Ethiopian Spice Rub

Ethiopian Spice Rub

Ethiopian spice rub is a blend of spices used to season various dishes in Ethiopian cuisine. The blend of spices used can vary but it is usually comprised of a mixture of spices such as cumin, coriander, fenugreek, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, and chili powder.

Ethiopian cuisine has a long history, dating back to ancient times and it is characterized by the use of a wide variety of spices and herbs. Spices play a vital role in Ethiopian cuisine, imparting rich, complex and distinctive flavors to dishes. The spice blends are often used to marinate meats and vegetables before cooking, or can be used as a dry rub for grilling or roasting.

To prepare Ethiopian spice rub, you will need:


Course Herbs and Spices
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Author N. J. Sorensen, RDN


  • 4 each jalapeno chile pepper — dried
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon whole clove
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric


  • Remove the stems from the peppers and discard. Coarsely chop the peppers and set aside. In a small frying pan over low heat, combine coriander, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, cloves and peppercorns. Toast lightly, stirring, for about 5 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn or scorch. Remove the pan from the heat and cool. In a clean coffee grinder, combine chopped chile peppers, toasted seeds and spices, and paprika, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and turmeric. Grind until the mixture is finely pulverized. If not using immediately, store the spice rub in an air tight jar.

Ethiopian spice rub is commonly served with dishes such as stews, grills and roasts, particularly with meats like beef, lamb, and chicken. It’s also often used as a seasoning for vegetables, such as okra and eggplant. The blend of spices used in this rub provide a unique and complex combination of flavors that is characteristic of Ethiopian cuisine, with a mix of warmth and heat from the cumin, coriander, and chili powder and a sweetness from cinnamon and cardamom. people enjoy this spice rub for its unique combination of flavors and the way it enhances the flavor profile of traditional Ethiopian dishes.