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List Of Herbs Used In UK Cooking

Published by: Maria Kelley • Updated: February 6, 2024 • Checked By: Chef Matty Riedel

Herbs to food are what makeup is to people. They elevate dishes to the next level by adding unique flavours and livening them fresh when serving. Food without herbs is bland and doesn’t evoke spicy memories.  

Herbs are classified into two classes. The first class is woody herbs, such as thyme and rosemary, and the second is soft herbs, such as coriander and basil. While soft herbs are eaten raw, woody herbs are very powerful to be eaten raw. Woody herbs are often removed from the food during serving. On the other hand, soft herbs are scattered on food or added to salads.  

There are hundreds of herbs that can be used in the kitchen. Some can be grown at home in containers, while others require specialised conditions. Above all, herbs are intended to season dishes by giving them a unique taste and aroma. This article highlights the eleven most common herbs in UK cooking.  

11 Popular Herbs Used In UK Cooking 

1. Chives 

Chives belong to the onion family yet have a milder flavour. They are amazing for sprucing salads. Chives add an aspect of freshness to savoury meals. Although common in French cooking, their popularity in the UK has grown exponentially. They taste best when coupled with eggs, potatoes, and cheese.  

list of herbs: chives

2. Parsley 

Parsley is the ultimate rice enhancer, famed for its bitter, fresh flavour. You can use it as curly or flat leaves, plus it gives you an upper hand with most recipes. To use it in dishes, you sprinkle some fresh parsley and serve the dish. Some popular meals to use parsley include grilled fish, chorizo, omelette, roasted lamb, or beef stroganoff. You can also use it in a bubble and squeak breakfast. Always store the stalks; they are handy when flavouring stocks.  

3. Basil 

Basil is pivotal in Italian cuisine. It has a sweet, a little aniseed flavour, thus making it ideal in salads and pasta dishes. Preparing a tasty omelette is critical to preparing delicious pesto and couples up well with ripe cherry tomatoes and eggs.  

Basil combines with other herbs and spices perfectly to give unique flavours. You can use it with mozzarella, tomato, garlic, artichokes, seafood, strawberries, and balsamic vinegar. Always slot tomatoes in the recipe when using basil and enjoy the perfect combination.  

4. Mint 

Mint is a very hardy herb. It can survive a whole year if taken care of properly. There are two varieties: peppermint and spearmint. Fresh mint is perfect when used in fruits. Try it in a fresh fruit salad or on grilled pineapples and strawberries. Furthermore, it’s great in spicy salads, served with mushy peas, fish, or mixed with yoghurt.  

list of herbs: mint

5. Thyme 

Thyme is a compact, sturdy shrub with numerous long, thin branches and tiny, fragrant leaves. It’s popular in stews and stocks. Thyme is also delicious when roasted with chicken, beef, or vegetables such as leeks, carrots, or squash. It’s also a perfect addition to meals cooked in a versatile multi-cooker. For instance, a heart beef stew or other easy muti-cooker recipes

You can also use thyme in cheesy bakes. Since thyme has a strong flavour, you ought to use it sparingly.  

6. Sage 

Like thyme, Sage is a hardy herb whose genetic composition allows it to survive in most weather conditions. It’s extremely aromatic and blends perfectly with deep flavours. Although it goes well with deep flavours, it’s somewhat different from the sharpness of parsley.  

Sage amplifies any meal into something everyone relishes. Use it as a whole instead of cutting it into small pieces for best results. Try it with slow-cooked onion soup, pork chops, or bangers and mash. Fresh sage is also used to make Chinese herbal tea.  

7. Rosemary 

It is one of the most famous herbs globally. Rosemary, like thyme, is a woody herb known for its fragrant needle-like leaves. The leaves are mostly used in dishes with a longer cooking time, while the stalks are great in stews and soups.  

Rosemary is often used with roasted potatoes, roast meat, slow-cooked pies, and loaves of bread such as focaccia. Meat kebabs and grilled vegetables with additives of rosemary stalks are so delicious. When using rosemary, always remember to remove it when serving due to its strong flavour.  

list of herbs: rosemary

8. Bay Leaves 

Bay leaves give ultra-sweetness to stews, stocks, soups, and braises. A bay leaf changes the full flavour of a meal. You can use the herb to overhaul the flavour in rice puddings, custards, rice, or infuse heated milk. 

9. Oregano 

Botanically known as Origanum vulgare, which means “joy of the mountains” in Greek, oregano is usually considered better dried than fresh. The sweet-scented herb belongs to the mint family and is famous in Italian and Mexican cuisine, especially cheese and tomatoes. It’s closely related to marjoram, which is ignored widely despite its usefulness in spicing pulses and red meats. It has a sweet, less peppery flavour.  

10. Dill 

Popular for its bright green colour, slim stems, and grassy flavour, dill grows up to 1 metre tall. It’s used with pickled cucumbers or to spice fish, salads, and vegetables. It’s also used in egg dishes, dressings, and cream cheese. Furthermore, both the seeds and flowers are edible.   

list of herbs: dill

11. Lavender 

Lavender is a tall shrub with tiny aromatic leaves. The herb is from the mint family and grows up to a height of 60 cm, producing flowers. It’s used mainly in potpourri and perfumery.  

Lavender also regains lost glory in dishes such as lavender jam, shortbread cookies, lavender ice cream, roasted potatoes, or grilled pork chops. Besides its spicing aspect, it’s been used for centuries to ease headaches.  

Other Noteworthy Herbs 

  • Lime leaves 
  • Coriander 
  • Lemongrass 
  • Tarragon 

List of Herbs: Summing Up 

Even though most herbs are finest when fresh, you will find yourself storing the lovely herbs once in a while. Store them carefully to preserve their greatness.

You can now become a highly skilled home cook with expertise in frequently used herbs and spices.

Maria Kelley