top 20 spices every kitchen needs

Top 20 Spices Every Kitchen Needs: Get Yours Now

A pantry without spices is like a dish without salt – it’s lacking an essential ingredient that makes it more attractive and tastier. Let’s find out the top 20 spices every kitchen needs to fill up that pantry!

I’ll be considering spices that are dried and ground ingredients that add flavor, color, and aroma to a recipe. Without them, even the most basic dish can be dull and tasteless.

However, with a well-stocked spice cabinet, you can take your dishes to the next level and create culinary masterpieces that your family and friends will love.

In this post, I’ll be sharing my personal top 20 spices every kitchen needs and why they are essential for preparing tasty meals.

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Why should you use spices?

When it comes to choosing spices for your pantry, it’s essential to use pure ground spices rather than spice mixes. Pure ground spices are usually ground to a powder consistency.

The benefit being that they release flavors very quickly and are conserved for a long time. They do tend to burn quicker when compared to fresh spices, which are usually bigger in size. Another plus is the cost, they are usually a very cheap way to flavor and color many dishes!

When it comes to spice mixes, they may contain additives that are not great for your health, and they clutter your kitchen shelves as there are so many in existence!

I highly use them in my recipes (and my sambals), they are the key to the flavors and colors of my dishes!

adding spices to frying pan

Also, with spice mixes, you don’t have complete control over the flavor you’re adding since you’re using pre-made mixes. Pure ground spices provide you with more control over the taste you want to add to your dishes.

I’ll be linking most of the spices to iHerb (ublock user might get a warning message, no worries!), where you can get these spices from almost anywhere in the world. I really like using them as I like to have a consistent supply of spices wherever I am!

Here’s my personal list of the top 20 spices you need:

Top 20 spices every kitchen needs

  • Salt – The most common spice that’s used in almost every recipe. It’s generally used to enhance the flavor of other ingredients.
  • Black Pepper – Another spice that is used to add some heat and earthiness to recipes.
  • Smoked Paprika Powder – Provides a smoky flavor to enhance any meat-based dishes. I’d say this is my favorite ground spice powder.
  • Chili Powder – Adds heat to your dishes, excellent for spicing up meat-based dishes or adding a kick to salsa.
  • Turmeric – Adds a pop of color to a recipe and is especially great in rice dishes. It also has some great health benefits.
  • Onion Powder – Adds a subtle onion taste and can be used in a wide range of dishes.
  • Garlic Flakes – Adds a sweet garlic flavor to dishes and is less potent than fresh garlic.
  • Oregano – A crucial herb in Mediterranean cuisine, adds a nice earthy flavor to meat-based dishes.
  • Brown Sugar – Used in baking and adds a rich, caramel-like taste to recipes.
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves – Used in Asian cuisine, adds a refreshing citrus note to Thai and Indonesian dishes. I had to put this one in, it might not be a ground spice but definitely unmissable in my kitchen! Store it in the freezer for similar conservation times.
  • Lemon Grass – Another common spice in Asian cuisine, adds a zesty lemon flavor to dishes. Similar note to number 11!
  • Coriander Powder – Adds a mild citrus flavor and is used in many Indian curries.
  • Curry Powder – A blend of spices that is used in most Indian dishes. Also the only blend of spices I will use as I just cannot make a great curry without it.
  • Rosemary – Adds an earthy taste and is commonly used in stews, roasted meat, and marinades.
  • Thyme – A herb with a sharp, minty taste, great in stews, soups, and meat dishes.
  • Parsley – Adds a fresh and bright flavor to dishes and can be used as a garnish.
  • Cloves – A spice with a sweet and slightly bitter taste used in baking and for making pickled vegetables.
  • Ginger Powder – Adds a warm, spicy flavor to dishes, commonly used in Chinese and Japanese cuisine.
  • Mustard Seeds – Used in many recipes and add a tangy, slightly bitter taste when cooked.


In conclusion, these are the top 20 spices every kitchen needs. With these 20 spices, you’ll have the essential ingredients to take your dishes to the next level.

Add flavor, aroma, and color to your dishes with these spices, and your family and friends will be asking for seconds. Remember to opt for pure ground spices instead of spice mixes, and your dishes are sure to be a hit. Happy cooking!

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Are you stocking up your kitchen? Find out about more kitchen essentials by reading my other posts:

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