Our Top 25 Herbs and Spices for Recipes.
Taken from our soon-to-be-published book “$10 Meals for a Family of Six.”
Herbs are the fleshy part of the plant while spices usually come from the seeds, root, stem or bark. But do we really care? We just want to add flavor to our creations.
This list was put together by examining recipes from classic chefs, herb and spice books, plus internet searches. These are the ones most often mentioned. Of course I have included many of my favorites. Don R
- Garlic: used universally in vegetable and meat soups or for Italian sauces, sausage and stir frying .
- Peppercorn: enhance flavor of most soups, meats and sauces. Use fresh peppercorns in a pepper-mill (grinder) and you won’t use pre-ground pepper again!
- Cayenne Pepper: hot spice for Tex-Mex and Asian recipes.
- Oregano: Used in Mediterranean cuisine. Rub between palms before adding to sauce. (release more flavor)
- Basil: with oregano for Mediterranean soups and sauces.
- Dill Weed: essential for fish soup
- Paprika: add color and spiciness to European recipes. The hot pepper taste varies from mild to hot.
- Cumin: (similar to turmeric & curcumin and an ingredient in curry powder) essential for Mexican and East Indian dishes
- Cinnamon: used in Mediterranean cuisine. baking sweet breads and curries
- Nutmeg: used in baking and cream sauces
- Rosemary: unique flavor to meat, poultry and veggie soups
- Sage: for poultry, soups and turkey recipes
- Thyme: adds distinctive flavor to meat & Poultry soups
- Parsley: adds color and mild flavor to most soup ( substitute for cilantro in Tex-Mex recipes)
- Bay Leaf : add to soup and stew (remove leaves before serving)
- Tarragon: use in soups with seafood or poultry
- Onion Powder: use in almost any soup or sauce
- Chile Powder: for soup, stir fry and beans in Asian and Tex-Mex recipes. Grind your own for improved flavor.
- Celery Seed: use in potato soups and salad
- Arrowroot: thickener for soups and sauces, also use cornstarch or agar
- Ginger: soups dressings and sauces for Asian recipes
- Clove: accent flavor for pork recipes and in baking
- Fennel (parsley): use in tomato-based soups and Italian sauces
- Mint: carrot and potato soup, teas, chocolate desserts
- Free Choice: Your favorite in case we missed it.
Important Tips & Tricks:
- Buy small quantities in bulk from a food coop. Most spices lose flavor within a few months.
- Store in a well sealed glass container.
- Know how to use them. Some, like bay leaves, are put in soups at the start while cilantro is put in at the last stage of cooking.
- Grow your own so they are available when you want a few sprigs.