If you're looking to add some flavor to your Italian dishes or want to learn more about Italian spices, be sure to check out our list of the most popular ones. You'll find everything you need to know about these spices, as well as their uses, and benefits, and you may perhaps be inspired to create your own homemade Italian seasoning recipe.
- 1. Basil (Basilico)
- 2. Oregano (Origano)
- 3. Rosemary (Rosmarino)
- 4. Parsley (Prezzemolo)
- 5. Sage (Salvia)
- 6. Garlic (Aglio)
- 7. Pepper (Pepe)
- 8. Marjoram (Maggiorana)
- 9. Thyme (Timo)
- 10. Bay Leaves (Foglie Di Alloro)
- 11. Laurel (Lauro)
- 12. Red Chili Flakes (Peperoncino)
- 13. Fennel Seeds (Finocchio)
- 14. Juniper Berries (Ginepro)
- 15. Sea Salt (Sale)
- People Also Ask [FAQs]
- Wrap Up: Italian Spices List
There are a variety of Italian herbs and spices that can be used to add flavor to dishes. Some of the more popular ones include basil, oregano, and thyme or spice blends that include these and some salt.
These spices can be used to add flavor to so many dishes, like meat and fish, pasta dishes, pizza, and other Italian favorites. With just a little bit of these seasonings, you can take your dish from good to great.
So, without further ado, allow me to present you with a list of the most commonly used Italian herbs and spices. Don't forget to check out the self-watering potted herb keeper.
1. Basil (Basilico)
- Basil is a member of the mint family and is native to India. It was brought to Europe in the 16th century by Italian settlers.
- This is a culinary herb that is used in a variety of dishes, most notably Italian cuisine, and is number one on the spices and herbs list here.
- Basil has a strong, pungent tang that is slightly sweet and minty. It is typically used to flavor sauces, soups, and stews.
- Basil can also be added to pestos, pastas, and salads. When used fresh, Basil should be added at the end of cooking to preserve its profile.
- Basil can also be dried and used as a seasoning, however, be mindful of using it instead of fresh herbs, as dried herbs offer great flavor, but are stronger.
2. Oregano (Origano)
- Oregano is a member of the mint family as well and is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a popular herb that is used in many Italian dishes.
- It has a strong, pungent tang and a slightly peppery aftertaste. It is an excellent addition to tomato-based sauces, pizzas, and pasta dishes. Oregano can also be used in marinades, salad dressings, and as a rub for grilled meats, and it is used in many homemade spice blends.
- This seasoning is available fresh, dried, or in oil form.
- Oregano has many health benefits and it is a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, and calcium.
3. Rosemary (Rosmarino)
- Rosemary is a member of the mint family too! It is therefore related to many other Italian seasonings, such as basil, oregano, and sage.
- It is a fragrant herb that is often used in Italian dishes and in seasoning blends, such as salamoia bolognese.
- It has a slightly piney tang and can be substituted for other herbs such as thyme or basil.
- Rosemary goes well with chicken, pork, and fish. It can also be added to pasta sauces or used as a garnish, and it tastes excellent when used for roasting potatoes or other roasting vegetables, such as fennel.
- Rosemary can be found fresh, frozen, or dried at most grocery stores, however, it is very easy to grow at home. Should you buy some fresh, dry it in your own kitchen, clean it from the stalk, and preserve it in a sealed jar or mix it with other flavorings to create your own seasoning blend.
4. Parsley (Prezzemolo)
- Parsley is a leafy green herb that has a slightly peppery profile.
- It is very versatile and it can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, it can be used as a garnish or added to dishes, depending on if you are using it fresh or as a dried herb.
- Some substitutes for Parsley include cilantro, basil, and thyme.
- Parsley is often used as a garnish for soup, salad, or fish, but it can also be used in stuffing, omelets, and pesto, as with the right pairing it elevates the profile of the other ingredients.
- Parsley is a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and it also contains iron, calcium, and magnesium.
5. Sage (Salvia)
- Sage is a herb that has a pine-like shape and a slightly bitter background profile.
- It is used in many Italian dishes and can be substituted for other herbs such as thyme or rosemary.
- It is available dried or fresh; like a dried herb, this can be ground up and used in seasoning mixes, while fresh Sage can be chopped finely before use, lightly fried in butter, and used to dress gnocchi or simple grilled chicken.
6. Garlic (Aglio)
- Garlic is a bulbous plant that is related to leeks, onions, and chives.
- It has a characteristic flavor that is pungent and spicy, but it can be tamed once cooked.
- Garlic is used in many different dishes and in many different ways, but it is most commonly minced and lightly fried in olive oil.
- Garlic is a good source of vitamins A, B6, and C. It also has manganese, copper, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Garlic is known for its many health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
7. Pepper (Pepe)
- Pepper is a spice that is made from the dried fruit of the pepper plant.
- It comes in many different colors, including black, white, pink, and green.
- It has a spicy note that can be used in many different dishes and cuisines, from all over the world, and it can be found in almost everyone's spice rack.
- Pepper sometimes can be substituted with cayenne, chili powder, or paprika, depending on the recipe that is being followed.
- Italian dishes that use it famously include a recipe called spaghetti cacio e pepe, which uses cheese, tomato sauce-rich meals, such as lasagna, or simply grilled or roasted steaks and chicken.
8. Marjoram (Maggiorana)
- Marjoram is a member of the mint family, and it is related to oregano, thyme, and basil. It is native to the Mediterranean region, and it has been used in the kitchen for centuries.
- This seasoning has a strong, savory profile that can be used as a substitute for other dried herbs, such as oregano.
- Marjoram is often used in Italian dishes, and it can be added to sauces, soups, or stews, but also to meat and fish dishes.
- Marjoram is available fresh or dried in most local supermarkets, and it can be added to mixes to create the perfect blend of homemade Italian seasoning.
9. Thyme (Timo)
- Thyme is a fragrant, perennial herb that is a member of the mint family, that has small leaves and pink or white flowers.
- Thyme is versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, as it has a slightly peppery, citrusy background profile, and is often used to season meats, poultry, and vegetables.
- Dried thyme can also be used to make a variety of herbal teas, and it can be store-bought mixed with other ingredients.
10. Bay Leaves (Foglie Di Alloro)
- Bay Leaves is a herb used in cooking, with a slightly peppery taste and are often used as a substitute for laurel.
- Bay Leaves are commonly used in Italian dishes, such as Spaghetti Bolognese or other meat-based stews; these are usually added to dishes while they are cooking, and removed before serving.
11. Laurel (Lauro)
- Laurel is a plant that has been used for centuries in both the culinary and medicinal worlds.
- Laurel leaves have a bitter, peppery background note, and are often used as a substitute for bay leaves in Italian cuisine.
- These can also be added to soups, stews, or rice dishes; to use Laurel in cooking, add it to the dish in the last 10 minutes, and remove it before serving.
- Laurel can also be used to make tea by adding 1-2 Laurel leaves to a cup of boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes, before sweetening as preferred.
- This tea has many health benefits including aiding in digestion, relieving cramps and gas, and helping to detoxify the body.
12. Red Chili Flakes (Peperoncino)
- Red Chili Flakes is a type of chili pepper that has been grounded coarsely and is used in many Italian seasoning blends.
- They have a spicy, earthy taste and are often used in Italian dishes, especially in the Southern part of the country and it is a fantastic addition to any quick meal, as it elevates it in no time!
- Some substitutes for Red Chili Flakes include cayenne, paprika, or crushed red pepper flakes, however, make sure the substitute used works well with the spice blend of the whole recipe.
- Red Chili Flakes can be added to pasta dishes, pizzas, or used as a topping for salads; the most famous dish to use this seasoning definitely is spaghetti Aglio, olio e peperoncino, which is amongst the favorite dishes of most Italians.
13. Fennel Seeds (Finocchio)
- Fennel Seeds are very aromatic and flavorful and are used in a variety of dishes.
- They have a slightly sweet and licorice-like flavor and can be used as a spice in both sweet and savory dishes.
- Fennel Seeds are a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium; they also contain antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage.
- The most famous dish that uses this seed, is definitely finocchiona, which is a Tuscan salami flavored with it.
14. Juniper Berries (Ginepro)
- Juniper Berries are a type of berry that is often used in Italian cuisine, especially in dishes that use fatty cuts of meat.
- They have a tart, acidic taste and can be used as a substitute for other types of berries in various recipes.
- Juniper Berries are often used in dishes like pasta or risotto, and can also be added to meat dishes or sauces.
15. Sea Salt (Sale)
- Sea salt is a type of salt that is obtained from the sea.
- It has a higher mineral content than other types of salt, which gives it a richer and 'saltier' effect.
- This is the type of seasoning normally used in Italian households, however, it can be substituted for other types of salt in recipes; if substituting, make sure to check the proportions so as not to over-season or under-season.
People Also Ask [FAQs]
The most common spices used in Italy are basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme. These are often used in combination to create a unique profile for Italian dishes. Other popular Italian seasoning ingredients include garlic, parsley, crushed or powdered black peppercorn, and red chili flakes.
This type of seasoning doesn’t exist in Italy, however, over the world the most common ingredients used for Italian seasonings include oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, and sage. Others might also include red pepper flakes, crushed or powdered black peppercorns, garlic powder, or onion powder. The specific combination of herbs and spices can vary depending on the brand or recipe, however, it is very easy to prepare your own Italian seasoning.
Italian food uses a mix of dried herbs, dried garlic powder, dried onion, oregano, basil leaves, and crushed red pepper, which are mixed together to create dried Italian seasoning. Each brand has its own recipe for Italian seasoning, so keep an eye on which one you are purchasing to see what is used, to then recreate your own.
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Wrap Up: Italian Spices List
- Italian cuisine uses many herbs and spices, with each recipe using a different combination.
- Each spice has its own unique flavor that can enhance the taste of your dish, so it is important to use it in the right quantity and pair it with other dried Italian herbs that work well together.
- It is important that all the dried herbs and spices are stored in an airtight container once opened, so as to maintain their aroma intact. When using them, do not dip wet or humid utensils, as these will spoil your seasoning.
- Italian seasoning blend doesn't exist in Italy, however, you can make your own recipe for a good blend and store the leftover mix in an air-tight container such as a small jar of glass with a properly sealed lid.
- Experiment with different combinations of these spices to find the perfect delicious zing for your meal, keeping in mind which ones work best with meat, fish, or vegetables.
Flavored Salt (Salamoia Bolognese)
- 500 grams Italian sea salt
- 30 grams Dry Rosemary
- 30 grams Dry Sage
- 20 grams Cracked Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Granules
- Roughly chop the dry rosemary, and dry sage.
- Combine the Italian sea salt, rosemary, garlic, sage, and cracked black pepper in a bowl and mix well.
- Store the flavored salt in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
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