The 10 Most Common Spices Every Kitchen Should Have

Updated 06/20/19

We all know that variety is the spice of life. Similarly, spices can add a much-needed dose of variety to your lifestyle and cooking regimen. Whether you’re a veteran chef or a budding culinary enthusiast, a core lineup of common spices is essential to creating the dishes you crave. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the essential spices to have in your kitchen.

Read on to discover the 10 most common spices no kitchen should be without.


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Turmeric is not only one of the best spices to have on hand but also helps promote healthy circulation and prevent inflammation, among a host of other health benefits. To effortlessly incorporate it into your diet, try cooking this earthy, peppery spice with Indian dishes or meats. You can even stir it into your favorite smoothie.


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Chopping garlic is one of those time-consuming, yet ultimately rewarding parts of cooking up your favorite dish. Sprinkling a bit of this essential spice into pastas, soups, and meat dishes (even in powder form), can add a burst of flavor. And its array of health benefits doesn’t hurt either.


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Basil (though technically an herb) is a must for traditional Italian and French cooking and absolutely deserves a place on your spice rack. As a bonus, basil is consumed for its added health benefits, including its high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties.


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From Mediterranean pastas to a range of South American dishes, oregano adds a fresh and flavorful twist to a number of beloved entrées.

A sprinkle of oregano in your eggs adds a little Italian flair to this everyday dish. Try it for your next at-home brunch.


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This key spice adds zest and a bold, refreshing edge to any dish. Ginger aids in digestion and cardiovascular health and also can be added to at-home smoothies and fresh-pressed juices.


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Warm and richly aromatic, nutmeg is a signature ingredient for fall and winter baking. It’s also perfect for dark sauces and spice-forward meat preparations (and for sprinkling on top of hot cocoa).


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Cinnamon is a sumptuous, deliciously aromatic spice that’s a key ingredient for anyone who loves to bake. Note: It isn’t just a major component of muffins and cookies, but also of savory stews and curries.

Black Peppercorn

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Freshly ground black peppercorn is one of the most versatile common spices and adds a touch of flavor and depth to virtually any dish. While many variations come with their own built-in grinding mechanism, this key spice might just inspire you to acquire a spice grinder.


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Cumin is a distinctive cornerstone of Middle Eastern cooking. It’s delectably earthy, mellow, and perfect for complex dishes as well as basics like quinoa, rice, and braised veggies.


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As one of the most colorful common spices to grace your kitchen shelf, paprika boasts a lusciously smooth flavor. Ground from sweet red pepper pods, paprika is ideal for preparing everything from seafood to red meat. It’s also tame enough to be used as a garnish.

Next, discover seven mouthwatering garlic mashed potato recipes.

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