Top 10 Spices in your Pantry

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on January 24, 2011

Lynn from Mavin of Savin is doing a spice clear out in her pantry and needs to start afresh and anew!  Before she goes at buys out the entire spice rack at the store, she wanted to know…

What are the top 10 spices you MUST HAVE in your cupboard?

Great question Lynn!  And very smart of you to not just go grab a whole bunch at once!  I’d get the ones listed below, then slowly add some of the more exotic spices as you can fit them into your budget. These are most commonly used in budget cooking and ones I can’t live without!

  • Spices for Homemade  Taco Seasoning – chili powder, onion powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (enough to mix up some taco seasoning, and keep some separate)
  • Italian seasonings – either mixed, or individually – Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley
  • Curry powder
  • Dill
  • Lemon pepper or seafood seasoning blend
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Cinnamon
  • Pie spices – ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg
  • Grilling blends – for making homemade marinades, or for seasoning meat before grilling

So that’s way more than 10…but it’ll get you started!!!

What are the must have spices in your pantry?!

Photo Credit

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Rella (@RellaBellaK) January 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I always have a supply of smoked paprika on hand, as well as garam masala and coriander (a little more exotic than the average spice pantry, but I like experimenting with different flavors!)

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Deborah January 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm

My spice cabinet looks like a spice store, so it would be really hard for me to just pick 10! That said, I’ve never used poultry seasoning on anything. I think that having the individual herbs/spices – like for the taco seasoning – is more important than having blends. And I wouldn’t want to live without cinnamon!

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Sue January 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Chili powder, a couple of savory spices, a couple of baking spices, Italian seasoning blend. With those on hand I can usually substitute if I’m lacking something specific.

My biggest spice revolution has been buying spices from bulk bins at my local co-op. They cost a fraction of the price, and you can be sure that nothing sits in the cupboard for too long, since you only need to buy as much as you need (or just a little extra).

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Lara January 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I couldn’t live without dill, garlic powder and cinnamon. I try to buy Penzey’s spices whenever I can…especially for the ones I listed above. The flavors are AMAZING and their prices are similar or just a little more than those in grocery stores, but well worth it!

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Marie January 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I’m a pretty simple cook and have mine listed here: http://mfamily08.blogspot.com/2011/01/top-10-spices.html

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silver January 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I would rather use fresh garlic and ginger than dried. The only time I used dried ginger is when making cookies.

I would say my top ones are:
cinnamon
oregano
basil
rosemary
chili powder
black pepper (only when the recipe calls for so much that it isn’t practical to grind it myself)
cumin
curry

I have many more, but those are the ones I use the most.

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Astrid January 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Sometimes I feel like I own an entire spice store- I’ve got a couple of drawers and a cabinet dedicated to spices. I *love* spices! (I also love Penzeys spices!)

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barbi January 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm

my tops:

cinnamon
basil
paprika
garlic powder

I have lots of others, but these are the ones I go thru the fastest.

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mandie January 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm

My most used are:

Pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Chili powder
Cumin
Paprika
Ground oregano
Thyme
Basil
Oregano
Cayenne
Cinnamon

Also have:

Poultry seasoning
Sage
Mustard
Italian seasoning
Mrs. Dash garlic herb blend
Ginger
Nutmeg
Cloves
Onion flakes

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Cheryl M January 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I have a whole spice cabinet too!
My can’t live withouts
Garlic powder (most of my fresh garlic has been very bitter lately so this is my old standby)
Cinnamon
Onion powder
Mrs Dash Table Blend (my kids LOVE this)
Whole Nutmeg (will never have the pre-ground stuff again if I can help it)
Parsley
Basil
Oregano (also have an italian blend)
smoked/sweet/hot paprika
ground mustard
5 spice powder
garam marsala
Cayenne
Sazon powder
Cumin
Coriander
Tumeric
Ginger (also keep a ‘fresh’ piece frozen in the freezer to grate as needed)
peppercorns
kosher salt
& too many others

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Bev January 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm

It sure is hard to narrow it down to 10 spices! This got me thinking and I ended up writing a blog post too:
http://themakeyourownzone.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-top-10-spices.html

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The Prudent Homemaker January 25, 2011 at 1:54 am

When we redid our kitchen I made a big spice cabinet next to my stove and I sized all the shelves to fit my bulk spice containers. It’s 4 shelves tall! PLUS, I have another entire shelf in my walk-in pantry devoted to stocking spices. (The link above has my entire spice list).

I get lots of my spices in bulk from Sam’s Club, and then I order the rest online from Herb Products Co. (though I am considering ordering some from another bulk online store next time).

The ten I use most often, in order of use:
Dried Onions
Granulated garlic
Basil
Parsley
Onion Powder
Oregano
Salt
Pepper
Rosemary (I mostly use fresh from my garden, but I also use dried ground rosemary)
Taco seasoning (I buy it in bulk)

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betsy January 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I love my spices, too. I buy them in bulk from a local store, and I find them pretty affordable.

My top 10:
cumin
Tony Cachere’s (a blend, but oh, so good)
chile powder (of all sorts)
garlic powder
Italian seasoning
pepper
red pepper flakes
cayenne
nutritional yeast (my secret ingredient in awesome greens)
cinnamon

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lynn @ Maven of Savin January 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm

THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH! I am still unpacking from the move, but I cannot wait to start cooking and getting all my new spices. When I packed I found spices that were at least 10 years old – YUCK!

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Julie January 26, 2011 at 10:47 am

It is hard to name only 10 must haves but cumin and cinnamon are at the very top of the list. Chili powder, oregano, fresh black peppcorns, bay leaves, basil, cloves, garlic powder and whole nutmegs are definite keepers as well.

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LisaE January 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I love different spices-just wish they were so pricey for most of them. The spices I use most often are:

Lemon pepper
ground pepper
basil
tarragon
cinnamon
tumeric
curry
chili powder
ginger, nutmeg, cloves (love them!)
italian seasoning
dill

Mostly, the only item I really don’t care for is rosemary-I feel like I am eating a tree.

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Janet January 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Just 10!

Clove
cardumum
cumin
basil
cinnamon
ceyanne
peppercorns
smoked Paprika
curry
nutmeg

Currnetly I have 45 small viles of spices that I refill from a bulk spice store as I need them. That way I don’t have to pay for what I don’t need and nothing ever loses its freshness!

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Amy January 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Please Help:
I use a spice rack and it is kept on my counter. After awhile my green spices (oregano, chives, etc..) turn brown. Is this caused by light? Do green spices last longer in a cabinet?

Thanks,
Amy

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