CategoryHerbs and spices

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Fenugreek, or Trigonella foenum-graecum, is a plant used as herb and spice.



The seeds of the plant are light brown and resemble small bits of gravel.[1] Their characteristic flavor and aroma comes from sotolon,[2][3] which is reminiscent of caramelized sugar and imitation maple flavor.[2][3][4] They also have secondary notes that some describe as musty or mushroom-like.[2] The leaves are much milder in flavor than the seeds.[3]

Selection and storage


Fresh fenugreek leaves are perishable and should be stored in the fridge for a few days like other leafy greens. Dried fenugreek leaves keep well at room temperature. Fenugreek seeds keep for a very long time (months to years) at room temperature if kept in an airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture.[1] Ground fenugreek seed has a shorter shelf life than whole—storage in the fridge can help.[1]

Fenugreek is common in South Asian and Persian cuisines.[3][5] The leaves can be sautéed, stewed, incorporated into breads, and more.[3][6] The seeds—especially roasted—are used as a spice, where they are incorporated into spice blends, chutneys, and curries.[3][4][5]

Since they are so hard, the seeds must be ground in a specialized mortar or spice grinder.[1]




  1. a b c d Kipfer, Barbara Ann (2012-04-11). The Culinarian: A Kitchen Desk Reference. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-18603-3.
  2. a b c Farrimond, Dr Stuart (2018-11-06). The Science of Spice: Understand Flavor Connections and Revolutionize Your Cooking. National Geographic Books. ISBN 978-1-4654-7557-2.
  3. a b c d e f Van Wyk, Ben-Erik (2014-09-26). Culinary Herbs and Spices of the World. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-09183-9.
  4. a b Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.
  5. a b Friberg, Bo (2016-09-13). The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-46629-2.
  6. Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.