How to Use Spices in Desserts and Baking

Discover how to use spices in desserts and baking! Surprise your family with new twists on their favorite recipes.

Discover supplies you'll need and how to use spices in desserts and baking

When you hear the word “spices”, you instantly have more savory dishes come to mind, don’t you? Yep, me too! But did you know that spices can also be used in desserts and baking in general? We have a few ideas to help get you started with adding twists to your favorite family dishes.

How to Use Spice in Desserts and Baking:

Pieces of chopped chocolate along with spices in desserts are wonderful additions

Chocolate and Spice Combinations

Chocolate is amazing. Not only is it a tasty treat to enjoy, but it’s been proven to be a mood booster. If you have a recipe that calls for chocolate, check out how you can add depth to the flavor with these spices in desserts combinations!

Black pepper

Black pepper awakens the flavor of your dishes. One of the trends of salted desserts is not always an option for those who suffer from health conditions such as high blood pressure. Grind it fresh or use ground pepper to add to cookies and cake — just like you would cinnamon!

Chili powder

A dash of chili powder will take the edge off any overly sweet chocolate. Chili Powder is dark chocolate’s true soul mate!


Cinnamon gives a deep richness to any chocolate, from cake to hot cocoa.


Chocolate and ginger are a delicious combination. Use fresh or candied ginger, to experiment with taste and texture in your cakes. Add ground ginger to your cookies for chocolate gingerbread.


Chocolate-lime combinations are a favorite in the UK and the Caribbean. While not technically a spice, adding citrus to baked goods gives them a whole new dimension. You can accomplish this by adding the juice or grating the fruit! The grated rind adds some color and spunk to your dishes.

White Batter and Spice Combinations


Lemon can make a deliciously tart contrast with the sweetness of your cookies and cakes. It goes well with berries such as blueberry. You can use juice or zest, extract or oil. Note: lemon oil is not the same as lemon extract. It tastes less artificial but is much stronger than extract, so use one drop at a time until you reach the desired level of flavor.


Lemon and rosemary cookies are a tasty treat for those that like less sweet desserts. Rosemary is spicy and warm – a nice compliment to a sweet dish. Be sure to chop it up fine before adding to your desserts to prevent it from being tough.


Thyme offers a lemony hint to cookies and works well when paired with lemon zest or oil. Thyme also pairs well with berry-based desserts.

Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, mace

Nothing says fall and the holidays like delicious, spiced desserts. Cookies are easy and fill the whole house with the most wonderful fragrance. Spice cakes and loaves are easy to make as treats for your holiday table, or gifts to pass along to the people on your list.

These are also the main ingredients in pumpkin pie spice. Mace (which is the outer part of nutmeg) is what give it such a distinct flavor. Experiment with these in varying quantities and make up your own baking blends. Leave out the mace and you can also create stunning apple pies or carrot cake.


Cardamom is also good in carrot cake and in cookies. If you’ve ever eaten Scandinavian baked goods, you will know the taste. You’ll discover a hint of pine with a sweet twist.

Cumin and coriander

These spices are often paired together in Indian, Mexican and Thai cooking. They will go well with peanut-based items like cookies, or coconut-based desserts to take the edge off the sweetness and give a more savory flavor.


Basil works well with berry-based desserts, enhancing their flavor and taking the edge off the sweetness. You could try it with our Fresh Berry Cheesecake!


What could be yummier than homemade gingerbread or ginger cake? When I was a kid, Christmas time was when we could find the paper bags of Gingersnap cookies. The spicier the cookies, the more I loved them!


Most people love the taste of sage in their stuffing, so there’s no reason it wouldn’t go well in loaf cakes and in your next bread pudding. Add craisins instead of raisins for a whole new twist on this family favorite. Be careful though – a little goes a long way!


Vanilla also comes from the “Spice Islands”, and is perfect for adding flavor to even the simplest sugar cookie recipe. My personal favorite is Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. The added layer of flavor is exactly what every dessert deserves.

Mint (Peppermint, Spearmint)

Mint can brighten up any fruity dessert. It’s also a favorite in holiday cookies. The extract can taste a bit too much like chemicals, though. Peppermint oil can also be overwhelming if you use too much, so one drop or two should be more than enough. Be careful not to overdo it so your dishes don’t start to taste like toothpaste.

Do you use spices in desserts and baking? Comment below and share your favorite combinations with us!

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