Seafood Spice Guide

Seafood spices in open round canisters


Small dark, reddish-brown berries with a dynamic aroma and flavor that resembles a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. You can use the berries whole in marinades and fish dishes. Ground Allspice is good for flavoring soups and sauces.


Commonly called aniseed, these small, brown oval seeds have the sweet, pungent flavor of licorice. Anise seeds are used in stews, while ground anise is good for lightly flavoring fish dishes.


Arrowroot is a good thickening agent for sauces. Arrowroot mixtures thicken at a lower temperature than mixtures made with flour or cornstarch. Mix Arrowroot with cool liquids before adding hot liquids, then cook until mixture thickens. Remove immediately to prevent mixture from thinning. Two tsp of Arrowroot can be substituted for 1 Tbsp of cornstarch. One tsp of Arrowroot can be substituted for 1 Tbsp of flour.


Bay leaves can be used to create more pungent flavors. They carry a fragrant clove-like aroma and are commonly used in soups, stews, and seafood dishes. Be sure to remove whole bay leaves after cooking as it's flavor will continue to increase if left in entree.


Basil tastes gives a sweet-scented, minty aroma when crumbled over fish. It blends well with garlic, thyme, and oregano. Crush dried leaves with your hand or in a mortar and pestle to release it's flavor.


Small, triangular-shaped pods containing numerous small black seeds which have a warm, highly aromatic flavor. You can buy green or black cardamoms although the smaller green type is more widely available.


Orange-red in color, this ground pepper is extremely hot and pungent. Used for spicy fish dishes, sauces, and batters.


Made from dried red chilies. This red powder varies in flavor and hotness, from mild to hot. A less fiery type is found in chili seasoning.


Commonly used in cooking to add a delicate onion flavor. Also used as a garnish on sauces, dips, and fish dishes. Combine chives with melted butter and lemon, then drizzle over fish fillets before or after baking.


Cilantro is the leaf of the Coriander plant. It has a taste of a fragrant mix of parsley and citrus. Cilantro should be crushed, either by hand or with a mortar and pestle. Cilantro is a perfect addition to Mexican dishes. Sprinkle Cilantro over stir-fried vegetables for color and Asian flavor.


Shavings of bark from the cinnamon tree are processed and curled to form cinnamon sticks. Also available in ground form. Spicy, fragrant and sweet, it is used widely in savory and sweet dishes. Cassia (from the dried bark of the cassia tree) is similar to cinnamon, but less delicate in flavor with a slight pungent 'bite'.


Available in seed and ground form. These tiny, pale brown seeds have a mild, spicy flavor with a slight orange peel fragrance. An essential spice in curry dishes, but also adds good flavor in seafood dishes, stews, and marinades.


Sold in seed or ground. Cumin has a warm, pungent aromatic flavor and is used extensively in flavor curries and many Middle Eastern and Mexican dishes. Popular in Germany for flavoring sauerkraut and pork dishes. Use ground or whole in meat dishes and stuffed vegetables.


Curry Powder is a blend of many spices and is used widely in savory dishes throughout India and Southeast Asia.


A feathery herb used commonly to as a garnish to add glamour to dishes. Dill Weed has fresh delicate flavor similar to caraway. Dill Weed enhances fish, shellfish, salads, and dips.


Dill Seed is a clean, pungent flavor, reminiscent of caraway being slightly bitter. Dill Seed is good sprinkled over casseroles before baking and used in salad dressings.


These small, yellow-brown seeds have a slight bitter flavor which, when added in small quantities, is very good in curries, chutneys and pickles, soups, fish and shellfish dishes.


Garlic has a distinctive odor and flavor. Use minced Garlic in pasta sauces, stews, and soups. Garlic powder can be used in marinades, or mixed with herbs and rubbed into seafood before cooking.


Mustard Seed's hot and spicy flavor enhances meats, fish, fowl, sauces, and salad dressings. Before using, mix Mustard Powder with water to form a paste. It takes about 10 minutes for the mustard flavor to develop. Use in foods needing flavor highlights. Unlike other pungent spices, Mustard's spicy flavor does not build or persist.


A unique collection of more than a dozen herbs and spices. The seasoning contains a robust blend of Celery Salt, Mustard, Red Pepper, Bay Leaves, Cloves, Allspice, Ginger, Mace, Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Paprika. Excellent with all seafood, especially crab.


Oregano has a pungent odor and flavor. It is also usually used in chili powder. Oregano is a great addition to many lamb, pork, and beef main dishes. An easy way to accent pasta sauces, salad dressings, and ground meat dishes is with a dusting of crushed Oregano leaves. To release its flavor, crush Oregano by hand or with a mortar and pestle before using it in your recipes.


Paprika comes from a variety of pepper, having an elegant red color with a mild, sweet flavor. Sweet paprika is useful as a colorful garnish for almost any seafood dish. Combine it with melted butter, margarine, or oil for a quick baste for fish. Do not put sweet paprika directly on fish before broiling because the paprika will burn.


White pepper comes from ripened berries with the outer husks removed. Black pepper comes from un-ripened berries dried until dark greenish-black in color. Black pepper is more subtle than white. Use white or black peppercorns in marinades and pickling, or freshly ground as a seasoning. Both are available ground. Green peppercorns are also unripe berries with a mild, light flavor. They add a pleasant, light peppery flavor to sauces, pates and salad dressings. Drain those packed in liquid and use either whole or mash them lightly before using. Dry green peppercorns should be lightly crushed before using to help release flavor, unless otherwise stated in a recipe.


Rosemary has a tea-like aroma and a piney flavor. Rosemary's assertive flavor blends well with garlic to season stews, and marinades, and lighter fish dishes. Melt butter with Rosemary to dress freshly steamed red potatoes. Crush leaves by hand or with a mortar and pestle before using.


Saffron comes from the elegant violet Crocus, and could be considered the "gold" of spices. It has a very distinctive, pervasive fragrance, with an intensely, delicious flavor. Saffron also gives a rich yellow coloring to dishes. Available in small packets or jars (either powdered or in strands - the strands being far superior in flavor). This spice is extremely good flavoring for soups and seafood dishes. A small pinch can pleasantly flavor an entire dish.

Note: Saffron is gathered during a two-week fall flowering period. Only the three stigmas of each flower are hand-picked and carefully dried. It takes about 225,000 stigmas picked from 75,000 flowers to produce 1 pound of Saffron.


Sage has a fragrant aroma and an astringent but warm flavor. Sage is a wonderful flavor enhancer for seafood recipes. Crumble leaves for full fragrance. Use ground Sage sparingly; foods absorb its flavor more quickly than leaf Sage.


High in protein and mineral oil content, sesame seeds have a crisp texture and sweet, nutty flavor which combines well in curries and fish dishes.


This dried, star-shaped seed head has a pungent, aromatic smell, rather similar to fennel. Use very sparingly in seafood stir-fry dishes.


Closely related to ginger, it is an aromatic root which is dried and ground to produce a bright, orange-yellow powder. It has a rich, warm, distinctive smell, a delicate, aromatic flavor and helps give dishes an attractive yellow coloring. Use in curries, fish and shellfish dishes, rice pilafs and lentil mixtures.


Vanilla is used to balance sauces for shellfish, providing a smooth rich background taste.