Berbere Spice Mix

5 from 8 votes

Berbere spice mix is an aromatic blend of Ethiopian spices with warm flavors. For the best quality, make this seasoning recipe at home.

overhead image of ground Ethiopian spices in small dish

Origin of Berbere Spice Mix

Berbere (pronounced bare-bur-AY ) is an Ethiopian seasoning that is used to make many different dishes.

The blend is aromatic, with what some describe as a combination of spicy, sweet, and citrus flavors. While the flavors are warm, this addictive spicy heat is one of my personal favorites.

The subtle citrus notes brighten up and balance out the earthiness. Think cinnamon, allspice, fenugreek and chiles!

A mix of sweet and savory spices means this blend can be used on so many dishes. Toss it with vegetables before roasting, use it as a dry rub on pork or poultry before grilling, or stir it into yogurt, sprinkle it on popcorn and serve with fruit. It’s so versatile. 

fresh cloves, cinnamon sticks, fenugreek and other ingredients to make Ethiopian seasoning blend

What is berbere made of?

Some people prefer to use whole spices, which they grind themselves. Although the flavors of ground spices are not as vibrant, there is a convenience factor in using them.


Whether you choose to use whole or ground spices is up to you. Either way, this is what you will need:

  • allspice– Although often mistaken for a blend of spices, allspice is actually just one spice, with flavors of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  • black pepper
  • cardamom– If you have trouble finding whole cardamom pods in your local spice shop, you can purchase them easily online.
  • cayenne pepper
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • fenugreek– Fenugreek seeds are a staple spice used in Indian cooking. The flavor of fenugreek is sweet and nutty, similar to a combination of maple syrup and burnt sugar.
  • garlic powder
  • ginger
  • paprika
  • turmeric

homemade berbere spice blend in small dish

Uses for Berbere Spice Mix

A multipurpose blend like this spice mix is useful for making many different savory dishes. Of course, the most popular use is as a seasoning for the poultry in a recipe for Berbere Chicken.

In addition to roasted chicken, the spices are also fantastic with grilled meats like steak or ribs. You can use them as a dry rub, or blend with olive oil to make a delicious marinade.

They also boost the flavor of simple sauces like bechamel, and their smoky flavor would be a fantastic addition to a creamy cheese sauce for homemade mac and cheese!


Like any seasoning you buy from a store, homemade blends will store well for up to 6 months. Just be sure to keep them in an airtight container or specialty spice jars.

Also, to prevent ground spices from clumping, keep them in a dark, dry location.

overhead: Ethiopian berbere spice mix in small dish
Still Hungry?

Subscribe to my Newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for all my latest recipes and videos.

berbere spice mix in small bowl

Berbere Spice Mix

5 from 8 votes
Berbere spice mix is an aromatic blend of Ethiopian spices with warm flavors. It's simple to make and tastes amazing on chicken or fish.
Servings: 16
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Total: 12 minutes


If Using All Ground Spices

If Using Whole and Ground Spices


  • If using all ground spices, whisk together to combine.
  • If using whole spices along with ground, powdered:
  • In a small skillet dry toast over medium heat the fenugreek, coriander, cumin seeds with the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, peppercorns, allspice and cloves for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  • Let toasted spices cool and transfer to spice grinder along with remaining ground spices (cayenne, paprika, garlic, ginger and turmeric powders). Grind until a fine powder.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.


Makes 1/3 cup total.


Calories: 17kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 583IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Spice Blend
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image for Pinterest shows small dish of Berbere spice blend


I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

Free Bonus
Kevin's Guide to Amazing International Cooking
My secrets to authentic & delicious international recipes

Explore More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Kevin, could you use fresh tumeric, and if so how would you incorporate it? Grate it and toast it? We grow it and have so much, I just can’t imagine using it already dried, unless we dry and grind it maybe.

    1. I would dry the fresh prior to mixing with other spices for the blend Cathy, otherwise it would become a wet paste. Thoroughly wash turmeric root. Thinly slice turmeric. Place turmeric root slices on dehydrator trays. Dry at 135°F for 5-7 hours, or until the turmeric root is crispy and completely dried. Place dried turmeric in coffee/spice grinder or blender and process until it becomes a fine powder.

    1. I’m so happy I found this. I bought some from penzy’s and was so disappointed. It had some heat but nothing else coming through. I gonna mix this up ASAP. Thank you once again Kevin.

  2. Definitely something different than I’m used to! I am going to be making this real soon!

  3. 5 stars
    I love this spice. I never heard of it until a couple of years ago and we tried some from Penzy’s and then Kevin made this, it is incredible. Enjoy