Assortment of Spices

Spices to Have in Your Pantry

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Spices are the secret ingredients that transform any dish from ordinary to extraordinary by adding a new depth of flavor. Having a well-stocked pantry filled with a variety of spices will not only enhance the flavors of your meals but also open up a world of culinary possibilities for all home cooks. As someone who preps for emergencies and wants healthy and delicious meals, check out these spices to have in your pantry. How To Stock A Pantry

It’s a good time to look through your spices and see if you are in need of replacing any of your favorites and consider adding new ones you haven’t used before. Spice Rack Organizer

Spices to Have in Your Pantry

Spices to Have in Your Pantry

1. Cumin

Cumin is a versatile spice often used in Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Its warm and earthy flavor adds depth to curries, chili, roasted vegetables, and even homemade bread. Toasting whole cumin seeds before grinding them releases their aroma and intensifies their flavor. I have found ground cumin to be a welcome addition to many of my meal recipes.

2. Paprika

Paprika is a vibrant red spice made from dried and ground peppers. It comes in various heat levels, ranging from mild to hot. This spice is commonly used in Hungarian and Spanish dishes, adding a rich, smoky flavor and a beautiful color to stews, soups, and rice dishes.

3. Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is a convenient alternative to fresh garlic, especially when you don’t have time to peel and chop the garlic cloves. It adds a savory, umami flavor to marinades, rubs, and sauces. Remember to use it sparingly as it can easily overpower other flavors.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a sweet and aromatic spice that pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes. It’s commonly used in baking, oatmeal dishes, and desserts, but it can also add so much flavor to stews, curries, and roasted vegetables. Cinnamon: Everything You Need to Know

5. Chili Powder

Chili powder is a blend of ground chili peppers along with other spices like cumin, paprika, and garlic powder. It adds a kick of heat and a complex flavor to chili, tacos, enchiladas, and even chocolate-based desserts.

6. Oregano

Oregano is a staple herb in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines. It has a robust and slightly bitter flavor that pairs well with tomatoes, pasta dishes, pizzas, and roasted vegetables. Opt for dried oregano as it has a more concentrated flavor than fresh oregano. You’ll find that many dried herbs have the same effect.

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7. Turmeric

Turmeric is a vibrant yellow spice commonly used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines. It has a slightly bitter flavor and a warm, earthy aroma. Besides adding color to dishes, turmeric also offers numerous health benefits due to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

8. Ginger

Ginger adds a refreshing and zesty flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. It’s commonly used in stir-fries, curries, marinades, and baked goods. Fresh ginger can be grated or minced, while ground ginger is a convenient option for baking.

9. Black Pepper

Black pepper is one of the most widely used spices around the world. Its pungent and spicy flavor enhances the taste of almost any dish. Use freshly ground black peppercorns for maximum flavor, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different types like Tellicherry or Malabar pepper.

10. Coriander

Coriander seeds have a warm, citrusy flavor that enhances both sweet and savory dishes. They are commonly used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisines. Toasting and grinding whole coriander seeds brings out their fragrance and adds depth to curries, soups, and roasted meats.

11. Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika is a variety of paprika that has been smoked over an open flame, giving it a distinct smoky flavor. It adds a delicious depth to marinades, rubs, and barbecue sauces. Sprinkle it on roasted potatoes or use it to season grilled meats for a smoky kick.

12. Cardamom

Cardamom is a highly aromatic spice with a unique flavor profile that combines floral, citrusy, and slightly spicy notes. It is widely used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian cuisines. Ground cardamom is perfect for adding warmth to baked goods, coffee, and chai tea.

13. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a versatile spice that adds so much to both sweet and savory dishes. It pairs well with dairy-based recipes like creamy pasta sauces, custards, and eggnog. Grate fresh nutmeg for the best flavor, and be cautious as a little goes a long way.

14. Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are aromatic leaves commonly used in soups, stews, and braised dishes for their subtle earthy flavor. They add complexity and depth to slow-cooked recipes. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving, as they are not meant to be eaten.

15. Allspice

Despite its name, allspice is not a blend of spices but rather a single spice with a flavor reminiscent of a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It’s commonly used in Caribbean and Middle Eastern cuisines, adding spice to dishes like jerk chicken, curries, and baked goods.

16. Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds come in various colors, including yellow, brown, and black. They have a pungent and slightly bitter flavor, adding depth to pickles, marinades, and salad dressings. Toasting mustard seeds before using them releases their aroma and enhances their flavor. This will become one of your favorite spices to have in your pantry and every home cook should have it on their shelves!

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17. Garam Masala

Garam masala is a traditional Indian spice blend made from a combination of ground spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and coriander. It adds warmth and complexity to curries, lentil dishes, and roasted vegetables. Consider making your own garam masala blend for a personalized touch.

18. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne peppers belong to the same plant family as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. They are a type of chili pepper and will have a moderately hot and spicy flavor. Cayenne pepper has a number of health benefits, one of which is the reduced need for salt in recipes.

19. Basil

Often called sweet basil and great basil, this culinary herb is a tender plant that cooks use worldwide in a variety of cuisines. Basil is part of the mint family and is grown for the use of its aromatic leaves. It is thought to be native to India and is used as both a dried and fresh kitchen herb to bring out flavor in fish, meats, sauces, and salads.

20. Onion Powder

Onion powder is a spice that can actually be homemade by dehydrating and grinding onions. Most commonly it is a commercial product most cooks use as a seasoning and can be made from white, red, and yellow onions. Another variety is called onion salt where you mix onion powder and salt.

21. Red Pepper Flakes

Sometimes called crushed red pepper, red pepper flakes are a spice or condiment made from dried and crushed red chili peppers or cayenne peppers. You often see them on the table at your favorite pizza parlor as something you can sprinkle on that slice of pizza for a unique additional flavoring.

22. Taco Seasoning

I wanted to add this item since we eat a lot of tacos and use taco seasoning to make them extra special. This seasoning is actually something you can make at home with many of the spices listed above, including chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.

23. Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence is a French herb blend that typically includes thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, and lavender. It adds a fragrant and aromatic touch to roasted meats, vegetables, and sauces. Now this is one of the most important spices to have in your pantry.

24. Other Spices to Consider

As mentioned in item 23 above, there are a few other spices to consider adding to your spice rake or pantry selves. Thyme, rosemary, lavender, and marjoram are also spices many cooks rely on to add a unique flavor approach to meals.

Be willing to experiment with the various spices discussed in this post and find those you like and your family requests.

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Final Word

With these additional spices in your pantry, your family and meal guests will be super happy! Remember to store your spices in a cool, dark place to preserve their flavor and potency. Fresh is always best, so be sure to inspect your spice containers from time to time and discard those that have passed their “use by” date. May God Bless this World, Linda

Copyright Images: Assortment of Spices Depositphotos_30884485_S by Belchonock

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  1. Thanks, Linda –
    I like to go to the bulk section in grocery stores for my spices. That way I can buy small quantities. I remember one time I needed 5 cloves for a recipe! I didn’t want to spend the money for a bottle of cloves that I didn’t have any other purpose (aka recipes). So, I hit the bulk section at my local store and purchased 5 cloves – it didn’t even register on the scale at the checkout!! But they had a $0.25 minimum! As it ended up, I didn’t care for the results from the recipe, so I didn’t waste money on a whole bottle of cloves!
    With the price of spices, I would like to know a good way to store them, so they last a lot longer. I do have several like cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander that I have in whole form. I grind those as I need them but there are others that just don’t come in whole form!

    1. Hi Leanne, I love your story about the 5 cloves!! I totally agree on the expensive price of spices! When I was raising my family I bought the large jars of spices, not anymore, they do in fact go rancid, some of them. I learned this when a Bosch store asked me to teach people how to make bread, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, and how to dehydrate food. I worked there for a couple years it was so fun, I got “paid” in nice small appliances. Anyway, I also was privy to invitations to the Chefs they invited to their classes. Every Chef said you must have fresh spices. Well, I can guarantee you some of mine are not fresh but I use them until I open the jar and I can’t smell anything. It’s a personal thing, I have so many spices I cannot store them in the freezer, if that would extend the life of them. LOL! Linda

  2. Linda:
    I use some of the spices you mentioned but we also like smoked garlic powder and I use Hungarian Paprika. It has a great flavor. I use the mild form as no one in my family can take the spicy form. It is what my
    Grandparent used and my parents used. I have never seen smoked paprika. You can buy Pride of Szeged Sweet Paprika Powder, Hungarian Style Seasoning Spice, Deep Red, 4 oz. Tin, 6 Pack for $39. The link is: These are smaller cans but 1 large can is $7.95. I will not use any other kind.
    Amazon also has smoked Hungarian Paprika also

  3. I just found out I have to be careful with Ginger. Bad for my kidneys. I see a dietician the day after Thanksgiving. For an hour! Low protein, low salt and who knows what else.

    1. HI Deborah, ginger, oh my gosh! You have an hour meeting with a Dietician after Thanksgiving, I hope it help you my sweet, sweet. I hop you can still have chocolate. Hugs, Linda

  4. Two notes for you,
    We live in the redwood forest and California Bay Laurel grows here. You can pick the leaves and dry them, but only use half as many as they are stronger.
    Cayenne pepper from your kitchen shelf can help with first aid! It can help stop bleeding, internally and externally! A good thing to study up on for emergency need…
    Thank you for all you share!!!

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