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What Herbs and Spices Go with Pork Shoulder? (13 Options)

When it comes to pork shoulder, there are a lot of different herbs and spices that can be used to flavor the meat.

But which ones are the best?

If you’re wondering what herbs and spices go with pork shoulder, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog post, I’m sharing 13 of the best herbs and spices to use when cooking pork shoulder.

With these flavors, you’ll be sure to create a delicious and juicy dish that everyone will love!

What Herbs and Spices Go with Pork Shoulder

What Herbs and Spices Go with Pork Shoulder?

There are many herbs and spices that go well with pork shoulder. Some of these include garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cumin. For a unique flavor, you can also add cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves.

Still looking for ideas?

Don’t worry, I’ve got more!

Here are 13 herbs and spices that go well with pork shoulder:

1. Garlic

minced Garlic

Garlic has a pungent, spicy, and earthy flavor which is perfect for flavoring pork.

You can add garlic to your pork shoulder either before or after cooking.

  • Pre-cooking Garlic Pork ShoulderPre-cooking garlic with your pork shoulder will help to unlock the flavor in the garlic and make it easier to flavors the pork. Simply cut up some garlic cloves and add them to a separate pan with some olive oil or butter. When the garlic starts to cook, add the pork shoulder and cook until both sides are golden brown.
  • After-cooked Garlic Pork Shoulder: After cooking your pork shoulder, add a sliced garlic clove to each portion. This will help to infuse more of the garlic’s flavor into every bite.

2. Rosemary


This woodsy aromatic herb has notes of citrus and lavender, and is used as a flavoring in marinades and rubs for veggies, poultry, game, ribs, and lamb.

Rosemary is also a primary ingredient of many Italian-style dishes.

Rosemary is a great herb to mix with pork because it adds an essential flavor to the dish without taking over.

It can easily be found at most grocery stores and is relatively easy to use.

One of the best ways to cook pork using rosemary is by roasting it.

You will need to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and generously season your pork shoulder with rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil before baking for about 1 hour or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to mix up your pork cooking routine, rosemary should definitely be at the top of your list.

3. Thyme


Thyme dances between earthy and minty flavors, which makes it an excellent herb to pair with pork.

Here are a few recipes that showcase thyme’s compatibility with pork:

  • Thyme Pork Roast: Combine thyme with some lemon zest, minced garlic, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil, then pour the mixture over your pork roast in a baking dish and let it marinate for a few hours in the fridge. Then roast in the oven until your dish is ready!
  • Pork TenderloinCombine thyme with other herbs like basil, rosemary, garlic, spices, and oil. Rub this mix on pork tenderloin before baking. You will love this simple yet flavorful dish once you’ve had it!
  • Pork Chops with Thyme Cream Sauce: This recipe pairs beautifullythyme with a creamy ginger sauce made from cream and stout. The sauce takes a little time to make but it is well worth it!
  • Red Curry Pork Neck Stew: This red curry stew features slow-cooked pork neck that is heavily seasoned with red curry paste. Thyme adds depth of flavor to the dish while also giving it a slightly herbal note.

4. Sage


Sage has a nice herbal flavor that is earthy, somewhat peppery, and definitely savory.

It pairs well with pork because it will add flavor and moisture to the meat.

Some of the best ways to use sage with pork are to:

  • Roast PorkSage can be used in place of other spices on your roasting pan, which will result in a delicious, moist roast pork.
  • Smoke Pork: You can smoke pork using sage as one of the main spices. This is a great way to add tons of flavor to your pork without any added fat or calories.
  • Grill PorkGrilling is a great way to cook pork, and adding sage to your grill will give it some extra flavor and aromatics.

5. Oregano


Oregano is a robust herb with a peppery bite that can be used fresh or dried.

It’s a common ingredient in many cuisines, including Italian, Greek and Mexican.

While it’s often associated with tomato-based dishes, oregano is also a great addition to pork recipes.

The herb pairs well with the rich flavor of pork shoulder and can be used in rubs, marinades and as a finishing touch on roasted or grilled pork dishes.

If you’re looking for a new way to use oregano, try it in this recipe for Roasted Pork Shoulder with Oregano and Lemon.

The herb adds bright flavor to the dish that is perfect for a weekend feast.

6. Basil


The taste of basil is a mix between sweet and savory with a slightly minty flavor.

It is also one of the most versatile herbs as it can be used in sweet and savory dishes.

When it comes to pork, basil is a great herb to use as it can help to cut through the fat and enhance the flavor of the meat.

There are many ways that you can use basil with pork.

One way is to make a pesto sauce to serve with grilled or roasted pork.

Another way is to chop up the herb and mix it into a rub for the meat.

You could also add some chopped basil into your favorite BBQ sauce recipe.

7. Marjoram


Marjoram’s flavor is similar to oregano, but milder and sweeter.

It’s a perfect addition to pork dishes because it doesn’t overpower the taste of the meat like some other spices can.

If you’re making a pork roast, try adding some marjoram to the seasoning mix.

You can also add it to sauteed pork chops or any other dish where pork is the star ingredient.

8. Fennel


Fennel has a pretty mild anise or licorice taste, and when used with pork, it can really bring out the flavor of the meat.

Fennel goes great with pork shoulder, as well as other cuts of pork like pork loin or tenderloin.

If you’re looking to add a little something extra to your next pork dish, try using fennel!

9. Cumin

Ground Cumin

Rich and hearty, earthy and warm, cumin is a perfect spice to use with pork shoulder.

This particular cut of pork can be quite tough, so using cumin helps to tenderize the meat.

Cumin also has a slight heat to it that helps balance out the richness of the pork.

When using cumin with pork, you can either rub it into the meat before cooking or add it to a pan sauce or gravy.

If you’re using cumin in a dry rub, make sure to also add some other spices like paprika, chili powder, and salt.

And if you’re adding cumin to a wet mixture, pair it with fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme.

10. Chili Powder

Chili Powder

If you prefer your meat a little spicy, then chili powder is the way to go.

Just a sprinkle of this fiery red powder can enhance the flavor of your pork shoulder – making it more succulent and irresistible.

This piquant spice is commonly used in Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and Korean cuisine.

If you’re looking to add a little zing to your pork dish, don’t hesitate to give chili powder a try!

11. Paprika


The flavor of this spice can range in flavor from mild and sweet to quite hot, depending on the type of paprika used.

It is made from grinding up the dried pods of various types of Capsicum annuum peppers.

Here are some tips on how to use paprika with pork:

  • To add flavor to a pork roast, try rubbing it with paprika before cooking.
  • For pulled pork, mix paprika with other spices like smoked paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder to create a dry rub that will give the meat a nice flavor and color.
  • Paprika can also be used in marinades for pork chops or tenderloins. Try mixing it with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt to create a flavorful marinade that will infuse the meat with flavor.

12. Cinnamon


Cinnamon has a strong, rich, slightly bitter flavor that can be used to enhance the flavor of pork shoulder.

It is often used in savory dishes, but can also be used in sweet dishes as well.

Cinnamon can be used in a number of different ways:

  • Ground cinnamon can be sprinkled on top of cooked pork shoulder.
  • Cinnamon sticks can be added to a slow cooker or pressure cooker when cooking pork shoulder.
  • Cinnamon bark oil can be used to flavor pork before cooking.
  • Cinnamon leaf oil can be used to flavor pork after cooking.

13. Nutmeg

Nutmeg powder

With slightly nutty, sweet, woody flavors, nutmeg is a versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

It’s often used in baking, but can also be a great addition to pork shoulder recipes.

When used in moderation, it can enhance the flavor of the pork without overpowering it.

If you’re looking for a new way to season your pork shoulder, try adding a pinch or two of nutmeg next time you cook it.

You might just find that it’s your new favorite way to enjoy this delicious cut of meat!

What Herbs and Spices Go Well with Pork Shoulder

What Herbs and Spices Go with Pork Shoulder? (13 Options)

We all know how delicious pork shoulder is.
But sometimes, we can get a little bored of the same old flavors.
That's why it's important to know what herbs and spices go well with pork shoulder.
This article lists 13 different herbs and spices that go well with pork shoulder.
They range from classics like sage and thyme to more unique options like cardamom and star anise.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Herbs, Main Course, Meat, Spices
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 21 kcal


  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Marjoram
  • Fennel
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg


  • Pick your favorite herbs or spices from this list to use on your pork shoulder dish.
  • Prepare the rest of your tasty meal.
  • Enjoy in no time!
Keyword what herbs go with pork shoulder, what spices go with pork shoulder
CEO at Happy Muncher | | Website | + posts

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.