jars of spices and sprinkled spices on grey surface with title: 15 Spice Combos to Surprise Your Tastebuds

15 Spice Combos to Surprise Your Tastebuds

I remember how odd I felt the first time I made Moroccan Chicken with cinnamon in it. My taste buds almost refused to allow me to include cinnamon in the dish, but I went with it. I was so amazed at how good it tasted! Since then, I like to surprise my family’s tastebuds by adding interesting spice combinations to almost every dish.

Over time I’ve developed a list of spice mixes that I keep inside my spice cupboard. (Based on recommendations from the American Spice Trade Association and other places, including my own observations).

Today I’m sharing my list of 15 condiment combinations so you too can bring new life to every recipe in your family cookbook!

This list is also very handy when you’re shopping for spices.

Experimentation: the key to cooking with spices

Not every cuisine in the world is palatable for everyone. But it’s fun to try new recipes and develop variations I can include in my “New Favorite” recipe section in my family cookbook.

When I add a recipe to my family cookbook, I always include the date I added the recipe. After few years, if I’ve used the recipe enough, I move it into my “Classic” recipe sections.

Seasoning combinations to tickle your tastebuds

Whenever you need a little inspiration for something international and exotic in your cooking, try some of these spice combos to add a twist of excitement:

Classic Cajun condiments

Cilantro, cloves, garlic, hot peppers, hot chili powder, onions, nutmeg, and thyme.

Caribbean Jerk seasoning

Allspice, celery salt, hot chili powder, crushed red pepper, paprika, thyme, turmeric.

Chinese more-than-5 spice

Anise seed, chilies, Chinese 5-spice, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, onion, red pepper, sesame seed, white pepper.

French style

Bay leaves, black pepper, chives, fines herbs, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, sage, shallots, tarragon, thyme.

Gorgeous German

Caraway, dill seed, ginger, nutmeg, mustard, onion, paprika, rosemary, white pepper.

Great Greek

Bay leaves, black pepper, cinnamon, dill weed, fennel seed, garlic, lemon, mint, onion powder, oregano, paprika.

Hungarian Herbs

Caraway seed, dill seed, garlic, onion, paprika, poppy seed, white pepper.

Taste of Italy

Anise, basil, bay leaves, fennel seed, garlic, lemon pepper, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, crushed red pepper, rosemary, sage, thyme

Inimitable Indian masala

Black pepper, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, onion, paprika, pink peppercorns, red pepper, turmeric.

Irresistible Indonesian

Caraway seed, curry powder, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, red pepper, nutmeg.

Magical Mexican mix

Cayenne, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, jalapeno peppers, onion, oregano, sesame seed.

Mysterious Moroccan

Anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, mint, red pepper, saffron.

Spectacular Spanish seasoning

Bay leaves, cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, saffron, sweet pepper.

Swish Swedish spice

Allspice, bay leaves, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, dill, mustard, nutmeg.

Tempting Thai

Basil, cilantro, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, garlic, ginger, mint, turmeric, whole red chilies.

Go easy on the spices – at least to start

I have found success by only adding half as much spice or herbs to a recipe, then tasting it and adding more spices and herbs as needed.

When doubling a recipe, this is especially useful so you don’t overdo certain spices. (As if too much garlic powder is a bad thing!)

A rule of thumb I’ve included in my family cookbook, is to add spices until I’m scared it’s too much. It’s usually just right!

For more information about spices, I recommend the Spice Encyclopedia.

Happy Cookbooking,


About Erin Miller

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