Top 18 Indonesian Spices You Should Know

Top 18 Indonesian Spices You Should Know

Talking about the Indonesian spices, diverse spice types you will find. Each place in Indonesia has a signature dish that becomes a thing the citizens really proud of. Of course, spices take a crucial role in this part. The unique thing is that Indonesian food always comes up with strong and flavorful spices as masterpieces. Therefore, the taste tends to be delectable. If you are curious more about Indonesian spices, just go straight on and get inspired!

What are spices?

Spice is literally the core of the food. You might already realize that spice is kinda necessary, and that’s a fact because taste defines the food profile. When it comes to the origin, the spice can be from flowers, fruits, roots, leaves, seeds, and more. However, spice is not always for food. Spice family works for medication stuff. Natural ingredients with tons of medical benefits can define as spices too. So, spice is basically the ingredient used to improve food taste also loaded with health benefits. Indonesian spices also bring the same benefits to those who taste them. Now, let’s move to the benefit details!

Spices Benefits


Food is always linked to seasoning, especially Indonesian food. Indonesian food pack with tons of seasoning types comes from spices. Trace back to previous centuries when Indonesia was colonized by Dutch. They were attracted to take Indonesian spices and sell them in Europe. At that time, spices were luxury goods that everyone craves. What an outstanding fact. As you already feel in your food, spices bring flavor into it and make the food taste amazing.

The flavor of Indonesian food tends to be strong taste and flavorful. It’s built with lots of Indonesian spices going on. Spices itself divide into five basic tastes. It consists of bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and umami. Aside from the basic, the supporting flavor also has various types of spices such as cooling, floral, earthy spices, fruity, hot, herbaceous, nutty, pungent, spicy, and so on. Imagine you mix all the spices up, it must be indescribable and way too complex.


Spices indeed have tons of health benefits due to coming from nature. Scientists conduct the research and found the facts of nutrients contains in each natural spice. The spices extract contains powerful nutrients to support health benefits. Some evidence shows that the spices are packed with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antitumorigenic, lowering blood pressure, decreasing blood sugar, and also influencing your mood. Those benefits are no joke.

Most Popular Indonesian Spices List

Indonesian spices have been passed down from generation to generation. The spices linked well with the oldest recipes of Indonesian food which you cannot let go of. There are some spices that belong to Indonesian. Just jump below to know further!

1. Clove – syzygium aromaticum

Indonesian Spices : Clove - syzygium aromaticum

Cloves belong to the Indonesian spices which suit well with Indonesian flavor palette. This spice is actually flower buds from their tree. To get the best flavor and aromatic taste, cloves are commonly harvested from an immature state. Later they are dried to increase the smell and taste. This spice belongs to the pungent spices family. Once you taste it, you will have a combo of bitter, sweet, a bit of heat, and astringency at the same time. Cloves are great for savory foods, desserts, and even beverages. This rich nutrient spice helps you promote healthy bones, stabilize blood sugar, and more.


2. Candlenut – Aleurites moluccana

Indonesian Spices : Candlenut - Aleurites moluccana

Candlenut originated in Indonesia and now rapidly growing in tropical areas. This spice indeed has multipurpose either as a food seasoning, medication, and even haircare. In terms of seasoning, candlenut brings the taste into curry and stew as well as other dishes. Meanwhile, for the medication aspect, candlenut is rich in fiber which prevents the risk of digestive issues, heart disease, and toothache.

3. Cinnamon – Cinnamon verum

Indonesian Spices : Cinnamon – Cinnamon verum

Indonesia become one of the countries that produce cinnamon on the largest scale. Cinnamon tends to be sweet with a bit of heat and bitter at the same time. The taste considers strong and pungent. That’s why it suits well with sweet and savory dishes. People would love adding cinnamon to their baked to bring a sweet aroma there. This spice is also packed with lots of health benefits such as decreasing your blood sugar, reducing cancer risk, lowering inflammation, and more.

4. Cardamom – Amomum compactum

Indonesian Spices : Cardamom – Amomum compactum

Cardamon natives spice from Indonesia. It belongs to the spice with an intense flavor. The taste tends to be fruity with a twist of citrusy and a bit of menthol alike. Cardamon is believed packed with various health properties. It can help with chronic disease protection, ease your digestive problems, antibacterial and infection, improve breathing, and many more.

5. Nutmeg – Myristica fragrans

Indonesian Spices : Nutmeg – Myristica fragrans

Nutmeg is one of the Indonesian spices that has been found in 1512 by the Portuguese. The flavor is kinda sweet, nutty, slightly warm, and bitter. Nutmeg is definitely versatile for any kind of food. It’s good for baking, desserts, spice for sauce, curry, and many more. This spice contains nutrients for mood boosters, blood sugar control, improve skin and hair health, etc.

6. Black Pepper – Piper nigrum

Indonesian Spices : Black Pepper – Piper nigrum

Black pepper is a widely used spice around the world. In some recipes, black pepper suits well with fish, meat, pasta, veggies, and many more. That’s quite versatile, right? Not only good for food but black pepper is also loaded with health benefits. A source stated that black pepper helps maintain your blood cholesterol, boost brain function, stabilize your glucose, and many more.

7. Lemongrass – Cymbopogon citratus

Indonesian Spices : Lemongrass – Cymbopogon citratus

Lemongrass is a common spice in Indonesia and can be a good mixture for any dish. When you see the look, it is definitely pure a type of grass. So, you can only have the stem from the base to take as the spice. This spice is perfect for savory food such as grilled meat and curry. Nowadays, lemongrass is quite popular as a drink. Some cafes even serve lemongrass tea on the menu. From the medical side, lemongrass effectively to lowering blood pressure. It is also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammation, which is good for health.

8. Fennel – Foeniculum vulgare

Indonesian Spices : Fennel – Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel takes over all of the ingredient roles. It can be veggie like the carrot, the herbs such as coriander, and also spice at the same time. In Indonesia, fennel is quite popular as a spice. It comes up from the seeds which are dried to be the spice. It’s good to add flavor levels for stew, sauce, and even soups. Fennel belongs to the spice with rich nutrients to keep you healthy. It can prevent the risk of digestive disease, breathing problems, and many more.

9. Coriander – Coriandrum sativum

Indonesian Spices : Coriander – Coriandrum sativum

It’s not new to see coriander seeds as the main spice in Indonesian cuisine. This spice even blends with the old recipe of Indonesian food while also bringing flavor color. It works well as a spice rub mixture and even soups and curries. The connection with Indonesian dishes makes it an Indonesian spice that brings the typical flavor. Coriander comes up with a lot of health benefits too. This spice is loaded with antioxidants to help you fight infections. It also helps lowering blood sugar, keep heart condition, prevent digestive issues, and more.

10. Ginger – Zingiber officinale

Indonesian Spices : Ginger – Zingiber officinale

Ginger includes rhizome spice that is quite versatile in terms of consumption. Indonesia widely uses fresh ginger as a spice while dried one is for medication. It is known for its heat and tangy flavor which suit well to add the Indonesian dish and also herbs for overcoming health issues. Ginger works to warm your body during the cold season. It also proved that ginger helps to treat cough and flu.

11. Galangal – Alpinia galanga

Indonesian Original Spices : Galangal – Alpinia galanga

Galangal includes one Indonesian spice which widely use in any cuisine in this country. This spice brings aromatic with a pungent flavor to each Indonesian dish and makes it taste exclusive. Galangal is not only good for cooking stuff but also medication field. It is packed with anti-inflammatory and prevents joint pain. Galangal also helps protect you from harmful bacteria and avoid getting infections.

12. Turmeric – Curcuma longa

Indonesian Spices : Turmeric – Curcuma longa

One of the Indonesian spices with typical orange color pops up in your food once you add it. It’s a rhizome family that has an earthy flavor with bitterness. This spice is very common and even often used in Indonesian foods. You will taste turmeric in Indonesian curry, fried chicken, and more. Turmeric loads with healthy benefits such as fighting cancer, taking care of your heart, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, and more. As the study stated, turmeric is safe to drink daily as a supplement. What a fantastic spice.

13. Sand Ginger – Kaempferia galangal

Indonesian Spices : Sand Ginger – Kaempferia galangal

Sand ginger is also part of Indonesian cuisine culture in terms of spice ingredients. At the first glance, you might see this spice looks like turmeric and ginger. However, the smell is completely different. When it comes to the taste, the sand ginger resembles ginger and cinnamon in between. So, it’s kinda sweet but still in a strong aroma. This spice even become a masterpiece in Bandung cuisine, which is a part of the big city in Indonesia located in West Java. Bandung is loaded with snacks and even main courses that use sand ginger as the main spice. From the health sight, sand ginger is good to relieve fatigue, muscle pain, and cough.

14. Kluwek Nuts – Pangium edule

Indonesian Spices : Kluwek Nuts – Pangium edule

Pangium or Kluwek nuts belong to one of the Indonesian spices which already brings exceptional taste to the cuisine. An Indonesian beef stew called Rawon uses this spice as the main ingredient. Due to the use of Kluwek nuts, the stew has a dark black color on the soup which actually brings the uniqueness of its cuisine. Therefore, it’s kinda tricky to use this spice because you have to know how to treat them well or cause you danger. As a herbal medicine, Kluwek helps you maintain your heart, lowering stroke risks, preventing anemia, and more.

15. Javanese Cardamom – Amomum compactum

Indonesian Spices : Javanese Cardamom - Amomum compactum

Javanese cardamom brings an aromatic and strong flavor to your cuisine. As the name, this spice is a member of the Indonesian spices which the Javanese belong to the Indonesian ethnicity. The cardamom suit well for the sweet yet savory. The typical aromatic of Javanese cardamom works for pudding, cookies, and pies. Meanwhile, it goes well with savory Soto, Gulai, beef stew, and more. The nutrients contain also diverse. This spice is rich in antioxidants and helps fight hypertensive. The seeds extract is also good for your digestive health.

16. Javanese Pepper – Piper retrofractum

Indonesian Spices : Javanese Pepper - Piper retrofractum

Indonesian spices also have the Javanese pepper as the family. The taste is kinda sweet but still in complex flavor. It’s even more pungent than black pepper. In Indonesia, this spice is commonly used for lamb seasoning. Javanese pepper comes up with various health benefits as a spice. It can increase your body’s stamina while also helping to fight fever.

17. Bay Leaf – Syzygium polyanthum

Indonesian Spices : Bay Leaf

Bay leaves come along with Indonesian spices that are very frequently seen in Indonesian food. The aromatic flavor is still long last even if you keep it dried. You can find bay leaves packed with ingredients for stews, soups, meats, sauces, seafood, and more. This plant contains lots of vitamins that lead you to have a good immune system. Bay leaves also help you to prevent heart disease as well as decrease your blood sugar.

18. Fingerroot – Boesenbergia rotunda

Indonesian Spices - Fingerroot

Fingerroot become a diverse part of Indonesian spices. This rhizome spice has an earthy taste with slightly sweet and bitter like the medicine. As a part of Indonesian culinary ingredients, fingerroot is a perfect spice for cooking food with coconut milk as a masterpiece. Sources stated that this spice contains lots of health benefits such as promoting brain power, anti-inflammation, stimulating urine, antibacterial, and more.

Those are the Indonesian spices you can find in any cuisine from this country. Find the recipe and cook some Indonesian dishes with those spices to bring the strong flavor which becomes typical of its culinary culture. Serves your family flavorful foods while also chanting to create a beautiful moment.


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