Give the Gift of Flavor with 6 Homemade Spice Blends

One surefire way to reclaim the true spirit of the holidays is by getting your craft on with some homemade gifts. These six spice mixtures are easy to prepare and don’t require any special preserving knowledge. Make all six in a day, package them the next, and over the course of a weekend you’ll create a cache of long-lasting and affordable gifts. All you'll need is an assortment of spice and/or jelly jars with labels, some ribbon and an electric spice grinder.

Savory treats

Zesty Seasoned Salt: Sprinkle on sandwiches, burgers, oven fries, avocado, cottage cheese, fish, chicken—just about anything. Toast 2/3 cup coriander seeds, 1/2 cup dill seed, 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, 2 tablespoons allspice berries and 2 teaspoons chili flakes in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly smoking. Cool, and add 1 cup coarse sea salt, 2/3 cup dehydrated minced garlic and 2 tablespoons cornstarch (to prevent caking). Grind to a fine powder. (Fills 6-8 [3-ounce] spice jars.)

Fennel Grill Rub: Great with salmon, pork, poultry, sausages and shellfish. Toast 3/4 cup fennel seed, 3/4 cup coriander seed and 1/3 cup rainbow peppercorn blend until fragrant and lightly smoking. Cool, and add 1/3 cup fine sea salt, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons onion powder, 3 tablespoons dehydrated minced garlic, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sweet paprika and 3/4 teaspoon cayenne. (Fills 6 [3-ounce] spice jars.)

Spicy treats

Roasted Chile Taco Seasoning: Avoid a house full of peppery fumes by toasting dried chiles on a low grill, using tongs to turn frequently until fragrant and lightly browned in spots. (Use 4 ounces dried ancho chiles, 1 ounce dried chipotles (1/2 ounce for milder version) and 1 ounce dried New Mexico chiles.) Cool, and remove the stems and seeds. Tear into small pieces. Toast 1/3 cup coriander seed, 1/4 cup cumin seed, and 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces. Cool, and add 2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano, 1/4 cup dehydrated minced garlic, 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon fine sea salt. Grind to a fine powder. (Fills 6 [4-ounce] jelly jars.)

Garam Masala: This pungent spice blend is used in Indian dishes like Cheryl's Chicken Biryani. Toast 1 cup cumin seed, 1 cup coriander seed, 1/2 cup whole cloves, 1/2 cup black peppercorns, 2 tablespoons fennel seed and 8 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks broken into pieces until fragrant and lightly smoking. Cool, and add 2 tablespoons ground nutmeg and 2 tablespoons ground cardamom. Grind to a fine powder. (Fills approximately 6 [3-ounce] spice jars.)

Sweet treats

Vanilla Bean Sugar: This easy indulgence is great in baked goods or a cup of joe. Scrape the seeds from 4 vanilla pods into 4 pounds of superfine sugar. Stir with a whisk until the clumps of beans are dispersed. Bury the pods in the sugar, cover tightly, and let sit 2 weeks. Sift through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any clumps or bits of pod. (Fills 10 [12-ounce] jars.)

Chai-Spiced Cocoa: Combine 4 cups powdered sugar, 2 cups cocoa powder, 2 cups powdered milk, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon each ground cardamom, cinnamon, clove and ginger. Stir with a whisk until powders are blended. Sift through a fine-mesh strainer, working lumps through with back of spoon if necessary. To drink, combine 1 cup hot milk with ¼ cup mix. (Fills 6 [12-ounce] jars.)

Bonus gift idea!

Check out my recipe for crunchy and colorful Dark Molasses Cranberry Granola. It’s easy to make and will be an especially welcome gift on a busy Christmas morning!

Happy Holidays!

Share The Love!


Lorem ipsum dolor

Consectetur Adipiscing Elit, Sed Do Eiusmod Tempor Incididunt Ut Labore Et Dolore Magna Aliqua.

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!

How to Plan, Prep, and Cook Easy (Nourishing) Weeknight Meals

3 steps to making simple, nourishing meals possible night after night so you spend less, enjoy more, and have time and energy to live a richer, more delicious life!


Arugula Pesto

Arugula has a spicy bite, and makes a delicious pesto. Whether you’re getting wild rocket from the farmers’ market or a bag of pre-washed arugula from the grocery store, this pesto is a quick and tasty one to whip up on the fly.

Read More

Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Feta

We love how the peppery greens, briny olives, toasted nuts and creamy cheese contrast with the sweet melon. To make these even easier, as leftover grilled melon sits in the fridge, it releases delicious juice that provides the “dressing” to lightly coat the greens. This is great with our Grilled Garlic Bread.

Read More

Squash & Cheddar Tacos

Aside from being a simple, tasty lunch or dinner, these little tacos are pretty little things too. Also feel free to tuck any other leftovers in there you like.

Read More

Privacy Policy

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Proin vel ullamcorper nisl. Praesent tincidunt nibh sit amet sagittis porttitor. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Maecenas euismod ullamcorper libero, quis sollicitudin metus ullamcorper et. Curabitur elementum tincidunt fringilla. Vestibulum a ligula vitae dui rutrum consectetur non nec quam. Aliquam gravida ornare erat, sit amet lobortis massa sagittis pellentesque. Sed dapibus sed est nec blandit. Curabitur tellus felis, porttitor et odio nec, elementum aliquam sem. Nam ut dui enim. Nullam ac ornare odio. Nullam pulvinar purus porttitor dolor gravida lobortis.

Ut pulvinar pulvinar neque ut euismod. In tempor placerat risus, ut tempus eros congue vel. Ut venenatis ultricies magna, porta hendrerit dolor posuere ut. In sit amet tempor ante, eget lacinia ipsum. Nunc in condimentum ex. Sed sit amet urna ultrices, euismod urna vitae, sollicitudin orci. Quisque non justo convallis, scelerisque nulla sit amet, tincidunt augue.