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The Best Spices To Always Have On Hand

When you look in your pantry, you likely find yourself using and replacing the same ingredients over and over again.  For me, I am always pulling containers off my spice rack to add to whatever I might be making, whether it’s a simple marinade, a soup or a pasta dish.  There is something about spices that can take a dish from good to great.  Whether you are a seasoned cook or a beginner baker, there are a handful of spices you should always have on hand in the kitchen to add a little extra flavor to your dishes.  Below you’ll find the seven spices that I find myself using over and over again and are a staple in my pantry.

Garlic Powder

First, garlic powder is exactly what it sounds like: garlic that has been dehydrated and then crushed into a powder.  I regularly use garlic powder in place of garlic in my cooking because it is less smelly.  You can generally substitute 1/8 tsp of garlic powder for every clove of garlic called for in a recipe.  It is commonly used in sauces, pasta and pizza, as well as seasoning meats.

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Recipe: Husband Approved Dry Rub

garlic powder


Cumin originates in the Middle East and India and is used in a wide variety of dishes in both its whole form (the seed) or crushed into a powder.  It is very aromatic and is often used in curries and chili.  We use it in our homemade salsa and it really elevates the flavor!

Recipe: Easy Indian Chicken Curry

best spices cumin

Onion Powder

Onion powder is the dehydrated, powdered form of an onion.  You can use it in your recipes the same way you would a regular onion by substituting 1 Tbsp of onion powder for 1 medium chopped onion.  Onion powder is a very common seasoning and is used in a variety of sauces, soups and salad dressings.

Recipe: Quick Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

best spices


Cayenne powder is made from dried, ground cayenne pepper, which is a moderately hot chili pepper.  You don’t have to use very much to give your dish a little kick of extra flavor.  Cayenne can be used in egg dishes, soups and stews, and cheese dishes.

Recipe: Cayenne Cheddar Breakfast Biscuits



Cinnamon is one of the most common and widely used spices, as it can be added to both sweet and savory dishes.  It comes from the inner bark of a certain variety of trees found primarily in Indonesia and China.

Recipe: Cinnamon Roll Bites for Two



Nutmeg comes from the seed of a species of nutmeg tree that has been dried and then ground.  It is a very fragrant spice that is also versatile and can be found in savory and sweet dishes like rice pudding and squash.  We love to use it in cream-based soups as well for an added layer of warmth and spice.

Recipe: Great-Grannie’s Old Fashioned Coffee Cake



Last, I love to use paprika in cooking for both flavor and color. It comes from the dried fruit of a pepper plant.  You can use it in rice dishes, soups, mixed with meat (like sausage) or as a garnish (like on deviled eggs).

Recipe: Quick Chicken Paprika Rice


What is a spice that you find yourself using all the time?

The Best Spices to Always Have on Hand

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