Make your own spice blends

Photo by Zahrin Lukman on Unsplash
Over the course of the last few years, I've been doing a deep dive into spices. I've been learning as much as I can, finding good sources for bulk spices, tasting like a mad man and blending like a fool.

Part of this spice mission is that I have a deep-seated need to understand how things are made and at the same time, I don't like to spend money on things I can just as easily do on my own.

People in the industry figured out a while ago that they can make more money from proprietary blends than they can from selling individual spices. Specialized blends and curries can get really expensive and making your own isn't difficult at all. Just find a good spice and herb merchant and Google up some instructions.

What I like about making my own blends is that I can bump up the flavors I like and minimize or eliminate the ones I don't.

Having a spice grinder makes this undertaking a lot easier and usually even cheaper. I use an old coffee grinder as a spice grinder and it works brilliantly. After I grind a spice I clean my grinder by grinding up a half cup or so of plain white rice. This cleans the blades and it also removes most of the residual oil from what I just ground. This keeps my cardamom tasting like cardamom and not some freak cardamom, fenugreek and cumin hybrid.

To make that a little simpler, here are a few of my tried and true blends.

Poultry seasoning

2 teaspoons ground dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground dried marjoram
3/4 teaspoon ground dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Italian Seasoning

2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried marjoram
2 tablespoons dried cilantro
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried savory

Seasoned Salt

2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Falafel Seasoning

1/2  teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 teaspoon kosher salt


3 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoons dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried savory leaves
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 to 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper


1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


1-1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1-1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1-1/2 tablespoons ground caraway
1-1/2 tablespoons ground fennel seed
1/4 cup ground dried chili powder (mild or hot, your call)
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Mild curry

5 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom


1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons ground achiote


1 tablespoon​ roasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup sumac
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons marjoram
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Old Bay

2 tablespoons bay leaf powder
2 tablespoons ground celery seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon ground mace
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon