Every home cook knows that the right spices can make or break a dish. These spices are the unsung heroes of the kitchen, turning ordinary meals into something special. From adding a kick to your chili to giving your cookies that perfect touch, these spices will be the thing that takes your dish from good to great.

Five spice jars with labeled contents including basil, turmeric, oregano, paprika, and allspice on a kitchen counter.
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Black Pepper

A wooden bowl filled with whole black peppercorns is placed on a white fabric surface, with some peppercorns scattered around the bowl.
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A kitchen staple, black pepper adds a subtle heat and depth to almost any dish. Freshly ground peppercorns can make your food taste better. It’s incredibly versatile and essential for seasoning meats, vegetables, sauces, and even some baked goods. A pinch of freshly ground pepper can transform a dish from bland to flavorful.

Garlic Powder

Wooden bowl filled with garlic powder, next to garlic cloves and whole garlic bulbs on a wooden surface.
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This convenient spice brings a mellow, savory flavor to dishes without the hassle of peeling and chopping fresh garlic. Perfect for marinades, rubs, and quick meals, garlic powder is a must-have for adding that distinctive garlic taste in a flash. It’s also great for making spice blends and seasoning roasted vegetables.


A black bowl filled with ground cumin placed on a burlap mat next to a wooden spoon containing more cumin powder. Whole cumin seeds are spread on the mat. Additional bowls are visible in the background.
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Cumin’s warm, earthy flavor is essential for chili, tacos, and curries. It can be used whole or ground and adds a distinctive taste to any dish. Cumin is particularly popular in Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Toasting whole cumin seeds before grinding them can enhance their flavor even more.


A wooden bowl filled with ground paprika powder, with a spoon of paprika and a red bell pepper in the background on a wooden surface.
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Whether you choose sweet, smoked, or hot, paprika adds color and a sweet, slightly peppery flavor to your dishes. It’s a key ingredient in many global cuisines, especially Hungarian and Spanish dishes. Paprika is perfect for sprinkling on deviled eggs, adding to rubs for meats, or stirring into stews and soups for a rich color and flavor.


Wooden bowl of ground cinnamon next to a stack of whole cinnamon sticks on a wooden board with a gray cloth underneath.
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This versatile spice isn’t just for sweets; it adds warmth to savory dishes like stews and curries. Ground or stick, cinnamon is a must-have for its unique flavor. It pairs well with both sweet and savory ingredients, making it perfect for everything from baked goods to slow-cooked meats. Cinnamon sticks can also be used to infuse drinks like hot cider and mulled wine.


Tumeric powder and leaves on a dark background.
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Known for its vibrant color and health benefits, turmeric has a warm, bitter flavor. It’s essential for curries, soups, and even smoothies for a health boost. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Adding turmeric to rice, stews, and even teas can give your dishes a beautiful golden hue and a subtle, earthy taste.

Chili Powder

A black bowl filled with ground red chili powder, with whole dried red chilies visible in the background.
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A blend of spices that adds heat and complexity to dishes. Great for spicing up everything from tacos to soups. Adjust the amount to suit your heat preference. Chili powder often includes a mix of ground chili peppers, cumin, garlic, and oregano, making it a versatile seasoning for a variety of cuisines. Use it to add a kick to chili, enchiladas, and even popcorn.


Ginger powder and slices of ginger on a wooden table.
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Ground ginger adds a warm, spicy-sweet flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. It’s perfect for baking, stir-fries, and marinades. Ginger is commonly used in Asian cuisines, and its distinctive taste can brighten up cookies, cakes, and curries. Fresh ginger can be grated into teas and sauces, while ground ginger is great for baking and seasoning.


Oregano leaves in a pot on a wooden table.
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This herb is a staple in Italian and Mediterranean cooking. Its robust flavor pairs well with tomato-based dishes, meats, and vegetables. Oregano is often used in pizza and pasta sauces, adding a savory, slightly peppery taste. It’s also great for seasoning grilled meats, salads, and homemade bread.


A bunch of thyme on a wooden table.
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Thyme’s subtle, earthy flavor works well in a variety of dishes, from roasts to soups. It’s versatile and enhances both savory and sweet recipes. Thyme is particularly good in slow-cooked dishes like stews and casseroles, where it can infuse its flavor over time. Fresh thyme can also be used as a garnish or in marinades.


Fresh coriander leaves on a wooden table.
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With a citrusy, slightly sweet flavor, ground coriander is great in spice blends, curries, and marinades. It’s a subtle yet essential addition to many dishes. Coriander seeds can be toasted to bring out their flavor, and ground coriander is perfect for adding a bright note to soups, stews, and baked goods.


Basil plant in a white pot against a white background.
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Dried basil retains its sweet, aromatic flavor and is perfect for adding to pasta sauces, soups, and even homemade pizzas. Basil is a cornerstone of Italian cuisine, adding a fragrant, slightly peppery taste to dishes. Fresh basil leaves can also be used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish for a fresh burst of flavor.


A bunch of rosemary with a knife on a wooden table.
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This fragrant herb has a strong, pine-like flavor that pairs well with roasted meats, potatoes, and bread. A little goes a long way to add a burst of flavor. Rosemary is great for marinades and can be used to infuse oils and vinegars. It’s also perfect for seasoning holiday roasts and homemade focaccia bread.

11 Herbs You Should Start Growing Today

Various pots of healthy microgreens placed on a bright, sunlit window sill, with a focus on a vibrant red pot.
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Growing your own herbs is not only simple and rewarding, but it can also significantly reduce your grocery bills. Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a small windowsill, it’s possible to grow a variety of herbs from the comfort of your home. By planting these essential herbs, you’ll always have fresh flavors at your fingertips and extra cash in your pocket. Plus, there’s nothing like the taste of freshly picked herbs to top off a meal.

Read it Here: 11 Herbs You Should Start Growing Today

10 Herbal Teas With Benefits Big Pharma Doesn’t Want You To Know About

Nettle tea served in a glass cup with honey and fresh nettle.
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Herbal teas have been a go-to for soothing sips for centuries, but there’s more to these brews than just comfort. Packed with powerful health benefits, each cup offers something special, from boosting your immune system to soothing your stomach. We’re spilling the tea on the top ten herbal infusions that might just make you rethink your medicine cabinet.

Read it Here: 10 Herbal Teas With Benefits Big Pharma Doesn’t Want You To Know About

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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