Chilean Spices and Seasonings: A Guide to Adding Flavor to Your Dishes

Sep 21, 2023

Unveil the Flavors of Chile: Your Guide to Chilean Spices and Seasonings

If you're passionate about discovering new culinary landscapes, Chilean cuisine is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Known for its unique fusion of indigenous and European influences, Chilean cuisine brings a palate of distinctive spices and seasonings that make it irresistibly flavorful. The diverse geography of Chile, from its coastal areas to mountainous terrains, has given rise to a myriad of flavors that are truly one of a kind.

The Spice Lineup: Unpacking the Flavors of Chile


Originating from the indigenous cultures of Chile, Aji is more than just a chili pepper; it's a historical staple in Chilean cooking. Its bright, citrusy flavor adds a medium heat, making it a versatile ingredient for sauces, marinades, and salsas.

Cooking Tip: Fresh aji adds an instantaneous kick to your ceviche, while dried aji works wonders in stews.


An aromatic blend of smoked chili peppers, coriander, cumin, and salt, Merken is a traditional Mapuche spice. Its smoky, earthy flavor makes it ideal for meats, stews, and even popcorn.

Flavor Pairing: Try Merken with roasted vegetables or to add complexity to your BBQ rubs.


A quintessential Chilean salsa, Pebre combines tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, and aji peppers. It's a versatile condiment used as a dip, topping, or as a stir-in for soups.

Expert Opinion: "Pebre brings the essence of Chilean cuisine to your table; it's a celebration of fresh, spicy, and tangy flavors," says Chef Maria Torres.


Cilantro’s citrusy flair makes it a beloved herb in Chilean dishes, often found in soups, salsas, and as a garnish.

Flavor Pairing: A combination of cilantro, aji, and garlic can create a flavor-packed marinade for grilled meats.

Chilean Oregano

Distinct from its Mediterranean cousin, Chilean oregano offers a bold, pungent flavor with a slightly bitter undertone.

Cooking Tip: Use it sparingly in stews and meats as it can overpower other flavors if used excessively.

Where to Buy Authentic Chilean Spices

Before you add any of these spices to your shopping cart, look for origin labels and freshness dates. Here are some trusted online retailers:

  • Amazon: Offers a variety, from aji to pebre.

  • Frontera Foods: Specializes in authentic spices like Merken.

  • My Spice Sage: Good for bulk purchases of aji and Merken.


The spices and seasonings of Chile offer a culinary journey into the heart of the country’s rich gastronomic history. Challenge yourself by creating a traditional Chilean dish like "Cazuela" using a mix of these spices. Happy cooking, and don't forget to share your creations with us!

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