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23 Christmas spices and herbs to highlight the festive season

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From sweet cinnamon and clove to piney rosemary, Christmas spices and herbs are a wonderful way to add flavor and warmth to your home or holiday recipes. 

What Are Christmas Spices?

Christmas spices bring a rich, spicy aroma and taste to festive dishes. In addition, it is a beautiful way to add flavor and warmth to your home. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves are some of the most popular Christmas spices. These spices These Christmas spices are almost always combined for maximum flavor enhancement. Still, each one packs its unique flavor profile when used alone!

Christmas spices are a mixture of aromatic ingredients used to flavor festive holiday dishes.

Looking for home decor Christmas gift ideas? Christmas spices add a touch of warmth and nostalgia to your loved one’s home this holiday season.

Explore our favorite spices and herbs to create wonderful Christmas flavors and enhance the festive atmosphere. 

christmas herbs and spices

Cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon sticks can add flavor to mulled cider, tea, hot chocolate, cookies, cakes, and other desserts. They can also be used as garnish for drinks like eggnog. Use cinnamon sticks tied together with ribbon or twine to make garlands or wreaths.  

This cinnamon extract comes in handy when baking.

Cinnamon originates in the fragrant bark of an evergreen tree native to tropical areas of Asia. Since ancient times, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans have all attributed this spice to a tremendous and mysterious power. I like to use cinnamon in gift wrapping.

Christmas spices
Orange pomanders

Nutmeg for Christmas seasoning.

Nutmeg is a  perfect seasonal spice in many Christmas dishes and desserts like spiced cakes, pumpkin pies, mince pies, and gingerbread.

It makes a delightful addition to festive beverages like a Christmas whiskey cocktail. This spice adds a great flavor and a slight sweetness to the dish that reminds people of the spirit of Christmas.

It can also season savory dishes such as mashed potatoes, omelets, or Buttercup Squash Soup. However, it should be used sparingly since its flavor can be overpowering. 

Nutmeg is usually sold in powdered form, but lately, many families are getting whole nutmeg nuts to make Christmas celebrations more memorable.

Nutmeg for Christmas seasoning.

Ginger for gingerbread.

Ginger has become a common ingredient in many Christmas desserts and a popular flavoring for holiday drinks. Vegan gingerbread loaf, with its moist texture and rich spices, has joined the ranks of gingerbread cookies and cakes as a traditional favorite. Alongside these are ginger snaps and other Christmas treats like spice cake and fruitcake. Candied ginger is also often given as a gift during the holidays. Additionally, ginger is sometimes added to mulled cider or wine for a warm, festive drink.

Allspice berries for apple cider.

Its sweet, warming flavor makes it a popular spice to taste mulled wines, pies, cookies, apple cider, and other holiday treats. But, like cloves, allspice berries are hard and should be ground, simmered, or scooped out before serving. 

The term ‘allspice’ itself includes a combination of the flavors and aromas of some popular spices – pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg yet it stands on its own in terms of taste. Its shape and color resemble peppercorns, which is why it is also called Jamaican and myrtle pepper.

With its warm, sweet, and slightly peppery taste, allspice pairs perfectly with meats such as ham and turkey. Plant native to Mexico and Central America, allspice is a versatile ingredient that adds a flavorful touch to savory and sweet dishes. While bringing out the sweetness of the other ingredients, it adds a hint of warmth and depth to the overall dish.

Star anise (Badian) in spice blends.

Star Anise (Badian) is a type of spice commonly used in Christmas baking, such as aniseed cookies and honey cakes. It has a strong flavor similar to licorice, often used in mulled wines, teas and other festive beverages. The star shape of the anise seed also makes it an appropriate symbol for Christmas time. Badian is the must-have spice in gingerbread mixtures. Star anise not only smells amazing and provides a great flavor and aroma to foods, particularly with Turkey gravy, 

Star anise is native to Southeast Asia, particularly southern China and northern Vietnam. And, if you ever wondered where the name “Badian” came from, it is from the Chinese name ba jiao. English translation is ‘eight corners’ due to the star-shaped pod which contains the seed.

Use ground Star anise or whole star-like pods in your Christmas meal for a beautiful garnish! 

Cinnamon sticks

Cloves for mulled wine.

Cloves are perfect in orange pomanders and lovely in all sorts of blends for a festive flavor. You can add them to mulled cider, hot Aperol or wine, and they are a great addition to winter stews and roasts. Cloves can also be used to make garlands or decorations for the Christmas tree. They also make a wonderful addition to gingerbread cookies. In addition, clove oil is often used in aromatherapy, and you can use the oil to scent candles or potpourri. 

People have used cloves since ancient times to treat toothaches and bad breath and freshen rooms. It is also believed to be an aphrodisiac. In addition, the Romans and Greeks used cloves for flavoring meats, sauces, and drinks.

Cardamom in a latte.

Cardamom is an ideal spice to use for Christmas cooking. It can be used to make festive drinks such as mulled wine and hot toddies or in traditional dishes like mulled cider or spiced apple juice. Cardamom can also be used in sweet treats like gingerbread cookies, cakes, and pies or in savory dishes like curries and stews. Its warm and spicy flavor adds a unique depth of flavor that makes it perfect for the holiday.

A close relative to turmeric and ginger, cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of the cardamom plant. When you combine them, you will get this dirty chai latte.

Cardamom is also believed to have medicinal properties. In traditional Indian medicine, it is used to treat digestive problems, colds, and headaches. It often appears in traditional Indian recipes like this Chicken Biryani.

Cardamom has a strong, pungent flavor and menthol-like aroma with notes of lemon, mint, and smoke. Ground cardamom has a more intense flavor than whole seeds, so use them sparingly.

holiday spices

Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are often used in Christmas dishes, such as stuffing and roasted vegetables. They can also be added to soups, stews, and salads for a unique flavor. In addition, fennel is known for its sweet licorice-like flavor and aroma, which make it an excellent addition to holiday recipes.

 They can be used whole or ground and added to sweet and savory dishes. Sugar-coated fennel seeds were used against abdominal pain. 

Saffron

Saffron is not a traditional Christmas spice but can be used to make special festive treats. It adds a warm, earthy flavor and golden color to saffron rice, tea, water, pasta or desserts. Saffron can also be added to savory dishes such as rice, stews, and sauces.

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, used for various dishes, and is a natural dye. Saffron’s dry blossoms are rare, and their flavor is described as bitter and sweet with hints of honey. It’s also believed to have medicinal properties and can treat depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even digestive issues. – the food or pastry turns bright yellow to orange.

What Are Christmas Spices?

Vanilla in Christmas treats.

Christmas and vanilla can be combined in various ways, from baking treats and making holiday drinks to adding a festive flavor to decorations. Vanilla extract can make delicious Christmas cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. It’s also great for making hot chocolate or eggnog. A few drops of vanilla extract can also be added to decorations like wreaths or pine trees for a pleasant aroma.

Old Toltec and Aztec tribes used it as a fragrant ingredient in popular beverages, from cocoa beans and chocolate pies. They believed that vanilla strengthens the heart, calms the mind, and raises the spirit. Vanilla was used for religious ceremonies by priests, and it was believed to have magical power. It is said that vanilla was also used in love potions to help attract potential lovers.

What Are Christmas Herbs?

Christmas herbs are essential for making delicious holiday meals and bringing the festive spirit into your home during the holidays. Common Christmas herbs include bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, lemon balm, lavender, and oregano. These herbs can be used fresh or dried in a range of recipes, including soups, stews, stuffing, and sauces. They can also be added to cakes and cookies for an extra special touch during the holidays. Christmas herbs and spices not only make dishes taste delicious, but they can also fill your kitchen with a lovely scent as you cook. Experimenting with different combinations of these flavors is a great way to get creative in the kitchen – so why not try something new this Christmas?

These Christmas magic quotes perfectly complement the Christmas spirit.

Rosemary

The evergreen herb rosemary is often used during the holiday to make wreaths by weaving it into a circle shape. It is also used for decoration, often hung around the home or in a doorway. It has long been associated with the Christmas spirit, as it was believed to bring good luck and protection to anyone who hung sprigs in their home. As an herb of remembrance, it is also thought to bring back fond memories of past Christmases when used during the holiday. With its deep green color, intense aroma, and subtle flavor, rosemary adds an extra layer of joy to any Christmas celebration.

Rosemary leaves have a distinct aroma and can be used as a fragrant addition to floral arrangements or in bath salts.

Sage

Sage is a popular herb in traditional stuffing holiday recipes such as sage and onion stuffing and roast potatoes with sage butter. To make a more Christmassy atmosphere, use sage leaves to decorate holiday wreaths and garlands.

Parsley

Parsley can be used as an herb garnish or chopped up in salads. However, it is also popular to decorate a Christmas table, as its bright green foliage makes it look festive. Parsley can be used in various ways to dress up the home for the holidays, including making a garland out of it or decorating the tree and mantle. It can also be used to make wreaths, topiaries, and centerpieces.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm is a sweet-smelling herb perfect for adding zest to teas or baked goods. It can be used to make festive holiday drinks, such as a hot toddy or mulled cider. It can also be added to baked goods like cookies and cakes for a memorable holiday touch. For those wanting something savory, lemon balm can be used in recipes like stuffing or potato salads. Making it a great addition to any Christmas dinner!

Lavender

Lavender has a calming aroma and can be infused into oils or added to desserts for a pleasant floral taste. During Christmas, lavender can be used to make festive decorations such as wreaths and garlands. It can also be included in Christmas potpourris and added to homemade candles and soaps. In addition, you can use lavender essential oil in a diffuser to create a relaxing atmosphere during the holidays. 

Bay leaves

Bay leaves are not typically used as Christmas decorations. However, they can be added to Christmas wreaths or garlands for a festive touch. The bay leaf is often associated with the holidays because it symbolizes peace, prosperity, and good luck. You may also use dried bay leaves for tea making, potpourri or hanging from doorways.

Thyme

Thyme is a fragrant herb that is used in many Christmas dishes. It’s popular in stuffing recipes and can season roasted vegetables, soups, sauces, and more. It also pairs well with traditional holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add a sprig to your Christmas wreath for a festive touch!

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm adds flavor and aroma to Christmas dishes, such as stuffing, potatoes, and other holiday favorites. It can also be used in teas and mulled drinks for extra flavor. In addition, lemon balm’s bright, citrusy flavor adds an uplifting note to winter treats and has been known to have calming effects. Add some fragrant herb to your Christmas recipes for a unique and refreshing twist!

Oregano

Oregano is not traditionally associated with Christmas. However, it can be a flavorful addition to many winter dishes. Oregano pairs particularly well with roasted vegetables, stews, and soups. It can also be used for stuffing and other holiday side dishes. If you’re looking for a unique way to use oregano during the holidays, try adding it to your favorite mulled wine recipe for an extra flavor kick! Make sure you distinguish oregano from marjoram.

making festive spirit

Frankincense

Frankincense and myrrh are two of the most famous gifts associated with Christmas. They were among the gifts given to Jesus by the Magi (the three wise men), according to the Bible. Frankincense was used as a perfume in religious ceremonies, and myrrh was used for its medicinal properties. These two gifts are believed to symbolize Jesus’s divinity and his mission as a healer. Try this organic frankincense essential oil for a memorable holiday scent treat.

Myrrh

Myth is an aromatic resin used for thousands of years in religious ceremonies and medicinal purposes. In the Christian tradition, it is one of the gifts given to Jesus by the three wise men at his birth. The resin has a strong aroma and is often used as incense or fragrance in churches during Christmas services.

Today, myrrh is included as part of Christmas decorations and gift-giving traditions. Its distinctive aroma also makes it a popular scent around the holidays, with many people burning incense made from myrrh in their homes or using its essential oils in personal care products such as lotions and soaps.

how to use Christmas spices in your cooking.

Peppermint

Peppermint is a classic flavor associated with Christmas. It can be found in everything from hot chocolate to candy canes. It’s often used to make festive decorations such as wreaths and garlands. At the same time, its aroma fills the air of many homes during the holidays. As a result, peppermint-flavored treats are popular gifts at this time of year and make great stocking stuffers.

Coriander.

Coriander’s light, citrus-like flavor can also enhance ham and turkey or in recipes that use roasted vegetables, stuffing, and sauces. Coriander can flavor Christmas desserts such as cookies, cakes, and pies. It is often used with herbs like sage or rosemary for added flavor.

If you want to keep your spices neat and organized, here is a great idea to better organize your RV spice rack

Do scents Smell Like Christmas?

The scents of Christmas are iconic and evoke memories of the holidays for many. Like The aroma of freshly baked cookies and pies or the smell of pine from a decorated Christmas tree. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg all come together to create the unique fragrance closely associated with Christmas. Mulled wine and hot chocolate can also add to the mix, as can wood smoke in front of a cozy fireplace. Combining all these scents creates an atmosphere that instantly brings a sense of warmth and joy to those who experience it. No matter how you celebrate, these delightful aromas make your home feel like a winter wonderland!

Pine needle oil with spices
Pine needle oil with spices

Christmas spice mix recipe.

Creating your own Christmas spice mix can be a fun and rewarding experience. It allows you to experiment with different combinations of herbs and spices and create unique flavor profiles.

Remember that freshness matters when it comes to herbs and spices: try to buy them in small quantities and only use them when they are freshest.

This Christmas Spice Mix is a delectable and comforting combination of the most popular holiday spices that go in with most seasonal foods:

  • Start with a base of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
  • Add in some cloves for a spicier flavor.
  • Include ginger for warmth and depth of flavor.
  • Optional: Throw in some cardamom for an extra festive note!

A good rule of thumb is to start with one teaspoon of each spice and then adjust according to your taste.

Once you’ve gathered different spices, combine them in a jar or container and stir until they are evenly mixed. 

Please store your spice blend in a mason jar until ready to use. 

Your beautiful Christmas spice will be fresh for several months. So enjoy using it in all your favorite holiday recipes!

More Ways to Make it Smell Like Christmas.

1. Simmer a pot of cinnamon and apples or make baked apples.

2. Place fragrant herbs like rosemary or sage in decorative bowls around the house.

3. Make a Christmas-scented candle using essential oils like pine, clove, and orange.

4. Place scented pomanders made from oranges, cloves, and other spices around the house.

5. Use a diffuser to spread essential oil blends like frankincense, myrrh, spruce, and balsam fir throughout the house.

6. Bake holiday treats like gingerbread cookies, apple pie or pancakes with spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice for an extra festive aroma.

7. Hang fresh greenery, such as garlands or wreaths, around your home for a woodsy scent.

8. Add potpourri to bowls around your home with festive scents like cranberry or peppermint to bring out the Christmas spirit!

How to use Christmas spices in your cooking.

1. Add a teaspoon of nutmeg to your mashed potatoes for an extra festive flavor.

2. Try making an apple cider or mulled wine by simmering red wine with cloves, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, and star anise for an aromatic holiday drink. These spices also taste great in fruit tea.

3. Sprinkle gingerbread spice mix on top of your favorite desserts, such as cheesecake or brownies, for a sweet and spicy kick.

4. Use allspice in savory dishes like chili or stew for a zesty flavor.

5. Make a Christmas-inspired breakfast by adding cardamom to your best chai tea or cinnamon to your latte.

making spirit of christmas
Vladka Merva on December 2nd, 2022

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