What Does Cumin Smell Like? (Read This First)

Cumin is used in several cuisines around the world. Some people even use it for medicinal purposes.

So a lot of people have shown great interest in this spice in recent times. As individuals, we have our exclusive sense of smell. So this makes us perceive one smell in different ways. 

People who are native users of this spice perceive it as a routine part of their lives. However, others who don’t use it have various opinions on its smell.

Cumin possesses a warm and earthy aroma with a light nutty smell. In addition, it has a strong, pungent smell that people associate with sweaty armpits. Cumin is akin to body odor for people who aren’t used to cumin in their native food.

Does Cumin Smell Like Curry?

What Does Cumin Smell Like?

Curry is a different spice from cumin and has a distinct smell. However, cumin is a necessary base ingredient for making curry, plus a mix of other herbs and spices.

Combining these spices gives curry a warm yet powerful and unique smell.

However, there is a faint trace of the cumin smell found in curry. Due to its mix with other spices, the cumin smell isn’t prominent but can still be perceived.

Most people tend to confuse cumin and curry smell. Fresh curry has a solid warm, sweet fragrant scent.

Cumin, on the other hand, is harsher; although it appeals to others, most people find it unpleasant.

The pungent aroma of cumin makes people associate it with sweaty armpits.

The distinctive smell of cumin is due to its high oil content. This oil is the primary reason for its high rich and tasty aroma.

Therefore, curry can act as an ideal substitute for cumin when cooking. It will produce the desired sweet and fragrant aroma and make your food yellow and attractive.

What Does Cumin Powder Smell Like?

Cumin powder is the end product of ground cumin seeds and, as such, should have the same smell.

However, cumin powder has a distinct scent. Most people attest that the unpleasant smell disappears when this powder is in a meal.

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Cumin powder has a rich sweet fragrance. The cumin powder blends well into various dishes to give a rich and savory aroma.

Cumin powder produces a sweet, spicy fragrance that is similar to chili.

It is utilized in making chili, so this is no surprise. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have a strong spicy taste.

Cumin powder accentuates the flavor of many dishes and will waft into your nose immediately after entering the kitchen.

The freshly made powder most especially produces the richest and freshest aroma.

However, when the powder is made and not used for a long time, it loses its warm and fresh smell.

Cumin powder can be made at home or bought at a grocery store. The homemade one is fresher and gives a better flavor and aroma.

The store-bought powder has stayed long and tends to lose its flavor over time.

When the homemade powder is made and not used for a long time, it loses its fresh aroma.

The homemade method of making the powder also determines how pleasant the aroma will be.

The raw seeds are either just ground like that or roasted first before it is ground.

People prefer the powder made from roasted seeds. The roasting enhances the earthy flavor of the food and can be stored longer. 

What Does Black Cumin Smell Like?

Black cumin is also from the same family as regular cumin but has a different smell.

Its smell may not seem so different to others, but it is less intense than regular cumin.

Black cumin has a bittersweet scent with a light hint of floral fragrance. It possesses a mellower earthy smell with the regular cumin nutty aroma.

To others, it is a warm, smoky, sweet scent that smells like home. Black cumin also has an intense lemony fragrance.

A lot of people perceive black cumin as spicy. It has a faint hint of a spicy odor, but it is only apparent when combined with other spices.

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It is often said to have a caraway-like aroma. It gives out a rich pleasant nutty fragrance when roasted or toasted.

Some people say the black cumin seeds have a smell similar to fennel. Others confuse the pungent smell with that of nutmeg.

In contrast, black cumin is unrelated to any of these herbs. Instead, its taste is purely natural and unique to it.

What Does Cumin Seed Smell Like?

Cumin seeds are the dried ripe fruit of the plant and are warmly aromatic. These spectacular seeds add depth to your meal. 

It enhances the savory flavor of many dishes that most people can not cook without. Vegetarians particularly favor it because it enriches the taste of so many vegetables.

Fresh cumin seeds produce a pleasant spicy-sweet smell that wraps around your nose.

When the seed gets crushed, it gives out an earthy scent with a slight nutty fragrance.

Other people say it gives them an airy citrusy scent. The seeds are also said to have a faint menthol fragrance only noticeable when crushed. 

Some people prefer using fresh seeds because it makes their taste and smells lovely.

The seeds can also be roasted before being used in cooking. The roasting brings out the earthy fragrance better.

Not only does it give out extra fragrances when crushed, but it also smells different when fried in oil.

Other people say cumin possesses a mellow sweet, smoky odor. After all, we have different senses of smell and can not criticize personal opinions.

Is Cumin Smell Strong?

Every man has his sense of smell, and each has his unique preferences and dislikes.

For those that use cumin daily, the aroma is something they find pleasant and sweet.

However,  others are not native to this and tend to have different opinions about the smell of cumin.

In addition, others rate the smell of cumin based on their allergies.

Cumin is said to have a harsh Mediterranean odor. Many people dislike this harshness and associate it with body odor (BO).

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However, the cumin smell can permeate every item in your home if used daily in your cooking.  Most people will even tell you that cumin smells like sweat. 

The pungent smell is even prevalent in perfumes. Although it is used in small quantities as an ingredient in making perfumes, it is noticed.

The harshness of the scent is more prominent when used in large quantities.

On the other hand, a little quantity of it will give the warm and spicy-sweet fragrance it possesses.

 Cumin seeds have a certain sharpness and should be used generously. On the other hand, the cumin powder smell is less intense as it blends well with other spices in the dish.

In addition, the cumin flavor will disperse more evenly when you use the powder.  This even dispersal will give out a pleasant aroma.

The strong smell of cumin tends to permeate your skin pores, which will mess up your body’s natural odor.

This is the primary reason some people detest it and relate it to body odor (BO).

The smell will stick to your furniture and other items for those who daily use cumin.

To remove the cumin odor, you should open windows to ventilate your kitchen when cooking. Also, use natural cleaning solutions in your kitchen.

This will prevent the build-up of the smell that may become irritating, especially to visitors. 


As individuals, we all have our personal opinions about various things. And this also applies to our sense of smell.

So we perceive one thing in different ways as it suits us. Certain cultures find cumin fragrant and enjoy it in their cuisine.

Although others do not share this impression, the best thing is to try it out before concluding.

Get your personal opinion after perceiving cumin in its natural state and a dish.

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