How to Grind and Toast Spices and Herbs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these simple steps to grinding and toasting spices and herbs, then watch our how-to video.

Toasting spices brings out the essential oils and deeper flavors. Grinding herbs is a common way to use them in recipes.

Step 1: Place Spices in the Skillet
We'll start with a frequently used herb and spice blend: bay leaves, coriander and cumin seeds. First, put the spices in a skillet. Pictured here are bay leaves. Bay leaves are actually a dried herb that you'll find on the spice rack. Cast iron works best because of the way it transfers heat.

Step 2: Shake the Herbs
Now give them a shake so they don't burn. When you start to smell them, they're done.

Step 3: Let Them Cool
Cool the spices slightly before grinding.

Step 4: Toast Spices Separately
Toast the spices separately for the best results. They are different sizes and textures, which means they toast at different rates. Remember to cool them before grinding.

Step 5: Mortar and Pestle
There are two easy ways to grind spices: first, a mortar and pestle.

Step 6: Spice Grinder
Or use a spice grinder. When grinding spices that are similar in size, grind them together and save a step.
Tip: Cumin, coriander and bay leaves are often used together in many cuisines.

Step 7: Add Flavor
Then use them as your recipe indicates. Either way, you've just punched up the flavor to a whole new level. Watch our how-to video for more.

How to Grind and Toast Spices 01:24

Spice up your life with our spice grinding and toasting basics.

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