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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review + Coupon – December 2015

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseJan 10, 2016 | 16 comments


RawSpiceBar Spice of the Month Club
4.1 overall rating
45 Ratings | 26 Reviews

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

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

ACTIVE DEAL: First month free
CODE: RawSpice

The Products: 3-4 freshly ground spice blends from one country or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 6-10 people.

Ships to: US (with free shipping) and Canada (for an additional fee).

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 Norway!

This month’s featured spices are: Gravlax Spices, Winter Herbs, and Gingerbread Spices.


Gravlax Spices- .4 oz.

This blend combines caraway seeds, white peppercorns, and coriander. The recommended recipe is for homemade gravlax, but RawSpiceBar suggests that the blend will also make a great rub for chicken or tofu.


Winter Herbs- .4 oz

This month’s blend of winter herbs pairs well with poultry dishes, pork, veggie soups, and veggie burgers. It’s a blend of tarragon, sage, white peppercorns, thyme, allspice, black peppercorns, garlic, and marjoram.


Gingerbread Spices- .4 oz.

Nothing says winter quite like gingerbread! RawSpiceBar’s blend contains ginger, coriander, mace, cardamom, star anise, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Norwegian Nibbles

This month, RawSpiceBar included the following recipes: Nordic Caraway Gravlax, Potato Herb Gratin, and Pepparkakor (Nordic Ginger Cookies).


Every month since I began subscribing to RawSpiceBar, I’ve made the recipes that they print and send along with the spices. This month, I decided to take a slight detour. Partly, I made this decision because I couldn’t find a fish supplier I trust to provide me with high quality fish for the Gravlax. Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but I think in order to cure fish at home it’s important to start with an incredibly fresh filet- maybe sushi-grade, too? (I don’t have a good fish hookup here in DC- if anyone has suggestions please let me know!) I’ve also been curious to check out the additional recipes that RawSpiceBar posts on their blog. So, this month, I decided to give a couple of them a shot! I subbed in Cauliflower Caraway Potato Soup for the Nordic Caraway Gravlax, and I decided to make Gingerbread Pudding instead of the cookies.

Cauliflower Caraway Potato Soup


Soup is one of my favorite winter meals, so I was very excited to try this Nordic spin on creamed cauliflower soup! I began by sautéing an onion in olive oil. While it softened, I chopped potatoes and cauliflower and tossed them with the Gravlax Spices.


When the onion turned translucent, I added these veggies to the pot and cooked them for about 8 minutes. I then added about two cups of vegetable stock and enough milk to cover the vegetables and allowed the pot to simmer until the veggies were soft and starting to break down.


Using an immersion blender, I pureed the soup and then seasoned it with salt and pepper.

I’ve had issues with RawSpiceBar’s printed recipes before, and this online version was marred by similar problems. When I made my shopping list for this meal, I pulled my list of items from the recipe ingredient lists. In this case, the ingredient list included scallions; however, they were nowhere to be found in the actual recipe. So, when it came time to plate the soup, I decided to use the scallions as a garnish. I also topped the soup with a drizzle of olive oil, some shredded parmesan, and a pinch of toasted caraway seeds.


I was a little frustrated that I ended up purchasing an ingredient that I didn’t need for this dish, but my annoyance pretty much melted away when I tasted this soup. It was spectacular! I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with Nordic spices, so, for me, the caraway flavor was unexpected and exotic.

Potato Herb Gratin


Potato Gratin is one of my favorite comfort foods, (this is a regular feature at my family’s Thanksgiving table!) so I couldn’t wait to try this Nordic take.


I began by thinly slicing red potatoes. (The recipe called for purple potatoes, but, sadly, my grocery store didn’t have any in stock.) I blanched them in boiling water, strained them, and allowed them to cool.


I stacked the potatoes in a Pyrex baking dish, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, I mixed together eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, and RawSpiceBar’s Winter Herbs. I poured this over the potatoes and popped them in the oven. The RawSpiceBar recipe didn’t specify a cooking temperature, so I set the oven at 375.


When the potatoes were cooked through and the egg mixture was set, I took the dish out of the oven. When cool, I plated them.


This dish was another success! The potatoes were rich and creamy, and the winter spices added a fantastic depth of flavor to the dish. This was fantastic served warm from the oven, and it was equally delicious when I ate some cold from the fridge as a late night snack.

Gingerbread Pudding


I like cookies as much as the next person, but I LOVE bread pudding. I’ve never tried a recipe for gingerbread pudding before, so I couldn’t resist making this dessert. I began by ripping a loaf of French bread into small pieces and toasting them in the oven. While the bread dried out, I combined eggs, evaporated milk, milk, molasses (I used blackstrap), bourbon, vanilla extract, RawSpiceBar’s Gingerbread Spices, golden raisins, candied ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Note: the recipe called for non-fat evaporated milk and non-fat milk, which I found to be a little odd. My grocery store didn’t even have non-fat evaporated milk, so I just used the regular stuff.


When the bread was toasted and cooled, I poured the egg mixture over the top and allowed the bread to sit for about a half hour- long enough to soak it up. When it was absorbed, I transferred the bread pudding to a large loaf pan and baked it at 350 until it puffed up and formed a crust on top.


Instead of making the bourbon sauce, I decided to serve the bread pudding warm with ice cream on top.


I really enjoyed this wintery version of bread pudding, and I thought the spice blend was fantastic.

Given some of the frequent problems with RawSpiceBar’s recipes (typos, missing info, ingredient discrepancies, etc.), I’ve suspected for awhile that at least some of their recipes are taken from other places and (sometimes poorly) adapted. Since this recipe is somewhat unusual, I decided to search for similar recipes online and I found this this nearly idential one. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with RawSpiceBar adapting online recipes to suit their needs, but it’s good practice to give a nod to your source recipe. Of course, it’s also important to ensure the adapted recipes are thoroughly proofread and properly edited.

Verdict: I think Norway is a perfect choice for December’s RawSpiceBar, and I had a really great time cooking (and eating!) Nordic dishes. As usual, the spice blends themselves were fantastic, and, as usual, there were were a few issues with the provided recipes. Still, my dishes all turned out wonderfully. Despite the ongoing problems with their recipes, RawSpiceBar is one of my all-time favorite subscriptions. I’d definitely recommend it for adventurous home cooks; however, I’d advise using caution when reading and following the recipes.

What do you think about RawSpiceBar’s Norwegian Box? Did you make the gravlax and cookies? If so, how were they!?

Starting at $10.00
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Choose from a 3, 6, or 12-month subscription of global spice blends to be delivered directly to your favorite cook's door. Each month, we pair our fresh, handcrafted spice blends with a mouthwatering recipe to inspire even the most experienced home cook and bring out their best in the kitchen.
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle. 

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Anamika @ Supplement Crunch

i would like to try it someday, if i have a time..

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I found that they do not provide the actual amount listed on the packet. In the February 2016 box the Shitake Powder was labeled as 0.4 ounce, but when I measured on a jewelry scale it was less than 0.2 ounce! I am canceling.

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I just cooked up my second month and i love this subscription! This month was Egyptian spices and the only glitch was that I couldn’t tell whether or not to precook the coucous. I was thrilled to get sumac (which grows wild here but is out of season). Thrilled to know I can dry it and to get another way to use it. I would have appreciated dessert and drink suggestions, but if I think about it for a minute–duh!–baklava and tea!

Yes, some people can get the same blends locally, but remember that these are raw and fresh.

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I watched this sub from when it first came out. The spices looked pretty good. I tend to have a small rotation of simple foods I eat on a regular basis and don’t generally use recipes, but I like to mix things up with different spices. Than as soon as I subscribed, they went through a several month phase of boring spice blends that are readily available here. I unsubscribed. Now they seem to have interesting spice blends again, but I am sure if I resubscribed, it would go back to boring again. I enjoy spice blends and frequently make my own, so I would need a sub to include something I couldn’t come up with in 3 minutes at the grocery store.

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I have kept an eye on this Sub for about 5-6 months and there seems to be one problem after another. It isn’t as if there are a bunch of customizable shipments to configure; they simply have to package the three various blends and ship them out with recipes as well as providing more recipe solutions for each blend and yet they seem not able to get any of it out consistently and on time. By now the kinks should be out and the business run smoothly and correctly. It really would be nice for them to address some of the problems encountered here…

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Erica P

I am definitely interested in this sub! But between the recipe discrepancies and apparent shipping issues, I think I’ll just “watch” this one for a while before I pull the trigger.

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LIndsey – i love your reviews! Everything always looks so delicious. I love to cook but my current life/work balance doesn’t make cooking much an easy thing, so I live (cook) vicariously through you. I’m in the DC area, so in terms of fresh fish, I would suggest Wegmans – i think they have sushi grade. Or, Springfield Butcher, from whichI have eaten from other people’s efforts, though i haven’t personally bought it. It’s always been fresh and delicious. They also frequently appear on Groupon or Living Social, so you could try them out for for a discount first.

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Thanks so much for the tips, Christen! I hadn’t considered Wegman’s- that’s a great suggestion. And I’ll definitely check out Springfield Butcher. 🙂

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Yay! Glad I could be of help. I love Wegmans… Just wish I personally was a little closer to the ones in Fairfax or Alexandria. But actually my wallet and waistline probably appreciate it.

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Victoria DeOrnellis

I am actually not an adventurous cook but I loved this idea and subscribed last year. I kept it for about 4 months. First month was fine, but then I was plagued with shipping problems. They sent me a double order one month, completely skipped another month, etc. The customer service was awesome, but between the shipping issues and the poor quality of the recipe instructions, I couldn’t justify it. I was hoping they would get their act together as they performed really well up until my first month was done, and then it seemed to go downhill.

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I also had shipping problems. Plus, I signed up for a 6 month subscription with a coupon to get one month free. I intended to re-subscribe, but I never got my one free month, and after contacting customer service twice about it, I decided not to re-sub. I hope that customer service reads this, because I really like this subscription and want to re-sub, but cannot trust them right now. I’m an adventurous home cook, so the issues with the printed recipes don’t bother me at all, but I am mad that I didn’t get what I “paid” for.

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Same here. Lots of shipping discrepancies. One month billed and no shipment and no answer to inquiries. The recipes are frustrating as well. 4 or 5 months and I deleted my CC information. I love your reviews and appreciate the honesty about the recipes. Oh well, they lost a subscriber here.

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This month didn’t appeal to me at all, and I swapped away my spices for the first time ever. I don’t eat meat, and one of the things that annoy me about the vegetarian substitute recipes is that they only use a little bit of the spice and then I don’t know what to do with the rest. Usually I try, but I’m just too busy with work and tired to try this month… Hoping for something amazing to cook with next month!

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The thing that annoys me about the vegetarian recipes, well, there are several:

(1) They don’t show up on the blog until well after the spices are received.

(2) This month, the substitute was potatoes (with cauliflower). The side dish was already potatoes. So you get potatoes with a side of potatoes. (Something I rarely eat anyway.)

(3) Sometimes there just isn’t a vegetarian substitute. Like with the Baltimore spices.

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Ellen M

This is my first month, I tried it out with the $1 sale last year, and I am in love! I tried the potato gratin as well, but used the gravlax for “poached” oven-roasted chicken breasts and the gingerbread as a substitute in my favorite chewy spice cookie recipe. Everything turned out great! Thanks for the reviews, I think I’ll definitely keep subscribing to this one 🙂

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This was one of my favorites subs for a while. Shipping issues caused me to cancel. Also I didn’t like that packet cannot be re- sealed anymore. The only recipes I used were the ones for Peru. The other blends I’ve been rubbing them in different proteins (chicken, pork, beef) although is not the “essence” of this sub…. I’ve been happy and spicing up my kitchen! As I type this I think I will sub again… I’m hoping they have something decadent for a Valentine’s menu!

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