Popular Herb/Spice Blend Recipes


Part 1 of the Series:
DIY Holiday Gift Giving from the Kitchen


The Herb Lady writes:
Today I am sharing some of my favorite herb/spice blends that I use in my own kitchen as well as for gift-giving. They are great for the holidays, house warming gifts, or that special birthday surprise for your favorite Foodie friend.

Caricature1I buy my spice jars and some small baskets just large enough for 3 or 4 jars, create a fancy label, wrap it in cellophane shrink wrap and have them ready for wrapping. These little gems of easy design make great last-minute gifts too!

I have included a number of recipes that will work for just about any recipient on a special diet. All are salt-free (watch for an upcoming article on Salt Blends) and (unless the person/family has allergies) should work as a universal gift for just about anyone one your list. To get the full skinny on making herb/spice blends, check out this article with step-by-step instructions.

When making these baskets, I label them and attach a card listing the recipe for the blend, as well as suggested uses. You can mix-and-match any of your favorite blends, but be sure to list the length of storage (expiration date) so that freshness can be measurable for the recipient.

For many years I gave these baskets as gifts. Last season I did not make these baskets and boy did I hear about it. Turns out my friends looked forward to their yearly stash of seasonings!

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Apple Pie Spice Blend

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried, ground lemon peel to add some brightness (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, add together all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour into an airtight container to store. If you keep this blend out of heat, light, and away  from dampness, and it will last for 6 months to 1 year.

Suggested Uses for Apple Pie Spice:

  • Add to egg batter when making French toast or to pancake/waffle batter for a different taste at breakfast.
  • Add to sugar cookie recipes to make Apple Pie Spice cookies. Mix in with a quick bread recipe instead of just cinnamon for a special treat.
  • Use in any baked apple recipe. In apple pie, use 1-1/2 teaspoons homemade apple pie spice for every 6 cups sliced apples.
  • Use in apple cider or wassail recipes.
  • Add to rice pudding or baked custards.
  • Spread a bagel with peanut butter and sprinkle this spice mix on top.
  • Sprinkle on roasted butternut squash or baked sweet potatoes.
  • Mix with sugar. Spread toast with butter and sprinkle apples pie spice sugar mix. Cinnamon toast with a kick!

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Chili Powder Blend

Chili powder is really just a blend of the spices most commonly found in Latin-American cooking. The base spices usually are ancho chile powder, paprika, and Mexican oregano. Other spices like coriander, cayenne, cumin, and garlic powder round out individual blends. It’s an easy blend to make yourself, with the added advantage that you can tailor the mix to your own tastes. You can also use whole spices, toasted and ground, for even fresher flavor.

4 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2-1/2 teaspoons ground chilies or cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder

Optional extras (add as you like):
2-1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons ground lemon peel

  1. In a small bowl, add together all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour into an airtight container to store. If you keep this blend out of heat, light, and away  from dampness, and it will last for 6 months to 1 year.

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Herbes de Provence French Blend

Herbes de Provence is a blend of common herbs from the Provence region in France. Traditional herbes de Provence begins with rosemary, thyme and bay leaf, and then other available herbs are added to taste. American blends usually contain lavender buds as a nod to the fields of lavender scattered throughout the Provence region.

Herbes de Provence is used as a rub or to season meats, vegetables and fish or can be thrown on coals when grilling to release the essential oils into the food as a smokey flavor. It can also be used for roasting or in soups, gravies or stews. It is rarely used as a seasoning after cooking, like salt or pepper. Cooking brings out the flavors of the herbs. When combined, the herbs blend perfectly with fish and lamb. They are an integral part of ratatouille, the Provençal signature dish, and can be added to your own tomato sauce or used to perk up prepared sauces.

2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried, crushed rosemary
2 tablespoons dried savory
2 tablespoons dried marjoram
2 tablespoons dried, crushed lavender buds (optional)
2 teaspoons dried, crushed bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried sage (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, add together all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour into an airtight container to store. If you keep this blend out of heat, light, and away  from dampness, and it will last for 6 months to 1 year.

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Italian Seasoning Blend

This blend is a recipe that I put together after a trip to Italy where I was blessed with spending 2 weeks in the kitchen of my friend’s 89 year old grandmother. She was adamant about NOT mixing oregano AND basil in the same dishes. “Oregano is for pizza!” she told me. Add oregano to this mix if you wish, but I love the taste of this blend as is.

4 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons fennel seed
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons marjoram
2 tablespoons savory
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
NOTE: All ingredients are already dried.

  1. Process with a mortar and pestle or a mini food chopper until finely ground.
  2. Pour into an airtight container to store. If you keep this blend out of heat, light, and away  from dampness, and it will last for 6 months to 1 year.

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Poultry Seasoning Blend

Here’s a cheap and easy recipe for poultry seasoning to take the place of store-bought: This blend is perfect for stuffing and poultry.

2 tablespoons dried marjoram leaves
2 tablespoons dried savory leaves
1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, crushed

  1. In a small bowl, add together all ingredients and mix thoroughly. If you prefer a more powdery consistency, grind your poultry seasoning with a mortar and pestle or pulse it briefly in a food processor.
  2. Pour into an airtight container to store. If you keep this blend out of heat, light, and away  from dampness, and it will last for 6 months to 1 year.

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Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Pumpkin pie spice is a spice mix that generally includes cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Other ingredients may include allspice, mace, cardamom, and black pepper. A dash of pumpkin pie spice adds the characteristic warmth and flavor to pumpkin pie and other autumn/winter seasonal dishes. This is my own blend that I have put together from the flavors I enjoy most.

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  1. In a small bowl, add together all ingredients and mix thoroughly. If you prefer a more powdery consistency, grind your poultry seasoning with a mortar and pestle or pulse it briefly in a food processor.
  2. Pour into an airtight container to store. If you keep this blend out of heat, light, and away  from dampness, and it will last for 6 months to 1 year.

Don’t stop at pumpkin pie! Despite its name, pumpkin pie spice can really be an all-purpose pantry item. Here are a few other ways to incorporate it into your cooking:

  • Add it to cake, cookie, muffin, and pancake batters (use it in place of cinnamon or use about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of batter).
  • Swirl it into oatmeal and other hot breakfast cereals.
  • Use it to season carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
  • Simmer it with apples when making homemade applesauce.
  • Sprinkle it over vanilla ice cream.
  • Add it to a hot cup of tea and enjoy the aroma.

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Saltless Herbal Blend

This Herb Blend is delicious on salad greens, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, fish, hamburgers, meat loaves, steaks, omelets, etc. Try mixing the Herb Blend with a stick of butter. Let stand in refrigerator for a day to develop the flavors. Use herb butter on vegetables, breads, meats, fish, etc.

3 bay leaves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons oregano
4 tablespoons onion powder
4 teaspoons marjoram
4 teaspoons basil leaves
4 teaspoons winter savory
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest, dried

  1. Mix and crush to a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle or a small blender or food processor.
  2. Pour into an airtight container to store. If you keep this blend out of heat, light, and away  from dampness, and it will last for 6 months to 1 year.

Download Free Printable Labels for your own spice bottles here: Popular Herb-Spice Blends (labels).

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2 thoughts on “Popular Herb/Spice Blend Recipes

  1. Nancy says:

    Thank you for explaining the different suggested uses

    1. cebohrer46@yahoo.com says:

      I had hoped it would help 🙂

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