5 Essential Spices for Every Pantry

Having the right spices at the right time can save you a ton of time.

There are dozens upon dozens of spices available out there. Depending on how you eat, these will change day-to-day. Even then, there are essential spices that every kitchen needs to have.

Not all people need too many spices. With the right list of spices, would-be kitchen divas could cover a swathe of flavor notes for every dish.

Quick List of Essential Spices

  • Salt

Salt is the most essential spice any home will ever have. There are many types of salt out there, with different flavor profiles and mouthfeel.

It’s best to keep either flakey sea salt or kosher salt at your home. There’s nothing that can enhance flavors more than salt.

  • Whole Black Peppercorns

Whole black peppercorns are as essential as it gets when it comes to essential spices. It gives a good zing to the food and pungency that adds texture to food.

Why whole black peppercorns? It’s crucial to have the fresh taste of peppercorn. Having a small crank pepper grinder and whole peppercorns can give that brighter taste.

  • Cayenne Pepper

Another solid addition to any essential spice list is cayenne. A small pinch is all you need to give an extra kick to your food.

Cayenne is excellent for a mildly hot and spicy finish, but don’t mistake spice with flavor. Good food is not always spicy, but a bit on your chili or stews will have the right snap and is great to pair with a game night in when you're stuck at home.

  • Cinnamon

Cinnamon is essential in cooking and baking. Most people know the spice as a sweet add-on, but it can add more complexity to your food.

Use it in desserts, soups, salad dressing, and even roast meat rub. It can add depth to the flavor of your dishes.

  • Dried Oregano

Dried oregano can add a woodsy, pungent depth to your sauces.

If you like pasta, dried basil means the world to a good marinara. If you like pizza, there’s no pizza taste like oregano. For people who like casseroles, stews, and soups, bay leaves can change the very dynamics of your food.