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A Guide to Winter Spices

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The bone-chilling winds and colder temperatures of winter have many of us heading indoors to warm up this season. Whether you hibernate inside or head out to a hot yoga class, there are multiple ways to warm up this winter, but one of our favorite ways to stay warm during the winter months is through food.

While you are channeling your inner Betty Crocker and getting your bake on or perhaps you are more of a top chef and love practicing those cooking skills, do not forget to add some spice to your winter recipes.

Whether you are cooking up a big batch of hearty comfort food on a cold winter’s night or putting together a handcrafted casserole or a homemade soup or stew, spices are a great way to add flavor to your favorite winter foods while avoiding excess salt and sugar.

Plus, the winter season offers a unique array of rich, full-bodied flavors that will warm you up heart and soul. Here are ten seasonings and spices all perfect for your winter baking and cooking.

#1 Allspice

Allspice is actually a dried unripe fruit, but includes three main spices: cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Available in ground or whole, allspice complements roasted vegetables like carrots as well as meats like pork and poultry. It also goes great with stews.

Kitchen Cooking Tip: If you do not have allspice on hand, simply combine ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of ground cloves. Viola! Allspice.

#2 Black Pepper
Although you may think black pepper is pretty basic and can be used at any time of the year, which is totally true, black pepper is also a great spice to use during the winter season. It adds a subtle touch of heat to your dish and can really be used on anything including beef, chicken, fish, pork, and vegetables, or basically anything else you decide to whip up.

#3 Cardamom
Cardamom is an aromatic warming spice that is most flavorful in baked goods like gingerbread and shortbread. Used most frequently in Indian cuisines, cardamom pairs well with cinnamon, chocolate, and cloves. Cardamom hot chocolate anyone?

#4 Cinnamon
With a mildly sweet flavor, cinnamon is a great addition to baked goods like coffee cakes, cookies, and crumbles. Cinnamon can also be paired with beef, curries, oatmeal, pork, and stews.

Tip: The taste of cinnamon can actually hold some heat, so when it comes to cooking and baking,  ½ – 1 teaspoon adds just the right amount of depth and warmth to any dish.

#5 Cloves
Cloves can be considered the jack of all trades when it comes to spicing things up due to their rich, full-bodied flavor. Cloves pair well with an array of foods including carrots, chocolate, fruit, onions, potatoes, and sweet bread.

#6 Cumin
Cumin is a spice that can be used any time of year, but is most enjoyed during the fall and winter seasons to ad
d a bold and distinct taste to homemade chilis, soups, and stews. Cumin can also be used in ground or whole form.

#7 Ginger
Ginger is a flowering plant whose root, ginger, is used as a popular spice. Used around the world as a warm baking spice, ginger provides a well-balanced combination of spicy and sweet flavors. Easily incorporated into baked goods (hello gingerbread), ginger can also be added to curries, hot teas, seafood, and stir-fries. It particularly pairs well with garlic.

#8 Nutmeg
Nutmeg’s spicy and sweet flavoring enhances baked goods like pies, sauces, and vegetables such as spinach and squash. Although nutmeg can be purchased whole ground, it is best enjoyed when freshly grated, which gives an added touch of warmth to any dish.

#9 Pumpkin Pie Spice
Although pumpkin pie spice is pretty synonymous with the fall season, it can also be used during the winter season. A blend of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, and nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice pairs well with baked goods like bread, cookies, muffins, and of course, pie.

Kitchen Cooking Tip: If you do not have pumpkin pie spice on hand, simply combine ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger + ⅛ teaspoon of ground nutmeg + ⅛ teaspoon of ground cloves or allspice. That is it!

#10 Star Anise
Star anise gives a subtle hint of licorice flavor to baked goods, and braised meats like chicken, fish, or pork and can also be incorporated into sauces, soups, and stews. Star anise pairs well with another warming spice, cinnamon.

As you stay warm this winter, remember to use these ten seasonings and spices to add a dash of warmth to all of your winter dishes.


Read more tips and tricks from Ashley Martens on the Discover Blog.


ashley martens

Meet The Author

Ashley Martens is a Health and Wellness Writer based in Chicago, IL. With a background in digital marketing coupled with her knowledge of general nutrition and a lifelong passion for all things health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, Ashley offers a healthy alternative to traditional writing. You can learn more about Ashley and her writing on her portfolio.