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Karen's Peruvian Spice Blend Recipe

Karen’s Peruvian Spice Blend

A versatile blend which adds a depth of flavor to vegetables – fantastic rub for poultry!

Karen's Peruvian Spice Blend Recipe
Karen’s Peruvian Spice Blend – essential to capture the zesty South American flavor

My South American inspired seasoning blend features the Peruvian chile, Aji Amarillo. The lemony, fruity flavor of this medium spicy chile combines well with the subtle tartness of the lemon rind. Other seasonings include cumin, annatto, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, salt & pepper. If the Aji chile is not available, use a moderately spicy chile such as an ancho.

Healthier to blend yourself!
Compare mine to – McCormick Culinary Peruvian Seasoning INGREDIENTS:
Salt, Spices (Including Chili Pepper, Paprika, Cumin, Black Pepper), Garlic, Cane Sugar, Tamari Soy Sauce (Soybean, Corn Maltodextrin, Salt), High Fructose Corn Syrup Solids, Lime Juice Powder, Silicon Dioxide (To Make Free Flowing) And Lime Oil.

The problem with many store bought spices is two-fold. Most start with Salt as the first and primary ingredient (ugh!) Seriously – high fructose corn syrup!?
I have added just 1 teaspoon of salt which elevates the flavor to my blend – you can adjust to your liking.
Secondly, other additives are not necessary – like “soy” products and high fructose corn syrup!?  Lemon Juice Powder contains Corn Syrup Solids (not organic) – so it is considered a GMO.

Karen's Peruvian Spice Blend Recipe


2 teaspoons ground aji peppers*, or guajillo… ancho chiles, ground (medium heat)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground annato

2 teaspoons ground oregano*

2 teaspoons ground garlic

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground lemon peel*

1 teaspoon kosher salt



Mix all ingredients together.
Store in an airtight glass or metal container in a dark place.


If you have a spice grinder, grind spices yourself.
This is not a salty blend, add more salt where needed.


* Aji Peppers:
Dried pepper- medium- high heat. Can substitute other peppers (chiles.)


* Dried Oregano:
Look for oregano on the stem for the best quality. Simply, remove leaves from the stem and crumble with your fingers.
Best quality from Greece and Italy.
Hang dry garden grown, or dehydrate fresh oregano.


* Dried Lemon Peel:
Make at home: remove peel from lemons (leaving behind the white pith) Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Heat at your oven’s lowest temperature, around 180 degrees until firm, about 2 – 3 hours. Do not over cook or let darken.
Place in a spice grinder and pulse until ground.

This recipe can not be reproduced without the permission of its author, Karen Sheer

To say hello, discuss a recipe, share one, or have a comment - I would love to know what you think!

    • Emily
    • 5 Dec 2016

    Since I was immediately using the rub, I simply used the zest of one lime instead of taking the time to dehydrate lemon peel.

    For an extra kick, I used dried pequin pepper instead of aji.

    This is a really great spice blend.

    1. Reply

      I am happy you love the spice blend! Zesting the lime is just the right thing when you are using it right away.
      Aji peppers are flavorful (I find them frozen at Spanish Markets) ~ great that you used a spicy one you had.
      Happy cooking!

    • Sara
    • 24 Feb 2019

    I had a Peruvian-inspired dish at a restaurant this evening. It was DELICIOUS! But it also had pretty basic ingredients. I was thinking, “Oooh… If I could figure out what that spice is, I could definitely make this at home!” I just need to go down to the local Latino grocery store and pick up a couple of these ingredients, and I can try it! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe! (And also for the instructions on how to dry lemon peel… that stuff is kind of expensive online!!!)

    1. Reply

      Hi Sara ~
      I’m happy you enjoyed my Peruvian Spice Blend.
      So nice and fresh when you make it yourself without excess salt, sugar & preservatives. Dried lemon rind is fantastic to make at home. Commercial ones lack “zest”- and most come from Asia.
      Happy cooking! Hope you signed up for my weekly blog!
      Karen Sheer

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