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A sachet bag filled with herbs, spices, and other aromatics is an easy-as-it-gets way to add flavor to simmering soups, poaching liquids, or mulled wine. Grab the kitchen twine and some cheesecloth and let’s sachet!
Making a bouquet garni or cooking sachet is a sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, sodium-free, fat-free and completely all natural way to season the food you cook. An assortment of fun ingredients that can simmer right along with the food in the pot will always take your cooking up a notch, guaranteed.
For centuries, chefs and cooks all around the world have used sachets as a way to infuse flavor into their recipes. Similar to a bouquet garni that uses fresh aromatics and herbs all bundled together with kitchen swine or string, a sachet d’epices is a little cheesecloth bag that holds the small stuff: peppercorns, star anise, dried herbs, cloves—you name it. Once it does its job, it’s easy to fish out and throw away.
Making a sachet is also a great way to use traditional bouquet garni herbs in their dried form, which can be more economical when fresh herbs get expensive at the store. If you’re trying to decide whether to use a classic bouquet garni or a sachet, cruise over to How to Make a Bouquet Garni to get more details.
Basically, if the ingredients you’re planning to use can be bundled up together neatly and don’t include any small peppercorns or spices, a bouquet garni might be better suited in the recipe. But if you’re using spices, a sachet is where it’s at. Sometimes, the two terms are used interchangeably, but it’s good to know the difference.
Making mulled apple cider for Game Day? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
How so you pronounce Sachet d’Epices?
French for “a small bag of spices,” this one is pretty easy to say: Sash-ay’ day-peace’
How to make a Sachet:
To make a sachet, all you really need is cheesecloth and some kitchen twine. If you like, you can purchase those cute little sachet bags, made out of cheesecloth or muslin. They work great and make things easy, since they usually have a drawstring. But you definitely don’t need them, because you can make your own spice bag alternative in no time at all.
First, using scissors, cut a square of cheesecloth. If you’re planning on using tiny dried ingredients, consider making it a double layer of cheesecloth to hold all the really tiny bits inside the sachet.
Next, gather your ingredients, and place them all in the center of the cloth.
Gather together the corners of the square and bundle them up with the twine. Keep one long tail of twine so you can tie it to the handle of the pot and pull it up easily when it’s finished working its magic.
What can you put in a sachet?
This all depends on what you’re cooking. I like to ponder the main ingredients of my recipe, then I think about complimentary flavors that might enhance it.
If you’re using a sachet to make hot apple cider, for example, you want to use apple-friendly spices: cinnamon, allspice, clove, star anise, peppercorns.
If you’re making mulled wine using a sachet bag, you might consider similar ingredients: dried citrus peel, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom pods.
If you’re poaching chicken to make Chinese Chicken Salad, try making a sachet bag with star anise, coriander, and white peppercorns.
Fun and Interesting Sachet Recipe Ideas:
- Thyme, celery stalk, lemon peel, and bay leaf for Chicken Quinoa Soup.
- Cardamom, clove, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and star anise in hot black tea to make a delicious pot of chai.
- Cloves, orange peel, cinnamon made into a mulling sachet and placed in a slow cooker for hot mulled wine or Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider.
- Kaffir lime leaf, cilantro, coriander, and a sliver of ginger root for Indian-style lentils, Curried Quinoa Salad, or chickpeas.
- Parsley, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns for a classic bouquet garni for Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup.
- Rosemary, basil, chili peppers, fennel seeds, and oregano for a spicy Italian tomato sauce for Sunday supper.
- Bay leaf, lime peel, and coriander seeds for Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice.
- Thyme, bay leaf, and pink peppercorns for Mediterranean Lentil Salad.
- Tarragon, bay leaf, and peppercorns in the cooking liquid of poached chicken for chicken salad.
- Star anise, pink peppercorns, cinnamon in gently cooked oranges for Orange Marmalade.
How to Make a Sachet
- 4-6 parsley stems chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon black, pink, or white peppercorns
- 4-6 whole cloves optional
- 1 star anise optional
- cotton or hemp unwaxed twine
- 4" square of cheesecloth
- Place the herbs and aromatics in the center of the square of cheesecloth. Gather the corners together to make a small pouch, tying it tightly with twine.
- Keep one length of the twine long enough to tie to one of the pot handles, for easy removal.
Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.