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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review – May 2015

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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review – May 2015 Box

RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch custom spice blends (and recipes that utilize them).


The spices are shipped via USPS. Past shipments have arrived in a sturdy kraft mailer with a colorful paper sleeve inside. This month, the spices were sent in a thin envelope. I’m a little disappointed to see that RawSpiceBar has downgraded their packaging, but everything still arrived in good condition.

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)


The Subscription: RawSpiceBar

The Cost: $6 per month with free shipping

The Products: 3-4 freshly ground spice blends from one geography or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 8-12 people.

Ships to: US and Canada.

Check out our other RawSpiceBar Reviews or visit the Food Subscription Box Directory for more food boxes!


Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This shipment features spice blends from the Peruvian Andes.


This month’s shipment centers on pollo la brasa, or roast chicken. The recipes include: Peruvian Spiced Roasted Chicken, Roasted Aji Amarillo Sweet Potato Wedges, and Pink Peppercorn & Sea Salt Valadores.


Peruvian Spice Rub- .4 oz

According to the information on the spice packet, “this chili spiked rub is used to create juicy, spicy Peruvian Chicken.” It’s a blend of red chiles, paprika, cumin, black pepper, and oregano.


Aji Amarillo Spices- .4 oz

This blend features the aji Amarillo chile, which is known for being spicy but also having full-bodied, fruity flavor. Mixed with the dried aji Amarillo is coriander, basil, mustard seed, cumin, and black pepper. RawSpiceBar recommends using this blend to make Peruvian potatoes or rice.


Pink Peppercorn Blend- .3 oz

Pink peppercorns have a fruity flavor and a mild, peppery bite. They’re often used in Peruvian cuisine, and this blend pairs them with pink Himalayan sea salt. It’s such a beautiful blend. Here’s a closeup:


I’ve never made Peruvian chicken before, so I was very excited to learn about the spices that are traditionally used in the recipe. Also, roasted chicken is one of my favorite things to make, so I couldn’t wait to try this Peruvian version!

Recipe #1- Peruvian Spiced Roasted Chicken

To make the Peruvian Roasted Chicken, I first created a marinate by pureeing lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, sugar, and the Peruvian Spice Rub. I marinated the chicken for several hours and then roasted it in the oven for about an hour and a half. When the internal temperature reached 140 degrees, it was done.


The chicken was tender, juicy, and delicious. The RawSpiceBar spices added fantastic flavor, and I couldn’t help but devour the spiced chicken skin (which I usually discard).

Recipe #2- Roasted Aji Amarillo Sweet Potato Wedges

To accompany the chicken, RawSpiceBar recommended making roasted sweet potato wedges. I sliced the sweet potatoes and tossed them in olive oil, salt, and the Aji Amarillo Spice Blend.


They roasted in the oven until they were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.


The potatoes were fantastic. I loved the blend of spices, and my husband deemed these “the best sweet potatoes ever.”

Recipe #3- Pink Peppercorn & Sea Salt Voladores

Voladares are light and crispy Peruvian cookie sandwiches. To make RawSpiceBar’s version, I began by mixing, resting, and then rolling a dough made from flour, salt, and egg yolk. From the start, something didn’t seem right with the recipe. The dough was very dry (I had to add moisture to bring it together into a ball) and, even then, it seemed too firm.


Regardless, I rolled out the dough (as thinly as I could) and cut out the cookies. I baked them at 350.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review – May 2015 Voladores

They puffed up a little bit but were soft even after they cooled (voladares should be crispy). Still, I moved forward with the recipe in the hope that they might still be tasty, if not technically correct. I filled them with chocolate ganache (made from dark chocolate, butter, and cream) and the salty pink peppercorns. To garnish, I topped the cookie sandwiches with powdered sugar and another sprinkle of the spice blend.


These cookies were kind of a hot mess. I thought they were beautiful, but, unfortunately, they didn’t taste nearly as good as they looked. Since the recipe didn’t specify an egg size, I used large eggs in my dough, but I think it would have been better if I’d used extra large eggs. Looking at other recipes online, I think my dough was a little too dry, which prevented me from rolling it as thinly as it needed to be to crisp in the oven. I couldn’t really get past their soft and chewy texture, and the balance between salty and sweet was way off.  Looking back, I would have used less of the peppercorn spice blend, to ensure the cookies weren’t overly salted.

Verdict: This shipment from RawSpiceBar was a little hit and miss for me. On one hand, I loved the chicken and potatoes. On the other, the cookie recipe was a little disappointing. I’m sure if I made them again they’d turn out well, but I’m sad that I wasted my beautiful peppercorn spice mix on cookies that were a flop! Still, I enjoyed giving them a shot, and I love that RawSpiceBar pushes me out of my comfort zone and encourages me to make new and unfamiliar dishes. I love their monthly themes, and I think the spices are consistently of a very high quality. I would definitely recommend RawSpiceBar for home cooks looking to spice up their cooking (so to speak). I think it’s a great, inexpensive subscription for adventurous cooks looking to try something new!

What did you think of this month’s RawSpiceBar? Did you have better luck with your cookies?

Written by Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker by day and a subscription box junkie by night. She first subscribed to Birchbox in 2013 and her addiction grew when she signed up for Graze, PopSugar, and Knoshy. Her favorite part about being a subscription box addict is discovering new products- especially gourmet goodies, beauty products, and kitchen tools!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. I tried both the chicken and the potato recipes and loved them, but held off on making the dessert based on this review. I thought I’d look for other recipes online to see how they differ and came across this one:

    The Raw Spice Bar recipe seems to be almost exactly the same (even down to some of the wording), except that it doesn’t call for Pisco in the dough. I wonder if that could make the difference? Has anyone tried making these cookies with Pisco? Curious to know how any and all variations worked out!

  2. I prepare the chicken yesterday and it was amazing. Instead of using sweet potato I used yukon which I poured extra virgin olive oil and then the aji amarillo. Both dishes were so easy to prepare and so delicious. I hope they add them to the site because I’m definitely interested in buying more. I’m not good at baking so I’m not sure how I will use the peppercorn but I will find something for sure. BTW June’s spices are from Jamaica. I’m very much looking forward to your review 🙂

  3. Today I made Peruvian spiced seitan tacos with lime aioli. What fun to make this all vegan! I made seitan according to these directions:

    Once the seitan had cooled in the fridge, I sliced and diced three of the loaves into small cubes. I made the marinade as directed by Raw Spice Bar, and stirred the seitan into the mix. I let the seitan mixture sit for a few minutes while I heated a cast iron pan on med/high. I sautéed the seitan until it was brown and hot. I served it with lime aioli made with lime juice, olive oil, garlic powder and vegenaise. Then I made a taco bar with quinoa, warm corn tortillas, Peruvian seitan, aioli, avocados, shredded lettuce, mango slices, red pepper slices, and garden-fresh radishes. The spice blend made everything delicious! My daughters and husband said it was the best seitan we have made. I sure wish I could buy more of the blend!

    I also tried to veganize the cookies, but they were so bad that I had to throw them away 🙁 On a positive note: I made the chocolate sauce with coconut milk, and since I had leftovers, I threw in some raw almonds which I froze on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Nom. Nom.

  4. I’m gluten sensitive so I often defer to the descriptions on the spices rather than the recipes themselves. They suggested using the peppercorn mix on salmon, so that’s exactly what I did. It was soooo delicious! I just put a bit of olive oil on the top, sprinkled about half the packet onto the top, baked for 15 minutes… so good!

  5. Cookie recipe troubles aside, this sounds like an amazing sub for those of us who love to cook! I’m so excited to read about it; thank you for the review. I’ve been really into Latin cuisine lately, so I emailed customer service to ask if they had any Peruvian boxes left, and they said yes, and would send me one to start my sub. Yay! I can’t wait to play with some fun new recipes. 🙂

  6. Shipping to Canada is $4 which is a little disappointing.

  7. This was my first month (thanks to your reviews, Lindsey!) and I loved the chicken and LOVE LOVED the sweet potatoes. (I gave the pink peppercorns & recipe to a friend that bakes with her daughter.)

    Mine came in a sturdy mailer with a pretty envelope.

  8. I was much happier with this month’s theme than last month’s. The recipes were more interesting and didn’t call for other ingredients that drowned out the flavor of the spices (looking at you, soy sauce).
    I did enjoy the chicken quite a bit. I have spent about 5 years perfecting my roast chicken techniques, so I don’t mix it up that often. However, I think this recipe would be VERY easy to follow by a newer cook who is intimidated by whole chicken. I’d readily purchase more of the spice blend used on the chicken.

    I skipped the cookies, because I don’t eat sweets. Pink peppercorn and sea salt will pair with many different things, so I’m sure I can put it to good use.

  9. Love your reviews, Lindsey! If you could suggest vegetables that the spices would work well with for the non-vegetarian recipes, that would be great! I haven’t subscribed only because there’s at least one meat option each month.

    • I’m a vegetarian, too. If you go to the Raw Spice Bar website/blog and Facebook page, they often have suggestions or links to alternative options. The other thing you can do is just Google the name of the spice mix. So by doing that last month, I found a tofu recipe that I could use instead of the pork, and this month I found a taco recipe to use in place of the chicken (granted, the taco recipe used pork but I substituted pinto beans and it worked).

    • Not a vegetarian, but I had a little of the chicken spice blend left over because I used a smaller chicken than the recipe called for. I tossed some broccoli in the marinade and grilled it to nice results.

    • I’m a vegetarian, too, and quite lazy with my cooking. All I did was buy 1 package of vegetarian wheat gluten (the kind from the health food store that looks like chicken and is packaged in the same kind of container tofu is packaged in) and then I followed the recipe exactly, but halved it (because the recipe called for a 6lb chicken and 6lbs of wheat gluten would be a huge amount). Soaked it with the marinade in a bowl for a couple of hours, then poured it all into aluminum foil, sealed the package up, and baked it alongside my potatoes. Came out amazing! I put it over quinoa because I had that handy, but I think I’ll try the other half of my recipe over rice.

      For last month’s meat recipe, I used the same method- made the marinade with the spices exactly the same- then I poured it over tofu and baked it. It was delicious (although a tad salty)– I ate it with some avocado on the side to balance it out.

  10. I decided that there was something off with the cookie recipe, too. I included the 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar in the dough instead of reserving it to sprinkle at the end. I don’t know if that’s what I was supposed to do, but it made for a tasty cookie!

  11. Lindsey, love your reviews! If I sub to this box today, do you think I could still get this as my first box? I have been looking everywhere for the Amarillo spices– they taste sour,citrusy a bit sweet with moderate heat. I gotta get my hands on this box.

    • I’d recommend reaching out to their customer service, Chelsea. In my experience, they’ve been really helpful, and I’m sure they’ll be happy to send you the Peruvian spices if they still have some left!

      • Thank you. I emailed and subbed this morning and they are shipping me a May box. I am sooo glad, I read your review in time. For all the vegetarians out there–the Aji Amarillo spice I have had on risotto and creamy mushroom farrow. It was lovely and delicious.

  12. My first month, last month, didn’t have pretty paper. This month’s still hasn’t arrived and I’ve already been billed for next month. Love the idea but not thrilled about the inconsistently and that there’s no option to buy the spices later.

    • Same! I was billed twice (once in April and once in May) before I even got a shipping notification for my first box. I called them out in an email, saying that it does not make sense to have to pay more than a month before they send out boxes (no well run box does this!) and they responded saying that’s just what they do.
      Today I was billed for July and we do not even know the June box theme. If there were any other spice subscription I would switch.

      • I still haven’t received May’s spices. I contacted them and they would re-send them but so far no shipping notification and no spices. I bought a 6 month subscription for myself and one for my sister. I am concerned since they do not seem to handle on shipping. I wish I had gone month to month instead of pre-purchasing. I think it is actually cheaper and also they seem to more attentive to month to months.

  13. I haven’t had a chance to make the cookies yet (and living in the desert as well as keeping only large eggs around, I am now forewarned). However I made the potatoes with regular potatoes and my husband has been DEVOURING them. The chicken as well! This is my favorite so far, in part because it was all familiar food with a different twist.

    I wish, however, that I could actually BUY a bottle of the spice mixes. I would love to get more of the Aji Amarillo Spices; that was a terrific blend that made for some amazing potatoes and I know I would make more for other side dishes. I was surprised when I went to the site and found they didn’t sell the blends. (I would think that would be a big part of the profit model on this type of product…) I guess I have to find both a recipe and a place to get those chiles. (My usual go-to, Penzeys, doesn’t carry them…)

    • Oh my gosh, I could not agree with you more about wanting to buy full jars of the ones I love. It was so funny watching me look at the site, then looking again, then again, and again trying to see where I could buy them!

      • This is exactly why I haven’t subscribed yet. The main reason I want to get this sub is to discover new spices – that are prepared really well! What’s the point in discovering something you love if you can’t get any more of it? It’s just frustrating!

    • I think they’re planning to add an online store at some point. I reached out to them a few months ago, and they said that it’s something they’re working towards. I’d love to be able to buy more too! 🙂

      • Here’s hoping! If they do that, I’ll finally subscribe.

  14. Mine were also in the same type of mailer as previously used – sturdy envelope and colorful paper insert. (And happily so!) Thanks for the review; I will skip the cookie recipe.

  15. I love reading your reviews as well! Do you have a food blog of your own? If not, you should consider starting one.

    • You’re too sweet, nana! Thanks! No food blog as of yet, but perhaps one day…

  16. I was waiting for your review. Really hoping to see what had gone wrong for me with the cookie recipe. But, um, yours look and sound exactly the same as how mine turned out (although I just cut mine into squares with a pizza cutter instead of actually cutting circles).

    • Sorry to hear you had trouble with your cookies too, Ragan. 🙁 Sadly, it sounds like the recipe was just a little off. You’re a vegetarian, right? Did you find a good substitute dish for the Peruvian spice rub?

      • Yeah, I’m a vegetarian. I was worried that my cookies failed because I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour (a substitution that works for me most, but not all, of the time), but I guess that wasn’t it…

        I used the Peruvian spice rub in a taco recipe. It was a pork belly taco recipe with pineapple but I used pinto beans instead, and used the spice rub for part of the ancho powder. I don’t even know how I found the recipe but it worked. (I have put it in the “website” field so you should be able to get to it by clicking my name.)

  17. Nice review! Thank you for walking us through the process.

  18. Thank you so much for the review! I was planning on making this dinner this weekend, but I’m so glad I read your review first. I’ll find a different recipe for the cookies and use less of the spice blend to make sure they come out the way they’re supposed to. I would have been so disappointed if I had wasted that blend on a bad batch, and I’m so sorry that happened to you!

  19. ok then yea i wont bother making the cookies then., or i’ll find another recipes for them online.
    And once again, thank you so much for making these meals, you put a lot of effort into what you do.

  20. Lindsey, I have to say…I love reading your reviews. You make want to go in my kitchen and find my inner domestic self. Who would have ever dreamed that I would NEED to try a spice sub box?! My husband thanks you.

  21. Strange: mine still came in the regular mailer.

    • Yes, mine too.

      • Mine did too. And my spices were wrapped in pretty paper.

        I didn’t enjoy my chicken as much Lindsey. It was only OK for me, as were the sweet potatoes. Last month was a big hit for me, though. Even when I’m not blown away I love this subscription. It’s just so fun!

    • Mine came like hers – in a thin yellow envelope.

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