Suitable Herbs And Spices To Use In Different Foods And Dishes

Herbs and spices – what goes with what food? What types of herbs or spices to use in a particular dish like chicken, beef, beans, or others?

Spices and herbs can make your dishes amazingly tasty, also the same dish can taste different with different combinations of spices and herbs.

Knowing what kinds of flavoring ingredients to use in a dish and how much to use is essential to good cooking.

Most spices and herbs do not pair well with every type of dish. Also, some herbs and spices aren’t compatible with their extreme differences in flavors. This article digs into the right spices and herbs you can use in each type of dish including meats, fish, vegetables, and others.

List Of Herbs And Spices Pairings For Foods

Preference of taste would definitely vary for each person, one may like the flavor of spice but others may not like the same flavor. Here we have put together the list of spices and herbs compatible with common dishes. You’ll need to experiment to know which appeals to you and others in your family or groups.

Must Read: Complete List Of Spice Substitutes

Here are the best herbs and spices you can use in different foods.


Check out the list of common vegetables and the spices and herbs compatible with each of them:

Asparagus: Chives, Lemon Balm, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

Beans (dry): Cumin, Garlic, Mint, Onions, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Savory, Thyme

Beans (green): Basil, Caraway, Clove, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Sage, Savory, Thyme

Broccoli: Basil, Dill, Garlic, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Oregano, Tarragon, Thyme

Cabbage: Basil, Caraway, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Marjoram, Sage, Savory

Carrots: Anise, Basil, Chervil, Chives, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Dill, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

Cauliflower: Basil, Caraway, Chives, Cumin, Dill, Garlic, Marjoram, Parsley, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon

Corn: Chervil, Chives, Lemon Balm, Saffron, Sage, Thyme

Cucumbers: Chives, Dill, Garlic

Eggplant: Basil, Cinnamon, Dill, Garlic, Marjoram, Mint, Onion, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Savory, Thyme

Mushrooms: Coriander, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme

Parsnips: Basil, Dill, Marjoram, Parsley, Savory, Thyme

Peas: Caraway, Chervil, Chives, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

Potatoes: Basil, Caraway, Chives, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Lovage, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme

Spinach: Anise, Basil, Caraway, Chervil, Chives, Cinnamon, Dill, Rosemary, Thyme

Squash: Basil, Caraway, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Marjoram, Dill, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory

Tomatoes: Basil, Bay Leaf, Chives, Coriander, Dill, Garlic, Lovage, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme


Here is the list of commonly used non-vegetarian dishes and the spices and herbs pair well with them:

Meat: Basil, Bay Leaf, Caraway, Cumin, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger, Marjoram, Onion, Oregano, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme

Chicken: Anise, Basil, Bay Leaf, Borage, Chives, Cinnamon, Cumin, Dill, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger, Lovage, Oregano, Sage, Savory, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, Marjoram, Onion, Tarragon, Thyme

Eggs: Anise, Basil, Caraway, Cayenne Pepper, Chives, Chervil, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

Fish: Anise, Basil, Borage, Caraway, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

Lamb: Basil, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Onion, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme

Pork: Anise, Caraway, Cardamom, Dill, Garlic, Ginger, Oregano, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Tarragon

Turkey: Basil, Garlic, Marjoram, Onion, Oregano, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

Veal: Bay Leaf, Curry Powder, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano


When you are making smoothies, juices, or salads with fruits, you can use the following spices and herbs:

  • Allspice, Anise, Cinnamon, Cloves, Lemon Balm, Curry, Ginger, Mace, Mint, Nutmeg, Pepper, Rosemary


Rice: Basil, Fennel, Lovage, Saffron, Tarragon, Thyme

Bread: Basil, Caraway, Chervil, Chives, Cinnamon, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Lavender, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

Stuffing:  Garlic, Marjoram, Onion, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme


Here is the list of commonly used flavored oils and the herbs and spices to use in them.

Olive Oil: Cardamom, Celery Leaves, Garlic, Ginger, Lovage, Oregano, Saffron, Thyme

Peanut Oil: Chervil, Tarragon, Shallots

Safflower Oil: Cardamom, Coriander Leaf, Dill, Ginger

Walnut Oil: Lemon Verbena, Lemon Thyme


Look at the list of commonly used flavored vinegar and the spices and herbs to use in them.

White Wine Vinegar: Borage, Cardamom, Dill, Garlic, Fennel Leaf, Mint, Orange Peel, Rosemary, Raisins, Parsley, Shallots

Red Wine Vinegar: Parsley, Sage, Shallots

Cider Vinegar: Cinnamon, Chilies, Dill, Garlic, Nasturtiums, Oregano

Rice Vinegar: Rose Petals, Violet Petals


There are several blends of herbal teas used for various health benefits. Here is the list of spices and herbs usually used in herbal teas:

  • Chamomile, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Citrus Peels, Fennel, Ginger, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Licorice Root, Marjoram, Nettle Leaf, Peppermint, Spearmint, Red Clover, Rosehips, Roses, Rosemary, Thyme

How To Get Maximum Flavors Out Of Herbs And Spices?

Here are the tips for getting the best out of herbs and spices:

Soak the dried herbs in a liquid for at least 15 minutes before use; you may use water, vinegar, oil, broth, or lemon juice to soak the herbs.

Rub the spice and herbs onto the poultry, meat, or fish before cooking.

For herbs used for salad dressing, soak them in vinegar or other cooking acids for at least 15 minutes before dressing the salad.

Use herbs roasted/soaked in melted butter to add to steamed or boiled vegetables.

Most herbs lose their flavor in prolonged high-flame cooking; therefore, add herbs to your dishes about 10 minutes before the completion of cooking.

Most dried herbs have a heavily concentrated amount of flavor than fresh herbs, so use 2 to 4 times more fresh herbs than dried herbs depending on the flavor potency of the herb.

Final Thoughts

We have just seen the best spices and herbs you can use in different foods and drinks. Using the right blend of spices and herbs in your dish is an art of cooking that needs to be mastered over years of cooking. Choose the agreeable spices and herbs for your dish according to the flavor combinations you love to have. Always start using the flavoring ingredients in small quantities and if needed add more of them only after tasting.