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What Herbs and Spices Go in Paella? (11 Herbs & Spices)

When it comes to making paella, there are a few key ingredients that you need in order to get that authentic flavor.

If you’re wondering what herbs and spices go in paella, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog post, I’m sharing 11 of the most popular and essential herbs and spices that go in paella.

From saffron to smoked paprika, these spices will take your paella to the next level.

I think you’ll love this article, because knowing what goes well with paella isn’t easy.

So if you’re ready to learn how to make paella like a pro, then keep reading!

What Herbs and Spices Go in Paella

What Herbs and Spices Go in Paella?

The most common herbs and spices used in paella are saffron, smoked paprika, garlic, and parsley. For a more traditional flavor, you can also use rosemary and thyme. If you want to add a bit of heat to your paella, you can use cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.

Still looking for ideas?

Then keep scrolling!

Here are 11 herbs and spices that go in paella:

1. Saffron


Saffron has a sweet and floral taste and it is often used in paella.

Saffron is an expensive spice, so you don’t need to use a lot of it.

A little goes a long way with this one.

2. Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika

Smoked paprika has a smoky and spicy flavor that goes great in paella.

You only need to use a small amount, about 1/4 teaspoon per serving.

Other herbs and spices that go well with smoked paprika include saffron, cumin, and garlic.

3. Garlic

minced Garlic

Garlic is like the superhero of spices.

It makes everything taste better, and paella is no different.

You really can’t have paella without garlic, so make sure to add some in!

As for how much, a good rule of thumb is to add one clove of garlic per person.

Other herbs and spices that go well with garlic in paella include saffron, smoked paprika, cumin, and chili flakes.

4. Parsley


Parsley has a clean and peppery flavor that is a perfect addition to paella.

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This particular herb is also very fragrant, so a little goes a long way.

You will only need to use about 1 teaspoon of parsley for every 4 cups of rice in your paella.

Other herbs and spices that go well with parsley in paella include saffron, smoked paprika, garlic, and cumin.

These flavors all work together to create a dish that is packed with flavor and sure to please any crowd.

5. Rosemary


Rosemary is described as piney, resinous, astringent, and peppery.

It is a very strong herb, so you don’t need to use much of it.

A little goes a long way with rosemary.

Other herbs and spices that go well with rosemary are thyme, basil, oregano, garlic, and onion.

6. Thyme


Thyme dances between earthy and minty flavors and is a perfect herb to use in paella.

A little goes a long way with thyme so start with about 1 teaspoon of dried thyme or 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme for every 4-6 cups of broth in your paella.

If you want a more subtle flavor, add the thyme early on in the cooking process.

For a more potent flavor, add it towards the end.

Other herbs and spices that go well with thyme are: parsley, garlic, smoked paprika, and saffron.

7. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper

If you want a little kick in your paella, then cayenne pepper is the way to go.

A small amount of this spice can really go a long way so be careful not to overdo it.

A good rule of thumb is to start with 1/4 teaspoon and then add more from there if you want more heat.

Cayenne pepper pairs well with other spices like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.

These are all common ingredients in paella so you likely already have them on hand.

Simply add a pinch or two of each of these spices along with the cayenne pepper to really bring out the flavor in your dish.

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8. Red Pepper Flakes

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Speaking of a little kick, red pepper flakes are another great way to add some spice to your paella.

A lot of people like to keep things on the milder side when it comes to spices, but if you can handle a little heat then red pepper flakes are definitely the way to go.

You don’t need to use a ton of them, just a pinch or two will do the trick.

9. Cumin


Rich and hearty, earthy and warm, cumin is a spice that is used in many cuisines around the world.

It’s no wonder, then, that cumin is also one of the key spices in paella.

When making paella at home, be sure to add cumin sparingly – a little goes a long way! Start with 1/4 teaspoon and increase to taste.

Other herbs and spices that go well with cumin include chili powder, coriander, garlic powder, and salt.

10. Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds have a sweet, licorice-like flavor and are often used in Mediterranean and Indian cuisine.

In paella, fennel seeds are typically added towards the end of cooking, so that their flavor is not too overwhelming.

A good rule of thumb is to add 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds per serving.

Other herbs and spices that go well with fennel seeds include cumin, coriander, and chili powder.

These spices can be added to the paella along with the fennel seeds, or they can be used to make a spice blend that is added towards the end of cooking.

11. Cloves


This intensely aromatic spice has a somewhat sweet taste and is used in a variety of dishes, from desserts to savory meat dishes.

Speaking of dessert, click here to learn what dessert to serve with paella.

Cloves are often used in spice rubs for meats, added to stews, and used in marinades.

Paella is a dish that typically contains chicken, seafood, and vegetables, and the addition of cloves helps to bring out the natural flavors of these ingredients.

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When adding cloves to paella, start with a small amount (1/4 teaspoon) and add more to taste.

Other herbs and spices that pair well with cloves include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.

best herbs and spices for paella

What Herbs and Spices Go in Paella? (11 Herbs & Spices)

Sure, paella is super delicious already.
But with the right herbs and spices, it can be out-of-this-world good.
This blog post will give you a rundown of 11 different herbs and spices that can take your paella to the next level.
So whether you're looking to add a little extra flavor or want to try something new, this post has you covered.
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 2 mins
Course Herbs, Spices
Cuisine American, Spanish
Servings 4 people
Calories 18 kcal


  • Saffron
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Cumin
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Cloves


  • Pick any amount of spices and herbs from this list to add to your paella recipe.
  • Prepare the rest of your meal.
  • Enjoy in no time!
Keyword what herbs go in paella, what spices go in paella


  • Jenny Hunter

    Jenny is a passionate entrepreneur and home chef who loves helping people. She is the proud owner of, an online platform for those who want to learn about and explore the delicious world of food. 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. Jenny is a firm believer in the power of food to bring people together, and she is always looking for ways to expand her reach and share her love of cooking with a larger audience. She is an active member of the food blogging community, and she is passionate about helping others discover their own culinary talents.