Essential Italian Spices You Need To Know - Ombretta Cucina + Vino

Essential Italian Spices You Need To Know

Essential Italian Spices You Need To Know

If you love spending time in an Italian restaurant, you most likely are curious about Italian spices. There are plenty of recipes inspired by this world renowned cuisine. Italian dishes served in restaurants follow classic guidance on preparing the dishes. But an Italian recipe isn’t enough to achieve that powerful Mediterranean taste and flavour. Essential Italian spices are the secret! Below, we share our chef’s insights on the top Italian spices you need to know about. Let’s see which one you like best!


Basil is an essential Italian spice for most recipes. It is part of the mint family and has a potent sweet-and-savoury flavour. There are different varieties of basil, including sweet basil, holy basil, and lemon basil. This ingredient is used in both dried and fresh forms. It flavours popular Italian sauces and meat dishes. Basil is the key ingredient of pesto, tomato sauce, and Margherita pizza.

Bay leaves

Bay leaf is an international seasoning ingredient originating from both Greece and Italy. It has a powerful bitter taste, and it is used in dried form. This Italian spice is a key ingredient in soups, stews, and sauces.


Oregano is an all-time popular Italian ingredient. We use it nowadays for numerous recipes. But its powerful aroma is best suited for Italian dishes. It is part of the mint family, but it has a sweet peppery flavour. It is an earthy herb that is used in tomato sauces, salads, and pasts.


Marjoram is similar to oregano, but it has slightly lemony leaves. It makes an excellent seasoning for poultry dishes, egg recipes, and herb butters. Italian chefs use marjoram in the form of fresh leaves. It can be added while cooking versus during the prep stages. Chefs recommend it for cooked dishes, sauces, and soups.


Parsley is a leafy herb with a slightly bitter taste. It has the power to improve other flavours and create enticing Italian dishes. It is usually added at the end of cooking for an extra touch of flavour. Parsley is available in different varieties, including Italian parsley and curly parsley. It is a key ingredient in Italian pasta dishes, including lasagna.


Rosemary is a popular herb in the Mediterranean. It is, too, part of the mint family, but it stands out because of its evergreen aroma. Chefs use it because of its authentic taste. Rosemary is an essential Italian spice for roast potato recipes and focaccia.


Sage is a versatile Italian ingredient with a sweet-and-savoury taste. It is used in dried or fresh form, depending on the recipe’s requirements. Sage is a key ingredient for ravioli, risotto, and gnocchi. It pairs well with vegetables because of its peppery flavour.


Thyme has a pungent aroma, and it matches different types of recipes. Fresh thyme has the power to completely change a recipe’s aroma. It is a potent herb, and it can hold its flavour against other rich flavours. It is used in lemony chicken breasts and pork loin.

These are some of the essential Italian spices you need to know about. Of course, there are many other ingredients you can discover in Italian cuisine. Visiting an Italian restaurant can help you enjoy some of the best Mediterranean ingredients and dishes.

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