WHAT IS CUMIN?
Cumin is a member of the parsley family. Surprised? You’d never guess that if you compared its warm, earthy flavor and aroma to parsley’s mild, green character. Cumin seed, like celery seed, is actually the dried ripe fruit of the plant. You might recognize Cumin as one of the main flavors in chili powder and taco seasoning. But there’s so much more to it. Cumin has known many uses over its long history.
Cumin has been used to spice food since Ancient Egypt, but it was used for so much more than that. Both the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks documented its value as a medicinal plant, it has been used as makeup, money, and carried as a charm. While gaining interest in modern time, the height of its popularity was in the Middle Ages; however, you could always find it in the kitchens of Mexico, Spain, India, North Africa and the Middle East.
WHAT DOES CUMIN TASTE LIKE?
Rich and hearty, earthy and warm, with an edge of citrus, Cumin adds instant depth to any dish. Use ground Cumin rather than whole Cumin seed in recipes where you want the flavor to disperse evenly throughout.
Chefs rely on Cumin to accentuate the sweetness of root vegetables, like carrots and beets, as well as adding complexity to vegetarian dishes, from vegetable and bean stews to grilled tofu. It’s a must-have for enhancing the savory flavor of rich meats like beef and lamb.
Its ability to enrich the taste of such a wide variety of ingredients makes it one of the top 10 spices sold in the U.S. McCormick Cumin is hand-harvested, sun-dried and carefully screened so you know you're getting nothing but the purest flavor.
Add this spice for a warm flavor and earthy color to everyday soups, stews, meats and vegetables. It doesn't matter what type of cuisine you're cooking. Cumin is a great way to spark up the flavor.
WHAT IS CUMIN GOOD FOR?
Vegetarians love how Cumin enriches the taste of vegetable and legume soups and stews. We appreciate the way it lends pungency to rubs and marinades for tofu. Try blending it with coriander, ginger and garlic for a spicy-sweet rub.
Cooks across the U.S. may argue about how to make the best chili. But everyone agrees that Cumin is an essential flavoring for almost any variety, along with garlic, oregano and chili pepper. Cumin has the strength to stand up to grilled and roasted meat—try it in your next hamburger. But it’s also an excellent foil for mild, sweet vegetables like pumpkin and butternut squash. Add a dash before roasting vegetables, or stir it into a creamy soup.
SUBSTITUTES FOR CUMIN POWDER:
Whole Cumin seeds ground in a coffee mill will do the trick. But what to use instead of Cumin? If you don’t have any Cumin in your pantry, try a similar amount of chili powder, which is a spice similar to Cumin. Cumin is, after all, one of the dominant flavors in chili powder—plus you’ll get a bit of chili pepper and oregano in the mix.
FLAVORS THAT GO WITH CUMIN
Add even more flavor to your meals with these herbs and spices. They go great with Cumin.
- Turmeric: McCormick Turmeric hails from India, where it’s considered a sacred part of Hindi culture. We monitor its progress from field to package to ensure consistent color and quality in every bottle. The turmeric plant hides its brilliant color underground, showing only glossy green leaves and multi-petaled white flowers. But dig up the root, carefully clean and dry it, and you have an extraordinary spice beloved as much for its color as its flavor. Our pure turmeric in ground form is a lively partner for infusing curries, soups, stews, rubs, marinades and vegetable and rice dishes with beautiful color and citrusy aroma.
- Thyme: The plant’s tiny leaves—just a quarter inch at most in length—must be carefully harvested, cleaned, dried and milled to retain their rich color, piney aroma and earthy flavor. In the ancient world, thyme was a symbol of courage and bravery. One of the highest compliments to pay a Greek warrior, for instance, was to say he smelled of thyme. And in the Middle Ages, thyme was used to fend off nightmares. Today, our pure thyme holds its greatest place of honor in the kitchen as one of our most popular herbs.
- Cinnamon: McCormick Cinnamon begins as bark peeled from the base of cinnamon trees grown in Indonesia. We are the only company to have facilities there. This means we are able to clean, dry and sort right there and not wait to be imported to US. The trees must be at least 15 years old, which is when the flavor is fully developed. The trees themselves are naturally sustainable: If cut down, they will regrow. The bark is then cleaned, dried and shipped to our McCormick plant near Baltimore, Maryland. There, it’s cleaned again, gently dried, ground and bottled with nothing but pure cinnamon.
- Red Pepper: Peppers that make the grade are harvested, sun-dried, and shipped whole for milling and packaging. Each batch can be traced back to its source, which helps us to ensure quality and consistent levels of heat. You can count on every bottle of McCormick Red Pepper to deliver a consistent heat, deep red color and ratio of seeds to pods. McCormick Red Pepper, also called cayenne pepper, is made from the seeds and pods of red, ripe chili peppers that have been gently sun dried and milled. We test each batch of peppers for color, flavor, aroma and heat. Such close attention to every harvest is the only way to ensure that you can count on cayenne from one jar of McCormick Red Pepper to offer the same level of heat and deep, red color as the next.
- Oregano: McCormick Oregano is the highest quality oregano because it's cultivated in the rich soil and intense sunlight of the Mediterranean and gently dried for a greener look and more flavorful taste. The Mexican variety grows wild in the mountainous interior of its native Mexico and is related to lemon verbena. It brings citrus and anise flavors, and is much more pungent than Mediterranean oregano.
GRAB YOUR CUMIN PRODUCTS!
- McCormick Ground Cumin
- McCormick Cumin Seed
- McCormick Gourmet Organic Ground Cumin
- McCormick Gourmet Organic Roasted Ground Cumin
- McCormick Gourmet Organic Cumin Seed
CUMIN AND CHICKEN
- Chicken Jalfrezi
- Butter Chicken
- Cuban Mojo Chicken Tacos
- Tikka Masala
- Spicy Black Bean Salad with Chicken and Roasted Cumin Vinaigrette
- Shawarma Style Chicken “Burger”
CUMIN AND SEAFOOD
- Cumin-Crusted Grilled Swordfish with Avocado Relish
- Scallop and Tequila Fettuccine
- Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Salsa
- Spicy Couscous with Shrimp and Chermoula
CUMIN AND BEEF
CUMIN AND LAMB
CUMIN AND PORK
- Roasted Cumin and Chickpea Cassoulet
- Cumin-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Apricots
- Chili Cumin Pork Rub
MEATLESS CUMIN DISHES AND SIDES
- Almond and Date Bulgur Salad with Sofrito
- Roasted Chickpeas and Spinach
- Warm Roasted Cumin & Chickpea Salad
- Harvest Vegetables with Roasted Ginger and Cumin
- Grilled Corn Salad with Toasted Cumin Dressing
- Cumin and Coriander Marinated Olives
- Three Seed Green Beans and Tomatoes
- Roasted Garlic Hummus
- Creamy Carrot Soup with Toasted Cumin and Coriander
- Zesty Corn and Cucumber Salad
- Spicy Southwest Grilled Cheese
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR SPICES
- Try making Gunpowder Spice
- 5 Unusual Must Have Spices
- Learn How to Cook Chickpeas for Spicy Meals All Week
TRY SOME OF OUR FAVORITE SPICY CUISINES
Want to create a meal plan for your Cumin recipes? Need help planning your weekly meals and want to try new recipes? Save your favorite food, dessert, drink recipes and organize your ingredients with McCormick Meal Planner.