The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World (By Weight)

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Sarthak Koul
Sarthak brings a technical perspective to the everyday aspects of life through his blogs. Breaking down the storyline of movies and shows is something he enjoys thoroughly. He firmly believes in contributing to this flawed and beautiful world in his own way. His mantra is to take things one day at a time.

The most important part of preparing any cuisine is the addition and use of spices. While spices make up for essential kitchen ingredients, among hundreds of varieties of spices, some are priced way more than others. 

And so, this brings us to the obvious query of the world’s most expensive spice. If you’ve been wondering the same, it’s time to sit back and continue reading as we’re here to help you out. In the article, you’ll find out the ten most expensive spices in the world.

With the history of spices dating back to over 5000 years ago, mankind has come a long way in commercializing the use of spices. While the majority of the generally known spices come from regions of Africa, India, and South East Asia, there are some exotic spices that take away the tag of being rare. 

Without further ado, let’s discover all of these spices along with interesting facts in the ranking of the most expensive spices in the world.  

Ranking of The World’s Most Expensive Spices

#10 Pasilla de Oaxaca Chile

Starting off the countdown with the hard-to-pronounce chilies that originate from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. With a price tag of about $28 per pound, these Mexican chilies are not quite known in the US and Europe and there’s a reason for it.

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: Mexican Please

The rare Pasilla de Oaxaca Chile pepper is a smoke-dried and hotter version of the traditional Pasilla chiles found at the great Sierras junction in the south of Mexico. It is mostly used to give that rich smoky flavor in salsas, sauces, stews, and soups without the need to add any meat.

#9 Green Cardamom

Coming in as the ninth most expensive spice in the world, we’ve got the green variety of the cardamom spice family. At a cost of around $32 per pound, the green cardamoms most certainly outprice their black counterparts.

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: Etsy

Along with being a popular addition in Indian cuisine where its intense flavor is utilized as a part of both sweet and savory dishes, green cardamoms are also used in Scandinavia for cooking recipes such as the Finnish cardamom bread, Pulla.

#8 Grains of Paradise

Popularly known as Alligator Pepper or Guinea pepper, we’ve got the rare African spice originating from locations including Ghana, Liberia, and Togo. The Grains of Paradise is believed to be related to ginger, turmeric, and cardamom families of spices.

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: Serious Eats

Often used as a costlier $33/pound substitute to black pepper, the alligator pepper most certainly adds interesting flavors and aroma to African-specific cuisine. Moreover, they also exhibit medicinal properties along with some aphrodisiac qualities.

#7 Kaffir Lime Leaves

With a cost of around $36 per pound, the dried kaffir lime leaves make up the seventh most expensive spice in the world. This high price is somewhat justified as these leaves have to be hand-picked from long and thorny branches. 

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: Mashed

Better known as Indonesian lime or Makrut lime, the Kaffir lime leaves have their origins in South East Asian countries but they’re now also grown in parts of Australia, California, and Florida. Its bold and intense citrus-sweet flavor is majorly used in Cambodian, Indonesian, Laotian, Malaysian, and Thai cuisine. 

#6 Black Cumin Seed

Popularly known as Kala Jeera in the Indian subcontinent, black cumin seeds make it into the list as one of the world’s most exotic and expensive spices with a price tag spinning around $39 per pound.

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: Atlanova

While its origins are linked to Egypt, Iran, and North India, black cumin is one of the favorite spice additions in North African as well as Pakistani cooking pertaining to its rich flavor that’s sweeter than the normal cumin.

#5 Long Pepper

Alternatively known by the name Pippali in parts of India, Nepal and Pakistan, the history of long pepper dates back to the times of the Greeks and Romans. Historically, it is said that a ransom of long pepper, gold and silver was paid to Alaric I, King of the Visigoths to lift the first siege of Rome.

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: SPICEography

The popular and costly spice’s hot and unique taste is utilized in African, Indonesian, Indian and Mediterranean cooking of lentil curries, marinades, and spicy soups. Moreover, long pepper that’s worth about $47/pound is also used in combination with herbs in Ayurveda making it one of the most useful and expensive spices around the world.

#4 Mahlab

Up next we’ve got the spice that comes from the kernel seeds of St. Lucie cherries. As the method to acquire the seeds involves the lengthy process to crack open the cherry pits, the price tag of Mahlab spice spins somewhere around $69/pound (NOICE!)

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: iStock

Although not well-known in the United States and the majority of Europe, the mahlab (or mahalepi) spice is widely used in Middle Eastern cooking with its popularity increasing in Mediterranean dishes owing to its distinct flavor.

#3 Vanilla Bean

While there are a lot of unheard names on the list, this entry is something that we are sure you’d know. Vanilla has widespread uses as one of the main ingredients in almost all flavored products but what exactly makes it fall under the expensive spices category?

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: Bare Blends

Mainly originating from the regions of Madagascar and Central and South America, Vanilla beans’ complicated and time-consuming process of hand-pollinating the vanilla flowers justifies their high price tag. If you’re looking for the best-quality natural vanilla grown in Madagascar, it’ll cost you somewhere around $200/pound.

#2 Organic Fennel Pollen

While originating on the shores of the Mediterranean, the majority of the world’s second most expensive spice – Fennel pollen is commercially grown in the Tuscany region of Italy. The intense labor of handpicking the pollen added to a very low yield makes the price tag of this organic fennel pollen reach the $500/pound mark.

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: Pollen Ranch

Along with hints of citrus, anise, pepper, and saffron in its distinctive taste that makes it one of the popular spices among the world’s best chefs, the organic fennel pollen also finds some herbal uses for natural detoxification and purification.

#1 Saffron

Topping the list as the undisputed king, we’ve got Saffron as the world’s most expensive spice by weight with a ridiculous cost of $9 for just one gram. 

The reason for such high cost is the fact that it takes around 170,000 flowers and about 20 hours of hard manual labor to produce 1 pound (or 0.45 kg) of saffron. Although saffron crocus flowers are harvested in regions of Afghanistan, Spain and India, the majority of production comes from Iran.

The 10 Most Expensive Spices in the World
Source: Britannica

With a sweet aroma and rich taste, this ‘Red Gold’ spice finds its usage as a fragrance in saffron-based perfumes and even as a seasoning in Persian, Indian, Arab and European cuisines. The raw and best quality saffron can sell at a price as high as $5000 per pound.

Wrapping Up

This brings us to the end of our article on the most expensive spices in the world. From common daily usage spice ingredients to some rare variety spices, we’ve covered it all with saffron being miles above all in terms of the most high-priced spice. 

Share the article with your friends if you found it informative and helpful. And comment down below with the entry in the list that surprised you the most. For more such interesting top 10 lists, keep visiting Path of EX – Your Spot For Trending Stuff!

Feature Image Credit: YouTube

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