Dried spices can be somewhat of an investment, but having a decent variety on hand can be your arsenal for some good made-from-scratch real food cooking. One of the keys to avoiding processed food is flavoring dishes yourself (so you know exactly what’s in them), and it’s kind of hard to do that without spices! So whether you’re looking to beef up your collection or just get started all together, I’m sharing the spices I use the most and why.
My Most Used Dried Spices
Paprika is at the top for a reason – we use it all the time and for so many different foods. I add it to spice mixes for making a whole chicken and pulled pork. I put it on deviled eggs. I add it to pimento cheese. The uses for this one go on and on!
This is the dominant spice of the trio that we use to make our homemade granola every single week. It’s also a key ingredient in the oatmeal (both warm and cold) that my older daughter loves so much. And it’s good in some muffins and other baked goods. Let’s just say I might panic if we were completely out of cinnamon!
My husband thinks it’s humorous how much I love cumin. But it’s hard (for me) to imagine Mexican food or dishes such as chili without it. I guess I’m personally a big fan of this one and find all sorts of ways to use it.
- Chili powder
This is another one that’s pretty key in Mexican food and chili. One time we were completely out when I was trying to make chili, and I was like…not gonna happen. We had to borrow some from a neighbor to make it work.
- Red pepper (both crushed and ground)
My husband really likes the flavor of red pepper so I find myself using it more often for that reason. I usually think to grab the black pepper when cooking, but it’s not unusual for him to try a dish and say, “This could use some red pepper!” We use it in my whole chicken and pulled pork recipes, in Mexican food, and on pizza (flakes), to name a few.
- Garlic powder
Garlic powder is great in dips and sauces and is also part of the spice rub in my Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot recipe, which I make often.
- Onion powder
This is another one that’s good in different dips and also necessary for my whole chicken recipe.
I mainly use ginger for granola, and since that’s a weekly staple at our house, this is an important one.
Nutmeg is the last of the three spices we use in granola, but it’s also tasty in other baked goods (like muffins) as well. You don’t need much of this one for it to go a long way!
I don’t use thyme for a lot of different things, but it’s part of my whole chicken spice rub, and again, I make that often.
I mainly use this to make taco seasoning (along with chili powder, cumin, and salt), and even though that’s only one main use, we love Mexican food and make some form of it almost every week (like these Pork Carnitas Tacos).
- Italian seasoning
I think this mix is great on sautéed veggies and also sometimes good mixed in with breadcrumbs. It’s definitely the most used mix that I buy!
If you are building out your spice collection, you can purchase a bundle of the above mentioned spices on Amazon. Just click the button below to add them to your cart (and remove any you don’t need before checkout).
We also use plenty of black pepper and salt, of course. When it comes to salt, not all options are created equal. We like the Celtic, Real Salt, or pink salt options.
How does my list compare to what you use the most? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! :)
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10 thoughts on “My Most Used Dried Spices: Top 12”
I am appalled that anyone would use powdered garlic, and most of the dried spices you list. I use fresh herbs from my garden (city dwellers have windows, right? herbs do grow in pots), fresh garlic, fresh ginger, real hot peppers, and real onions. The idea, esp. of garlic powder or onion powder is obscene.
oh my god, the arrogance! most people cannot grow fresh herbs year round and dry them!
I like Seasonello: a combination of salt and dried herbs. It can be hard to find. My Piggly Wiggly carries it. A little goes a long way.
Your list sounds exactly like mine! I do agree with others about the Herbs de Provence. I have a recipe for pumpkin fettucini that’s to die for, and it wouldn’t be the same without the Herbs do Provence.
I’d add ground cloves, roasted garlic, white peppercorns and Greek Seasoning, plus a supply of dried herbs for winter when fresh herbs aren’t available in my garden: sage, basil, and rosemary. And don’t forget to replace dried spices once a year.
I think cinnamon isn’t used enough in savoury cooking, it’s delicious in sweets and pastry’s but I love to use it in my currys too
I use thyme in most of my soups and we make a lot of soups in the cooler weather especially. Couldn’t live without it. Also like basil, rosemary (DEFINITE for roasted/grilled potatoes), and tarragon, but your Italian seasoning probably covers these. Thanks a nice rundown of spices.
Herbs de Provance is also very versatile for chicken, soups or stuffed veggies when you are tired of Italian spices. I also use a lot of curry powders because it is so easy to make curries in crockpots.
One of my favorite spices not listed is Herbs de Provence- absolutely love it!