Vocabulary related to herbs and spices in French

Herbs and spices form a very important part of the food we cook. In this lesson, we will take you through various herbs and spices and what they are called in French. So if you’re someone who might shift to France in the future, knowing about them will surely help you buy them easily.

1. Les épices 

Meaning: a substance made from a plant, used to give a special flavour to food

English: spices

Example: Les épices sont une partie importante de la cuisine indienne. (Spices are an important part of Indian Cuisine.)

2. Les herbes

Meaning: a type of plant whose leaves are used in cooking to give flavour to particular dishes or in making medicine

English: herbs

Example: Les herbes peuvent changer le goût de n’importe quel plat. (Herbs can change the taste of any dish.)

3. Le piment

Meaning: the small, red or green seed case from particular types of pepper plant that is used to make some foods very hot and spicy

English: chilli

Example: Veuillez me donner un paquet de piment. (Please give me a packet of pepper.)

4. La cardamome

Meaning: a South Asian plant, the seeds of which are used as a spice

English: cardamom 

Example: L’enfant avait peur de voir un dragon dans le parc d’attractions. (Il n’aime ni l’odeur ni le goût de la cardamome.)

5. La safran 

Meaning : a dark yellow substance obtained from a flower and used as a spice to give colour and flavour to food

English: saffron 

Example: Le safran a donné une bonne couleur et un bon goût au lait. (The saffron gave a good colour and taste to the milk.)

6. Le cumin

Meaning: a spice consisting of the pleasant-smelling seeds of a plant or a powder made from these seeds, used especially in South Asian and Western Asian cooking, or the plant itself

English: cumin

Example: Elle ajoute du cumin dans presque tous ses plats. (She adds cumin in almost all her dishes.)

7. La menthe

Meaning: a herb whose leaves have a strong, fresh smell and taste and are used for giving flavour to food

English: mint

Example: Il préfère son dentifrice à la menthe. (He prefers his toothpaste with mint.)

8. Le gingembre 

Meaning: the spicy root of a tropical plant that is used in cooking or preserved in sugar, or a powder made from this root, used as a spice

English: ginger

Example: Voulez-vous essayer du soda au gingembre? (Do you want to try some ginger ale?)

9. La cannelle 

Meaning : the bark (= hard outer covering) of a tropical tree, or a brown powder made from this, used as a spice to give a particular taste to food, especially sweet food

English: cinnamon

Example: Elle adore avoir des petits pains à la cannelle pour le petit déjeuner. (She loves to have cinnamon buns for breakfast.)

10. L’origan 

Meaning: a herb whose dried leaves are used in cooking to add flavour, especially in Italian cooking

English: oregano

Example: Je préfère mes pâtes sans origan. (I prefer my pasta without oregano.)

11. Le clou de girofle 

Meaning : a small, dark brown dried flower of an evergreen tree (= one that never loses its leaves), used as a spice

English: cloves

Example: Son jambon parsemé de clous de girofle est célèbre. (Her ham studded with cloves is famous.)

12. La coriandre 

Meaning: a plant whose leaves or seeds are added to food to give a special flavour

English: coriander

Example: Il garnit la soupe de coriandre avant de servir(He garnised the soup with coriander before serving.) 

13. Le curcuma 

Meaning: a yellow powder, used as a spice to flavour particular foods, especially curry, and give them a yellow colour. It is made from the root of an Asian plant.

English: turmeric

Example: Le chef a ajouté du curcuma au riz pour lui donner une belle couleur.(The chef added turmeric to the rice to give it a nice colour.) 

14. Le fenouil 

Meaning: a plant with a large, rounded base eaten as a vegetable and seeds used to give a special taste to food

Example: Elle aime avoir des graines de fenouil après n’importe quel repas. (She likes to have fennel seeds post any meal.)

15. la citronnelle 

Meaning: a tropical grass with a flavour like lemon, used especially in Southeast Asian cooking

English: lemon grass

Example: Elle a utilisé de l’huile de citronnelle pour traiter son acné. (She used lemongrass oil to treat her acne.) 

We hope you enjoyed learning vocabulary related to herbs and spices in French. For more such French vocabulary, keep reading our blog. You can easily learn French online with us. Stay tuned for more interesting blogs.