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20 Essential Herbs & Spices for Every Home Cook

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If you’re wondering what spices you should have on hand in your pantry, check out our must haves. Here are 20 essential herbs & spices that every home cook should have on hand to make delicious meals. With these spices, you’ll be able to add flavor and depth to all kinds of dishes. So stock up on these spices and get cooking!

20 Essential Herbs & Spices for Every Home Cook

Looking to add flavor and depth to all of your dishes?

Check out our recommended list of must have dried herbs and spices. With these spices, you’ll be able to make delicious meals that everyone will love. If you’re not familiar with some of our suggestions try adding some excitement to your cooking routine by experimenting with new flavors. With this list of essential spices, you’ll have everything you need to create amazing dishes.

Pantry spices are a necessary component of any home cook’s arsenal. They can take a dish from bland to flavor-packed in no time, and they keep for a long time so you always have them on hand when you need them. But which spices should you stock your pantry with?

Here are 20 essential spices that every home cook should have on hand:

1. Salt – Used to add flavor or as a seasoning. We use pink Himalayan sea salt, kosher salt and sea salt flakes (as a finishing)

2. Whole Peppercorns – Black, white, and green peppers are all essential spices that can be used in a variety of dishes.

3. Garlic powder – Adds garlic flavor without the hassle of fresh garlic cloves. We prefer non-roasted garlic powder.

4. Onion powder – Another spice that adds onion flavor without the need for fresh onions.

5. Cumin – A strong, earthy spice that’s often used in Mexican and Indian dishes.

6. Fennel Seeds – Fennel seeds are small, dark and have anise flavor. They’re often used in the Mediterranean region and used to flavor Italian sausage.

7. Paprika – A sweet, mild spice that’s often used as a garnish. We also use smoked paprika quite often.

8. Oregano – A pungent, aromatic herb that’s used in a variety of cuisines.

9. Thyme – Another strong herb that’s commonly used in French and Jamaican cuisines.

10. Basil – A sweet, fragrant herb that’s often used in Italian dishes.

11. Rosemary – A woodsy, earthy herb that works well with meats and vegetables.

12. Cinnamon – A warm, sweet spice that’s often used in desserts and baking.

13. Nutmeg – Another sweet spice that’s often used in baking and desserts.

14. Parsley – The flavor of parsley (yes, it has flavor!) is herbal and fresh with notes like lemon or mint.

15. Bay Leaves – Bay leaves are the small, round dried plants. They lend their unique aroma to dishes like pot roast and vegetable soup, among other things!

16. Dill – Dried dill has a much more delicate flavor than fresh. The bite is subtle and refreshing, not sharp like some other spices might be when they’re freshly ground or grated.

17. Cajun/Creole Seasoning – A tasty and aromatic blend of spices, Cajun seasoning is used in many dishes to flavor them. You can find this flavorful mix at your local grocery and blend up your own using spices on the list!

18. Chili Powder – Made from dried red chilis, usually ancho or guajillo types. Its flavor has hints of sweetness that meld well with other ingredients like chocolate.

19. Cayenne Pepper – This spice can be found in many cuisines around the world. It’s commonly used to add heat to dishes without changing the flavor profile.

20. Curry Powder – Curry powder is the spices that give curry its signature taste. The most common types of curries use cumin, coriander and black pepper in addition to other flavorings such as ginger or garlic for extra spice levels.

These are just a few of the essential spices that every home cook should have on hand. With these spices, you’ll be able to make a variety of delicious dishes that will impress your family and friends. While they didn’t make our top twenty, we have to give a shout out to ginger powder, celery seeds, ground mustard, cardamom, saffron and allspice.

How do you store dried spices and herbs?

Dried spices and herbs should be stored in a cool, dry place. This will help to keep them fresh for longer. You can store them in a spice rack, in a cabinet, or in a drawer. Just make sure that they are not exposed to light or heat, as this can cause them to lose their flavor.

How long do dried herbs and spices last?

Dried herbs and spices can last for a long time if they are stored properly. However, it is best to use them within 1-2 years for the best flavor. After that, they may still be safe to use, but the flavor will not be as strong.

Can you substitute fresh herbs for dried herbs?

Yes, you can substitute fresh herbs for dried herbs. However, you will need to use more fresh herbs than you would dried, as they are not as concentrated in flavor. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, you would need to use 3 teaspoons of fresh thyme.

What is the best way to use dried spices?

The best way to use dried spices is to add them early in the cooking process so that they have time to release their flavor. You can also grind them into a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, which will give dishes a more intense flavor.

What are some of your must have herbs and spices? Did we miss any on our list?

See some of our recipes that pack in the spice!

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Meet Dee

Meet Dee

I love to share recipes with real ingredients that are both sweet and savory (especially sweet:) My mission with Scratch Market is to inspire you with recipes that will bring your families together in the kitchen. I'm introverted at heart but know how important socializing can be for maintaining good relationships, when writing not only am looking forward to sharing information - It's also building connections between readers who love good food as much as I do!

4 Responses

  1. I found this post so useful. I’m clearing out my spice cabinet, and starting from scratch. This is the collection that will cover all the bases. Thank you!

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