Basic and Essential Cooking Spices

Basic and Essential Cooking Spices

Basic and Essential Cooking Spices


Basic and Essential Cooking Spices

Whether you are new to cooking or have been the home’s chef for years, we all need a refresher on the basic, essential cooking spices from time to time. These spices are a must-have in every kitchen to add mouthwatering flavours to each meal. This article will explore the essential cooking spices you need for more vibrant tastes, captivating sensations, and layered flavours.

What Are the 5 Basic Spices?


  • Bay Leaves


Bay leaves are the foliage of bay laurel trees, which grow in the Mediterranean region, making them a commonly used spice in Mediterranean dishes. Bay leaves have a mild and slightly bitter flavour with earthy and woody hints, they are added whole to dishes to deepen the existing flavours of ingredients and other spices, and they are removed before serving. 


You can use fresh bay leaves or dried ones—this essential cooking spice provides the same level of flavour either way. Bay leaves are used in a wide variety of dishes like Mediterranean lentil soup, Mediterranean braised chicken, Greek moussaka, Mediterranean tomato sauce, Moroccan tagine, and Biryani.


  • Paprika


This essential cooking spice is made from grinding dried pods of Capsicum annuum plants, including a diverse variety of bell peppers and hot peppers, which explains paprika’s deep orange-red colour. 


Paprika varieties are based on the peppers utilised in their making, with some examples including:

  • Sweet Paprika: Generally speaking, sweet paprika and regular, plain “paprika” are the same—a red-orange powder with a sweet flavour, made from sweet, mild peppers.

  • Hot Paprika: It ranges from mildly spicy to very hot depending on the type of chilli pepper used in the grinding process. 

  • Smoked Paprika: This paprika type is made from smoked and dried peppers, and it is unique for its rich and smoky flavour, which comes in sweet and spicy varieties.


This essential cooking spice is used for seasoning, garnishing, marinades, and as a base for stews and soups. The exact way to use it depends on its purpose within each recipe. Paprika is used in cooking Spanish patatas bravas, Hungarian chicken paprikash, spicy shrimp tacos, deviled eggs, shakshuka, and muhammara.

  • Cinnamon

Cinnamon is next on our list of basic and essential cooking spices. It comes from the inner bark of the tropical Cinnamomum tree, and it is used in the form of rolled sticks or a fine powder.

Cinnamon has a specially warm, sweet, and slightly woody flavour, and it is used in both savoury dishes and desserts. To infuse food with the cinnamon flavour, it can be added directly over dishes, mixed with wet ingredients, or added in the form of sticks to stews and soups.

Cinnamon is easily one of the most commonly used essential cooking spices in sweet treats like cinnamon rolls, apple pie, churro, and banana bread. If you are not a fan of sweets, cinnamon remains significant in savoury recipes such as Indian curries, chilli con carne, roasted sweet potato cinnamon soup, and Greek lasagna.

  • Black Pepper

No spice cabinet can be complete without black pepper, and that is certainly the case since it is the world’s most traded spice, making it one of the most known and widely used essential cooking spices worldwide.

Black pepper offers a mix of unique flavours—it is pungent and sharp, giving you a biting taste while having a sparking level of heat—not as intense and hot as chilli peppers, but still strong enough for those looking for a bit of spice.

Black pepper seasoning is used as a final punch of flavour for different kinds of foods like seafood, meats, vegetables, and eggs. It is also used during cooking to have its flavour infused throughout soups, stews, and sauces.

Black pepper goes perfectly well with almost everything. You may want to add it to avocado toast, risotto, stir-fried vegetables, chicken curry, sweet potato fries, salmon, and many other foods and dishes from a variety of cuisines.

  • Garlic Powder


As straightforward as it sounds, garlic powder is simply garlic, but in powder form. It is oftentimes preferred over garlic cloves, as it is more convenient. Not only that, but the amount of garlic flavour added to each dish can be easily and more accurately measured with powder rather than cloves.

Garlic powder is made from dried and ground garlic cloves, it adds a rich and savoury taste to food. This essential cooking spice is used in flavouring sauces, dressings, and dips, and it is commonly used for dry seasoning, as it is sprinkled directly over ingredients or added into spice blends.

Do you want to shop for these basic cooking spices? Discover Nakheel Mall today, where you can buy all the food items you need or simply dine out to have the most captivating culinary experiences in Dubai.










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