10 Best Spices for Steamed Cabbage for Maximum Flavor

When you pick the right spices for steamed cabbage, it can turn from a boring vegetable side dish into an absolutely delicious meal!

Cabbage is a great base for adding different flavors, and if you’re looking for something to really elevate your steamed cabbage dish, then look no further.

I’ve compiled 10 of my favorite spices that will make your steamed cabbage sing with flavor.

From garlic powder to smoked paprika, these flavor-packed spices will kick your cabbage up a notch.

Whether you opt for the savory notes of cumin or the creamy sweetness of nutmeg, there is an option here sure to fit any taste preference.

Plus, they are all easy to find in most grocery stores and won’t break the bank!

So let’s get started by seasoning our steaming cabbages like never before!

Spices for Steamed Cabbage

1. Ginger


In my opinion, the complex flavor of ginger can be quite hard to replicate with words.

It has a unique spicy taste that is often defined as peppery, warm, and even hot when more powerful.

At the same time though, I find it oddly sweet too.

When buying ginger root specifically, there are two types; young and mature.

Young ginger will be much juicier than mature ones while also having a mellower flavor overall so you may want to opt for this version if you don’t want your dish overloaded with spiciness.

If you’re looking to add some ginger to your steamed cabbage then about half a teaspoon should get the job done for every four servings of cabbage without making it too overpowering in flavor.

Of course, by adding more you can trade subtlety for stronger flavors but beware that too much could quickly make your dishes lose their delicate balance.

2. Curry

Curry Powder

The flavor of curry can vary a lot; however, there are some common notes that usually flavor traditional curries.

Think cumin and coriander as well as red chili powder, turmeric, garlic, and ginger.

These ingredients blend together to create an earthy, savory, and umami flavor profile.

Most often you’ll find a hint of sweetness accompanying this combination that really brings the flavors together.

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When it comes to adding the right amount of curry when cooking with steamed cabbage—a light hand is key!

I like to start with about ¼ teaspoon per cup of steamed cabbage for a more subtle taste as too much might overpower the delicate flavor of this vegetable.

If you prefer more noticeable heat or earthiness in your dishes then feel free to add extra spice mix until you get the desired depth in flavor.

3. Red Pepper Flakes

Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes have a mild but distinctive flavor – slightly sharp, with an earthy and very spicy kick.

Generally, generic red pepper flakes don’t tend to be too flavorful on their own; however, when added to different dishes they can really enhance the overall taste!

When it comes to steamed cabbage specifically, I would start by adding just a pinch of red pepper flakes.

It adds just enough spice without overpowering the dish.

You want the flavor balanced so that all of the ingredients can really shine through in each bite – not only are you getting the subtle spice from the pepper flakes but also get to enjoy all of the vegetable’s other flavors as well!

4. Black Pepper

Black Pepper

I find that black pepper has a sharp, penetrating aroma, and a characteristic woody, piney flavor.

It definitely packs some heat when you taste it!

So how much should go into your steamed cabbage dish?

I’d suggest adding enough to give the dish some spice but not too much that it overpowers everything else.

For the best results, try lightly grinding (or crushing) freshly-ground peppercorns on top of your cabbage just before serving.

This will release its aromatic oils and provide maximum flavor with every bite.

5. Salt


As someone who loves to cook and experiment with food, I can say that salt is one of my favorite ingredients.

It has a unique mineral complexity that enhances the flavor of many dishes.

For example, when steaming cabbage, salt adds a nice salty note which really brings out the sweetness.

However, it’s important not to overdo it as too much salt can overpower the dish.

When adding any type of seasoning or ingredient, start slow and build up from there – you can always add more later if needed!

I usually recommend adding between 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon per serving for steamed cabbage but experiment to find your perfect balance.

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6. Ground Cloves

Ground Cloves
Source: amazon.com

When I smell ground cloves, it fills my nose with an intensely hot and fruity aroma.

It has an exceptionally potent flavor that is sweet and minty with a hint of bitterness and astringency.

To get the perfect balance in your dish, you don’t need to add too much because even a small amount packs a flavorful punch!

When adding ground cloves to steamed cabbage, I find one teaspoon per 2-3 servings works perfectly.

This should give you just enough of that strong yet light flavor while also enhancing all other ingredients in your recipe.

The key here is to lightly sprinkle the clove over each serving – just enough so that you can see specks but not so much where it takes over the entire plate.

7. Ground Cumin


When I think of ground cumin, I always imagine it to be a rich and hearty flavor with an earthy touch and a hint of citrus.

It’s such a warmth-giving spice that adds immediate depth to any dish.

If you want the flavor to seamlessly blend into your recipe, especially when cooking something like steamed cabbage, then it’s best practice to use ground cumin rather than whole seed form.

Exactly how much should you add?

That really depends on personal preference and taste as well as the quantity of ingredients in your dish – but between 1/4 tsp – 1tsp is usually enough if you’re adding it to a side dish portion for two people.

Taste and adjust accordingly!

8. Garlic Powder

Garlic Powder

I absolutely love the flavor of garlic powder!

It’s a great way to add a lot of punch and flavor in one easy step.

Garlic powder is made from garlic cloves that have been dehydrated and ground into fine, small particles.

The flavor is garlicky, yet distinctly different than fresh-chopped garlic.

Unlike raw or roasted garlic, it has an extra sweetness that really helps bring out certain flavors in a dish without overpowering it.

When adding to steamed cabbage specifically, I would suggest using about half a teaspoon.

That amount should give you that nice garlicky taste without overwhelming the dish – perfect for those who aren’t overly fond of strong flavors like truly fresh-chopped garlic can offer!

9. Onion Powder

Onion Powder

When I add onion powder to my steamed cabbage, I get the flavor of fresh onions in a much more concentrated form.

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The use of onion powder adds more nutrients and flavors than just using regular onions since dry ingredients tend to be more intense.

Onion powder carries a savory taste with a mild but pervasive sharpness while still retaining the natural sweet and sour qualities found in freshly chopped onions.

The result is an earthy depth that’s slightly spicy depending on how much you add.

Some people prefer to use larger amounts when flavoring dishes as it has less liquid than freshly cut onions which can alter the cooking process.

This means it’s easier to disperse evenly into your dish without having too strong a flavor or overpowering other seasonings being used.

For my steamed cabbage, I personally like to use about two teaspoons for a mellow yet satisfying pine onion flavor!

10. Thyme


Thyme has an unmistakable flavor – it’s quite distinct from most herbs.

I’d describe it as sharp and almost minty, but there are definitely earthy undertones with a hint of floral sweetness and a pinch of peppery warmth.

Using thyme to season steamed cabbage is an excellent choice.

It can really enhance the natural flavors of the dish and make for a truly delicious meal!

To get the balance just right, I recommend adding around 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh at the end when seasoning your steamed cabbage.

Of course, you can always add more or less according to your personal preference!


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10 Best Spices for Steamed Cabbage

Why settle for boring steamed cabbage when you can make it exciting and delicious? In this article, I'm sharing my top 10 spices for steamed cabbage that will elevate the flavor of this simple dish and make it a real crowd-pleaser. I'll explain the flavors each spice brings, and provide tips on how to get the most out of each one.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Spices
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 15 kcal


  • Ginger
  • Curry
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Ground Cloves
  • Ground Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Thyme


  • Pick your favorite spices from this list to add to your steamed cabbage.
  • Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
  • Enjoy in no time!