Cooking with cumin: 5 savory recipes to try

Cumin seeds

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How often do you season your cooking with cumin? With these five recipes on hand, it’s a spice you’ll want to keep in a handy spot.

Cooking with cumin

Cumin is a spice that most of us associate with spicy Latin American food, but it’s also used in Dutch, Belgian — and even Austrian — cooking.

Cumin is a member of the carrot family, and a relative of caraway. Ground cumin can be added to pot roast recipes, as well as potato dumplings. It’s a spice well worth keeping on your shelves for a variety of dishes. (Whole or cumin crushed seeds can be kept in airtight containers.)

Revisit the taste of cumin with the five recipes below!

1) Cheese enchiladas with chili sauce recipe
2) Tortilla stew recipe
3) Moroccan potato casserole recipe
4) Citrus-cumin chicken recipe
5) Mexican smoked chili marinade recipe

1) Cheese enchiladas with chili sauce recipe

1-1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 cup diced onions
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
8 cups beef broth
2 cans (14-1/2 oz each) whole peeled tomatoes
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon plus
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water

Ingredients for enchiladas

16 corn tortillas (6 inch)
Vegetable oil
6 cups (24oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese


For sauce, in large saucepan or Dutch oven brown ground beef with onions, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Drain.

Add broth, tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, and cumin. Mix well, breaking up tomatoes with large spoon. (If you don’t like chunks of tomato, throw them in blender to puree slightly) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 1 hour.

In small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually add to chili sauce, stirring constantly. Continue cooking 5 minutes.

For enchiladas, heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat about 1/2 inch oil in small skillet until hot but not smoking. Quickly fry each tortilla in oil to soften, about 2 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Spoon 1/3 cup cheese down center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in two 11 X 7 baking dishes. Top with chili sauce. Cover with foil. Bake 10 minutes or until hot. Remove foil. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese, and continue baking 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

Note: I also make these with 1/2 a cup or so of ground beef in addition to the cheese in each enchilada that has been browned and seasoned with chili powder and salsa.

Ground cumin
Photo by baspentrubas/Envato
2) Tortilla stew recipe

1 package corn tortillas, any size
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 whole, boned, skinned chicken breasts,
cut into bite sized pieces
4 carrots, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large green bell peppers, diced
1 16-ounce bag of frozen corn kernels
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of diced green chilies
12 cups of chicken broth, fresh or canned
Juice of three limes
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder


Cut the tortillas into 1/2 wide strips and fry them in the hot vegetable oil in a large pot until they are very crisp and brown. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Place the remaining ingredients into the pot. Bring to the boil, then lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Taste for seasonings, and add more if needed.

Place a handful of the fried tortilla strips in the bottom of a soup bowl, then ladle some of the stew over them. Serve hot. You can serve extras such as sour cream, salsa and shredded cheese if you wish.

3) Moroccan potato casserole recipe

6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons wine or herb vinegar
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 large red, green or yellow bell peppers, mixed
2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Seed and cut the peppers into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Combine garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, paprika, cumin, and cayenne in a food processor bowl. Process until mixture forms a paste.

Add herbs, and blend. Add lemon juice, vinegar, and 2 to 3 tablespoons oil; blend. Season to taste with salt. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, peppers, and celery. Season with salt, and toss with herb sauce.

Transfer to a large shallow baking dish. Scatter tomatoes among the potato mixture. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons oil over top, and cover with foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil. Continue baking until vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings

4) Citrus-cumin chicken recipe

Chicken thighs are coated in oregano, cumin and lime juice and oven baked until tender and golden brown.


4 6-ounce chicken thighs (bone in)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons Fresh lime juice (1 lime)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. To trim the chicken, lay the chicken thighs on the cutting board, skin side up. Press down on the chicken to push out the excess fat. Use a sharp knife to cut excess fat.

Put the chicken, oregano, cumin, lime juice, salt, and pepper in the bowl and mix well. Proceed to the next step or cover and refrigerate up to overnight.

Put the contents of the bowl in the baking pan and transfer to the oven.

Bake about 1 hour until cooked throughout and well-browned. Serve immediately.

Note: Orange or lemon juice can be used instead of lime juice

Makes 4 servings

Recipe above courtesy of the USDA

5) Mexican smoked chili marinade recipe

1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 canned chipotle chilies, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly grated orange rind
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tablespoons wine vinegar, or more to thin
1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly-ground pepper


Combine the orange juice and lime juice in a small saucepan and boil until reduced to 1/2 cup. Place reduced juice and remaining ingredients in a blender and puree to a smooth paste. I strongly recommend that you spread paste on the meat to be marinated.

Marinate seafood for 2 hours, poultry, beef and pork for 4 to 6 hours.Turn once or twice. Makes 1 cup, enough to marinade about 2 pounds of meat or seafood.

Note: The chipotle chilies are VERY HOT, so if you need to, try cutting back the chilies in half the first time you make this. Remember, you aren’t eating the marinade itself, but just adding the taste to the meat. Grill the meat as usual, and discard the marinade.

Brenda Hyde

Brenda Hyde

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at

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