Herbs and Spices Vocabulary

A collection of the illustration of the herbs and spices listed on this page.

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.


illustration of bay leafs

bay leaf

illustration of cinnamon sticks


illustration of black cardamom

black cardamom

illustration of green cardamom

green cardamom

illustration of whole cloves


illustration of whole black peppercorns

black pepper

illustration of sticks of vanilla


illustration of a bowl of saffron powder

saffron powder

illustration of star anise

star anise

illustration of peppers


illustration of hot chili peppers

hot chili peppers

illustration of nutmeg


illustration of ginger


illustration of garlic cloves


illustration of turmeric


Herbs (plus a couple other vegetables)

illustration of fresh basil


illustration of sprigs of thyme


illustration of as sprig of sage


illustration of a sprig of rosemary


illustration of a sprig of parsley


illustration of a sprig of oregano


illustration of a sprig of tarragon


illustration of a sprig of dill


illustration of a sprig of mint


illustration of arugula


illustration of a green onion

green onion

illustration of an 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?

On a piece of paper write something to practice this vocabulary (this will help you remember the words more easily). Or you can practice by speaking out loud to yourself (yes, this is excellent practice) or you can talk with a friend.

Another great way to learn and remember vocabulary is to do puzzles. You can practice this vocabulary as well as 19 other common vocabulary topics by downloading our FREE puzzles ebook here.

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