Whatever cuisine you enjoy cooking and eating, also remember certain kitchen essential spices you should always have in your pantry. You should always stock these flavor essentials—spices. Delicious food depends on the flavor complexity, and spices can deliver just that. However, if you talk to a professional, their ideal spice lists may run very long, and it can be overwhelming to find the ones your pantry needs the most.
If you feel unsure about the best place to start, especially since spices can be pretty expensive, we have a starting list you can go through for kitchen essential spices you should always have. Keep on reading to learn more about these pantry essentials you shouldn’t miss.
1. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are the perfect spices to grab when you’re seeking aromatics. They are main staples of French cooking and are recognizable as that mysterious whole leaf floating on some dishes. And the primary purpose of freshly dried bay leaves is to add a beautiful, herbaceous aroma.
If you happen to munch on a bay leaf, don’t worry; it’s not poisonous. However, the taste can be strong and quite unpleasant. Plus, the leaves are pointy, and they can be a choking hazard, so be careful if you spot one on your plate.
2. Black Peppercorns
Do you love cooking meals at home? You’ll surely notice that black pepper is a spice most people immediately reach for because it’s used in pretty much every savory dish. If it’s something you use regularly, you should buy whole peppercorns instead of pre-ground pepper. Getting whole peppercorns means you can maintain the flavorful oils for longer, which brings in a more robust and more natural flavor to your dishes.
When adding peppercorns to your meals, use a pepper grinder to break them down and enjoy the best results. And if you are an advanced cook, you can even add white and pink peppercorns to your collection. For beginners, stocking plain black is good enough.
3. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes or Dried Chilies
Do you love adding some spice to your meals? Don’t miss out on adding dried chilies or red pepper flakes to your spice rack. If you love grabbing these shakers to dump on your pizza, why not invest in some of your own for your kitchen?
You can use chilies and red pepper flakes in tons of meals, such as chicken wings, guacamole, and you can sprinkle it on your next plate of pasta. Aside from that, you can also use these spices for a pot of chili or beans and even to make curry paste.
4. Whole and Ground Cumin
Does a warm bowl of chili make you happy? Think about the earthy, nutty, and aromatic note that stands out—you have cumin to thank for that. Cumin is a great spice to pick up whole and grind on your own. It’s very versatile and works well when combined with other spice blends like chili and curry powders.
There is a long list of spices for various flavor profiles. It’s exciting to build your very own vast spice collection, especially if cooking makes you happy. Play around with different spices and flavors by starting with the ones mentioned above and adding on as you go. Just remember to use them—some spices don’t last long at all, especially when exposed to their natural enemies: moisture and light.
If you want to learn more about spices and how they change the way food tastes, you should try out the services from Food Fire + Knives. Book a unique dining experience with a private chef in Nashville or dozens of other service locations, and experience delicious, gourmet meals in the comfort of your home.