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Top 10 Spice Selection: Cumin Seeds

Top 10 Spice Selection: Cumin Seeds

Cumin Seeds have a warming, earthy flavour to them which I love. Cumin is a key spice in Indian cooking, but it is also used in many other places like North Africa, Mexico and Europe. I use it in my little kitchen every week. There are three main ways to use cumin seed depending on how you prepare them; you can toast, grind or fry them. Below are some of my favourite recipe ideas using the different cooking methods:


One great way to release the flavour of cumin seeds is to fry them in hot oil. Tempering cumin (along with other spices) is a key technique in Indian cooking and essential when making dhal. Make sure the oil is hot before you add the cumin; it will be ready once it has browned and you can smell its earthy aroma.


  • Pour the cumin and oil over freshly made humus.
  • Cook some new potatoes and cut them into chunks. Mix dollops of natural yoghurt with lemon zest and sea salt flakes, then spoon over the potatoes, topping off with the fried cumin.


When using whole cumin seeds, my favourite way to prepare them is to toast them first in a hot, dry pan. This intensifies their flavour, giving a deep, smoky quality. Don’t be afraid of getting the pan nice and hot, just keep the pan moving to make sure they don’t burn.


  • Add the toasted cumin to salads along with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  • Add them to bread dough for a smoky and savoury taste (I also like to add roasted onion).
  • Sprinkle over roasted red pepper and tomato soup.


I always have a small pot of ground cumin on the go! Once you've toasted cumin seeds, they can be ground into a powder. I prefer using a pestle and mortar, as you have more control over how fine or coarse the seeds are ground. It is a good idea to only toast and grind small quantities of the seeds at a time to ensure they retain their freshness.


  • I love to sprinkle ground cumin over avocado on toast. Try it along with some Pul Biber chilli flakes, sea salt flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Try mixing it with some smoked paprika and olive oil and rub it into the skin of a chicken, before roasting.
  • Sprinkle it over a boiled egg, along with salt.

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