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The key to a great spice cabinet is variety. You need equal parts sweet, tangy, smoky, spicy and bitter. Whether you know a thing or two about spices or this is your first step toward spice maturity this is the list of spices every foodie needs in their arsenal.
Ground pimenta berries make this aromatic spice taste and smell like a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg with a touch of cloves. In a pinch, you can even mix those three together as a pretty decent substitute. Allspice is most often used in stews, baked goods, and other savory dishes.
Made from dried poblano peppers. This reddish-brown chili powder has a sweet, smoky taste. Common in many Mexican dishes.
Dried basil is one of the most used herbs in the world. Coming from the same family as mint and most frequently utilized in Italian cuisine.
Typically found whole and dried with a woody/nutty flavor that adds amazing flavor to soups and sauces. Fun Fact: Bay leaves are used in Eastern Medicine as a treatment for sore throats.
Freshly ground, black peppercorns have a much stronger flavor than the typical ground pepper you are most familiar with. They get their strong flavor from being left on the vine for longer than the green and red varieties until fully matured.
Made from dried cayenne peppers and among the most common spices found in typical hot sauces or spicy dishes. Cayenne can also be used for medicinal purposes to boost metabolism and lessen hunger cravings.
Chili powder is a mixture of coriander, oregano, cumin and ground chilies. One of the essential spices for Mexican cooking.
Harvested from the bark of several species of trees, this spice adds an earthy zip to both baked goods and savory dishes.
Found about as frequently in potpourri as it is in cooking, cloves provide a sweet pungent flavor and smell to many marinade and stews as well as spice rubs and some baked goods.
Comes from the same family as parsley and is often found in stews and curries and well as dishes like chili and guacamole.
This traditional spice to Southeast Asian and Indian cooking is comprised of a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, chilis, cloves, coriander, cumin, sesame seeds, saffron, nutmeg, fennel, and tamarind.
Extremely versatile and mild flavor found in bread, soups, pickled vegetables as well as salad dressings and other condiments.
Much less intense flavor than fresh garlic. A great go-to for adding subtle, additional flavor to pretty much anything savory. One clove of garlic is roughly equal to a ¼ teaspoon of the ground, dehydrated variety.
Ground ginger provides a strong, sweet, hot flavor to dishes — most often in South Asian and Indian cooking. One of the few spices that have equal utility in sweet dishes as it does in savory ones.
Mostly utilized in baked goods and desserts. This spice comes from seeds of trees in Indonesia. We recommend going with a whole seed and grinding yourself for the freshest, strongest flavor.
See Garlic Powder. Milder than the fresh version and a staple that has to be in every spice cabinet.
Another must have for Italian cooking as it is found in almost every pizza or pasta sauce you’ll ever come across. The wonderful aroma and slightly bitter flavor also go well with many Mediterranean dishes and spice rubs.
Red Pepper Flakes
Want to add some heat to dishes? Then this is your spice. An extremely versatile spice often found in Italian dishes as well as soups, pickles vegetables, and stews.
One of the most popular and flavorful herbs in any spice cabinet. It adds a brilliant smell and earthy taste to many French, Mediterranean and Italian dishes.
The “yin” to black peppercorn’s “yang”. It adds more flavor and texture than table salt and it needs to be in your spice cabinet.
Often used in spice rubs for poultry, red meat, fish and vegetables and most popular in French, Cajun, and Mediterranean cooking. Also often used to infuse oils and vinegar.
A well-stocked spice cabinet is a must-have for any serious home chef. With this list, you’ll have an arsenal of flavors to experiment and improve your cooking skills and a spice cabinet your mom would be proud of.