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Flavor profiles that pair well in recipes

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Here is a really neat tool to use when you get stumped in the kitchen when it comes to pairing certain flavors together.  I know that I can often be found staring into the spice drawer, scratching my head wondering what spices to use with certain foods.  It’s a learning curve for me and one that I have come into late in life, but it is never to late to learn.   And in the meantime while learning to commit this to memory, this chart will come in quite handy.  Keep checking back over time, I am always updating this list.

( picture from: melindaswenson.com )

  • Allspice pairs well with: apples, beets, cabbage, caramel, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, juniper, mace, mustard, nuts, nutmeg, onions, pears,  pumpkin, root vegetables, yams.
  • Almond pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, caramel, cherry, coffee, fig, honey, orange, peach, pear, plum
  • Anice pairs well with:  apples, beets, caramel, carrots, chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, coconut, coriander, cranberry, fennel, figs, fish,  garlic, peaches, pomegranates,  pumpkin
  • Apple pairs well with: caramel, cardamom, chestnut, cinnamon, cranberry, currant, ginger, hazelnut, mango, maple, rosemary, walnut
  • Apricot pairs well with: almond, black pepper, caramel, cardamom, ginger, hazelnut, honey, orange, peach, vanilla, plum
  • Asian Pear pairs well with: almond, apple, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, honey, macadamia, nutmeg, raisin, vanilla
  • Banana pairs well with: caramel, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, ginger, hazelnut, honey, mango, molasses, papaya
  • Basil pairs well with: capers, chives, cilantro, garlic, marjoram, oregano, mint, onion, parsley, rosemary, thyme,  artichokes, eggplant, green vegetables, mushrooms, olives, Sweet Basil is the best basil for pesto and tomato salads.
  • Bay leaf pairs well with: artichokes, beans, garlic, grains, juniper, lentils, marjoram, mushrooms, nuts, oregano, parsley, potatoes, sage, savory, thyme and tomatoes
  • Beets pair well with: Apples, basil, beef, butter, cabbage, caraway seeds, carrots, cheese, chives, dill, hard-boiled eggs, garlic, honey, horseradish, lemon, mint, mustard, olive oil, onions, orange, pepper, pistachios, salt
  • Blackberry pairs well with: apricot, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, lemon, other berries, peach, plum
  • Blood Orange pairs well with: almond, cardamom, chocolate, cinnamon, clove, fig, ginger, honey, other citrus
  • Blueberry pairs well with: other berries, cardamom, mango, lemon, hazelnut, ginger, fig, lavender, other citrus
  • Butternut Squash pairs well with: sage and rosemary, either of which can be used fresh or in dried form.  The warm “pie spices” of nutmeg and ginger are a good match for butternut squash, both underlining and balancing its sweetness. For a savory approach, consider cumin.  Chilies provide sweet-and-spicy flavor combination.  The naturally sweet taste of butternut squash is enhanced when paired with fruit, such as fresh and dried apples, fresh pear, orange juice and dried cranberries.
  • Caraway pairs well with: apples, beets, broccoli, cabbage, pears, sauerkraut, allspice, almonds, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, coriander,  dill,  fennel seed, juniper berry, onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, parsley, thyme.
  • Cardamom pairs well with:  apples, bananas, beans, caramel,  citrus fruit, coconut, ice creams, nuts, mango, allspice, almond, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, curry, dates, fennel seed, ginger, mustard, paprika, pears, pepper, star anise, turmeric, saffron
  • Carrot pairs well with: anise, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, walnut
  • Celery pairs well with: cabbage, cilantro, cucumber, cumin, garlic, ginger, mustard, onion, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, tomatoes, thyme
  • Celery Seed pairs well with: tomatoes, allspice, black pepper, caraway, chili, cinnamon coriander, cumin, fennel seed, ginger, sage, turmeric
  • Cherry pairs well with: apricot, black pepper, chocolate, citrus, nectarine, peach, plum,  vanilla
  • Chestnut pairs well with: apple, caramel, chocolate, coffee, pear, vanilla
  • Chives pair well with: asparagus, basil, cheese, cilantro, dill, fennel, green vegetables, horseradish, mushrooms, olives, paprika, pasta, parsley, tarragon
  • Chocolate pairs well with: oranges, nuts, Allspice, almond, aniseed, cinnamon, clove, curry leaf, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mint, nutmeg, onion, vanilla
  • Cilantro (coriander) pairs well with: apples, apricot, avocados, berries, cherries, citrus, coconut, nectarine, peach, plum, tropical fruit, Allspice, Cardamom, clove, cumin, curry, dates, fennel seed, garlic, ginger,  mint, sun-dried tomato, turmeric, tomatoes.
  • Cinnamon pairs well with:  allspice, apples, bananas, cantaloupe, caraway, cardamom, clove, cacao, chilies, caramel, cauliflower, chocolate, corn, curries,  coffee, coriander, cranberry, cumin, dates, figs, ginger, mint, nutmeg,  grapes, oranges, peaches, pears, winter squash, star anise, sun-dried tomatoes, tamarind, turmeric, vanilla
  • Chervil  pairs well with: artichokes, asparagus, carrots, chives, citrus, grains, green beans, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, onions, parsley, tarragon, thyme,and  vinegar
  • Clove pairs well with: allspice, apples, beets, bay leaf, cakes, cardamom, cacao, carrots, chocolate, citrus, coriander, cumin, curry, fennel, ginger, mace, nutmeg, orange, peaches, pineapple, pumpkin, red cabbage,  star anise, tamarind, turmeric,vanilla
  • Coconut pairs well with: Allspice, banana, basil, black pepper, Brazil nut, caramel, chocolate, citrus,  cumin, curry leaf, garlic, ginger, guava, lemongrass, passionfruit, pineapple, sun-dried, tomato, turmeric, vanilla
  • Coriander pairs well with: allspice, apples, bananas, beans, chili, cilantro, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, cumin, curry, fennel, fish, garlic, ginger, mace, mint, mushrooms, nutmeg, onion, parsley,
  • Cranberry pairs well with: apple, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, mango, mint, pear
  • Cumin pairs well with: allspice, anise, avocados, bay leaf, beans, cabbage, cardamom,  cilantro, cinnamon, citrus, coconut, coriander, cucumber, curry, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger,  lentils, mace, onion, nutmeg, parsley, tomatoes
  • Currants, Black and Red, pairs well with: cassis, chocolate, citrus
  • Dill pairs well with: anise, basil, cabbage, capers, caraway, carrots, chives, coriander, cucumbers, cumin,  fennel, garlic, ginger, horseradish, mint, mustard, oregano, onion, paprika, parsley
  • Elderberry pairs well with: apricot, fig, honey, lemon, mandarin, other berries, peach, plum
  • Fennel pairs well with: anise, artichokes, basil, beans, cabbage, cheese, cilantro, cinnamon, cucumber, cumin, dill, eggplant, fenugreek, figs, garlic, lemon balm, lentils, mint, olives, onion, oregano, parsley, pork, thyme, tomatoes
  • Fig pairs well with: almond, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, pear, vanilla
  • Garlic pairs well with: basil, caraway, chili, coriander, cumin, curry leaf, marjoram, mint, mustard seed, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sun-dried tomato, thyme
  • Ginger pairs well with: allspice, almond, anise, apple, apricot, banana,basil, berries, Brazil nut, caramel, carrots, chives, chocolate, cilantro, cinnamon, citrus,cloves, coconut, coriander, cranberry, cumin, curry, dates, fennel, grape, hazelnut, passion fruit, peach, pear, pineapple, plum,  nutmeg, onion, peaches, pears, pepper, pumpkin, raisins, turmeric, vanilla
  • Gooseberry pairs well with: citrus, hazelnut, honey, other berries, white chocolate
  • Grape pairs well with: chocolate, citrus, fig, honey, ginger, raisin
  • Grapefruit pairs well with: basil, black pepper, caramel, citrus, mint, rosemary, thyme, tropical fruit, vanilla
  • Guava pairs well with: citrus, lime, coconut, huckleberry, kaffir leaf, pineapple, strawberry, tropical fruit
  • Hazelnut pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, berries, caramel, cherry, chocolate, citrus, fig, mandarin, peach, pear, plum
  • Jicama pairs well with: acidic fruits and juices such as lime, lemon and orange juice.  Red pepper and hot pepper sauce,  avocado, cilantro, cucumber and grapefruit.
  • Kaffir Leaf pairs well with: banana, citrus, coconut, lemongrass, tropical fruit, watermelon
  • Kiwi pairs well with: apple, banana, berries, cherry, citrus, coconut, mango, tropical fruit
  • Kumquat pairs well with: berries, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, persimmon, plum
  • Lavender pairs well with: chocolate, lemon, blueberries, vanilla, thyme
  • Lemon pairs well with: apricot, berries, black pepper, cardamom, cherry, citrus, ginger, nectarine, peach, plum, prickly pear, tropical fruit
  • Lemongrass pairs well with: cherry, berries, citrus, coconut, ginger, guava, kaffir leaf, coconut, tropical fruit, vanilla
  • Lime pairs well with: apple, berries, cherry, ginger, papaya, plum, strawberry, tropical fruit
  • Lychee pairs well with: citrus, ginger, gooseberry, tropical fruit, vanilla
  • Mace pairs well with: allspice, asparagus, beans, cabbage, carrots, cheese, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, cranberries, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, peaches, pumpkin, potatoes, vanilla,
  • Mandarin pairs well with: cardamom, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, fig, ginger, nutmeg, tropical fruits, vanilla, star anise
  • Mango pairs well with: apple, banana, berries, caramel, citrus, coconut, melon, tropical fruits, vanilla, cinnamon
  • Marjoram pairs well with: artichokes, basil, cinnamon, cumin, eggplant, fennel, garlic, mushrooms, onion, oregano, parsley,  thyme
  • Melon pairs well with: berries, citrus, lemongrass, lemon verbena
  •  Nutmeg pairs well with: allspice, asparagus, cabbage, cardamom, carrots, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, coriander, cranberries, cumin, ginger,  mace, onion, peaches, pumpkin, thyme, vanilla
  • Orange pairs well with: almonds, basil, berries, brandy, cherry, chocolate, cilantro, cinnamon, coffee, cranberry, fig, ginger, grape, hazelnut, mint, nutmeg, persimmon, pineapple, vanilla
  • Oregano pairs well with: basil, cinnamon, cumin, eggplant, fennel, garlic, marjoram, mushrooms, onion, parsley, thyme, tomatoes
  • Paprika pairs well with: allspice, caraway, cardamom,  garlic, ginger, legumes, oregano, parsley,  rosemary, saffron, thyme, turmeric, vegetables
  • Papaya pairs well with: citrus, black pepper, lime, mango, tropical fruit
  • Parsley pairs well with: basil, bay leaf, chives, dill,  garlic, marjoram, mushrooms, grains, onion, oregano,thyme, tomatoes
  • Pear pairs well with: almond, apple, caramel, chestnut, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, hazelnut, vanilla, walnut
  • Persimmon pairs well with: apple, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, kumquat, pear
  • Pineapple pairs well with: basil, caramel, cilantro, coconut, macadamia, rosemary, tropical fruit
  • Plum pairs well with: almond, cinnamon, citrus, chestnut, black pepper, hazelnut, honey, vanilla
  • Pomegranate pairs well with: apple, citrus, cucumber, mint, tropical fruit
  • Prickly Pear pairs well with: citrus, lime, tomatillo, tropical fruit
  • Raspberry pairs well with: apricot, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, lemon, nectarine, other berries, peach, plum, rhubarb, thyme, vanilla
  • Rose water pairs well with: saffron, cardamom,jasmine, almonds, pistachios and coconuts.
  • Rosemary pairs well with:  apples, asparagus, basil, citrus, cranberry, fennel, garlic, grains, mushrooms, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, thyme, tomatoes
  • Rhubarb pairs well with: apple, apricot, berries, black pepper, citrus, ginger, nectarine, peach, plum, strawberry
  • Sage pears well with: apples, bay leaf,  capers, caraway, celery, citrus,  garlic, ginger, marjoram, onions, paprika, parsley, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes
  • Sesame pairs well with: citrus,  garlic, ginger, thyme
  • Sorrel pairs well with: chives, beans, leafy greens, oregano, parsley, thyme, and squash
  • Strawberry pairs well with: apple, black pepper, chocolate, citrus, coriander, mint, rhubarb, vanilla
  • Thyme pairs well with: bananas, basil, bay leaf, beans, carrots, citrus, dill, garlic, mint, mushrooms, onion, oregano, parsley, sage
  • Tomatillo pairs well with: berries, citrus, mango, prickly pear, tropical fruit
  • Walnut pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, rum

Resources are a mixed combination from: Askabout.com, and my own dabbling.

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38 thoughts on “Flavor profiles that pair well in recipes

  1. Annie says:

    What a wonderful chart! I, too, often puzzle over what will work well together of the various things I happen to have on hand. And I like how this goes both sweet and savory . You are good… ;-)

    • amie-sue says:

      Thanks Annie, I love this chart. It comes in real handy! I hope to one day have it committed to memory! :) For me, it really opened up my eyes and possibilities! Love and hugs, amie sue

  2. FOODESSA says:

    This is excellent and will prove very helpful. I found your site because I was looking for a pairing to go into my plum jam.

    Again, thank you for putting this together.

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  3. Emily says:

    I have to make shakes from time to time for demonstrations to show how good my company’s products are and this chart comes in handy when I decide to pair a shake with some fruit =D It’s a health company and the shakes are the best so adding fruit just makes it crazy good. It would be neat to be able to click on any of the fruit listed in the categories, for instance when it says cranberry and then lists the pairings it would be cool to be able to click on one of the pairings and get more in depth info on it. Like chocolate is savory and sweet and can be melted ect. Would have me on here for days looking at all the things this offers >_<

  4. Rebekah says:

    This is wonderful! May I suggest adding cinnamon to mango’s pairings? While growing up in Uganda, we always made mango cobbler with cinnamon; it was somehow similar to peach cobbler and was so good.

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  5. SamCyn says:

    Hi-

    Wow what a great list you’ve put together! I just came across your list while searching for ingredients that pair well with guava…may I suggest lime and coconut as a pairing? Thanks!

  6. Shakti says:

    Thanks for this, i am playing around with pomegranates, basil and chocolate today….wanting to a do a simple little recipe for my newsletter..and came across this list thankyou so very much great work and lovely website
    blessings
    Shakti x
    i LOVE vanilla have this great new guinea stuff and lavender is one of my all time faves i use it in raw chocolate, cooked cakes, raw balls.. with vanilla…and on its own, rosemary lavender and honey are great…for me at least

    • amie-sue says:

      Great to hear from you Shakti. :) It’s really amazing to learn all the neat complimenting flavorings… It’s a list that will forever grow! Your combo sounds wonderful. Have a blessed day, amie sue

  7. Megan says:

    Thanks for the handy info! I used it just now to pair almonds with orange.

    I also wanted to tell you that “Profiles” is misspelled on the tab title.

  8. KalDraken says:

    There is a book called The Flavor Bible that you should check out sometime.

  9. lisa says:

    This list is fantastic! I keep coming back to it while playing with jam flavors. Thank you!

  10. Andrew says:

    You’ve given me so many ideas and saved me days (literally) of trial and error.
    Fantastic resource, thank you!

  11. kimming says:

    thank you…..

  12. Kirsten says:

    Can you get some flavors that go with rosewater?

  13. Jenn says:

    I just want to thank you for posting this, I’ve been working on creative flavour pairings for a baking competition I have coming up and this chart was something I referred to multiple times!

    • amie-sue says:

      You are welcome Jenn… I am thrilled that you find use in it! Thanks for letting me know. Have a great evening, amie sue

  14. Maureen Vandal says:

    Thanks!

  15. bro says:

    lychee goes well with star anise

  16. miss t says:

    hi, thank you for posting this. it’s very handy. I already save it to my favorites ;) however, I’m looking for fruits that go well with mint and noticed that you don’t have it listed. any suggestion pls other than strawberry?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Miss,

      Mint is especially good with pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, citrus, and watermelon, even cantaloupe. Have a great day, amie sue

  17. Amanda says:

    Hi Amie Sue! Thank you for this list! I’m a barista who is always looking for new flavor combos for coffee and smoothies. Had a DELICIOUS banana, mango, and cinnamon smoothie this morning. Cinnamon helps reduce blood sugar so it’s great in a sugary drink, for my body anyway. Thank you again. Have a great day! – Amanda

    • amie-sue says:

      You are welcome Amanda… so happy that you find it helpful. I can imagine in your line of talent of being a barista. Bob and I always admire the art that you all can do within a small mug of coffee. hehe Have a blessed weekend, amie sue

  18. Hi Amie Sue,

    Thanks for putting together this great chart! I’m giving your blog mention in my Tuesday Tidbits this week with a link and credit back to you, of course.
    Love this!

  19. Wow, this is a wonderful chart. Thank you so much!

  20. Pam says:

    What about lavender ?

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