How To: Dry Roast Spice

30 July 2020

Often a recipe calls for dry roasting either whole or ground spice. This easy step will transform your spices, making the most of their flavours and enhancing your final dish.

Why dry roast your spices?

Dry roasting is done for a number of reasons. First, it dries off excess moisture and makes the seeds and spices crisper, so they grind more easily. Second, it changes the flavour. As spices are heated, they release aromatics. These aromatics can then break down and recombine to form dozens of new compounds, adding complexity.

How to dry roast spice In the oven

This is best for large or irregular-shaped spices such as star anise, cinnamon quills and cloves.

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Spread the spices on a baking tray in a single layer. Stay close by and gently roast them until they are aromatic and lightly coloured.
  3. Remove from the oven as soon as they are ready and transfer to a dish to cool.

    How to dry roast spice on the stovetop

    This is best for smaller spices such as cumin, mustard or coriander seeds or for ground spice such as the Sri Lankan Curry Blend.

    1. Heat a dry frying pan over medium heat. Add the spices.
    2. Toss the frying pan to keep the spices moving and to evenly colour them. As soon as they begin to give off a rich aroma and are lightly coloured, remove from the heat.
    3. Remove from the pan as soon as they are done and transfer to a dish to cool.

      Keep an eye on the spices as quickly burn. If you do happen to burn the spices, you'll need to start again, as they will only make a dish bitter.

      Different spices roast at different rates, so it's best to roast one at a time to ensure they're perfectly cooked. If you're going to grind the spices, allow them to cool slightly before doing so.

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