeses too.
Oregano is the best spice to give your Italian food an added bit of spice. This one pair really well with olive oil and onions, which you will discover when you look at our next type of herb: garlic. We’ll discuss how these two go together later on in this article.
Tarragon doesn’t have a super-strong flavor, but it has a taste all on its own. You are going to find tarragon in a variety of French recipes, but it’s also a popular herb in Russia too.
Chives are a great herb to add to your meal because they have a light oniony flavor that pairs well with cheeses and meats. However, let me recommend that you only use chives when you cook an egg dish, never when you make pancakes or something else sweet.
Sorrel is another sour-tasting herb from France that can be used when you make leafy dishes like salad or soup. The trick with sorrel is to add it right before serving the food so that its taste doesn’t get lost in the mix.
Savory is a great herb for any meat dish – unless you are going for a sweet taste. This will typically have a strong, peppery flavor that might be too much if you’re using it with other types of foods.
Mint has always been one of those herbs that people love to cook with because it provides an interesting flavor that goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. In fact, there are some people who use mint as their main blend when they make mojitos.
13. Bay leaves
Bay leaves give your food a very strong, earthy taste. You don’t need a lot of bay leaves either – just one or two should be enough to the right amount of flavor.
Cilantro is one of those herbs that you either love or hate. There isn’t really a middle-ground with cilantro because it has such a strong, powerful flavor. If you don’t like cilantro then I suggest not using this herb at all. Some dishes where cilantro is commonly used include Mexican food and salad.
Chervil tastes somewhat like anise and parsley mixed together, which makes it another great addition to soups and salads. It’s also good for making homemade mayonnaise (which we will talk about in a future article).
Anise might be the most versatile herb on this list. This spice can go well with sweet dishes (like cookies) and savory dishes (like meats). It also goes well with wine or liqueur drinks.
Coriander is the herb that straddles between being an herb and a spice. This was originally grown in the Mediterranean region, but it’s grown all over the world too now. You can use coriander to top off soups or salads, but you can also use it inside of rice dishes AND even some desserts. It has an incredibly strong flavor so you don’t need much of it at all either. Just remember to only add the seeds and not the root part because that would be too overpowering even for seasoned chefs.
Sage is one of the herbs that you should only use in moderation because it can easily overpower a dish, including meats. If you want to add a mild amount of sage flavor to your food then I recommend putting a few leaves into a tea bag and putting that inside of your boiling water.
Fennel is similar to cilantro in the sense that people either love it or hate it. This herb has a strong anise flavor, which you will find is different from licorice. If you want to add fennel to your food then I highly recommend combining it with another herb (like basil) as well as some citrus fruits like orange or lemon.
Lavender might be my favorite herb on this list. People use lavender buds both for their taste and smell – and they make amazing teas too. But there’s also a sweet side of lavender: bakers and chefs love using these flowers when they make desserts like cupcakes or pastries. It gives whatever you’re cooking a rich flavor that you can’t beat.
Chamomile is another herb that you can use to make tea because it’s known for being calming and soothing. Chamomile flowers are also very beautiful, which makes them stand out among the other herbs. You can find chamomile in teas quite often.
Culantro is a popular herb to use in Mexican foods and other Central American cuisines. It has the flavor of both coriander and cilantro which makes it unique. However, there’s one downside: it doesn’t hold up well when you cook with it. That means that if you’re trying to make a soup or stew then culantro might not be the best choice because too much heat will release its flavor and could ruin your food.
23. Curry Leaves
You can think of curry leaves as similar to bay leaves – only much more pleasant tasting. These herbs are large and give off a strong scent, so they do better when cooked inside of dishes than added at the end like most other types of spices. They’re a great addition to soups and broths, but they also work well with rice dishes too.
Peppermint is a great herb to use when you want something with a little more of a kick, so it’s perfect for people who like mint chocolate chip ice cream. But unlike using crunchy candy pieces, peppermint has the stronger flavor of pepper which makes it extremely refreshing.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to sugar, then I recommend learning more about stevia. You can add this herb directly into your drinks or add it inside of baked goods.
Lemongrass is an herb that you find most often inside Asian dishes, but it also works well with other cuisine types. It’s milder than the rest of the herbs on this list, so I recommend using lemongrass to season your meats or soups.
27. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a very citrusy herb, so it’s another great choice for seasoning meat or using it as an ingredient in savory dishes. If you want to use this herb more often then I recommend keeping it around as a house plant.
Myrtle is another herb that you should only use in moderation because it has one of the strongest flavors on this list. I wouldn’t recommend using myrtle in anything other than savory dishes, so consider adding it to your meats or even making a meat rub for homemade jerky.
29. Lemon Verbena
This is another citrusy herb that tastes and smells just like lemons. It’s a plant that you might be able to find in your local health food store, but it does well when grown indoors too.
Cicely is a weird herb because it’s both sweet and spicy – making it ideal for dishes where you want both flavors. The taste and smell of this herb remind me of the Chinese five-spice powder, which means you could use cicely in stir fry dishes or even your favorite soup recipes.
This herb gets a similar treatment to peppermint because of its strength and freshness. Spearmint is best used in desserts or drinks where you want that minty flavor – but I recommend using it with other herbs too.