20 Herbs and Spices You Should Have in Your Kitchen

For thousands of years, people have used herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of foods and to preserve meat. Herbs are the leaf part of a plant, and spices are any dried parts other than leaves used in cooking. Although spices and herbs enhance the cuisine’s flavors, they are not used as the main ingredient.

Most herbs and spices are still used today, and various additional discoveries add the benefit of giving foods a distinctive touch. Unlike before, acquiring these add-ons is now easy, and you can directly get them at the market or browse herbs and spices online. Whether you’re starting or attempting to spice up your recipes, here are the twenty must-have herbs and spices for your kitchen.

1. Coriander

Coriander spice is made from the seeds of the coriander plant. The spice is used as a food ingredient to prevent contamination. Coriander spice blends well with bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes and is frequently used in marinades, sauces, and soups. 

2. Dried Ginger

Ginger contains vitamins, minerals, and nutrients essential to human health. The ginger spice is commonly used in the kitchen, fresh or powdered. Fresh ginger is best used in cooking various dishes, marinades, soups, and dressings, while powdered ginger can be used in desserts like cakes, cookies, and bread.

3. Saffron

Saffron spice is extracted from the saffron crocus flower. The flavor characteristic of saffron is subtly earthy-sweet with a hint of bitterness that transitions to delicate floral and honey flavors on the palate. Saffron is used in cuisine to flavor food or as an organic yellow dye.

4. Anise

A flowering plant in the parsley family called Pimpinella anisum produces tiny oval fruit known as anise seeds. Anise contains a high percentage of anethole, a licorice-like compound that is thirteen times sweeter than normal sugar. This spice is used to flavor drinks, meats, candy, and milk. 

5. Cinnamon

The cinnamon spice came from the phloem layer of the tropical Cinnamomum tree. Cinnamon can be either purchased as sticks or in powdered form. Additionally, cinnamon has various aromatic substances like cinnamaldehyde, which provides natural spiciness. The cinnamon spice blends well with sugar and is frequently used in savory, meaty recipes like Speedy Cincy Chili. 

6. Black Pepper

Black pepper is a popular spice that offers impressive health benefits. An active ingredient in black pepper, known as piperine, enhances the digestion and absorption of substances. The black pepper spice is used to flavor various foods, including pasta, salad dressings, stews, marinade, vegetables, seafood, and meats. There are many types of pepper, and two of them are red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. 

Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes can add a kick of heat to foods. You can use red pepper flakes on almost anything if you’re a spicy food lover. Red pepper flakes are best used in spaghetti, soups, brines, marinades, pizza, pizza sauce, and sausage.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne is another type of pepper that can add a kick of heat to various foods. You can have cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes in your kitchen, but having the two would be great if you love to cook food and experiment with various dishes.

7. Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is a handy alternative if you’re in a hurry. Although fresh garlic is good, having garlic powder on hand is useful on hectic nights. When buying garlic powder, avoid products that have additional herbs or seasonings, and you may also skip the salt when cooking because some garlic powders are manufactured with salt. 

8. Onion Powder

Given the same purpose as garlic powder, onion powder is a good alternative for hectic nights or emergencies. You can use garlic and onion powder in salads, rubs, vinaigrettes, and spice combinations.

9. Dried Parsley

Dried parsley has a brownish-green color and a strong aroma and bitter flavor. You can store dried parsley in a tight container and refrigerate it for a long time. Dried parsley is commonly used in pasta, pizza, salad, soup, and many more.

10. Dried Oregano

Oregano is frequently used in dishes that contain tomato-based and olive oil sauces, such as spaghetti and pizza. Generally, oregano and olive oil are frequently mixed to create fragrant oregano oil and marinades for dishes with beef, lamb, and poultry meat. 

11. Rosemary

Rosemary is a medicinal herb that can strengthen the brain and memory. Additionally, rosemary contains elements that are advantageous for enhancing circulation and digestion. Rosemary adds flavors to dishes like stews, soups, salads, and casseroles.

12. Dried Basil

Dried basil has many culinary applications, such as soups, stews, pesto, and marinades. The dried basil is also easy to use; you can use it to enhance your food or recipe without needing prior preparation.

13. Bay Leaf

The tea-like or faintly minty scents of bay leaf help lighten heavy meals, lowering the possibility that you may feel sluggish after a heavy meal. Bay leaves provide soup or stew an additional layer of flavor intensity and are best used in preparing stock or broth.

14. Chili Flakes

Chili flakes are safe if not overused. You may add chili flakes at the start of the food preparation if you want a consistent spice. If you want it spicier, you may add chili flakes at the end of the cooking. 

15. Cloves

Cloves can be of two types; whole and ground. Both whole and ground are frequently added to various unique foods to improve their flavor. Due to their adaptability, these little dark brown pods are a common ingredient in many recipes; they spice up baked products and intensify the flavor of stews, meats, and sauces.

16. Paprika

Paprika is a mild spice that gives food a bright color and a light flavor. It is frequently found in many foods, such as eggs, cream sauces, and sausage. If you’re planning to cook macaroni and cheese, you can use paprika to enhance the flavor.

17. Thyme

Thyme is a common ingredient in Mediterranean dishes from Greece, Italy, and France. It is best used for seasoning sauces, stews, and casseroles. Thyme blends well with grains, vegetables, potatoes, and warm toast.

18. Cumin Powder

Cumin powder is the vegetarian’s ultimate favorite as it spices food to a delicious meaty flavor. It can season stews,  rice dishes, soups, barbecue sauces, bread, and pickles. When using cumin in cooking, it is best to use caution because the spice tends to overpower other flavors. 

19. Turmeric

Turmeric is often used as an ingredient in curry powder and spice combinations. Usually, turmeric is in charge of giving the mixture its yellow color. It is an essential component of food coloring in condiments like mustard, pickles, and yellow relish.

20. Chili Powder

Chili powder is a multipurpose seasoning that improves the flavor of several cuisines. The chili powder can be used for spicing curries and other Indian meals. You can also spice up your typical pasta dish by adding chili powder.

Spice Up Your Food!

Aside from these twenty herbs and spices above, there’s still more to discover. Even as little as pepper could impact the taste of your food, don’t exclude your food from different spices that could significantly change your recipe. Get your cart now or browse for herbs and spices online to spice up your food.