Best Spices, Herbs, Seasoning, Salts & More for Your Marinades

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There are a variety of herbs, spices, and seasonings that can be used in marinades to add flavor and depth to dishes.

When choosing ingredients for a marinade, consider the overall flavor profile you are trying to achieve.

Is the dish being marinated savory or sweet? Spicy or mild? Acidic or neutral?

Once you have an idea of the flavors you want to include, experiment with different combinations of herbs, spices, and seasonings until you find a combination that suits your taste.

I have compiled the most popular spices, herbs, salts, and seasonings used in marinades.

Check them out!

Most Popular Spices Used in Marinades

Spices are a great way to add flavor to your food without adding calories, fat, or sodium.

They can also be used to infuse flavor into otherwise bland dishes. When it comes to marinades, there are a few spices that reign supreme.

Here are the most popular spices used in marinades, along with some tips on how to use them.

1. Black Pepper

The black pepper spice is made from the dried berries of the Piper nigrum plant. The berries are ground into a powder that is used to flavor food.

It is one of the most popular spices in the world and has been used for centuries in cooking.

When using black pepper in a marinade, it is important to first crack the peppercorns to release their flavor.

To do this, place the peppercorns in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin or the back of a spoon to crush them.

Once they are cracked, add them to your marinade recipe. Black pepper will add a spicy kick to any dish, so use it sparingly at first and then adjust to taste.

2. Cloves

Cloves are the unopened flower buds of the evergreen clove tree.

Cloves have a strong, pungent flavor and are used as a spice in cooking. Cloves can be used whole or ground.

Cloves are a type of spice that can be used in marinades to add flavor. When using cloves in a marinade, it is best to use whole cloves so that they can be removed before eating.

To use cloves in a marinade, simply add them to the other ingredients and let the mixture sit for at least an hour before cooking.

Cloves have a strong flavor, so you may want to start with just a few and then adjust according to your taste.

3. Ginger

Ginger is a spice that comes from the root of the Zingiber officinale plant. It is used in many cuisines around the world and has a wide variety of culinary uses.

Ginger can be used fresh, dried, or powdered. It can be used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes. Ginger is also used in some traditional medicines as a treatment for nausea and other digestive issues.

Ginger is a common ingredient in many marinades. It can add a zesty flavor to meats, fish, and vegetables. When used in a marinade, ginger can help to tenderize the food and also add a bit of sweetness.

Ginger is often used in Asian-style marinades, but it can be used in any type of recipe.

4. White Pepper

White pepper is a type of pepper that is typically used to add flavor to savory dishes.

It is made from the dried, ripe berries of the Piper nigrum plant and has a slightly different flavor than black pepper.

White pepper is less pungent than black pepper and is often used in lighter-colored sauces or soups where you don’t want the black specks from ground black pepper.

5. Cumin

Cumin is a spice made from the dried seed of an herb in the parsley family.

It is used in a wide variety of cuisines, including Indian, Middle Eastern, North African, and Latin American.

Cumin has a strong, earthy flavor and is often used as a seasoning for meat or rice dishes.

Cumin is a common ingredient in many marinades. It can add a smoky, earthy flavor to meats and vegetables. Cumin can also help tenderize tough cuts of meat.

6. Coriander Powder

Coriander powder is a spice made from grinding up dried coriander seeds.

It has a warm, nutty flavor and is used in Indian cooking as well as in many Middle Eastern dishes. Coriander powder can be used to add flavor to curries, stews, soups, and other savory dishes.

It can also be used to make spices like garam masala and chaat masala.

When combined with other spices, coriander powder can help to create a flavorful and aromatic marinade that can infuse meats and vegetables with flavor.

7. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant.

It is commonly used in Asian cuisine and has a warm, bitter flavor. Turmeric is also used as a colorant in many Indian dishes.

The spice is high in antioxidants and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

Turmeric is often used in marinades for its flavor and color. It can be used to add flavor to meats, fish, or vegetables.

Turmeric is also a natural food coloring agent, so it can help to give your dish a nice yellow or orange color.

8. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that is typically used in powder form. It is made from grinding up dried cayenne peppers, which are themselves a type of chili pepper.

Cayenne pepper is very spicy, and as such, it is often used to add heat to dishes. It can be used in both cooked and raw dishes and is particularly common in Mexican and Indian cuisine.

Cayenne pepper can also be used as a seasoning for meats or added to sauces and marinades.

Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that is often used in marinades. It can add a spicy flavor to meats and other dishes.

Cayenne pepper is also known for its ability to tenderize meat. When used in a marinade, it can help to break down the tough fibers in meat, making it more tender and flavorful.

9. Garam Masala

Garam masala is a spice blend that typically contains cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, and pepper. It is used as a seasoning in Indian cuisine.

Garam masala can be used in marinades to add flavor to meats or vegetables.

When using garam masala in a marinade, it is important to remember that the spices will become more potent as they sit.

Therefore, it is best to add the garam masala near the end of the marinating process.

10. Chili Powder

Chili powder is a spice made from dried, ground chili peppers. It is used as a seasoning in many cuisines, including Tex-Mex, Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Korean.

Chili powder can be made from any type of chili pepper, but the most common are cayenne, ancho, and chipotle peppers. The heat level of chili powder varies depending on the type of pepper used to make it.

Chili powder is used to add flavor and heat to dishes.

It can be used in dry rubs for meats or added to sauces and marinades. Chili powder is also a common ingredient in spice blends such as curry powder and garam masala.

Chili powder is a key ingredient in many marinades, as it adds both flavor and heat. When used in a marinade,

Chili powder can help to tenderize the meat and infuse it with bold flavor.

For best results, combine chili powder with other spices such as cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. Allow the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

11. Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is made from dehydrated garlic that has been ground into a fine powder.

It can be used as a seasoning for many different dishes, including meats, vegetables, and soups. It can also be used to make garlic bread or added to other bread recipes.

Garlic powder is a great way to add flavor to marinades. It can be used to season chicken, fish, or beef before cooking. Garlic powder can also be used in sauces and dressings.

12. Fennel

Fennel spice is a dried, powdered form of the herb fennel.

It has a sweet, anise-like flavor and can be used in sweet or savory dishes. It is common in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Fennel is a common ingredient in many marinades, as its licorice-like flavor can help to cut through the richness of other ingredients.

When using fennel in a marinade, it is important to remember that a little goes a long way – too much fennel can overwhelm other flavors.

To use fennel in a marinade, simply add a small amount (1-2 teaspoons) to the other ingredients and whisk together until well combined.

Fennel can be used in both sweet and savory marinades and pairs particularly well with fish, pork, and lamb.

13. Paprika

Paprika is a spice made from the dried peppers of the Capsicum annuum plant. It is used as a seasoning or condiment. Paprika can be mild, sweet, or hot.

The most common type of paprika is red and has a sweet taste.

It is used to add color and flavor to food. Paprika is used in many cuisines, including Hungarian, Balkan, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Turkish, Lebanese, Indian, and Chinese cuisine.

Paprika can be used in marinades to add flavor and color to meats, poultry, and fish. It is also commonly used as a garnish.

Most Popular Herbs Used in Marinades

When it comes to flavoring your food, there are endless possibilities.

But when you want to really infuse your dish with flavor, a marinade is the way to go.

Herbs are a great way to add flavor to a marinade, and there are many different herbs that can be used depending on the dish you’re making.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular herbs used in marinades and how they can enhance the flavor of your meal.

1. Oregano Leaves

Oregano leaves are the leaves of the oregano plant, which is a member of the mint family.

Oregano is native to the Mediterranean region and has been used as a culinary herb for centuries.

The leaves have a strong, pungent flavor and are often used in Italian and Greek cuisine. Oregano leaves can be used fresh or dried.

Oregano leaves can be used in marinades to add flavor to meats. The leaves can be chopped and added to the marinade, or they can be steeped in the marinade to release their flavor.

Oregano is a versatile herb that can be used in many different ways to add flavor to food.

2. Basil Leaves

Basil leaves are most commonly used in Italian and Thai cuisine.

They can be used fresh or dried, and are often added to tomato sauces, soups, and stews. Basil leaves have a strong flavor and should be used sparingly.

Basil leaves can be used in marinades to add flavor and depth of flavor to meats and vegetables.

When using basil leaves in a marinade, it is best to chop them up finely so that they release their flavors more easily.

Basil leaves can also be used whole or torn in a marinade but will take longer to release their flavors.

3. Thyme

Thyme is a perennial herb with small, fragrant leaves.

It is used in cooking for its strong flavor and as a decoration on dishes. Thyme is an important ingredient in many recipes, including stews, soups, sauces, and stuffings.

It can also be used to flavor oils and vinegar.

Thyme is a common ingredient in marinades, as its strong flavor can help to liven up otherwise bland meats.

To use thyme in a marinade, simply combine it with other liquids and spices to form a paste or liquid mixture that can be added to the meat before cooking.

Thyme-based marinades work well with both poultry and red meat, so feel free to experiment until you find a combination that you like.

4. Fresh Onion

Onions are a key ingredient in many marinades, as their pungent flavor helps to break down the tough fibers of meats.

When using fresh onions in a marinade, it is important to chop them finely so that they will not overwhelm the other flavors.

Additionally, it is best to soak the onions in water for a few minutes before adding them to the marinade, as this will help to mellow their flavor.

5. Onion Powder

Onion powder is a common ingredient in many marinades, as it adds both flavor and texture.

It can also be used to add flavor to vegetables, fish, and other dishes.

6. Coriander

Coriander is a common ingredient in many Indian and Asian dishes.

It has a very distinct, slightly citrusy flavor that can liven up any dish.

When used in a marinade, it can help to add flavor.

Coriander is also a good source of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.

7. Serrano Pepper

Serrano peppers are a type of chili pepper that is often used in Mexican cuisine.

They are typically used in dishes such as salsa, guacamole, and enchiladas.

Serrano peppers are relatively hot, with a Scoville rating of 10,000-23,000, use them with care.

8. Cilantro

Cilantro is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes.

It has a strong, pungent flavor that can be used to add depth and interest to marinades.

When using cilantro in a marinade, it is important to use it sparingly, as its flavor can quickly become overpowering.

Cilantro can be used in both raw and cooked form, but if using it raw, it is best to chop it very finely so that its flavor will be more evenly distributed.

9. Scallions

Scallions are a type of onion that can be used in many different dishes.

They have a milder flavor than most onions, making them ideal for use in a marinade.

When using scallions in a marinade, it is best to chop them up into small pieces so that they will infuse the flavors evenly throughout the dish.

10. Tarragon

Tarragon is a common ingredient in many French marinades. It has a strong, anise-like flavor that pairs well with other herbs and spices.

Tarragon can be used to marinate chicken, fish, or beef. It is also a common ingredient in vinaigrettes.

12. Red Bell Pepper

Red bell pepper is often used in marinades because of its sweetness and color.

When combined with other ingredients, it can add depth of flavor and a beautiful hue to dishes.

13. Red Onion

When used in a marinade, red onion helps add flavor. When added to poultry or pork, it can also help keep the meat moist.

14. Marjoram

Marjoram is a perfect herb to use in marinades because it has a delicate flavor that will not overpower the dish.

It is also very versatile and can be used with many different ingredients. Use fresh or dried marjoram depending on your preference.

Fresh herbs have more potent flavors so you may want to use less than you would of the dried form.

15. Garlic clove

Garlic cloves are often used in marinades to add flavor.

The garlic can be minced and added to the marinade, or it can be left whole.

When using whole garlic cloves in a marinade, make sure to remove them before cooking the food, as they will become very strong if cooked.

16. Sage

Sage is a powerful herb that has a slightly bitter, earthy flavor. It is often used in savory dishes, such as stuffing, pork chops, and chicken dishes.

Sage can also be used in marinades to help add flavor.

17. Rosemary

When used in marinades, rosemary imparts a lovely flavor that can complement other herbs and spices in the marinade.

Rosemary’s woody, evergreen aroma is perfect for grilling meats and vegetables.

18. Lemon Herb

Lemon herb is a great addition to marinades because it adds a bright, citrusy flavor that can really liven up a dish.

It’s also a good way to add some extra antioxidants and vitamins to your meal.

19. Celery

Celery is often used as a key ingredient in marinades, as its high water content helps to keep meats moist during the cooking process.

When used in a marinade, celery should be chopped into small pieces so that it infuses evenly into the meat.

Most Popular Seasonings Used in Marinades

There are a few key ingredients that make up a great marinade. Seasonings are one of them.

The right combination of seasonings can take your dish from good to great. But which seasonings are the most popular?

Here is a list of the most popular seasonings used in marinades, according to chefs.

1. Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs that are commonly used in Italian cooking.

The most common herbs in Italian seasoning are oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary.

However, some blends may also include sage, parsley, or other herbs. The herbs are usually dried and then ground into a powder or paste.

2. Creole Spice

A Creole spice is a blend of spices that is used to flavor food.

The spices in a Creole spice blend vary but typically include paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.

A Creole spice blend is typically used in marinades to add flavor and depth to the dish.

3. Grill Spice

A grill spice is a type of seasoning that is used to flavor food that is cooked on a grill. This type of spice can be used on meats, vegetables, or even fruits.

There are many different types of grill spices available, so you can choose the one that best suits your taste.

When using a grilling spice in a marinade, it is important to remember that the longer the food sits in the marinade, the more intense the flavor will be.

For this reason, it is often best to marinate meat for several hours before grilling.

Best Types of Salts to use in Marinades

There are a variety of salts available on the market, so it’s important to choose the right one for your dish.

In this blog post, we’ll share with you some of the best salts to use in marinades.

1. Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is a type of salt that is used in food preparation. It is often used in recipes that call for kosher or sea salt.

Kosher salt is also used to season food before cooking.

2. Rock Salt

Rock salt is a type of salt that is produced by the evaporation of seawater.

It is used in food as a seasoning and preservative. Rock salt has a high mineral content, which gives it a distinct flavor.

It is also used to make ice cream and other frozen desserts.

3. Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan pink salt is a type of rock salt that is found in the Himalayan mountains. It is pink in color due to the presence of minerals such as iron and magnesium.

Himalayan pink salt has many benefits, including being a natural source of electrolytes, helping to regulate blood pressure, and aiding in weight loss.

Himalayan pink salt is a great choice for use in marinades because of its unique flavor.

This salt can be used to add depth of flavor to any dish, and it is also believed to have some health benefits.

Other Things You Can Add to Marinades

1. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are often used in Asian cuisine, appearing in dishes such as sushi, sashimi, and tempura.

They can also be found in Middle Eastern dishes such as hummus and falafel.

The seeds may be ground and used as a flavoring or seasoning in various cuisines. In India, they are often used in sweet dishes such as halwa.

In the end

I hope this article helped you identify the spices, seasoning, and herbs for your next marinade! These are as important as the acidic components and oil for a marinade.

If you have any that we have missed, please drop a comment.

Do share this among your friends and family who love marinating!


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About Jane Lewis

Jane loves spending time with her family, cooking delicious meals, traveling to explore new cultures and wines, and tending to her backyard garden. She's a passionate home cook who enjoys trying out recipes from all over the world.

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