Most Common Herbs And Spices Used In British Cuisine

Herbs and spices are an important part of British cuisine. They can be used to create sauces, dressings, marinades, or even in desserts. In this article, we will discuss the most common herbs and spices used in British Cuisine.

Herbs used in British cuisine


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Basil is a type of herb which is used in British cuisine. It has been grown in Europe for over 2,000 years and is said to have originated from the East Mediterranean region. There are many varieties of basil available, but the most common types found in UK cooking are sweet basil, lemon basil and holy basil. 

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Parsley is a plant that has been used in European cuisine for centuries. It’s green, leafy and has small white flowers that grow at the end of long stems. Parsley was once believed to have medicinal properties as well, but it is now widely considered to be mostly decorative with few culinary uses. In the UK, parsley can most often be found sprinkled on salads or served alongside fish dishes like plaice and smoked salmon. 

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Rosemary is a herb with a sweet, woody scent. The fresh leaves can be used to make sauces and flavor meats, while the dried leaves are often added to cheese and other dishes as well. It is one of the most versatile herbs in British cuisine and has been grown on English soil for centuries.

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Chives are a green, leafy vegetable that can be used in many dishes. Chives are commonly used as a garnish for cheese plates and salads, but they also have more common uses like being the base of an onion soup or providing the taste to various sauces. In the UK, chives are often eaten with breakfast in omelettes or scrambled eggs and can be found in dips such as guacamole and salsa. 

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Sage has been used as a culinary herb for centuries, particularly in the Mediterranean region. In recent years it has become more common to find sage on the menus of restaurants across the United Kingdom. It can be found in dishes ranging from fresh pesto pasta with vegetables to crispy roasted duck breast with gravy sauce and cherry compote. 

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In the UK, thyme is most commonly used in pork dishes and as a flavoring for beer. It’s also used to season roast chicken, stuffings, lamb or beef roasts and soups. The flavor of thyme can be mild to strong depending on how it is prepared. One way to control the intensity of thyme’s flavor is by drying it.

Related Post: How to grow Thyme from seed

Bay Laurel

bay laurel
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Bay leaves are a spice used in British cuisine. It is typically found dried and ground, but can also be bought fresh or whole. Bay leaves have a strong flavour that tastes slightly like cloves and cinnamon, which gives dishes an earthy aroma. In the UK bay leaves are often used to flavour soup stocks or curries with mutton, lamb or beef, although they can also be added to other sauces such as tomato sauce for pasta dishes (this works well with bacon).


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Many people don’t know that oregano is a culinary herb. However, this is a very important part of British cuisine and culture. Oregano was used in dishes as early as the 14th century in Britain and can be found sprinkled on many modern-day English recipes such as roasted potatoes or mixed into sauces for meatballs or burgers.

Related Post: How to grow Oregano at home

Spices used in UK cuisine


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Cinnamon is a spice that is commonly used in many dishes and drinks around the world. In the UK, cinnamon can be found in tea, cakes, apple pies, lamb roasts, roasted vegetables, cinnamon spiced chicken and mulled wine. Cinnamon has been valued for its flavor since ancient times. It’s thought to have originated from Sri Lanka or India because of where it was first exported.


paprika powder
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The UK cuisine is famous for being rich and varied. One of the main spices used in this cuisine is paprika, which gives a distinctive taste to traditional dishes such as: chicken tikka masala, sausages with onions and red peppers, or spicy beef chili con carne. In addition to that, it also has many health benefits: – The anti-inflammatory properties of paprika can help reduce pain caused by arthritis.


Chili spices are commonly found in British dishes such as beef stew or chicken tikka masala. It can also be added to rice, soups, sauces and desserts for a bit of extra flavor. Chili pepper sauce can also be mixed with mayonnaise for a tasty sandwich spread or salad dressing alternative that will add some heat to your meal!


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Allspice is a spice that is used in many dishes in the United Kingdom. The main ingredient of allspice, Pimenta dioica, is a native plant to Jamaica and Central America. The name “allspice” was given because it has an aroma reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It has been used for centuries as a spice to flavor meat or vegetables, making them more appealing to taste buds.


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Nutmeg is a spice that has been used in UK cuisine for centuries. It is the ground, dried seed of the nutmeg tree, and it tastes like cinnamon with hints of cloves. Nutmeg can be used to make sweet dishes taste sweeter or add flavor to meat dishes. Many dishes in Britain contain nutmeg, such as mulled wine, pumpkin pie, Christmas pudding, bangers and mash.


Clove is a key ingredient in British cuisine. The pungent flavor of clove makes it an ideal addition to sauces, desserts, and baked goods. Cloves are often used as a spice for beef dishes like Yorkshire pudding or stews like Irish stew.  The spice is used not only for flavor but also to make food last longer due to its natural preservative properties.


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Ginger is an essential ingredient in British cuisine. It can be found in many dishes such as the classic dish, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Ginger also plays a role in desserts like gingerbread, biscuits, ginger snaps and ginger beer. In the United Kingdom, there are more than 1 million tons of this spicy root produced each year.


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In recent years, the spice coriander has seen a rise in popularity among British cooks. Coriander is often used to flavor Indian dishes such as curries and chutneys, but its use has grown in the United Kingdom.  Its flavor has been described as citrus, earthy, and nutty. The leaves are often used fresh while the seeds are often toasted or roasted before being ground into a powder for use in cooking. 


  • Vince S

    Hello, I'm Vince, and I bring over 25 years of dedicated experience in the world of herb gardening. From cultivating fragrant basil to nurturing hardy rosemary, my journey as a passionate herb enthusiast has allowed me to explore the wonders of these versatile plants. Through, I'm thrilled to share my knowledge, tips, and insights to help you embark on your own herb gardening adventures. Let's grow together!