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Nigeria Spices And Their Uses | Messielakes

If you are wondering why Nigerian food taste so great and want to know of their secrets. Stick around. Because I am going to walk you through to the common Nigeria spices and their uses in food.

However, spices are basically any aromatic or pungent substance that you can use to flavour food. For instance, spices are in form of a seed, fruit, bark, root and they are primarily used to impact flavour. aroma and colour to food.

Furthermore, some herbs are also used as a spice to add flavour to food. Even more, herbs are mostly the leaves, stems and flower of a plant use to impact flavour to food. Also, one can use herbs for garnishing of food.

So, below are the list of some common Nigeria spices and their use.


Ginger has a slight spicy note and it is super for use in cooking. Use it to cook meat, pepper soup rice. And when you add onion and garlic to it, it gives a more complex nice taste.

Most importantly, ginger is beneficial to health that sometimes it is taken in form of tea and in other forms. Also read more on why you should eat ginger.


Cloves also known as kanafuru is a sweet spice with a mild heat. Use it for baking, especially cakes, bread and so on. However, it is used mostly in making zobo drink.

In fact, cloves is what gives Nigeria zobo drink that its signature taste. So, without clove in zobo, the taste will not be like what you used to know.


Ogriri is made from a fermented locus bean , It has different types such as iru, Okpei, ogiri igbo and so on, Use ogiri to make stew, soup like egusi, oha soup, okro soup etc.

Even more, ogiri is not a spice but a seasoning. However, because it is use to add aroma and flavour to Nigeria food, I chose to add it. Read more about ogiri here

Habanero pepper (Capsicum)

This type of pepper is one of the most common pepper in Nigeria. It is very spicy because of the high capsaicin present in it.

Aside the hotness, it has a very nice aroma and flavour, making it a very choice pepper for stews and many dishes. Also read about Nigeria hot spices


Use garlic to make stews, pepper soups and jollof. Garlic adds more than flavour and aroma to food, it is in fact quite medicinal and good for the body. Also, with lots of health benefits.


Are you wondering what give that mild tantalising taste to Nigeria fried rice? the answer is cumin, just put a little bit of it and turmeric to the fried rice and thank me later.

Negro pepper

Negro pepper also known as uda in Igbo, erun in Yoruba and chimba or kimba in Hausa is a pungent and earthy spice.

Most importantly, use negro pepper to make pepper soups, especially in company of ehuru and uziza.


Uziza is a pugent spice with a mild heat. Use it to make pepper soups, oha soup, bitter leaf soup and so on.

Also read more about uziza here


Turmeric give fried rice that signature yellowish colour. Most importantly, turmeric is use to add colour, taste and aroma to sauces like curry sauce, rice and so on.

Curry leaf (basil)

Curry leaf is common with the Igbos. And, this herb has a significant impact in stews, especially, mackerel stew or chicken stew. However, add fresh ginger and garlic to the food you want to use curry leaf for.

Curry leaf is in fact basil, I don’t where Nigeria got that name from lol. Read all about curry leaf here


Paprika is a red spice that is mild. There is this misconception by Nigerians that paprika is tatashi. In fact, it is made from ripped bell pepper. Use red bell pepper to make paprika powder.

Similarly, bell pepper has many colours, including red, purple, green. yellow etc. However, we call the green colour of this bell pepper “green pepper” in Nigeria.

So, this paprika powder add a nice taste and flavour to food such as jollof and so on. Most importantly, paprika add a huge red colour to food such as stews, jollof and so on. Read more about how paprika

Even more, it is great for stew as it adds some type of texture to stew and help thicken it. For that reason, you need less tomato for it. Also read how to turn fresh tomato to power so you don’t have to waste it


Nutmeg is usually oval in shape, pungent with a beautiful aroma. Use nutmeg to add flavour and aroma to jollof rice. In addition, use nutmeg to flavour chin chin.

African nutmeg (ehuru)

Ehuru also known as Jamaican nutmeg or calabash nutmeg is use for soups. First of all, ground it into powder and use it to make banga soups or pepper soup like chicken pepper soup.

In addition, toast it first, grind it to powder and use it to make abacha.


Have a consistent, lingering and not pungent flavour. even though it goes well with fish, chicken, stews, jollof. It mostly complement a food made with meat. Also, eat it both in fresh and dry form. However, eating the fresh type with steak is best.


A Herb similar to thyme, but longer and bigger in size. And taste better in rice and stews. Also, use this herb to cook chicken and jollof rice.

In conclusion,here are some of the Nigeria spices and their uses I can write of now. Finally, feel free to stroll over to the spices and seasoning section and you will find a lot of Nigeria spices their and their uses.

Nigeria spices and their uses

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