Culinary Arts

What Are Herbs de Provence? How to Make (and Use) Your Own Provençal Herb Blend

Written by MasterClass

Jul 10, 2019 • 2 min read

Traditional French Provençal cuisine is known for its fresh meats, cheeses, eggs, and locally grown vegetables. Chefs often tie that all together with herbes de Provence, an all-purpose seasoning that originated in the Provence region of France.

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What Is Herbes de Provence?

Herbes de Provence is an aromatic mixture of dried Provençal herbs and spices, which traditionally includes thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf.

Herbes de Provence are most commonly used in French cuisine, though the flavors also pair well with Mediterranean cuisine.

The History of Herbes de Provence

This herb blend originated in the Provence region in the south of France. At first, the term “herbes de Provence” described a general multipurpose mixture of herbs grown in the Provençal region during the summer. The blend grew in popularity and became a more defined herb mixture in the 1960s when Julia Child included a recipe for Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence in her famous cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Child is credited with defining the mixture and adding it to the culinary lexicon of chefs all over the world. In the 1970s, the French brand Ducros began packaging and selling an herbes de Provence spice mix to customers overseas.

How to Make Your Own Herbes de Provence

To make your own herbes de Provence, you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed in a spice grinder
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon dried summer savory
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed

Add all of the herbs and spices in a mixing bowl and stir until combined. Store your mixture in an airtight container and use it to season your favorite dishes.

You can purchase premade herbes de Provence in grocery stores, but making your own is easy and allows you to personalize the blend of herbs and spices to fit your personal taste or the specific dish you’re cooking.

How to Cook With Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence are used traditionally on dishes like roast chicken, roast lamb, grilled fish, and roasted vegetables.

Elevate your dishes by incorporating herbes de Provence in these creative ways:

  • Season your meat or fish. Coat the meat in olive oil, season with kosher salt and herbes de Provence, and grill, sear, or roast according to your preference.
  • Incorporate it into liquids. Whisk herbes de Provence into soups, stews, sauces, and salad dressings for extra Provençal flavor.
  • Sprinkle it onto the grill. Add a pinch or two of herbes de Provence to the coals of your grill when they’re hot to infuse the smoke with flavor.
  • Learn simple flavor combinations. Certain herbs pair especially well with certain foods, and making your own herbes de Provence allows you to experiment with different ratios for different dishes. Try a tarragon-heavy blend for roast chicken, a rosemary blend for roast lamb chops, and a fennel blend for grilled fish.

What’s the Difference Between Herbes de Provence and Fines Herbes?

Fines herbes is a variation of herbes de Provence used in French haute cuisine and is made from chopped parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil. Fines herbes is used to season more delicate dishes with short cooking times like fish, eggs, and some chicken recipes, whereas herbes de Provence is a catchall seasoning for a variety of dishes. Unlike herbes de Provence, which is adapted and changed to taste and personal preference, fines herbes has a set list of ingredients to achieve one singular taste every time.

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