If you’re looking for the best herbs and spices to use with fish and seafood, then you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve rounded up 21 of my favorites that are sure to take your dish to the next level.
Whether you are looking for something to sprinkle on top of grilled salmon or want to add a little flavor to your shrimp pasta, there is sure to be an herb or spice on this list that you’ll love.
So go ahead and give one (or all!) of these a try the next time you cook fish or seafood!
21 Best Herbs and Spices for Fish and Seafood
I’m sure you know how important it is to choose the right herbs and spices when cooking.
The wrong herbs and spices can easily ruin a dish, while the right ones can elevate it to new heights.
Fortunately, there are a number of great herbs and spices that work well with fish and seafood.
Here are 21 of the best herbs and spices for fish and seafood:
Parsley has a somewhat peppery flavor to it and is most commonly used as a garnish.
However, it can also be used to add flavor to a dish.
When using parsley in soup, it is best to add it at the end of cooking so that the flavor does not become too overwhelming.
A little parsley goes a long way and you only need a small amount to give your soup a nice flavor boost.
Parsley also pairs well with fish and seafood dishes.
Some recipes that you might want to try that include parsley are: shrimp scampi, roasted salmon, or lemon garlic tilapia.
Chives have a mild onion flavor and are a great addition to fish and seafood soup.
They add flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients.
To use chives, chop them finely and add them to the soup near the end of cooking.
This will allow them to retain their flavor and color.
Some recipe examples that go well with chives are clam chowder, shrimp bisque, and lobster bisque.
Thyme dances between earthy, minty, and woodsy (some even say lemony) flavors, making it a versatile herb that goes great with all sorts of fish and seafood.
When using thyme in soup, it’s best to add it towards the end of cooking so the heat doesn’t diminish its flavor.
For every 1 pound (0.45 kg) of fish or seafood, use 1 teaspoon (0.6 g) of thyme leaves.
Here are some recipes that’ll make your taste buds dance:
- Creamy Thyme and Salmon Soup
- Roasted Shrimp with Thyme
- Spicy Crab Soup with Thyme
Basil is a balance between sweet and savory (with hints of mint) which is why it goes so well with fish and seafood.
The leafy green herb is most commonly found in Italian cuisine.
Here are some tips on how to use basil:
- If you want to really bring out the flavor, bruise the leaves before adding them to your dish. To do this, just stack a few leaves on top of each other and roll them up tightly. Use the back of your knife to lightly press down on the rolled-up leaves. You can then tear or chop them and add them to your soup.
- If you’re using dried basil, remember that you’ll need less than if you were using fresh because the flavors are more concentrated. Start with a little bit and then add more to taste.
- Add basil near the end of cooking so that it doesn’t lose its flavor.
Some recipes that go great with basil are: shrimp scampi, clam chowder, minestrone soup, and fish stew.
Oregano is peppery and assertive (some might even say it’s pungent), which is why it goes so well with fish and seafood.
A little bit of oregano goes a long way, so be sure to use it sparingly.
If you’re making a soup or stew, add the oregano towards the end of cooking so that its flavor doesn’t become too overwhelming.
Some great recipes that feature oregano include: shrimp scampi, cioppino (a seafood soup), and grilled salmon with lemon-oregano vinaigrette.
Rosemary is a lemony-pine-like herb that goes great with fish and seafood.
You can use it to season the outside of your fish or seafood before cooking, or add it to a sauce or marinade.
If you are using rosemary to season the outside of your fish or seafood, be sure to use a light hand as this herb can be quite strong.
A little goes a long way!
You can also use rosemary in a compound butter to melt over cooked fish or seafood, or chop it up and sprinkle it over finished dishes.
Marjoram has an earthy and woodsy taste to it that goes great with fish and seafood.
You can use this spice in a number of different ways to really enhance the flavors of your seafood dish.
One way is to simply sprinkle it on top of your seafood before cooking it.
Another way is to add it into the batter or breading if you are frying your seafood.
You can also add marjoram into a marinade or sauce that you are using for your seafood.
This herb/spice really adds a nice depth of flavor to any seafood dish and is definitely worth trying out the next time you cook fish or seafood!
8. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves have an almost minty flavor to them and they go great with fish and seafood.
They are perfect for dishes like bouillabaisse, cioppino, and other stews that have a variety of seafood in them.
Bay leaves can also be used when cooking fish or seafood on their own.
For example, you could put a couple of bay leaves in the pan when cooking tilapia or salmon fillets.
You could also add some to the water when boiling shrimp or lobster.
The key is to not use too many bay leaves because they can be quite strong.
A little goes a long way with this particular herb/spice.
Dill has a bright and sweet taste that goes great with fish and seafood.
It’s also really easy to use, so it’s a great option if you’re looking to add some flavor to your dish without having to put in too much effort.
When using dill, you’ll want to use it sparingly as it can be quite strong.
A little goes a long way!
A good rule of thumb is to use about 1 teaspoon of dill per pound of fish or seafood.
You can add the dill at the beginning of cooking, towards the end, or even after the dish is cooked – it all depends on what you’re making and how you want the dill flavor to come through.
If you’re adding it at the beginning or during cooking, the heat will help release the Dill’s fragrance and flavor.
If you’re adding it at the end or after cooking, the Dill will retain more of its original flavor.
Paprika has a subtle earthiness to it that really enhances the flavor of fish and seafood.
I like to use paprika on fish that is grilled or baked.
I think that it really brings out the natural flavors of the seafood.
Paprika is also a great way to add a little bit of color to your dish.
Sage has a strong, slightly minty (and musky) flavor that can really enhance the flavor of fish and seafood.
When used properly, sage can really add a lot of depth to the flavor of your seafood dish.
I would recommend using sage as a rub for fish or seafood before cooking, as this will help to really infuse the flavors into the meat.
You could also use sage in a marinade or sauce, but be careful not to use too much as it can easily overpower the other flavors.
A little goes a long way with sage, so start with less than you think you need and then add more if needed.
12. Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds taste slightly nutty with a citrusy flavor and can be used to add flavor to many different dishes, including fish and seafood.
When using coriander seeds with seafood, it is best to use them sparingly as they can easily overpower the delicate flavors of the seafood.
One way to use coriander seeds with seafood is to lightly toast them in a pan before adding them to the dish.
This will help release their flavor and aroma.
You can also grind the seeds into a powder using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Add the powder to soups, stews, sauces, or rubs for fish or seafood.
Coriander seeds can also be used whole in pickling brines or added to marinades.
Allspice tastes like a mix of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg (it’s actually a berry!).
It is frequently used in Caribbean cuisine.
When used with fish or seafood, allspice brings a warm and fragrant flavor to the dish.
Allspice is particularly good with grilled or baked fish.
To properly use allspice with seafood, first make a spice rub by mixing allspice with other dried herbs and spices like paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Rub this spice blend all over your seafood before cooking.
You can also add allspice to marinades for an extra boost of flavor.
14. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is mostly hot and a little fruity (think: the heat you get from a jalapeño, with a hint of sweetness), which makes it a perfect addition to seafood.
A little cayenne can brighten up any fish or seafood dish without overwhelming it.
When using cayenne with seafood, be careful not to overdo it – a little goes a long way.
You can always add more if needed, but you can’t take it away once it’s in there.
Start by adding just a pinch or two and go from there.
Cayenne is also great in sauces and rubs for grilled or roasted seafood.
Just mix it into your favorite recipe or experiment until you find something you love.
15. Onion Powder
Onion powder tastes a lot more oniony than fresh onions, so use it sparingly. It’s best used as a background flavor to enhance other flavors rather than being the main event.
Fish and seafood have delicate flavors, so you don’t want to overpower them with the onion powder.
A little goes a long way. Try using onion powder in a spice rub for fish or seafood before grilling or baking.
You could also add a pinch to a homemade tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.
Or try sprinkling some on top of grilled shrimp or scallops.
16. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder tastes less assertive (and sweeter) than fresh garlic cloves, making it a good choice for flavoring fish and seafood without overwhelming their delicate flavors.
You can use garlic powder to season the breading for fried fish or seafood, sprinkle it on grilled or broiled fish or seafood before serving, or add it to sauces, dips, and marinades.
When using garlic powder in these ways, start with a small amount and add more to taste.
Because garlic powder can be bitter if used in too large of an amount, err on the side of using less rather than more.
17. Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds have a nutty and bittersweet sharpness (with a hint of citrus) that can really enhance the flavor of seafood.
They go especially well with fish that has a lot of natural fat like salmon, mackerel, and herring.
The sharpness of the caraway seeds helps to cut through the richness of these types of fish and also works to bring out their natural flavors.
You can use caraway seeds in a number of different ways with seafood.
You can grind them up and use them as a seasoning on fish before cooking it.
Or, you could use them whole and add them to a pan when cooking seafood in order to infuse their flavor into the dish.
Lemongrass tastes like mild citrus with a hint of ginger, making it a perfect flavor to complement fish and seafood.
When using lemongrass with seafood, be sure to use it sparingly as the strong flavor can easily overpower the delicate taste of the seafood.
A little goes a long way with this herb, so start by using only a small amount and then adjust according to your taste.
Lemongrass is typically used in Asian cuisine, so if you want to give your seafood dish an Asian twist, add some lemongrass to it.
You can use fresh or dried lemongrass for this purpose.
Tarragon has a subtle licorice flavor (which adds a bit of elegance) and goes great with fish and seafood.
You can use it in a number of ways:
- Tarragon vinegar is wonderful for dressing salads that include fish or seafood.
- You can make a beurre blanc sauce (a classic French sauce) by substituting tarragon for the parsley called for in the recipe. This is delicious with grilled fish or shrimp.
- Add a bit of chopped tarragon to mayonnaise or remoulade sauce for an extra zing. This is good with fried seafood, such as oysters, calamari, or crabcakes.
- Make a compound butter by mixing softened butter with chopped tarragon and shallots. Use this on grilled fish, seafood pasta, or rice dishes.
Rich and hearty, earthy and warm, cumin is a spice that can really transform seafood.
Cumin has an intense flavor, so you don’t need to use very much of it. Just a pinch or two will do.
Try cumin in a simple fish dish like grilled salmon or roasted trout.
Or, for something more adventurous, try using cumin in a spice rub for shrimp or scallops before cooking them on the grill or in the oven.
Cumin also pairs well with other spices commonly used in seafood dishes, such as chili powder, smoked paprika, and coriander.
Turmeric is overwhelmingly earthy and bitter (almost musky I’d say) with a peppery bite to it.
It’s also bright yellow, which is perfect for seafood since you want your seafood to look as fresh as possible.
A little goes a long way with turmeric, so I would recommend using it sparingly at first and then increasing the amount depending on how much flavor you want.
Turmeric pairs really well with fish that has been pan-fried or baked.
I think it works especially well with tilapia or halibut, but feel free to experiment!
If you want to use turmeric in a marinade, I would mix it with some lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Let your fish sit in the mixture for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
This will give the turmeric enough time to work its magic and infuse the fish with flavor.
21 Best Herbs and Spices for Fish and Seafood
- Bay Leaves
- Coriander Seeds
- Cayenne Pepper
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Caraway Seeds
- Choose your favorite herbs or spices from this post to pair with your seafood.
- Prepare the rest of your meal.
- Enjoy in no time…