The smell of cumin is something a lot of people will be familiar with. It’s pungent and warm with a flavor to match.
Due to its powerful and deep flavor profile, it’s a staple in cuisines all over the world. You might find it in Mexican dishes or even in curry.
Pairing something as complex as cumin can seem difficult. We’ve saved you some research time by pulling together this list of spices that go with cumin.
Cumin’s sharp and bitter taste can be intolerable by itself for some palates. If that sounds like you, then you might like it more combined with allspice, which tastes like nutmeg and cinnamon. Its sweetness will temper the bitter taste of cumin.
With a powerfully floral and peppery taste, cardamom could almost be defined as the ultimate holiday spice. It’s used frequently in desserts.
We picked it here because we think that, like allspice, its dessert-like quality makes it excellent for contrasting the bitterness in cumin.
Related Article: Where to Find Cardamom Pods in the Grocery Store
While cinnamon by itself couldn’t be described as sweet, most people know it as an ingredient in many of our favorite desserts, including pies and pastries. This is because it has a spicy heat and yet also lacks any tartness, which it makes it perfect for rounding out cumin’s warmth.
If you’d like to add cinnamon to your grocery list, here’s where to find cinnamon sticks in the grocery store.
Clove is another one of those spices you’ll find in some of our favorite desserts. It could best be described as an autumn spice, given how people commonly use it to make pumpkin pie and mulled cider. Its warming quality will enhance the warmth in your cumin.
Like cumin, coriander has a uniquely complex flavor profile. It’s savory with herbal and citrusy hints in it. That prominent orange-like note in coriander will brighten the earthiness of cumin.
Be sure to check out our guide to what ground coriander tastes like to learn more.
Dill pickles are where most people first experience the potent taste of dill. It has a powerful smell and tastes like a bright combination of anise and even parsley. Additionally, it’s ideal for promoting cumin’s warmth, thanks to its own warm flavor.
Just like with dill, fennel’s warmth and faintly sweet flavor is ideal for boosting the warmth of cumin. If you think dill is a little too potent, you might prefer fennel, as it’s similar to dill with slightly less pungency.
Garlic is something you can combine with just about anything that’s savory, including cumin. Its heat will work well for deepening cumin’s already rich profile.
If you’d like to add heat to your cumin with a dash of sophistication, ginger is the spice for you. Sure, it conveys a bit of spice to whichever food you put it in, but it also has bright citrusy notes. This is will work wonders when it comes to giving your cumin’s earthy taste some lightness.
Mint has a cool, invigorating taste that makes it a fantastic palate cleanser. Use it with cumin to help curtail its bitterness while highlighting the sharpness of its flavor.
11. Mustard Seed
Mustard seed’s flavor can only be described as powerful. It’s something you will want to use sparingly, but if you do, it will combine with your cumin to make something robustly bitter and aromatic.
Cumin already has both warmth and earthiness in spades. You can accentuate those qualities with nutmeg, which has its own warmth and hints of sweetness for complexity.
The reason why oregano pairs well with cumin is that it has many of the same flavors that cumin does. Like cumin, it’s both sharp and bitter, so it will accentuate those qualities.
Paprika is one of the best options out there for giving something a smoky, spicy flavor. Cumin’s own natural earthiness will be deepened and balanced by it.
Even if you didn’t have any of the other spices on this list in your home, we’d be willing to bet that you have pepper in your pantry. Pepper conveys a small amount of heat to whatever you use it in, which will brighten cumin’s lower, earthier tone.
Thyme is similar to mint, except on a subtler scale. It will give your cumin a refreshing aftertaste without being quite as drastic as mint.
You’ve probably seen bright gold turmeric in curry before. Its bitter and robust flavor mirrors the bitterness in cumin.