Does Cumin Taste Bad? (Yes And No)


Closeup picture of cumin seeds and a wooden spoon

Cumin is one of the world’s most popular herbs, often used as a spice. Unlike pizza, which everyone loves, cumin shares opinions about its taste, whereas others say it’s great and others hate it. In this article, you’ll learn whether cumin tastes bad, why would it tastes bad, and much more! First, does cumin taste bad in the first place?

If a food contains too much cumin, it can taste bad because cumin has a strong bitter taste, and in high amounts, it can taste bad. In addition, personal preference plays a role in cumins taste because others like cumin and others don’t. However, generally, cumin shouldn’t taste bad if used right.

As in all things, too much of something won’t likely make a good outcome. Imagine putting too much salt, pepper, or chili on food; that would be unedible. Even garlic in too many quantities starts to taste very unpleasant, so following a recipe is important to get the full taste.

Now, let’s look closer at why cumin can taste bad.

Related: Cumin Vs. Comino: What’s The Difference?

Why Does Cumin Taste Bad?

Generally, cumin tastes bad for two reasons. Either you have too much cumin added to the food, or you doesen’t like its taste. Let’s start with the most likely reason.

Too much cumin

Sometimes you have an accident and add too much spice to your food. In this case, cumin can ruin your food.

Cumin is mainly used to enhance other flavors in food and give depth to it. Also, its earthy, woodsy, and warm taste with a lemony aroma is widely recognized and enjoyed. However, imagine too much depth in the food with excess woodsy taste. That isn’t certainly good and makes the food taste bad, especially when it starts to taste bitter.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having too much cumin in your food, what can you do? Here are a few tips to neutralize cumin;

  • Add more other ingredients: If you’re making a sweet, for example, and add too much cumin, you can add other main ingredients to lessen the overall cumin content of the food. So, add more veggies, potatoes, meat, or whatever you add to the food in the first place.
  • Add countering spices: Spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon are great countering spices to cumin. Choose accordingly to your dish which spice works better. For example, hot foods with chili and too much cumin could benefit from a dash of sweet cinnamon.
  • Add sweetness: Excess cumin adds a lot of bitterness and depth to the food, making the taste unpleasant. Luckily, you can easily counter it with sweetness, whether from sugar, diced dried fruits, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or fruit juice such as pineapple. Again, choose your sweetener according to the dish you’re preparing.
  • Add fat: Butter, heavy cream, coconut cream, coconut milk, or vegan cream substitutes such as oat cream will easily decrease the strength of cumin in a dish. If you’re cooking something more exotic such as curries or chilies, coconut cream or milk is a great choice to use. If you’re making some easy-to-make paste at home, heavy cream or oat cream counters and compliments cumin well.

As you can see, too much cumin is usually easily fixable, so you can enjoy it as it’s meant to be enjoyed. However, there’s another possibility why cumin isn’t necessarily good. Your personal taste.

Personal taste

As the saying goes, the matters of taste can’t be disputed, and that is true, even with cumin. Personal taste is affected by so many things that cumin can taste heavily to others whereas bad to others. Some of the main factors affecting taste are;

  • Age
  • Nutrition
  • Hormones
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Medication
  • Diseases

I remember when I was in high school and hated feta cheese, pickles, beets, etc. I even hated wine a couple of years back, but now, I love feta cheese and wine, whereas I enjoy beets and pickles. That big shift is mostly made by age, so imagine all of the variables. That’s why cumin and other foods can charge opinions so drastically.

Another popular herb sharing opinions is cilantro. You may have heard that some people say cilantro tastes like soap, so they can’t eat it, whereas others ask for it every chance they get. This effect is noticeable in cumin too.

If you feel that cumin tastes bad simply because you don’t like it, wait a couple of years and try again. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it then.

Why Does Cumin Make You Sick?

If you have experienced nausea or the feeling of sickness after consuming cumin, you are forced to think why. Luckily, there is an explanation, so you don’t need to be kept in the dark. So, what’s the reason cumin makes you sick?

Cumin can make you burp, bloated, gassy, or cause digestive issues because it helps to evict gas from your digestive system. Excessive consumption of cumin seeds can also cause mental clouding and nausea. Cumin seeds are proven to lower blood sugar levels, so diabetics should avoid them.

In addition to increased intestinal tract events and nausea, there are other downsides.

The oil in cumin seeds is volatile, and if consumed in great amounts, it can cause liver or kidney damage. The possibility of liver damage is real, although extremely rare with cumin seeds. That said, you shouldn’t eat cumin seeds as a snack or on every meal.

Another thing to emphasize is the low blood sugar levels, as explained. This isn’t problematic for diabetics only but people overall. Low blood sugar levels lead to headaches, tiredness, and lack of energy.

All in all, the downsides of cumin should be acknowledged but know that serious issues are far from common. Be sure to add cumin moderately so your food will taste better and you won’t have any issues such as nausea, low blood sugar levels, or digestive issues. Do that, and cumin will treat you very well!

Here You’ll Find My Favorite Kitchen Equipment.

Thanks for reading this article! I hope that it brought you real value that you can benefit from in your personal life! Here is my top kitchen equipment that I seriously couldn’t live without, and I think they could ease your life as well as they do mine.

  • Knife set: As a chef, I can’t stand dull, poor-quality knives without any design. My absolute favorite kitchen knife set is the Gangshan 3-Piece Knife Set. It comes with a handcrafted 8″ chef’s knife and a 3.5″ paring knife. What I love even more than these flawless knives is the walnut knife block which is incredible and unique.
  • Skillet: In addition to knives and my unwillingness to bargain with its quality is the cookware. My favorite skillet is Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet. This particular skillet is 9″ in size, it is heavy, it gets very hot, which is what is required to get a good sear, and it is just beautiful, as are all Le Creuset products. Le Creuset doesn’t need an introduction as a brand, as it is one of the world’s rated brands.
  • Food processor: I remember when I hadn’t a food processor at home. It wasn’t easy! But now, when I use my Ninja BN601 Food Processor, I can make anything super fast, which saves me many hours per week. This food processor has 1000 watts of power and four options, including chopping, slicing, dough, and purees. I also like the middle-sized 9cup (2.1l) bowl as it is big enough yet not too big to look unfitting in my kitchen.
  • Tweezers: Dalstrong Professional Cooking Tweezers are like tongs but much more elegant, thin, and easy to use. They are great for virtually anything, but flipping, turning, and grabbing with them is easy and makes cooking much more fun! These Dalstrgon tongs are titanium coated and very durable. Also, I like the black color instead of the everyday steel.

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Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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