20 Different Names Of Herbs And Spices In Arabic

Nora Nasr


Nora Nasr

20 Different Names Of Herbs And Spices In Arabic

The flavors of Arabic cuisine are renowned worldwide, often intriguing and enticing those who sample them.

Central to these unique flavors are the herbs and spices that have been cultivated and cherished in the Arab world for centuries.

If you’re wondering about the names of the most common types of herbs and spices and their Arabic equivalents, you’re in luck.

In today’s guide, we'll dive into the vast array of Arabic herbs and spices, their English translations, and how to pronounce each one.

Herbs and spices in Arabic

You know that moment when you bite into a dish and an explosion of flavors takes you on a journey?

Most Arab dishes are like this!

There's a rich history and a whole universe of tastes wrapped in each pinch of za'atar, each saffron strand, each mint leaf. And it's about time we dug deeper into this aromatic world.

This isn’t just about language; it’s about understanding a rich and vibrant Arab culture. And trust me, learning the herbs and spices is like learning the alphabet of Arabic cuisine.

See the table below to learn some of the most common herbs and spices and how to pronounce each one in Arabic.

English Name Arabic Name Phonetic Pronunciation Transliteration Description
Coriander كزبرة Kuzbarah kuzbarah A versatile herb used fresh in salads and the seeds ground into a spice.
Dill شبت Shibitt shibitt Often used in fish dishes and soups, adds a delicate flavor.
Cardamom هيل Hail hail Often used in Arabic coffee, symbolizing hospitality.
Saffron زعفران Za'faran za'faran One of the most expensive spices, adds color and flavor to dishes like biryani.
Ras el Hanout N/A N/A N/A A spice mix that can include over a dozen ingredients.
Dukkah N/A N/A N/A A blend of nuts, seeds, and spices, typically used as a dip.
Turmeric كركم Kurkum kurkum Known for anti-inflammatory properties.
Anise يانسون Yansoon yansoon Commonly used to aid digestion and soothe upset stomachs.
Mint نعناع Na'na na'na Popular in teas, sauces, and desserts, also used for digestive comfort.
Fenugreek حلبة Helba helba Seeds used in pickles and spice blends; leaves in vegetable dishes.
Cinnamon قرفة Qirfa qirfa Used in both sweet and savory dishes like rice, desserts, and teas.
Thyme زعتر Za'atar za'atar Used in meat dishes, bread, and teas.
Sumac سماق Summaq summaq Tangy and tart, used as a seasoning on grilled meats and salads.
Cumin كمون Kammun kammun Commonly used in stews, soups, and rice dishes.
Basil ريحان Rehan rehan Used in salads and meat dishes, also in Italian cuisine.
Sage مرامية Maramia maramia Often used in teas, known for its earthy, woody flavor.
Ginger زنجبيل Zanjabeel zanjabeel Used in both cooking and traditional medicine for its spicy, aromatic kick.
Garlic ثوم Thawm thawm Foundational ingredient in many cuisines with potential health benefits.
Clove قرنفل Qaranful qaranful Used in spice blends and baked goods, adds a warm, sweet, astringent flavor.
Oregano زعتر بلدي Za'tar Baladi za'tar baladi Used in a variety of dishes and believed to have antimicrobial properties.
Caraway كروية Karawya karawya Used in bread, cheese, and some meat dishes; aids in digestion.
Rosemary إكليل الجبل Ikleel al-Jabal ikleel al-jabal Used in Mediterranean cuisine, known for its pine-like fragrance.

Arabic phrases for the spice market

Visiting a spice market or souq in the Arab world can be an exhilarating experience. The vibrant colors, potent aromas, and lively banter between shoppers and vendors make it an unforgettable journey.

However, to truly engage in the experience, it helps to know some Arabic phrases.

Here's a list of phrases that can come in handy:

كم سعر هذا؟

أريد شراء

هل لديك...؟

هل يمكنك اعطائي تخفيض؟

هذا غالي جداً

يشم رائحة جيدة

ماذا يُستخدم هذا التوابل ل؟

These phrases are a great way to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Arabic spice markets.

Don't be afraid to practice them and engage in conversations with the vendors; you'll learn so much more about the herbs and spices that make Arabic cuisine unique.


Arabic herbs and spices are more than mere flavoring agents though. They symbolize a rich cultural tapestry that intertwines culinary art, traditional medicine, commerce, and societal rituals.

In exploring the depth of these aromatic wonders, we uncover a world of flavor that resonates beyond the dining table, touching every aspect of life. The intertwining of history, tradition, and flavor in the Arabic world of herbs and spices offers a captivating experience.

Equipped with not just the names but also some handy Arabic phrases, you're well-prepared for a full sensory experience.

Remember, the joy in cooking and tasting doesn't just lie in the flavors and aromas; it's also about the rich conversations and cultural insights that come with it.

So it doesn’t matter whether you're an Arabic learner, a chef looking to experiment with new flavors, or a traveler eager to explore the culinary landscape of the Arab world, the magical blend of Arabic herbs and spices invites you to a journey that engages all your senses.

I hope this guide has been helpful to you.

If you would like to learn more, we have guides on the words and phrases to use at the butcher, words to use at the bakery and even Arabic tea.

Want to learn Arabic but struggling to advance on your own?

Sign up to learn from native Arabic speakers today.

Join now and start speaking Arabic today!

Create your account now and join thousands of other Arabic learners from around the world.