Adding Spices

You’ve asked why I add the spices later in the cooking prices vs. early so the flavors can blend.  There’s probably no right or wrong way to do it but I add most spices towards the end of cooking — especially the ones that I want to notice rather than having one blended, non-discernible flavor.  I mostly use herbs that I’ve grown.  I use them fresh during the summer and this time of year, I’m using herbs that I’ve dried or frozen and they have a lot more flavor than do the dried spices I buy in the store.

When questioned about why I add my spices later vs. earlier, the only answer I have is that’s the way we like them.  The flavors of the herbs seem a bit more robust when they haven’t cooked so long.  I did a little research on this website, found this:

Add ground or cut herbs and spices midway or towards the end of your cooking time, so their flavours won’t dissipate.

And, this website states:

As a general rule, add fresh herbs near the end of the cooking time as prolonged heating can cause flavor and aroma losses.

My suggestion is that you experiment with adding herbs/spices at different times and see what pleases your family.


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    I followed a recipe for a pressure cooker split pea dhal, where the spices in extra quantity were added before cooking. I found the flavors oddly distorted, and the result was nasty.

    I think you need to be pretty careful using the pressure cooker on anything strongly spiced, especially if it has cumin or coriander in it. Having tried a few, I haven’t found any vegetarian finished dishes that work in the pressure cooker – it’s great for plain dried beans and so on, but opening the lid and finding something ready to eat is for meaty dishes.