Are Spices Covered by Food Stamps

Individuals who utilize Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, may wonder if their benefits extend to the purchase of spices. The program’s guidelines provide a clear answer, stating that spices are indeed eligible items under SNAP. This means that participants can use their benefits to buy various types of spices, such as pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and paprika, to enhance the flavor of their meals. The inclusion of spices in SNAP is significant as it allows participants to have access to a diverse range of seasonings, encouraging the preparation of nutritious and flavorful meals at home. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals looking to maintain a healthy diet while managing their food budget.

SNAP Eligible Food List

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a government-sponsored program that provides food assistance to low-income individuals and families. The program allows participants to purchase a variety of food items, including spices, at authorized retailers.

To determine which food items are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains a list of approved items. The list includes a wide range of food groups, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Grains
  • Snacks
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

Spices are included in the SNAP-eligible food list. This means that participants can use their SNAP benefits to purchase a variety of spices, including:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Basil

Spices are an important part of a healthy diet. They can add flavor and variety to meals, and they can also help to boost the nutritional value of foods. SNAP participants are encouraged to use their benefits to purchase spices in order to improve the quality of their diets.

SNAP Eligible Food List
Food GroupExamples
Fruits and vegetablesFresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables
Meat, poultry, and fishFresh, frozen, or canned meat, poultry, or fish
Dairy productsMilk, yogurt, cheese, or eggs
GrainsBread, cereal, pasta, or rice
SnacksFruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or yogurt
Non-alcoholic beveragesWater, juice, milk, or tea
SpicesSalt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, basil

Food Stamps and Spices: What’s Not Covered?

Food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are designed to help low-income individuals and families purchase food. While most food items are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits, there are some exceptions. Spices are one item that is not covered by food stamps.

Types of Spices Not Covered

  • Dried spices, such as oregano, basil, and thyme
  • Ground spices, such as garlic powder and onion powder
  • Whole spices, such as cinnamon sticks and cloves
  • Spice blends, such as curry powder and chili powder
  • Herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, and mint
  • Seeds, such as mustard seeds and cumin seeds

Why Are Spices Not Covered?

There are a few reasons why spices are not covered by food stamps. First, spices are considered non-essential food items. They are not necessary for a healthy diet, and they are not a significant source of nutrients. Second, spices are relatively inexpensive. Even for low-income families, spices are not a major expense.

Alternative Ways to Get Spices

If you are on a tight budget, there are a few ways to get spices without using food stamps. You can:

  • Buy spices in bulk. This is a great way to save money on spices, especially if you use them frequently.
  • Shop at discount stores. Discount stores often sell spices at lower prices than regular grocery stores.
  • Grow your own spices. If you have a green thumb, you can grow your own spices at home.
  • Get creative with your cooking. There are many ways to add flavor to your food without using spices. Try using fresh herbs, citrus, or vinegars.

Table: Types of Spices Not Covered by Food Stamps

Spice TypeExamples
Dried spicesOregano, basil, thyme
Ground spicesGarlic powder, onion powder
Whole spicesCinnamon sticks, cloves
Spice blendsCurry powder, chili powder
HerbsParsley, cilantro, mint
SeedsMustard seeds, cumin seeds

Cooking Oils

Cooking oils are not covered by food stamps. This includes vegetable oils, olive oil, and canola oil. Cooking oils are considered a non-food item and are therefore not eligible for purchase with food stamps.


  • Spices are covered by food stamps. This includes spices such as salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, and cumin.
  • Spices are considered a food item and are therefore eligible for purchase with food stamps.
  • Spices can be purchased at any grocery store or supermarket that accepts food stamps.
SpiceFood Stamp Eligibility
Chili powderYes

Spices: A Nutritious and Affordable Addition to Food Stamp-Eligible Meals

Spices are a staple in many kitchens, adding flavor and complexity to dishes. Not only do they enhance the taste of food, but they also offer numerous health benefits. For individuals and families using food stamps, spices present an affordable and versatile way to create nutritious and flavorful meals.

Health Benefits of Spices

  • Antioxidant Properties: Many spices contain antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Some spices have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Improved Digestion: Certain spices, such as ginger and cumin, can aid in digestion and relieve digestive discomfort.
  • Potential Cancer-Fighting Properties: Some studies have suggested that certain spices, like turmeric and chili peppers, may have cancer-fighting compounds.

Spices Covered by Food Stamps

The majority of spices are covered by food stamps, making them an accessible option for individuals and families seeking to enhance their meals. This includes ground and whole spices, as well as blends and seasonings. Some examples of commonly used spices eligible for purchase with food stamps include:

  • Black pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Mustard
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Turmeric

Cost-Effective Ways to Incorporate Spices into Meals

  • Buy in Bulk: Purchasing spices in larger quantities can often save money in the long run.
  • Use Spices Wisely: A little goes a long way, so use spices judiciously to avoid wasting them.
  • Experiment with Different Spices: Try out various spices to discover new flavor combinations and find favorites that fit your taste preferences.
  • Make Your Own Spice Blends: Creating custom spice blends allows for tailored flavor profiles and can be more cost-effective than buying pre-mixed blends.
  • Grow Your Own Spices: If you have the space and climate, growing your own spices can be a rewarding and cost-saving endeavor.

Examples of Nutritious and Flavorful Meals Using Food Stamp-Eligible Spices

MealSpices Used
Chicken Stir-FryGarlic powder, ginger, chili powder, black pepper
Vegetable CurryCumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika
Lentil SoupCumin, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes
Baked SalmonLemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika
Quinoa SaladCumin, coriander, paprika, black pepper

By incorporating spices into food stamp-eligible meals, individuals and families can enjoy flavorful and nutritious dishes while staying within their budget.

Well folks, that’s about all I have for you today in regard to the spicy subject: are spices covered by food stamps? I hope you found this information helpful and eye-opening. If you have any more questions about food stamps or anything else, be sure to check out the rest of our website. We’ve got a ton of great articles that can help you save money and live a healthier life. Thanks for reading, and come back soon for more food for thought!