Herbs and Spices Vocabulary

Practice your herbs and spices vocabulary the next time you whip something up in the kitchen! (Whip something up = prepare a meal). Watch the video for the correct pronunciation in American English. You'll need to say the word out loud during the pauses after each word.

Hear the herbs and spices vocabulary pronounced

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Herbs and spices vocabulary in pictures

Do you like cooking? Do you like eating? Most people love eating when there is good food in front of them. We use herbs and spices in food primarily for adding flavor and aroma. Some herbs are used for medicinal purposes as well.

Herbs are leafy parts of a plant that are used to add flavor to food. Herbs can be used fresh or dried. Common herbs are mint, parsley, basil, thyme and oregano.

Spices are also used to give flavor to food, however they come from the other parts of the plant, especially the seeds, bark and roots of the plant. Spices are always used in dried form and they are usually ground into a powder or seeds. They often have very intense (strong flavors).

Notice pepper is on the list but not its sidekick (= its usual partner) salt. You probably haven't found salt growing on plants because it is a mineral, not a spice or an herb. Nevertheless, you'll usually find salt on the spice shelf and people commonly call it a spice.


bay leaf


black cardamom

green cardamom


black pepper


saffron powder

star anise


hot chili peppers





Herbs (plus a couple other vegetables)











green onion


Your turn to practice the herbs and spices vocabulary

I've also created several pages of vocabulary for other food items so please check out the link below to go to the main vocabulary page where you can learn about vegetables, fruits, etc.

So, here we are... time to practice the vocabulary. I am really interested in knowing which herbs and spices are commonly used in the traditional foods in your country. Some cultures really like to spice up their food!

  • What spices are most popular in your traditional foods?
  • Are there spices that you frequently use that aren't on this list?
  • Do you use fresh herbs in your foods?
  • Do you use any herbs for medicinal purposes?
  • What is one of your favorite dishes that uses some of these spices?
  • If you were only able to have one spice or herb to make a meal, which one would you choose?

Use the comment box below to write something to practice this vocabulary (this will help you remember the words more easily).

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