To make impromptu cooking a breeze at home you need to have a properly stocked kitchen. Staple spices are a big part of flavor development when making meals. If you keep a properly stocked spice cabinet your food will come out so flavorful on a more consistent bases. Read the list of 11 spices below to have a diverse spice cabinet equipped for delicious cooking.
This post is covering 11 spices that are kitchen staples you need.
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1. Chili Powder
This is first up due to its versatility. Chili powder is going to help add the missing flavor to a lot of different sauces, soups, braises, rubs, and so much more. If you are looking to add another level of rounded flavor try adding chili powder a 1/2 teaspoon at a time and you will see your dishes transform.
Try it in your next egg salad.
2. Dried Cayenne
Cayenne is going to be used similarly to chili powder but with some extra heat. If you have a recipe in mind that could benefit from some spiciness add cayenne a couple pinches at a time. Use cayenne on chicken and meats before cooking them.
Also try fresh cayenne pepper diced up in a fresh salad for some heat.
3. Dried Oregano
Although this is an herb using it dried as a spice all year is going to add some much needed freshness to your heavier dishes. If you are cooking heavier dishes adding some dried oregano in the beginning of the cooking process will result in a fresher flavor profile.
Try adding dried oregano on homemade croutons.
Turmeric should always be in your spice cabinet. This is going to be your go to spice for curries and anything you want to add a little color and plenty of flavor to. When you start a dish with sweating onions and garlic try adding a teaspoon of dried ground turmeric and toasting it for 2-3 minutes and your food will come out with a really savory and middle eastern flavor profile.
Try it in your next paella for a unique take on the seafood dish.
5. Red Pepper Flakes
This seasoning is great for so many different purposes. It’s going to add subtle spice without altering flavors too much. Anything you want to be a little bit spicy but otherwise stay the same use red pepper flakes.
Try it on oven roasted asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Pepper is going to encompass black peppercorns and pink peppercorns. You should have both stocked in your spice cabinet but for different uses. Always try for whole peppercorns and invest in two pepper mills or a mortar and pestle. Adding fresh cracked pepper can take a good dish to wow with a few cracks of the mill. If you are making anything fresh like salads or sandwiches always finish them with fresh cracked pepper.
Try pink peppercorns cracked on top of scallops before pan searing them.
If you ever cook seafood you should have coriander in your kitchen. A little bit of coriander can go a long way so season with a light hand. Any pan seared or roasted white fish could use a little coriander seed. Fresh cracked or ground coriander seed is best but to save time you can buy pre ground coriander.
Also try a little coriander in banana bread, apple pie, or pumpkin pie.
Similarly to coriander a little cumin can go a long way. Cumin can really elevate a braised meat dish or seasoned rice. Any recipe that is already utilizing some warm savory spices will benefit from some cumin. If a dish is lacking some warm savory spice start with a little cumin, taste it and add more if it needs it.
Try some cumin in duchess potatoes for a more holiday flavor forward side dish.
If you are using chili powder, use paprika in conjunction. The two spices go hand in hand in meat rubs or sauces. If you like a smokey flavor opt for smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is going to elevate savory spices and add another depth of flavor with its smokiness.
Try smoked paprika in potato salad and devil eggs.
10. Lemon Pepper
A less common staple but still a game changer, lemon pepper is great for adding some zesty freshness to your cooking. You can add lemon pepper to pretty much anything and it’s going to help out the flavor profile. If something is lacking acid or salt, but you do not want to add in more salt try adding lemon pepper. It will have a citrusy rounded finish.
Try lemon pepper in a soup or finishing a vegetable forward pasta dish with it.
Most importantly salt is seasoning you need in your spice cabinet. Always salt your food at the beginning of the cooking process. Start with a small amount and build as you go tasting the dish every time you salt it. What is important is the kind of salt you use. Below are three different salt you can use for three different purposes.
Soups, Braises, Pasta Water Salt
Remember to salt as you are cooking little by little tasting before and after you add salt.
Keep your spice cabinet stocked with all of these spices and challenge yourself to use them often. Soon you will be cooking more intuitively and the flavors you will achieve are going to be next level. As you use more spices you will get more comfortable know in what dishes they will work best.