Which spice goes with which food?

Which spice goes with which food?

People often ask me which spices go well with what kind of food.

Actually, it’s quite simple: whatever combination you like, goes well. It’s worth trying different things.

But if you are a “spice novice”, you may not dare to try just everything yet.

That’s why I created this table, which will help you to bravely try new spices.

On four A4 pages, you can quickly and easily find the combination of 48 spices and 20 food categories. The table also has space for your own notes.

The table costs 2.50 Euro and after the purchase, you will get it directly by e-mail as a PDF to download and print.

But now a few tips:

Cereals (rice):

To try out new spices, cereals are very suitable. They are mostly neutral in taste and the spice tastes on it as it is, without changing much.

On cereals you can try single spices as well as mixtures.

Classic spices for cereals are: Saffron, cumin, coriander and various types of pepper. Less well known are vanilla or cinnamon, and I don’t mean in sweet cereal dishes, but in savory ones.


Potatoes are also very grateful for seasoning. All types of cumin seeds work well, as well as the various peppers. Then also nutmeg, mace and paprika.

Red Meat/Game:

Tolerates and often requires somewhat stronger spices such as juniper, coriander, cloves and cumin. And then, of course, all pepper varieties.

White meat:

Harmonizes very well with milder spices such as turmeric, galangal or cardamom. In addition, all spices with a lemony note fit. For example, kaffir lime, sumac or lemongrass.

Fish, seafood:

All lemony spices fit here as well. But also herbs like dill or coriander leaves. Or even slightly sweet spices like saffron or vanilla.


Bread can be refined with various seeds. It goes especially well with hearty dishes. All types of cumin are suitable, including ajwain and black cumin, which is not actually a cumin at all.

The sweeter seeds such as sesame or poppy seeds can also refine a breakfast bread.

poppy braid
poppy braid


Since these dishes tend to be difficult to digest, spices that aid digestion are highly valued in them.

All types of cumin, as well as fennel, but also fenugreek seeds or mustard seeds harmonize well with these dishes.


All types of pepper go well with vegetables and salad. Depending on taste, also refreshing spices such as dill, fennel or sumac. In salads, seeds like sesame or poppy seeds add some bite.


Depending on which country’s cuisine the recipe is from, different spices appear in sauces and soups. In Asia, cumin, curry leaves or coriander. In Southeast Asia, star anise, lemongrass or galangal are more common. And in Europe, saffron and mustard are popular spices in sauces.

Which spice goes with which food - pho

Egg dishes:

Turmeric goes great with eggs, in part because it adds to the color. Various peppers or cumin also go well, and fenugreek leaves are particularly fine.

Sweets (fruits, cakes):

Generally, the sweeter spices go well with sweets, of course. That is; vanilla, cinnamon, poppy seeds, star anise, anise and cardamom.

But also fresh spices like lemongrass or ginger are very tasty.

And sometimes rather untypical spices like pepper, mace or cloves fit; these especially in cooked fruits.


Spices can also be used to refine beverages. Either they are added, for example cinnamon and cloves in mulled wine or allspice in hot chocolate.  Or they are the basis for a particular drink, for example fennel, ginger and lemongrass for tea.

mullet vine with star anis and cinnamon
mulled wine with star anis

Chili, by the way, goes with everything. Most of the time it does not have a really distinct flavor, but, is mainly spicy. And this spiciness gives many a dish that certain something.

Also to sweet dishes and even drinks.

My list is by no means complete! As I said at the beginning, anything that tastes good to you, is allowed!

Be brave! Well seasoned is half cooked! ?

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