Best Spices to Stock in Your Pantry


The best way to add more flavor to your food is to stock your pantry with high-quality herbs and spices. 

When you set up your kitchen, the ingredients you choose to have available are very personal. You’ll find some people offering lists of 50+ herbs and spices to add to the pantry.

Although some may consider an extensive list to be essential, what you purchase should reflect what you prefer to cook. Making beef stew regularly has a different set of spice requirements than following a baked salmon recipe.

This checklist of spices to add to your pantry follows the various needs that most people face with their cooking activities. Before you proceed with stocking up on one of these lists, you should invest in some high-quality salt and black pepper. Whole varieties are almost always the best option.

Best Spices for Sweet Dishes

  • Cinnamon is a versatile spice that you can use on almost anything. Having some powder available is useful for a quick dose of flavor, but it helps to have some sticks to use for baking.
  • Nutmeg is better when you can get an entire nut to grate at home.
  • Vanilla extract is an expensive addition to your pantry, but it provides that boost of flavor to your baked goods that you love. Don’t settle for the synthetic option.
  • Cardamom is another spice that pairs well with most foods, especially when using cinnamon.
  • Ginger is helpful for cakes and cookies. It also helps your body fight feelings of nausea, especially when it is related to motion sickness.

Best Spices for Savory Recipes

  • Chili powder is versatile because it features well in most Mexican and Texan dishes. Tacos, barbecue, enchiladas, and homemade chili are excellent dishes that can come from your kitchen with this spice.
  • Cumin provides a rich flavor with plenty of punch that features heavily in African and Indian cuisine. Adding it to a steak with garlic and butter is an otherworldly experience.
  • Cayenne pepper is the perfect choice for people who love spicy food. The capsaicin found in fresh ingredients may be helpful as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Paprika is wonderful because it comes in several varieties. Smoked and sweet options are the most popular, but an aged powder provides some heat.
  • Garlic powder is useful when it is a pure product. Don’t buy items that use anti-caking ingredients.
  • Italian seasoning is a rich blend of dried herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme. If you make lots of tomato-based sauces at home, this item is a pantry essential.

How to Store Your Spices Appropriately

When you purchase spices in small jars, you can store the ingredient in its container. The problem that some shoppers experience is when they buy in bulk. If you get a plastic bag, you’ll want to buy an empty glass jar to contain the item in your pantry.

Jars do more than keep your kitchen in order. They protect the spices from oxygen and heat to maintain their freshness longer. It helps to label each container to ensure that you don’t confuse the chili powder for the cayenne!

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