Top 10 Spices Every Chef Should Have

Are you new to cooking at home? If so, don’t worry. Everyone can start learning how to make amazing dishes no matter how late they start. One of the first things that you have to learn about good cooking is seasoning your food. These are the top 10 spices every chef should have. While salt is a given, there are certainly spices that you can add to any dish that will make it ten times better. 

In this first part of a two-part article series, you’ll learn about the five spices that are most commonly used in many dishes (that aren’t just salt)!

Part 1: The Basic Spices for You Can Include in Every Dish 

The Foundations of Good Flavor

1. Garlic Powder

The secret weapon to most dishes—whether you’re cooking American, Italian, Asian, or any other kind of cuisine—is garlic. Garlic is an herb that is found almost everywhere in the world. Despite the smell that it leaves lingering in the mouth, most people don’t mind garlic in their dishes, as long as it’s used in moderation. It’s savory, versatile, and incredibly flavorful.

Garlic powder is a condensed form that highlights the main savory taste of garlic in powder form. This goes well in dishes where you don’t want to add whole garlic cloves such as soup or breading in fried chicken. Garlic powder can be used alongside fresh garlic to add just a bit more of its taste to the dish.

2. Onion Powder

Onions and garlic almost always go together in every dish. The best way to describe the savory flavor of onion is that it’s similar to garlic with a hint of sweetness. Onion powder, much like garlic powder, is just a powdered packed spice that adds a nice onion flavor to dishes that cannot call for whole onions.

The Taste Moderators

3. Ginger Powder

Ginger is an interesting flavor that can be overpowering if you don’t use the right amount. There are plenty of health benefits that come with consuming ginger. In terms of flavor, this is a root that can often neutralize strong scented food, which makes it great for seafood. Adding ginger powder is similar to what fresh ginger does except the flavor of ginger comes through stronger, which is why chefs use it moderately.

4. Peppercorn

Ah pepper, the trusty sidekick to salt. Peppercorn actually comes in a variety of spices: white, black, red, and more. Sometimes dishes need a bit of pepper that somehow adds depth to the dish, if it were lacking any. 

As Sweet As…

5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the best spice that you can pull for sweet desserts in the kitchen. It has a distinct taste that just brings back so many heartwarming memories of home baked goods. Because cinnamon is also versatile and it can appear in many savory dishes that need sweetness to balance it out. 


Aspiring home chefs know that the best way to bring flavor into any dish is to not be afraid of using spices. These five favorite spices are common among dishes of any kind. They go well with relatively anything. To be a little bit more explorative in the kitchen, check out part two of this article series!

Do you want to level up your skills as a home cook? Learn from the best private chefs in Charleston by enrolling in a cooking class by Food Fire+Knives. In our cooking class reimagined, you get some tips and tricks from the best world class chefs including these top 10 spices every chef needs to own. Contact us today!

Published By Michael Casciello