Spices are for sure the most important elements in the Spanish gastronomy. Doesn´t matter the type of food, or the region, almost every dish made in Spain will require seasoning in its ingredients list. Today we are going to tell you everything about the Spanish spices and herbs; which ones the best, where to buy them, how to use them properly while cooking, which recipes go with each spices.
📋 Top 10 Spanish herbs and spices list
As we were saing, spices are constantly present in the Spanish gastronomy, which means there are many of them. We have selected the top 10 best Spanish spices, so you know which ones you should always have at home.
🌺1) Spanish Saffron
Saffron, known in Spanish as Azafran, is for sure one of the most recognized and popular Spanish spices in the world, but people in the country don´t use it that much.
The main reason why it is so popular, is because you need it to make a perfect paella, but it is so expensive, that many people use other type of colorants, such as ñora.
That said, the taste will never be the same and it is what makes saffron so special.
While Saffron is the most popular one, if you are looking for spices used in the Spanish cooking, the one that stands out is parprika. It is used in many different plates.
There are many different types of paprika in Spain, but the two most recognized ones are the spicy and sweet paprika. The best and most popular paprika usually comes from La Vera in Extremadura, but you will also find it from Murcia or Baleares Island.
Some Spanish foods that require paprika are Bravas Potatoes, Pulpo a la Gallega, Garlic Shrimps or even Chorizo.
Not sure if we can say garlic is a spice, but it sure is one of the most popular Spanish condiments.
Garlic in Spain is used for almost anything, soups, salads, sauces, meats and fish, vegetables, it would be hard to find one singles dish that doesn´t need it. It is popular throughout the whole country.
Some recipes that usually require garlic cloves are gazpacho, aioli or even paella. It isn´t just super healthy, but it also adds a stronger taste to the meal.
Cinnamon in Spain is not as popular as in many other countries and of course, it isn´t use as much as any of the previous Spanish spices, but when it comes to desserts things are different.
Cinnamon or Canela, how it is said in Spain, is an essentian ingrediets for pastires and sweets like Torrijas, Leche Frita, Natillas, Arroz con Leche and even super popular desserts like Churros and Polvorones can be made with it.
When it comes to Spanish cooking herbs, Oregano is one of the most popular ones. This condiment is typical from all the Mediterranean countries, so you will find it often in Malaga, Almeria, Valencia, Murcia, and that side of Spain.
Oregano can be used for almost every dish you want, rice, pasta, soups and even if you are making a sandwich, adding a little bit of oregano will be a great choice.
This popular Spanish herb adds a different flavor to the dish and if you combine it with olive oil and garlic, you will have the perfect Spanices spices mix.
Of course, we had to include salt in this Spanish spices list. We have talked about Saffron, Paprika, Oregano…, but if there is one condiment you will always have to use while cooking any Spanish dish, that´s the salt.
We know salt is used in every country in the world, but we just had to talk about it. Its function isn´t just to add flavor to the meal, it also helps if you want to preserve your food for a longer time.
🍃7) Laurel (Bay Leaf)
Another famous Spanish herb is the bay leaf. It is used in all type of plates, but where you will find it more often is in soups, legumes such as lentils or beans and meat or fish dishes.
While using Bay leaves, is important to have two things in mind. First, its main function is to add a special flavor to the meal, so ones the dish is cooked, you can take it off. The second thing you should have in mind, is that Bay leaves need a few weeks to develop their flavors, so don´t use them right after picking them up.
🌶️8) Guindilla (Cayenne Pepper)
Spanish food has never been known for being super spicy. It will even be hard for you to find any spicy dishes in its gastronomy, but if you do, you will see how all of them include cayenne pepper in their ingredients.
Some of the mot famous plates made with guindilla are bravas potatoes, garlic shrimps and gulas, an imitation of baby eels.
Although cayenne peppers are spicy, we must admit they are nothing compared with other spicy sauces and spices from countries like Mexico, China, or India.
The function of this popular herb in Spain, isn´t just to add a different taste to the meal, but it also works for decoration porpoises, it will make your plate look way better.
Parsley usually makes a great combination while mixing it with garlic, olive oil and salt. It works as a sauce and you could add it to almost anything, fish, rice, pasta, chicken, potatoes, or just a toast.
Other dishes made with this Spanish spice are aioli potatoes or cuttlefish.
Last of all, another one of the most popular herbs used in Spain are Rosemary, known in Spanish as Romero. The main characteristic is its refreshing smell.
As it happens with Laurel, Rosemary is usually used to add flavor and a different taste. It would usually work very well, with stews and soups as well as with rice, you can even use it while making paella.
If you don´t want to use it while cooking, many people place rosemary in the bathroom or even in the laundry room as an air freshener.
Other typical Spanish spices
That´s all you need to know about the Spanish spices and herbs, hope you have found our list usefull and if you have any question or suggestions, please let us know in the comments.