Herbs vs. Spices
What's the Difference?

While the terms herb and spice are used interchangeably by cooks and in cookbooks, there are distinct differences between the two. It all depends on what part of the plant is used.


In general, culinary herbs are the leafy portions of a plant, whether dried or fresh. Examples include basil, bay leaves, parsley, cilantro, rosemary and thyme.


Spices, on the other hand, are harvested from any other portion of the plant and are typically dried. Popular spices come from berries (peppercorns), roots (ginger), seeds (nutmeg), flower buds (cloves) or even the stamen of flowers (saffron).

Two in One!

Some plants are generous enough to yield both an herb and a spice. Cilantro is the leafy herb of the same plant that gives us the popular spice coriander seed. And dill weed (an herb) and dill seed (a spice) also come from the same plant.