Most foods need different flavors added to them in order for a person to enjoy eating them. Cooks all over the world use spice blends – such as Chinese five spice powder, French quatre épices, Indian garam masala, and Creole cajun seasoning – to flavor foods to make their cuisine uniquely theirs.
In Middle East cooking, seven spice is the most prominent seasoning blend used. In Arabic, sabaa baharat, means “seven spices.” This spice seasoning is a must-have spice blend used in recipes such as kafta, fatteh, and moghrabieh. It contains both sweet and bitter spices, including ground cinnamon, ground coriander, and ground cumin.
There are many variations of the Middle Eastern spice mix, as different cooks add different amounts to their special version of the seasoning. Some also prefer using whole spices rather than ground spices. For example, in Turkey, they often add fennel or dried mint and in North Africa, you’ll often find ground ginger. But no matter the blend, this Lebanese spice mix adds density to any recipe, from stews to rice, meat, and more.
A couple of variations: add a teaspoon of paprika if you want a spice blend with a touch of heat or substitute the ground nutmeg for white pepper.
What is seven spice made of?
Seven spice is the most used blend in Lebanon and it typically includes an aromatic combination of ground allspice, black pepper, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground cumin, ground coriander, and white pepper.
Is seven spice the same as allspice?
The short answer is no. Allspice is a combination of flavors similar to cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It’s just one of the spices that make up the Lebanese seven spices. However, some recipes will state to use ground allspice instead of this blend if you can’t get your hands on it.
Is this blend the same as garam masala?
Yes, this 7 spice blend is similar in taste to Indian garam masala.
Is baharat hot?
No, this is not a hot spice blend. However, as mentioned in the Notes, you can add paprika if you want some heat.
How do you use Lebanese seven-spice seasoning?
The options are basically endless when it comes to this blend, but here are some suggestions:
- Rub it on meats before grilling.
- Add it to soups and stews.
- Use it as a topping on manakish instead of za’atar.
- Add it to ground beef when making homemade burgers (opt for about one teaspoon per pound).
- Sprinkle it over potatoes or roasted vegetables before baking.
- Use it to season scrambled eggs or your next omelet.
- Add it as a seasoning to plain old rice or quinoa.
Here are some recipe options too:
- Lentil pita pockets
- Lebanese grilled corn
- Fatayer (Lebanese spinach pies)
- Hushwee (Lebanese spiced meat)
How do you store this homemade seven-spice recipe?
When stored in an airtight container or jar in the pantry, your homemade blend will last for up to six months. After this period, ground spices generally tend to lose their freshness. For best results, I recommend using it within two months.
However, you can also freeze the blend for up to six months. Just make sure the container is airtight, otherwise, freezer burn will ruin the batch.
Lebanese Seven Spice Seasoning (Baharat)
- 1 tbsp ground allspice
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1½ tsp ground cloves
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 1½ tsp ground nutmeg
- In a small bowl, stir together the allspice, coriander, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cumin, and nutmeg. Transfer the mixture to a tightly covered jar (a funnel makes it easier). Store the seasoning blend in a dark, cool place for up to six months.
Oh! Man oh man! What a wonderful spice mix! So flavorful.