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Flavor Profiles that Pair Well in Recipes (+PDF)

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spice1When you are creating in the kitchen, every dish we make is inspired by flavor. When we truly understand the essence of our ingredients, and what comprises their function and taste, the more successful our dishes will be.

Pairing for Success

Knowing how to pair spices along with fresh, whole foods relies heavily on understanding their individual qualities and freshness. Take produce as an example: knowing if something is ripe or not will significantly impact how you “season” a dish.

Spices and herbs should never overtake a dish. They are there to enhance and support the main ingredients. Use a light hand when first adding them in, even when following another person’s recipe. We all have unique taste receptors, and flavors need to be tailored appropriately.

Good cooking is an Art

I read a quote that spoke to me, and I hope it does to you as well. “Good cooking is an art, as well as a form of intense pleasure… A recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.”  ~ Madame Jehane Benoit

Never be afraid to take a recipe and transform it with new and exciting flavors. The guide below will help you.

I have a few other posts that you might find helpful when preparing foods. When working with fresh ingredients and spices, it is essential to taste test as you build a recipe. Learn why (here). I also did a post on Flavor Balancing and How to Fix a Recipe. I hope you find these just as helpful. Enjoy. Blessings, amie sue

01/11/19 – I wrangled together a PDF that you can download with everything listed below. Click NouveauRaw – (pre)Pairing for Success, print, and tape to the inside of your kitchen cabinet. Enjoy, amie sue

Flavor-Profile

Allspice

Almond

Anice

Apple

Apricot

Asian Pear

Banana 

Basil

Bay leaf

Beets

Blackberry

Blood Orange

Blueberry

Butternut Squash

Caraway

Cardamom

Carrot

Celery

Celery Seed

Cherry

Chestnut

Chives

Chocolate

Cilantro (coriander)

Cinnamon

Chervil

Clove

Coconut

Coriander

Cranberry

Cumin

Currants, Black and Red

Dill

Elderberry

Fennel

Fig

Garlic

Ginger

Gooseberry

Grape

Grapefruit

Guava

Hazelnut

Jicama

Kaffir Leaf

Kiwi

Kumquat

Lavender

Lemon

Lemongrass

Lime

Lychee

Mace

Mandarin

Mango

Marjoram

Melon

Nutmeg

Orange

Oregano

Paprika

Papaya

Parsley

Peach

Pear

Peppermint

Persimmon

Pineapple

Plum

Pomegranate

Prickly Pear

Pumpkin

Raspberry

Rosewater

Rosemary

Rhubarb

Saffron

Sage

Sesame

Sorrel

Strawberry

Sweet Potato

Thyme

Tomatillo

Vanilla

Walnut

93 thoughts on “Flavor Profiles that Pair Well in Recipes (+PDF)

  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!

  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 ?

  21. karen says:

    Lychee pairs well with strawberries as well

  22. Michelle says:

    I am a baker by trade and was looking for fruit pairings for my scones. I hit the jackpot with your list. Today I baked lime and toasted coconut scones and lemon ginger scones. What a hit! The possibilities are endless. Thank you!

  23. Terje says:

    This is such an excellent resource! I open it up pretty much every time I happen to need some flavour inspiration for a new dish. Thank you for putting this together :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Your welcome Terje…. I refer to it a lot myself and I am always adding as I discover new things. :) Thanks for letting me know. Have a blessed day, amie sue

  24. Adam says:

    Thanks this was very helpful! What pairs with saffron though? I didn’t see it mentioned. I’ve paired it with cumin and thyme, but what else?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Adam, well, it’s about time I get that one added to the list! :) Saffron pairs with almond, apples, basil, some citrus fruits, cilantro, cinnamon, citrus, garlic, honey, pistachio, rose water, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, for starters!

  25. Gail says:

    What an amazing resource. Thanks for the info. As they say “I’ll be back.” Already got you bookmarked. Gail

  26. Zaklog the Great says:

    I would suggest adding lime to the banana flavors, the two blend fantastically. Thanks for putting this up. This kind of thing really helps with improvising new recipes.

  27. Veronique says:

    I love this page, it’s so useful :) What would pair with peppermint?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Veronique….

      Just to name a few….Peppermint pairs well with; basil, black pepper, grapefruit, juniper, lavender, lemon, marjoram, rosemary, chocolate. Have a wonderful weekend! amie sue

  28. Mark says:

    Great List, Thank You…
    How Bout Peach?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Mark…. I updated the list. Thanks for asking so I can keep this list growing! Have a great day, amie sue

  29. Pete says:

    What a fab’lous site. Have bought some caramel shortcake to use as a dessert base and wanted to find pairings and combos to top up a ramekin. This should do it! Thank You :)

  30. Joe says:

    Very nice chart.
    You have to try a tomato rice (like a risotto) with coriander and lime. This 3 flavors paire very well
    I also use this in savoury mini-cakes.
    Anyway well done again

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Joe, that combo does sound divine. Thank you for sharing and have a blessed holiday weekend. amie sue

  31. Deborah Hall says:

    This is the most WONDERFUL list I have ever ran across. Thank you and may God Bless You!!!

  32. Christine says:

    Hi Amie-sue,what goes with pumpkin please? Also sweet potato ? Thanks in advance. Regards Christine

    • amie-sue says:

      Truly, you could all the following spices for both pumpkin and sweet potato… Allspice, anise, cinnamon, chili powder, clove, sage, rosemary ,mace, nutmeg, ginger, cumin, dried apples, fresh pear, orange juice and dried cranberries, vanilla.

      I hope this gives you some inspiration :) I added this to the grand poobah list of flavor pairing. hehe amie sue

  33. Gayle says:

    Handy dandy. Thanks! Just found this. Must have taken you quite a bit of time.

  34. JuniorBaker says:

    Wow! This website is a life saver!! It’s definitely gonna make my baking totally awesome! Thankyou SO much!

  35. JuniorBaker says:

    Any recommendations for vanilla?…

    • amie-sue says:

      Thanks for bringing Vanilla to the “table”…. I constantly work on this list, adding as I learn, so I will do that now with vanilla! Blessings, amie sue

  36. The list is missing one of the very best flavour combinations: beets and sage. They blend together like magic.

    Other great ones: mango + cardamom, blueberry + pomegranate, fig + anise (a true classic), rhubarb + fig, basil + lemon (also for desserts), lemongrass + mint, tarragon + lemon and lime + rosewater.

    One of the best chocolates I ever tasted was orange & thyme flavored!

  37. Gregg says:

    When making gooseberry jam I add a spice bag of cloves.

    Also, triple sec with blueberries

  38. Emmy says:

    Hi! As useful as this, I do find it to be a little incomplete. I don’t mean that in a bad way: It would take a VERY long time if one person all by herself tried to figure out all possible good flavor pairings.

    I can add, though, that pineapple and mango go well together; a jasmine-green tea pineapple mango smoothie is my go-to smoothie, and I’ve managed to tweak the recipe such that it always comes out perfectly smooth.

    I have also tried lavender + sage tea before, and it was quite excellent, so that flavor pairing works as well.

    I once had lavender, thyme, mint, lemongrass water that was also very good, so I would add lemongrass + thyme, lavender + lemongrass, lavender + mint, and lemongrass + mint.

    I was also wondering if you could add a few more flavors as well, like honey, chamomile, jasmine, hibiscus, green tea, and violets.

    Honey pairs well with cinnamon, lemon, lavender, melon, raspberry, apple, pear, strawberry, peach, lime, blackberry, grapefruit.

    Green tea pairs well with honey, lemon, dark chocolate, mango, pineapple, orange, chamomile, pomegranate, blackberry, raspberry, jasmine.

    Chamomile pairs well with lavender, rose, green tea, honey, lemon, peppermint, lemongrass, hibiscus, blackberry, jasmine, vanilla, cinnamon.

    Jasmine pairs well with green tea, pineapple, honey, chamomile, lavender, lemon, vanilla, spearmint, mango. (Sorry, that’s all I know from experience.)

    Violets pair well with vanilla, and that’s all I know, but I would like to know more.

    Hibiscus pairs well with licorice (I see them in teas together all the time), chamomile.

    So, that’s my two cents, and I hope I’ve helped you make this an even more useful resource than it already is. :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Emmy,

      I don’t really foresee this list ever being 100% complete, hehe. Flavor pairing is an on-going thing and very personalized! But I do appreciate all that you shared and will work on filtering them in over time as I work through them. Thank you! amie sue

  39. Alice says:

    I find that white chocolate pairs very nicely with the raspberries.

  40. Amy says:

    Why are coconut and cinnamon not tied together on this chart? Have you never had a Coquito before?

    • amie-sue says:

      Because this list is and will always be a work in progress. Never heard of Coquito… I will have to Google it. :) Merry Christmas, amie sue

  41. Christine says:

    Any ideas as to what pairs well with cucumbers?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Christine,

      Let’s see… mint, chili’s, yogurts, salt, vinegar, tomato, pineapple… there’s a good start :) Have a wonderful day,amie sue

  42. Christine says:

    I’ve used pear and ginger,anything else?

  43. Shazzbot says:

    I have a 3-ingredient ice cream recipe on my blog and have linked to your excellent list in the footnote, so people have an idea of how to pair herbs and spices with anything they might want to add to the ice cream. Thank you! The comments here are also helpful.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Shazzbot,

      I am sorry that it took me a bit to respond to you. I have been on a “walk about” for the past 6 weeks (see blog posting). I am not fully integrating back into things but I wanted to start tackling some of the questions that have been collecting. :) All that to say, I appreciate your patience with me. :)

      You are welcome. I use to be very afraid and intimidated by spices and herbs… so lists like this can really help those new to preparing food and to those who are well “seasoned”. hehe Have a great evening, amie sue

  44. Heitor Gaspar says:

    Greetings Amie Sue

    This is a such a great resource. What an eye opener. As an avid vaper and planning a eliquid startup, your site has provided an amazing insight.

    Was looking at your chocolate pairings, when cooking (not vaping) I’ve found chocolate pairs amazingly well with Chilli, tomatoe and coriander.

    Coffee pairs very well in sauces that have tomatoe, it pairs as well with lime, oranges, lemon, raspberries, strawberries and coconut.

    I also sometimes add sweet black tea with tomatoe, garlic when cooking and with toffee, caramel to cut the sweetness.

    Hope this helps to add to your flavour pairings and profiles
    Once again thanks for such an awesome resource, I’m going to suggest your list to other beginner eliquid producers who can use such a great resource. You are a star.💥

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Heitor for the kind words and further suggestions. I am glad to hear that you have found this helpful… sounds like you enjoy cookings :) Have a blessed day! amie sue

  45. Vishwam says:

    What a wonderful resource! Thank you for pulling this together and sharing.

    Can I suggest that for elderberry, clove and allspice both go really well. I’ve used them both in making elderberry cordial and it’s divine.

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Vishwam. I just found out that we have an Elderberry tree growing along side our orchard. Sounds good. amie sue

  46. Liesl says:

    I really echo what everyone else has commented, this is soooo useful. Recently I put coconut, cocoa and banana together and really didn’t like it – do you think that’s just a personal thing? Just really rich, that’s the best word I can think of to describe it… Would you say the above work just for pairing rather than putting together multiple flavours from each group?

    • amie-sue says:

      I think it might be a personal thing Liesl. :) I love that combo of flavors. Maybe you need to play around with the ratios to create a more pleasant taste for yourself. This list is to be used to inspire and help people in knowing what flavors pair well with others. Not all ingredients need to be used in a recipe. Enjoy and have a blessed evening, amie sue

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