Not only do spices add a punch of flavor to every meal, but they also contain numerous health benefits that our body craves.
Whether your spice pantry is looking a little empty or you just moved to a new place, you need about seven key spices in order to make a solid range of flavorful food that doesn’t just taste bland with some salt and pepper.
Keeping your pantry stocked with versatile spices will give you the opportunity to cook whatever flavors you’re craving on any given day.
Of course, there are a ton of different spices out there, and it’s not always clear which ones you absolutely need and which you could live without.
So instead of buying an abundance of different spices that you might not use all the time, stock up on the basics first.
This list is generally a good place to start if you’re someone who’s just starting to cook and fill out a spice rack.
Ginger is very versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. It packs a punch of flavor and also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You can even add a spoonful of ginger into your smoothies or tea! Ginger is also especially popular for baking and is the main ingredient in popular cookies such as gingerbread men and gingersnaps.
Paprika works well on most foods and can be sprinkled on chicken, roasted vegetables, and in many other dishes. It comes in a variety of flavors as well, such as sweet or smoky, to give your cooking additional flavor. You can use it in a dry rub for meats, garnishing deviled eggs, or when making a glaze. Paprika also has antioxidant properties that can help improve immunity.
When you want to add sweetness to a dish without adding any additional sugar, cinnamon is the spice to grab. Cinnamon is used in a variety of cuisines throughout the world and is popular in breakfast cereals, snack foods, and tea. You can even sprinkle some cinnamon on top of your yogurt or oats in the morning or on root vegetables like sweet potatoes.
Cumin instantly adds a depth of flavor to any dish with its warm, earthy flavor. Cumin is typically the main ingredient in taco seasoning and chili powder and can be used in a variety of dishes. Cumin seeds also contain naturally occurring substances that work as antioxidants and may help lower cholesterol levels and aid in weight loss.
- Curry Powder
Curry Powder packs in a lot of flavors because it’s not just one single spice. It’s actually a blend of spices that consist of turmeric, chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, and pepper. Curry powder originated in India, and you can buy it at most supermarkets or even make your own. It’s great to add curry powder to dishes such as stir-frys, stews, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, and even roasted vegetables.
- Cayenne Pepper
Some people get cayenne and red pepper flakes confused. Cayenne powder is made only from dried and crushed cayenne peppers, while crushed red pepper flakes are made from a mixture of three to four different peppers. Cayenne pepper adds a perfect amount of heat to recipes like chili, pasta sauces, or vegetable dishes like beans and greens.
Thyme has a pronounced herbal flavor that can be added to a dish at any stage of cooking. It’s especially good to throw into stocks, stews, and anything else you plan on cooking for a long time because it leaves sharp earthy, floral notes in your dish.
Stocking your pantry with versatile spices will give you the ability to cook whatever flavors you’re craving. As you cook more, you can slowly build up your arsenal and get more specialized, but these are some of the staple spices you should always have stocked in your pantry.
About The Author:
Brooke Kelly is a freelance writer and business journalist from New York City. When she’s not working, you can find her traveling, jamming to music, and hiking with her corgi.