I'm new to this cooking thing and I would like to stock my cabinet with the general spices and different season's that someone might use everyday in cooking....can you help with a list of most commonly used spices?

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    Are you looking for baking, cooking or both? And is there anything you especially like to cook? As it is, the question is quiet vague, and therefore hard to answer (Putting Mint into a cake MAY work in rare circumstances, but usually, it is a bad fit. Adding some Mint to anything fruity? Usually, awesomeness ^^)
    – Layna
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 13:09
  • There are hundreds of spices and herbs, you need to narrow your question down. What cuisines do you want to cook?
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 13:14
  • You may want to start with your country of origin or the country whose cuisine you are most familiar with.
    – James
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 13:25
  • For example, in the USA, I'd start with parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, cumin, coriander, dill, paprika, basil. Parsley and basil are much better fresh, so not something generally used from a bottle. See here as well: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/2692/…
    – James
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 13:34
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    I'll repeate what I said years ago on the now-closed question that James referenced -- if you're just starting out, stick with spice blends so you don't end up getting spices that just sit in the back of your cabinet for years. (exact selection based on what you cook, but stuff like adobo, italian seasoning, curry powder, za'atar blend, montreal steak seasoning, mrs. dash, etc. Even seasoned salt has its place as you're starting out)
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


For cooking, salt, (sea salt if you prefer it) seasoned salt, whole peppercorns and a grinder. For seafood we like Old Bay or Tony Cachere's seasoning. Chili powder, cayenne pepper, dried red pepper flakes, a jar of roasted red peppers, basil pesto. Dried herbs (or grow your own if you have a green thumb), basil for tomato sauces, garlic and oregano. For baking, cinnamon (also good in oatmeal), nutmeg (also good in a white sauce), but just a tiny amount, cardamom, and allspice. Search the internet, or find a cookbook that suits the style of cooking you would like to try, by looking through them you will get a good idea of the spices, seasonings, etc. you would like to cook with.

Good Luck and have fun. Don't be afraid to experiment!

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