What is Herbes de Provence? Take a Trip to Southern France

Have you ever bought a jar of herbes de Provence and wondered what you were even seasoning with? Or had a recipe call for herbes de Provence, and you had none on hand? Today, we’re answering the question, “What is herbes de Provence?” and how you can make your own homemade blend!

Dried Sage on outdoor herb rack

In this post, you’ll learn:

What is Herbes de Provence?

Herbes de Provence is a blend of dried herbs traditionally used in French and Mediterranean cooking. Originally from the southeastern region of France known as Provence, the mixture was made using herbs locals could easily pick. The herb blend was popular at a time when the spices mostly came from Asia and were expensive to get!

Herbes de Provence wasn’t ever a spice blend you could buy until it became popularized in America by Julia Child in the 1970s. Now, you can easily buy a pre-packaged bottle of the spice blend.

Rosemary is one of the main herbs in herbes de provence

Herbs de Provence Ingredients

Herbes de Provence can be made from many different herbs, but here are the most common base herbs for the blend:

Some people may add some or all of basil, tarragon, parsley, bay, sage, mint, chervil, and lavender.

It should be noted that traditional herbes de Provence doesn’t use lavender, but the American version commonly includes a hint of lavender for a specific and unique flavour.  

Thyme Herb Garden

How to Make Herbes de Provence

Making your own herbes de Provence is easy! And in my opinion, preferred. You can adjust the flavour easily by choosing what and how much to add.

  1. First, you will want to dry your herbs. I pick them fresh from the garden, but you can also use store-bought organic herbs to dry as well.
  2. Once dry, grind up any large ingredients, such as fennel seeds and rosemary, in a spice grinder.
  3. Make your mix by deciding which herbs to use from the above list. Start off with equal amounts of each herb and then adjust based on your flavour preferences.
  4. Store the mixture in an air-tight container. The mixture should last 6 months to a year before the herbs lose flavour.
dried herbs lying side by side on a table

Herbes de Provence Substitutes

The obvious substitute for herbes de Provence is Italian seasoning since they have similar uses and are made from many of the same herbs.

You can use a combination of any of the above herbs, so don’t fret if you’re missing a few. Just make sure to include at least four different herbs, as herbes de Provence is all about blending as many different local herbs as possible.

Growing oregano for an herbes de provence blend

Herbe De Provence Uses

Herbes de Provence is considered an all-purpose seasoning blend. That being said, here are some of the top ways to use it:

  • Use it to season poultry and fish before grilling or baking.
  • Sprinkle it into tomato-based soups and stews.
  • Use before or after cooking.
  • It works well in a vinaigrette for salads.
  • Try it as a marinade for meat when paired with oil and salt.

Frequently Asked Questions About Herbes de Provence

What is the difference between Italian seasoning vs herbes de Provence?

Italian seasoning and herbes de Provence are often used in similar dishes and swapped when the other isn’t available.

The main difference is that herbes de Provence uses herbs grown in southern France, while Italian seasoning uses herbs from Italy—despite Italian seasoning being an American invention!

Herbes de provence often has a longer ingredient list and includes more unique herbs like savory, mint, and lavender. Both seasoning blends often include oregano, thyme, and rosemary.

What does herbes de Provence taste like?

No herbes de Provence blend will taste quite the same since it can contain many different herbs at different ratios. It is popular in French and Mediterranean cooking, so think of dishes like Ratatouille and grilled fish!

When herbes de Provence contains lavender, you’ll get a distinct flavour. It is floral, slightly soapy, and often added in small amounts for a unique taste.

fresh herbs before drying

Got more questions? Leave them in the comments below. Until then, happy cooking!


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