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The 15 Best Spices for Gumbo

If you’re a fan of gumbo, you know that the spices you use can make all the difference.

While there’s no one “right” way to make gumbo, using the right combination of spices can take your recipe to the next level.

Here are 15 spices you might consider adding to your next pot of gumbo.

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Louisiana Gumbo

The 15 Best Spices for Gumbo

Gumbo is a popular dish that is packed with flavor.

The key to making a delicious gumbo lies in the spices and herbs used.

Here are fifteen of the best spices for creating an amazing gumbo:

1. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a spice that adds both heat and flavor to gumbo.

Though it can be quite strong, you’ll find that those who love spicy food will love the kick gumbo takes with cayenne pepper added.

Consider starting with less cayenne pepper if you’re not used to intense spices and gradually adding more to get the spiciness just right for your taste buds.

2. Paprika

Smoked paprika

Paprika is another common spice used in gumbo, usually added toward the end of the cooking process along with herbs like oregano or parsley – its smoky-sweet flavor functions as an accent rather than a dominant note in this flavorful dish.

Paprika also contributes color to the meal; try using smoked paprika instead of regular paprika for an even deeper flavor profile!

3. Garlic Powder

Garlic Powder

Garlic powder may not have as strong a flavor as fresh garlic does, but its distinct aroma and mellower taste lend unique complexity without being overpowering in this classic Cajun dish.

You don’t need much garlic powder—a teaspoon should do—to make your already amazing bowl of gumbo even better!

4. Onion Powder

Onion powder

Onion powder is essential for creating a delicious, authentic gumbo.

Not only does it add flavor and aroma to the dish, but it also helps to thicken the soup’s base. It has all the tasty onion flavors without having to peel, chop and sweat onions – a definite time saver!

A spoonful of onion powder can help give your gumbos just the right amount of kick they need.

5. Dried Thyme


Dried thyme is an aromatic herb that belongs in any good gumbo recipe.

This fragrant spice adds earthy notes that complement other more pungent ingredients like shrimp, sausage and garlic nicely – making sure you get subtler hints of savory goodness with each bite!

Plus, since it’s already dried before being added to gumbo dishes, its woodsy scent intensifies as it cooks longer over low heat.

6. Ground Sage

Ground Sage

Ground sage is a must-have if you want your gumbo recipes properly seasoned!

Its unique musky flavor adds depth and complexity to mellow out some of the bolder elements such as okra or tomatoes in this popular stew dish from Louisiana.

This particular herb should be used sparingly since too much can overpower everything else – so start off with about ¼ teaspoon for every two serves of gumbo you make!

7. Dried Oregano


One of the most essential spices in classic gumbo recipes is oregano, which adds a nice woodsy flavor that makes this dish irresistible.

You’ll want to make sure you choose a dried variety over fresh because it has more concentrated flavor and will hold up better to the long-simmering process.

It also pairs well with other Herbs de Provence ingredients like thyme and rosemary for an added layer of complexity.

8. Ground Bay Leaf

Ground Bay Leaf

Bay leaf can be found in ground or whole form but here we recommend using the ground version as it will mix into your gumbo easier without taking away from its overall texture and consistency.

Not only does it bring bold notes of herbal sweetness, but bay leaves are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties due to its high concentration of antioxidant flavonoids!

This addition adds a subtle smokiness to your gumbo that really enhances its flavor profile – just don’t forget to pick out any remaining bits once cooked so no one bites into these sharp leaves!

9. Ground Allspice

Ground Allspice

Allspice has become an incredibly popular choice when creating the ideal Cajun seasoning; having both sweet and aromatic flavors at once makes allspice an excellent way to add depth while still keeping things spicy!

A little goes a long way here, so sprinkle lightly at first before adjusting amounts as needed — you don’t want this potent spice overpowering your flavors either way!

Combined with oregano and bay leaf, allspice does a great job anchoring those complementary herbs together for optimal savory satisfaction in every spoonfuls worth of gumbo goodness!

10. Black Pepper

Black pepper

Whether you use pre-ground pepper or grind your own, adding a bit of black pepper to your gumbo can really enhance the flavor.

It’s an aromatic spice that brings out all the other flavors in a dish, making them stand out and harmonize with each other. Black pepper also has some mild heat, so it’s perfect for those who want just a tinge of smokiness without any extra spice.

11. White Pepper

White pepper

Unlike its counterpart, white peppercorns are darker in color but much more subtle in flavor.

Its milder taste is ideal for gumbos because it blends into the recipe better than black pepper does, intensifying the sweetness coming from other spices and allowing each unique flavor within the gumbo to shine through individually (without overpowering one another).

12. Celery Salt

Celery salt

This slightly sweet yet savory combination of salt and celery seed is great for creating depth and complexity in gumbos..

Not only will it bring out some of the underlying notes (like onion or celery), but its salty crunch also adds texture to each bite without overwhelming it with too much saltiness and spiciness like regular table salt would do alone.

13. Dried Parsley

Parsley Flakes

Dried parsley is a type of herb with a flavor that has been described as “earthy” and similar to celery.

It can be used in many different types of dishes, including gumbo recipes. Its unique flavor is often said to add an extra layer of character and complexity to meals, which makes it well-suited for traditional Southern cooking.

Plus, it also adds a splash of color. For the best effect, you should use both dried and fresh parsley when preparing your gumbo recipe – the combination creates an aromatic dish bursting with flavor!

14. Dried Basil


Basil has an unmistakable smelling lemony scent that’s much stronger than its fresh counterpart since the oils in it are more concentrated.

When adding basil to your gumbo recipe you’ll want those essential oils so make sure that you opt for dried over fresh basil because this will provide intense aroma and enhance other flavors as well like onion, garlic, black pepper etc..

Be mindful though not all brands carry robust enough dried herbs consider purchasing at farmers’ markets or specialty stores instead for equally potent results

15. File Powder (optional)

File Powder

File powder is optional but highly recommended if available; traditionally used by the Choctaw Indians around New Orleans where present-day Louisiana cuisine originates from this seasoning packs quite a punch!

Made from sassafras leaves file powder offers wonderful earthy tones behind its mild licorice undertones creating such impressions of classic Creole dishes like jambalaya as well as enhancing overall texture helping roux thicken quicker while lending richness too making it an excellent choice when aiming for a thick stew-like consistency associated with gumbos everywhere!

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, folks – 15 spices for gumbo that will leave your taste buds begging for more!

Whether you’re looking to add some heat or some unique flavors to your gumbo, these spices are sure to take your dish to the next level.

So go ahead and experiment with your spice blend – your taste buds will thank you.


The 15 Best Spices for Gumbo

If you love to cook, then you know that the right spices can make all the difference in a dish. That's why I'm sharing my favorite 15 spices for making a delicious and flavorful gumbo. From cayenne pepper to garlic powder, I'll explain the best way to combine these spices and how to use them to make your gumbo taste even better.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Spices
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 31 kcal


  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Thyme
  • Ground Sage
  • Dried Oregano
  • Ground Bay Leaf
  • Ground Allspice
  • Black Pepper
  • White Pepper
  • Celery Salt
  • Dried Parsley
  • Dried Basil
  • File Powder


  • Select your favorite spices from this article.
  • Add your desired amount of the spices to your gumbo recipe and enjoy.
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.