Herbs and Spices Good for Seasoning Pork

Pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world. So, it is natural that most cuisines have their own take on it, giving rise to countless unique recipes. From Asian stir-fries to European roasts, a common factor at the core of them all is the harmonious blend of flavors and ingredients as well as the importance of using the right herbs and spices to enhance the meat’s taste. But the overwhelming number of choices may be a bit too much when it comes to season pork, especially for amateur cooks. So, it can be handy to learn the basics.

Herbs & Spices for Pork Seasoning

What Herbs and Spices Go Best When Seasoning Pork

As with any other meat, the spices and condiments you want to put into pork depend on your preferences and dietary habits. Here’s what you can start with:

NameTaste and FlavorUsed forBlending Ideas
PaprikaMild, sweet, and smokyRoasts, grills, baking, pulled porkCumin, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder
Garlic PowderSavory, robust, and slightly sweetRoasts, grills, stir-friesOnion powder, thyme, cumin, paprika
Onion PowderSweet and savoryBaking, braising, stir-friesGarlic powder, thyme, oregano, cumin
CayenneSpicy and pungentGrills, roasts, stir-friesPaprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano
ThymeEarthy, lemony, and slightly mintyGrills, roasts, braisingSage, oregano, garlic powder
OreganoRobust and slightly bitterGrills, roasts, braisingThyme, sage, garlic powder
CuminEarthy and warmGrills, roasts, braisingCoriander, paprika, garlic powder
CinnamonWarm, sweet, and slightly spicyBaking, roastsOregano, paprika, allspice, 
Ground MustardTangy and slightly spicyGrills, roasts, bakingPaprika, cumin, garlic powder, thyme
CorianderCitrusy and slightly sweetGrills, roasts, bakingCumin, paprika, garlic powder, oregano
SageEarthy, minty, and slightly pepperyGrills, roasts, braisingThyme, oregano, garlic powder
AllspiceWarm and sweet with notes of clovePulled pork, roastsCinnamon, sage, thyme, garlic powder

Salt and black pepper have been kept out of the list above because they are essential for most recipes. If you don’t fancy any of the seasoning ideas above, a simple mixture of salt and pepper can bring all the flavor to your simple weeknight dinner.

Incorporate a little brown sugar into your dry rub to add a bit of sweetness along with an appetizing glazed color to the dishes.

For an even quicker fix, go for one of these tried-and-tested spice blends that go just as well with pork and are readily available at supermarkets:

Spice BlendMain Ingredients*Used for
Chinese Five SpiceCloves, star anise, Sichuan pepper, Chinese cinnamon, fennel seedsChar siu (Chinese BBQ pork), braised pork, roast pork belly
Cajun SeasoningSalt, cayenne pepper, garlic, green onions, parsley, paprikaCajun-spiced pork chops, pork jambalaya
Curry PowderTurmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, cardamom, red pepper,Spicy pork curry, vindaloo
*May vary from one brand to another.

Don’t let the blending ideas suggested here limit your culinary creativity. Though these are the ‘safest’ options, you can always come up with a unique spice rub when you know which spices and herbs go well with the meat. Mix them together in your preferred proportions; just make sure there’s enough to coat the meat on both sides before you start cooking.

If you want to marinade your pork, mix the spices with wet ingredients like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and olive oil, as your recipe requires.