भोजन को सुवास बनाने, रंगने या संरक्षित करने के उद्देश्य से उसमें मिलाए जाने वाले सूखे बीज, फल, जड़, छाल, या सब्जियों को ‘मसाला (spice) कहते हैं।

A Spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, berry, bud or other vegetable substance primarily used for flavouring, colouring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from Herbs, which are parts of leafy green plants used for flavouring or as a garnish.

Many spices have antimicrobial properties. This may explain why spices are more commonly used in warmer climates, which have more infectious diseases, and why the use of spices is prominent in meat, which is particularly susceptible to spoiling. Spices are majorly used in medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics or perfume production, or as a vegetable.