Spices vs. Herbs: What’s the difference?

Spices and herbs both come from plants, so how are they different? While spices come from dried parts of the plant, herbs come from the fresh parts of the plant. For example, the herb cilantro comes from the leaf part of the plant, while coriander is the seed and spice that grows cilantro!

Fresh herbs are great for garnishing and should be added to dishes towards the end of cooking for optimal flavor. Herbs can also be dried. Dried herbs are not as flavorful as fresh herbs, so keep that in mind when replacing fresh for dried in a recipe. Dried herbs should be added at the beginning of cooking so that they have time to rehydrate and develop flavor.

Spices can withstand longer cooking times as well, but be careful not to leave them on dry heat for more than a minute, or else they will burn and turn bitter.

When comparing flavor profiles, spices tend to have stronger flavors than herbs. For example, you may notice that if you add too much cayenne pepper to a dish, you may end up coughing a little bit, but adding more fresh basil than the recipe calls for does not make that big of a difference.

Spices and herbs are healthy seasonings that create a delicious balance of flavors and are great for cooking. Use a combination of both herbs and spices in your favorite dishes for best flavor and nutrition!

The importance of herbs and spices extends beyond just flavor; both provide health benefits as well!



Common Spices

What are the best spices for health? All spices have health benefits and it is important to get a variety into your diet! Here are 10 common spices; we will highlight the health benefits of 5 of these common spices.

       Black Pepper                        Cayenne Pepper

       Cinnamon                             Chili Powder

       Cumin                                    Garlic Powder

       Ginger                                    Nutmeg

       Onion Powder                       Turmeric

Let’s first talk about some general health benefits of spices. Then, we will touch on some cooking, buying and storage tips!

Common Herbs

For this specific article, we will not go into the health benefits of herbs (though there are many!), but here are some  common herbs that can be found in most grocery stores in both fresh and dried forms.

                           Basil                   Cilantro

                           Dill                      Mint

                           Oregano             Parsley

                           Rosemary         Thyme



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