5 Create Your Own Popular Spice Blends

October 13, 2014

Homemade spice blends are fresher, have more flavor and less salt than anything store bought.  To make the best spice blends, start with whole spices.  You can grind the spices using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder (designate one for coffee and another for spices).  Learn how to make popular spice mixtures using the recipes below.  

Pumpkin Spice Mix
Photo Credit: Michelle Schrank

4 parts ground cinnamon
2 parts ground ginger
1 part ground cloves
1 part ground nutmeg 

Simply mix all of the above ingredients and use immediately or store in a cool dry place sealed in an airtight container.

Barbecue Spice Mix
Photo Credit: Snow Pea and Bok Choi

3/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup fresh ground pepper blend (you can also use just black pepper)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cayenne 

Thoroughly mix spices and store in a cool, dark pantry. When you apply a rub, you'll want to liberally coat the meat and rub it into the grain. For large cuts, it is best to do it the night before to let the flavor seep into the meat. Small pieces like a chicken breast, you can rub and cook. The rub can also be added to ground meat when making dishes like burgers and tacos.

Curry Powder

Photo Credit: girlichef

1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorn
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red chile
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Gather all of the whole spices and toast them over low heat in a small skillet. Shake the pan often to move the spices around and be sure they do not burn. Once they begin to smell nice and toasty, remove from heat and let cool a bit. Transfer toasted spices and ground turmeric & ginger to spice grinder/small blender. Grind to a fine powder. Store spice mixture in airtight container in cool dry place.

Taco Seasoning
Photo Credit: crd!

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder  
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Brown 1 pound of meat of your choice, add seasoning and 1/4 cup of water. Simmer until sauce has thickened, 2-3 minutes. Adjust salt and chili powder to your own tastes.

All Purpose Grilling Spice Blend
Photo Credit: Janet Beasley

3 tablespoons fresh coarse ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon granulated garlic  
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together well and store in an airtight container.  Rub spice blend on meat or vegetables before cooking.

Image Sources: