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Herbs and spices in Turkey have been used by people for various purposes since ancient times. Occasionally spices in Turkey, which are a wildflower, the leaf of a large tree, or the fruit of a bush which vary infinitely in their flavors, features and functions.


Which spices are the most popular spices in Turkey? Which Spices in Turkey are mostly preferred? Which 10 spices in Turkey are mostly used in Turkish cuisine?


Spices in Turkey, are the gifts of nature, the majority of which are gathered from nature and brought contribute to the economy. It adds flavor to the world cuisines and become as a source of healing for people. Turkey exported spices to143 countries in the worth of 178 million dollars.

The trend towards spices also increases export figures. Turkey, in 2017 export of spices accomplished in the worth of 160 million US dollars and in 2018 with an increase of 11 percent to spices exports extended to 178 million US dollars.

Aegean Exporters' Associations provide member exporters which has the largest contribution to Turkey's export spices. Spices exports from the Aegean Exporters' Associations reached 128 million US dollars in 2018.

As healthy nutrition is rising value around the world, people give preference to meet their salt needs with spices while they are getting away from salt. By this way the demand for spices is increasing day by day.

It is known that the spices are first used in the Far East. The usage of spices started in ancient times in China and India extended to all parts of the world about 2000 years ago. As well as, spices have been historically used in other parts of the world. One of the ancient users of these regions is Anatolia, where spices are brought from various regions of Africa as good taste enhancers.

Nowadays, spices are consumed mostly by residents of South Asia. Needless to say, the use of spices is also very widespread in Europe and America. Herbs and spices are also very major in the cuisines of Italy, Spain, Portugal and France.

At the same time, Turkey is also one of the countries with most heavily using the spices. Spices in Turkey play a particularly essential role in the cuisines of the Southeast. Besides the spices that have recently taken place in the food culture of Turkey, there is a wide range of spices traditionally consumes in Turkish cuisine.

Spices in Turkey are mostly preferred by German People

Turkey, while exporting spices in the worth of 178 million US dollars seasoning products to 143 countries in 2018, Germany took its first place with buying spices in Turkey in the worth of 22, 8 million US dollars. The United States, where Turkey exported the most spices in 2017; ranked second with buying from species in Turkey worth of 22, 5 million US dollars. In the third row of the list; Vietnam situated its place with importing the spices from Turkey in the worth of 18 million US dollars.

Export Leader of Spices in Turkey Became Thyme

while Turkey exported 75 types of spices, the spices types that stand out were the thyme, bay leaf, cumin and sage. Thyme exports were reached to the peak with 57,3 million Us dollars income returns, while bay leaf exports followed the thyme with 40,5 million US dollars exports. Cumin took its place in the third stage of the summit with the export in the worth of 21 million US dollars.

Turkey gained dollars from sage export in the worth of 7, 2 million, 6, 9 million US dollars from the export of fennel, 6, 8 million US dollars from exports of rosemary. In addition Turkey won the 4, 2 million US dollars currency in digits by exporting sumac. It is also underlined that the 2019 targets in exports of spices in Turkey are 200 million US dollars.

Most Popular Spices in Turkish Cuisine

Turkey has been a trading center in Europe, Asia and at the intersection of Middle East for a long period. It was an important point of arrival for camel caravans that went to the Silk Road and brought exotic goods and spices to the west.

One of the most important factors for why Turkish cuisine is loved all around the world is hidden in herbs and spices that make up delicious tastes. It does not only gives a wonderful aroma, but these spices in Turkey are also super useful for your health.

When you visit the spices bazaar in Istanbul, you will see that why Turkey is popular for its spices. Stacks spices and piles of freshly ground spices in Turkey attracts the attention of visitors to the corridor of this historic bazaar with their aromas and colors.

But you are not just supposed to be in Istanbul to enjoy the best spices. Fresh spices in Turkey are acquirable, from local bazaars to markets and the largest supermarkets. In fact, almost all the spices used in Turkish cuisine are feasible to find, wherever you are in Turkey.

More exotic spices such as black cumin and sumac powder can be found in Turkish, Greek and Mediterranean markets.

Here are the 10 most famous spices in Turkey used in Turkish dishes.

Thyme (named as Kekik in Turkish)

Thyme is found all over the country and is very famous in the Aegean and Southeastern regions. Dried thyme is most frequently used for meat and poultry dishes, fish meat, salads and soups. A type of detox is made known as 'Thyme water'. It is made with brewed thyme leaves which is very good for the relation of stomach and the weight loss. Turkish people mixes the olive oil with fresh thyme and use it in salads, and more recently, it is eaten by bread as well.


Hot Red Pepper

Plenty of red pepper in the southeast are sprinkled on almost anything like garnish for those who like the hot. It is made by drying fresh chili pepper and flaking. Red pepper is an important component in most spicy dishes, especially meat dishes and soups. Generally spicy versions of meatballs or grilled meatballs are cooked which is very famous among local and foreign people.


Mint is used in many salad recipes, as well as meat, poultry and fish dishes. It is also an essential ingredient in Ezogelin soup and is famous as a side dish to sprinkle over 'ravioli'. Mint is one of the favorite spices in Turkey, used in appetizers, cold juices, stuffed vegetables and yogurt dishes with its great extract and refreshing flavors. It is also good for stomach ailments and helps your respiratory system.

Black Pepper

Black pepper is widely used in the world cuisine, adds flavor to every dishes. It is an irreplaceable spice in the Turkish cuisine. It is used as dry from most commonly and usually black pepper used as powder.

Black pepper is also famous to make possible digestion and fat burning due to its antioxidant impact. It is frequently used by those who have a cold, as it makes the immunity system stronger.

Cumin Spice

Cumin is an indispensable spice in Turkish cuisine with its intense aromatic aroma and is widely used in famous dishes of meatballs (Kofte) and meat dishes. Turkish people go for cumin in powder form and are almost never used in seed form. The great aroma of cumin grown in Anatolia is mainly used to press the odor of meat.

In addition, Cumin is preferred to make spicy sausages, also named as sucuk in Turkish language. Between the numerous healthy spices in Turkey, Cumin is very good for asthma, rising up the immunity, facilitates digestion, retard the cell aging and is great for anemia. Breastfeeding mothers use it to extract gas from their babies.


Sumac is acquired by drying the leaves of a stunted tree rises in Southeastern Anatolia. It has a sour taste and used as the powder form. Sumac is a spice with flavor to be as sour and sharp as a lemon, and it is widely used in Turkish cuisine. It is used to give a sour flavor to kebabs and some salads. There is a kind of syrup made from this spicy which is also used to give sour taste to salads. This delicious spicy is also healthy for facilitating digestion and balancing the body's sugar levels.

Bay Leaf

It is the leaf of the laurel tree. This is one of the spices in Turkey accompanies many delicious tastes in Turkish cuisine. It is used in several dishes made of fish, meat, poultry and kebabs, as well as some pickles and canned food. As it is antiseptic, it has a protective effect towards the diseases. It changes the flavor of the whole dish with its amazing aroma used only as a fragrance.


Cinnamon is a favorite on the sweet side of Turkish cuisine. It is available in sticks and powders and is used in desserts, puddings, cakes, and fruit-filled cookies and pastries. It is the most popular spices in Turkey with sweet aromatic used in Turkish cuisine since the Ottoman period.

 Cinnamon is a source of polyphenols antioxidants, assists to decrease cholesterol, control blood pressure, raise body strength and deal with fungal infections. Cinnamon also has the feature of losing weight due to its effects on fat burning.



Rosemary is a type of spices in Turkey acquired from the leaves of a dwarf tree which raises in the Mediterranean part of the country. The leaf of Rosemary has a good smell and is always green. It is widely used in Turkish cuisine. It’s small, thick, scented and fragrant leaves are used in meat dishes and sauces. It is also used in various illnesses such as intestines, kidneys and bronchitis.

Cloves/ perfect Spices in Turkey

The dark, small nail-shaped buds of this plant or flower are dried and used as grain after grinding and powdered. It is used in some desserts, cakes, ice cream, etc. One of the strongest natural antiseptics used in the medical industry for centuries is Cloves. Clove raises edema, it is a good spicy for throat and stomach ailments.


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