Spices/Herbs You Should Always Have On Hand

I get asked a lot about what spices/herbs I keep on hand to cook with. I am going to share with you what I think every cook should have.

1. Sea Salt- This has a great flavor and is better for you than table salt. Some Chef’s prefer the kosher salt, but I still prefer Sea Salt.

2. Nutmeg- I use this in savory dishes all the time. It adds a little bit of hmm to your dishes.

3. Cumin- Gives dishes a smokey flavor, great for soups and sauces and with chicken.

4. Ground Sage- I use this on meats and for sauces.

5. Black Pepper- I use a pepper grinder 100% of the time to grind fresh pepper on all sorts of dishes. I also keep white pepper on hand too.

6. Dried Basil- This is great for pasta’s and sauces and keeps longer than fresh.

7. Paprika- This can be used for sauces, soups, and meat marinades.

8. Thyme- A must for sauces, meats and pasta dishes. Also great for seafood.

9. Oregano- Good for pasta and sauces.




Ground spices release their flavor more quickly than whole spices.

Robust herbs such as sage, thyme and bay leaves stand up well in long cooking while milder herbs like basil, marjoram and parsley can be added at the last minute.

Rub leafy herbs in the palm of your hand to release the flavor and aroma.

Spices such as fennel seed, cumin seed, sesame seed and white peppercorns may be toasted to intensify their flavors.


Courtesy McComick


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The Salty Chef lives in AZ

7 thoughts on “Spices/Herbs You Should Always Have On Hand”

  1. Oh yeah. One of the exact blogs I was looking for. These are the things that I should keep handy. I have most of them, but Oregano or Italian seasoning is a very nice addition. Really can be added to get the extra Tango sometimes. A great one. Thanks a lot.
    Shiaa recently posted..Physical Therapy AssistantMy Profile

  2. Ah, it’s always good to know I have all the right herbs and spices on hand! I like to use whole spices as much as possible for the exact same reason you mention.. I’ve had some trouble with the flavor on ‘old’ ground spices so now I just ground them myself when needed!
    Simone recently posted..Moo Shu – Daring Cooks October 2011My Profile

  3. How can you tell what spices/herbs to add to your food?

    I have gotten back into cooking some, but I don’t know too much about spices and herbs. What spices/herbs give what taste/effect, and what foods use what spices? What spices are always good to have on hand?

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