A guide to cooking with spices

November 6, 2020
by Anna Our Cooking tools

    At HelloFresh, we believe the key to a good dinner is fresh ingredients, seasonal produce and seasoning the dish to perfection. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to your spice cupboard to help you better understand what spices pair with what flavours, so you can get the most out of your cooking adventure.


    Despite what the name suggests, allspice is a single spice made from dried berries of the allspice tree which look like peppercorns. Native to Jamaica, it’s one of the main ingredients in jerk seasoning. Allspice has a sweet flavour and pairs well with meats, pumpkin, ginger, and squash.


    This sweet and pungent spice is made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. Widely used in Indian cuisine, cardamom pairs well with chicken, rice, lamb, coffee and tea.

    Cayenne Pepper

    Made from dried and ground red chili peppers, cayenne pepper adds a sweet heat to soups, braises and spice mixes. It pairs well with bell peppers, tomatoes and fish.


    A spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species, it’s used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavouring additive in a wide variety of dishes. It pairs well with apples, chocolate, lamb, garam marsala and pork.


    Made from the flower buds of the clove tree, cloves can be used whole or ground, and have a strong, pungent and sweet flavour. It pairs well with apples, chocolate, ginger, ham, pork and orange.


    One of the more polarising herbs when it comes to flavour, coriander spice is produced from the seeds of the coriander plant (otherwise known as cilantro). A staple in Indian and Asian cuisine, coriander pairs well with chicken, chili peppers, citrus, cumin and lentils.


    Cumin is a spice made from the dried seed of a plant known in the parsley family. It is one of the most popular spices in many different cuisines, and pairs well with beans, lentils, eggplant, pork, potatoes and rice.

    Garlic Powder

    A seasoning that’s made from dehydrated garlic and used in many different cuisines for a softer garlic flavour. It pairs well with chicken, lemon, lamb, mushrooms and tomatoes.

    Ginger Powder

    The powder is made from dried, dehydrated ginger root. It pairs well with apples, chicken, chocolate, cumin, fish, honey, lime and mint.


    The spice is made by grinding the seed of the nutmeg tree into powder. Sweet and pungent, nutmeg is used in many baked goods and desserts. It pairs well with ricotta, cream, cinnamon, eggnog, ginger, mushrooms, spinach and rice.


    The spice consists of air-dried sweet peppers ground into a fine powder — perfect for adding a sweet note and red colour to your dishes. It can be found in sweet and hot varieties, and pairs well with chicken, beef, eggs, fish and pork.


    Probably on regular rotation in your household, peppercorns come in a variety of colours, and are both pungent and mildly hot. In fact, it’s the star ingredient in one of our top-rated dishes, Chicken & Creamy Peppercorn Sauce.


    The aromatic spice has a subtle but distinct floral flavour, smell, and gives foods a bright yellow colour. It pairs well with cardamom, couscous, fish, fennel, rice, risotto and shellfish.

    Smoked Paprika

    Made from peppers that are smoked and dried over fires, it adds a sweet smokiness to dishes, as well as a red colour. It pairs well with beans, chickpeas, garlic, fish, and potatoes.

    Star Anise

    Named for the star-shaped pods, whole star anise can be used to add a sweet licorice flavour to your recipes. Star anise is a key ingredient in Chinese cooking; it’s one of the main flavours in Chinese five-spice powder. It pairs well with fish, duck, pork and pears.


    A spice that comes from the turmeric plant, commonly used many Asian cuisines. It has a warm, bittersweet taste and pairs well with curry powder, fish, mustard and rice.

    So now that you know the ins and outs of your spice cupboard, you can cook with confidence. Or, try having dinner with us and you’ll receive just the right amounts of everything you need (including spices) to cook a delicious, home-cooked dinner.

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