Do you find you reach for the same spices over and over again? Maybe you see the same mix of spices posted on each recipe you save. You can pre-mix these spices and save them in airtight containers. Many people think making their own spice mixes at home is difficult, since that’s what celebrity chefs do, right? But the layperson can easily make some flavorful spice blends at home. When you use pre-blended spices, you can ensure consistent flavor in your dishes as well as shave valuable time off your food preparation. Get tasty dinner on the table faster with these easy spice blends. If you have friends and family commenting on them, you can even package them up for easy gifts!
Before we get to the recipes, let’s look at what you’ll need to buy. It’s important to have a coffee grinder that you use only for spices, as coffee has such an overpowering smell and the oils can linger in the machine. Use this grinder for seeds and pods to create blendable powders. You will also need clean, dry jars. They don’t necessarily need to have shaker tops, but you want to store your spice blends in airtight, light-proof, durable packaging. Of course, you’re also going to need bulk herbs and spices. You want to look for the bulk spices section so you can buy only as much as you need, and always get whole herbs (like peppercorns or anise pods) instead of the ground version, since you’ll be grinding them yourself. If you have a food dehydrator, you can even make some spices yourself like onion powder. You can also freeze the extra or store it in an airtight container until you need to replenish your spice blend or use the herb by itself.
Spice Blend Recipes
Without further ado, here are some recipes for mixes of spices that will give your dinners delicious flavor every time, no matter what kind of meal you’re preparing. Most of these can also be mixed into butter for herb butter as well.
Taco Seasoning Blend
You can use this spice blend in ground beef for traditional style tacos, but it’s also great with slow-cooked chicken or in pinto beans.
- 3 tablespoons whole cumin seeds or ¼ cup ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaf
- ½ teaspoon peppercorns or 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons salt (to taste)
This recipe makes about a cup. If using whole herbs, grind them in your coffee grinder or food processor and add the powdered herbs later to blend thoroughly before pouring into your clean and dry jar or bag.
Chinese Five Spice Blend
This spice blend has a slightly sweet and spicy flavor that is unique and really brings out the flavors of duck, beef, and pork. If you’ve ever sung the praises of your local Chinese barbeque restaurant, then you’ve probably tasted this spice blend. This can also add a wonderful heat to baked goods, especially spice cookies.
- 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns (or red and white peppercorns, NOT black)
- 2 star anise pods, whole
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken up a bit
Before grinding these whole herbs, add them to a DRY hot pan and toast over medium heat, swirling the pan to keep them moving. The key is to warm the herbs and bring out the aromatics without burning the spices. Then add to your grinder or food processor and grind into a fine powder.
Italian Spice Mix
This is a classic spice mix that will help you make fantastic sauces for pasta or pizza. It also tastes great when mixed with butter. For herb butter, mix a tablespoon of herbs to a stick of melted butter, pour into an ice tray, and cool. Then pop out the butter cubes and store in a plastic zip bag in the freezer.
- 4 tablespoons oregano
- 4 tablespoons basil
- 4 tablespoons thyme
- 3 tablespoons marjoram
- 3 tablespoons rosemary, cut into fine pieces
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder (optional if you cook with fresh garlic)
This recipe makes about a cup. The best part of this recipe is that you don’t really need your grinder for this. You can combine all of the leaves in a bowl and mix with a spoon or even put them in a zip bag and shake!
Herbes de Provence
This classic French herb blend is a cornerstone of French cooking and can give many soups, stews, and baked goods a fancy flavor sure to elevate a simple weekday dinner or quick lunch. To make a perfect spice blend, you’ll definitely need a spice (or coffee) grinder for half of the ingredients. These herbs are meant to be seen in the dish and appreciated, so blending everything together into a powder ruins the effect.
- 1 teaspoon lavender flowers
- 2 teaspoons dried orange zest
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 6 tablespoons thyme
- 4 tablespoons marjoram
- 2 tablespoons cut rosemary
- 2 tablespoons savory
Put your whole spices in your grinder and pulse until they’re all combined, and then add this powder to your leaf spices, which should be cut but not ground. Blend this mixture well, and you’re done.
Jamaican Jerk Spice Blend
This is a spicy blend that will lend a unique flavor to any dish, though it’s traditionally used on roast chicken. It will give a kick to roasted vegetables, and pairs well with sweet garnishes like mango salsa or pineapples. Unless otherwise noted, all spices used in this mix are ground.
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon salt, to taste
This spice blend is most easily made with pre-ground spices, as various whole spices will need longer grinding times to reach the same consistency. If you only have whole spices, grind individually to make a powder before adding.
About Preserving Your Spice Mixes
After taking your time blending your spice mixes to perfection, you don’t want them to lose their flavor or get moldy. While most spices naturally repel molds and insects and salt preserves, you should still take care to keep your homemade spice blends fresh. You can use airtight containers such as canning jars, old spice containers, or even specialty packaging. The packaging experts at PBFY have made containers for teas, coffee, and spices that are designed to keep your goods at the peak of freshness.