Autumn spices for any dish

For many, the cool winds and crisp air inspire comforting cuisine. As the seasons change, consider pulling out your favorite autumnal recipes – though you’ll need to check your spice cabinet or drawer before getting started! We compiled a list of what we believe are the most popular spices for fall.

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People often say anise tastes like licorice, and while many don’t prefer the taste, it’s worth experimenting with this ingredient. It could offer an interesting flavor to everything from acorn squash to ground meat and pasta sauce. Also, when made into an extract, anise is perfect for decadent desserts like biscotti and hot chocolate.


A dried berry that has essences of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, allspice is perfect for, well, all autumn recipes. It can be a foundational ingredient for meat rubs, and a sprinkle atop pumpkin or squash can also amp up the fall flavors. Allspice is commonly used in baked goods such as sweet breads as well.


This spice is known to add warmth to recipes — after all, it’s a main ingredient in chai tea and gingerbread. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to sweet applications, though. In fact, cardamom is incredibly versatile; for instance, you can mix it into soups or stir it into sauces for meats or seafood.


Due to its spicy aroma and sweet taste, cinnamon is an obvious option for fall recipes. Need a side dish for your dinner? A dusting on sweet potatoes amplifies the flavor and makes the food much more seasonal. Need a hearty breakfast? Cinnamon effortlessly complements oatmeal, and no doubt, it makes homemade cinnamon rolls taste irresistible. 


Clove is an aromatic and delightfully flavorful spice, making it an excellent addition to fall-inspired beverages such as hot toddies. For a sweet and syrupy kick, you can consider incorporating cloves in a homemade barbecue sauce, or you can add to a beautifully baked ham. You can even use cloves for pickling  – with this spice, the possibilities are seemingly endless!


This spice boasts a smoky flavor that adds depth. You can utilize cumin in a variety of dishes, including fall favorites like chilis and stews. Additionally, for an unexpected twist, consider adding this spice in a chocolate cake, fudge, or truffle recipe for a satisfying dessert.


Ginger possesses an intense, peppery taste, and while its flavor profile may intimidate some cooks, it’s crucial in autumn recipes. You can finely chop ginger and incorporate it into a savory stir-fry, or if you want something soothing to sip, add sliced ginger to hot water to create a calming tea. Ginger is also available in powdered form for baking.


As its name suggests, nutmeg’s flavor is nutty or woody. It can aid you in serving flavorful squash as well as mouthwatering donuts and muffins. You can also add a dash to homemade eggnog or baked fruits such as apples or pears.


A spice that provides memorable color, turmeric is a staple ingredient in curries and other warm, filling meals. You can also incorporate this spice in desserts like cakes and cookies. Finally, for a unique touch, turmeric is an easy addition in salad dressings and even scrambled eggs.

Best Herbs to Use With Autumn Spices

Like spices, herbs can really pull your fall dishes together. Consider sage, which has a citrusy and slightly bitter flavor. It pairs nicely with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and other seasonal produce. We also recommend rosemary, as it boasts a festive, piney scent and a delicious, fresh taste. Rosemary readies poultry for holiday entrées, and this herb can even act as a fun garnish for cocktails or sides. Finally, thyme offers a minty flavor that perfectly complements foods such as apples and butternut squash. 

We’ve covered the essential autumn spices, but we simply can’t forget to mention a few spice mixtures you should have in your kitchen. A mulling spice blend — which typically includes allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg — transforms hot drinks like cider and wine into cozy beverages. Plus, if you’re baking, apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice are necessary to have on hand.

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