I remember moving into my first apartment. I carefully unpacked all the boxes and started to set up my kitchen. It was exciting to choose where I was going to stack my pots and pans, and where I was going to put my KitchenAid. After everything was set up, though, it was apparent that my kitchen was still very bare.
I had no staples. There wasn’t a single spice in my cabinet besides salt and pepper. I hadn’t even thought of making sure I had enough spices to get by, and spices are expensive. Getting your collection started can cost a pretty penny.
The good news is that spices are versatile and even expanding your stash a little bit can give you a ton of options when cooking. So here are seven spices you need in your pantry at all times.
Cinnamon is one of the most versatile tools you can have in your arsenal. It can be used to make cinnamon toast, or added to oatmeal for breakfast. It also lends itself well to curries and other spicy dishes.
It can be added to hot chocolate for a special treat, and a dash of it in your coffee grounds before brewing adds a richness that’s unparalleled.
This yellow spice has a fairly mild flavor and a bold yellow color. It is versatile and can be used in any number of ways – and turmeric has some amazing health benefits.
From turmeric lattes to sautéed veggies, this one is a keeper as it adds a deep, slightly nutty flavor.
If you’re going to only have a few spices, the key is to find ones that work in many ways. Ginger is another example of that versatility.
It’s a great addition to Asian dishes, curries, and even baked goods like cookies.
4. Curry Powder
Similar in color to turmeric, curry powder offers a lot of depth of flavor. It’s also a spice that is relatively easy to make on your own if you’re feeling adventurous.
Whether you make it or buy it, it does wonderful things to roasted vegetables and goes great in chicken dishes, too.
5. Garlic Powder
Sometimes you don’t have fresh garlic. It might not even be something you keep on hand if you don’t cook with it a lot. Dried garlic powder offers the punch of garlic flavor with the ease of keeping it in the spice rack. Use it on garlic bread, or in soups and sauces. This is definitely one of the most important spices you need.
6. Chile Powder
Ground chilies open the door to a whole host of tasty foods. It can be the basis for tacos, burritos, and other Tex-Mex fare. There’s little this powerful spice can’t be used for, and if you like to cook with heat, you need to stock up.
7. Dried Rosemary
This may be a dried herb more than a spice, but either way it’s a staple in the kitchen. Dried rosemary can be used to add flavor to roasted potatoes, or roast chicken. It’s fragrant and simple, but delicious.