Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon


Buy Now
Save to Recipe Box
Add Private Note
Buy Now
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Add Recipe Note
Buy Now

What is it?

Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. Cumin seeds which resemble caraway seeds, are oblong, ridged, and yellow-brown in color. Cumin seeds, known for their distinctive aroma, are popular in North African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Cuban and Northern Mexican cuisine.

Sold whole or ground, cumin seeds come in three colors: amber, white and black. Amber is most widely available, but black cumin has such a complex flavor it should not be substituted for the other two. No matter what color, these seed’s characteristic flavor and aroma comes from their essential oil which benefits from a quick frying or dry roasting.

Don’t have it?

In some cases, you can use caraway seeds (but only use about half as much), or a mix of caraway and anise seeds. Amber cumin seeds may be substituted for white cumin seeds and vice versa.

How to prep:

Toasting the whole seeds briefly before grinding expresses essential oils and brings out flavor.

How to store:

As with all spices, store cumin seeds away from light and heat and track their age by labeling purchase dates. Change your stock about every six months for ground spices and every year for whole spices. Spices don’t go “bad,” but as they age they will lose their potency.

Click here to purchase


  • lamb burger
    Sponsored Content

    Sunny Side Up Aussie Lamb Burgers with Roasted Root Vegetables

    This burger is bursting with bright colors and flavors, from the tangy pickled red onions to the sweet roasted vegetables, savory lamb and a rich sunny-side-up egg topping it all…

  • Recipe

    Roasted Adobo Pork Tacos

    Because this sauce, with its hint of orange and garlic, is so good, you’ll want to keep it handy to try on shrimp, grilled tuna, or fried eggs. It also…

  • Recipe

    Chicken Saag

    My husband and I were saddened when our favorite Indian restaurant switched from making their saag with chicken thighs to making it with chicken breasts. What had been a deeply…

  • Recipe

    Spicy Beef Rolls

    Flaky cigar-shaped phyllo rolls filled with meat seasoned with the warm spices of cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne are delightful when served with refreshing tzatziki or your favorite marinara sauce…

  • Recipe

    Roast Pork Chops with Baby Artichokes and New Potatoes

    This skillet dinner—with a pinch of cumin and a splash of balsamic—develops a sauce that delivers on flavor. To serve four, you can double the recipe and transfer everything to…

  • Recipe

    Spiced Date-Filled Pogaca Rolls

    The spice mix used here, called baharat, is a signature flavoring at Kilpatrick's café Sofra, and it takes the dried-fruit filling of these soft, airy dinner rolls to the savory…

  • Recipe

    Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges with Harissa Fry Sauce

    Harissa, a North African hot sauce, adds a bit of complex heat to a simple “fry sauce” (a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise) and perfectly offsets the sweetness of the…

  • Recipe

    Chickpea-Zucchini Pancakes with Yogurt, Za’atar, and Sea Salt

    These warmly spiced pancakes are studded with zucchini and brightened by scallions and a hit of lemon.

  • Recipe

    Orange-Cumin Marinated Chicken Thighs

    This Spanish-inspired marinade has a sweet, spicy, smoky flavor that works well with not only chicken but a wide range of meats and vegetables. The chicken thighs are delicious served…

  • Recipe

    Glazed Spice-Rubbed Spareribs

    Every summer, my dad makes the most delicious barbecued ribs. His trick is to add some smoked paprika to the cumin and fennel in the spice rub to guarantee smoky…


Leave a Comment


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All

Moveable Feast Logo

Season 4 Extras

Carmel, CA (511)

Visit the quaint seaside town of Carmel for a coastal episode of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking. Host Curtis Stone joins chefs Justin Cogley and James Syhabout as they forage…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks