Throughout history, spices have been a driver of trade, war, superstition and ultimately cuisine. Once a symbol of wealth and power, spices from around the world now bring depth and interest to everyday cooking. These essential spices should be staples in your pantry.
Origin Sri Lanka | Vietnam
Fun Fact One of the world’s oldest spices (2800 BC), cinnamon was once so valued that it was traded as currency.
Surprising Pairing Cinnamon & Oranges: Peel oranges and slice into wheels. Sprinkle with cinnamon for a classic light dessert from Morocco.
Recipe Tip For a earthy and sweet note, try our Apple Cinnamon Cranberry Stuffing, which features our prized, world-class cinnamon.
Fun Fact The average American consumes over 2 1/2 pounds of garlic annually.
Surprising Pairing Garlic Powder & Popcorn: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon garlic powder over popcorn.
Recipe Tip Give potatoes, like our Parsley and Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe, a savory kick with a dash or two of garlic powder.
Fun Fact One of the first spices to be traded, black pepper was also discovered in the mummified body of pharaoh Ramses I.
Surprising Pairing Give your favorite gingerbread recipe a kick by adding 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the spices.
Recipe Tip Black pepper lends a peppery bite to dishes, such as our Peppery Bacon Cornbread Stuffing.
Fun Fact Myrcene, part of the essential oils of many perfumes, can be extracted from bay leaves.
Surprising Pairing Bay Leaf & Oil: Place 2 or 3 bay leaves in a jar, and cover with vegetable oil. The bay will lightly season the oil.
Tip For a savory take on Chai Latte Tea, simmer bay leaf with ingredients
Origin Southern Europe
Fun Fact Oregano was popularized in the U.S. after WWII, as soldiers returned home from Italian battlefields.
Surprising Pairing Oregano & Salad Dressing: Stir 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano into 1/2 cup of any non-creamy salad dressing.
Recipe Tip This earthy, Italian spice shines in our savory Penne with Tomato and Herbs recipe.
Origin Sri Lanka
Fun Fact In the 3rd century BCE, a Chinese leader in the Han Dynastry required those who addressed him to chew cloves to freshen their breath.
Surprising Pairing Cloves & Asian Curries: Add a pinch of dried cloves to any Asian curry recipe.
Fun Fact Ancient medical records indicate that ginger was used in teas, baths and chest compresses.
Surprising Pairing Ginger & Chocolate: Stir 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger into your favorite hot cocoa or hot chocolate mix.
Recipe Tip Spicy-sweet ginger lends well-rounded flavor in our Pineapple Juice with Ginger recipe.
Fun Fact The term "cayenne" is often used to refer to any ground pepper, but true cayenne (which takes its name from the French Guinea city of Cayenne) is actually a particular type of chili pepper.
Surprising Pairing Cayenne & Eggs: Add a pinch of cayenne to scrambled eggs, or lightly dust the yolks of fried eggs with cayenne.
Recipe Tip Turn up the heat with cayenne, featured in our Spicy Michelada recipe.
Fun Fact Turmeric is best known as the spice that gives curry powder its distinctive color.
Surprising Pairing Turmeric & Tea: Add 1/4 teaspoon to your favorite hot tea, then sweeten with honey.
Recipe Tip Traditionally used in Indian fare, like our Garam Masala Lentil Soup with Coriander Yogurt recipe, turmeric adds peppery flavor to each bite.
Origin Middle East
Fun Fact The ancient Greeks used cumin seed as a table condiment, much like we use pepper today.
Surprising Pairing Cumin & Cheese: Sprinkle the cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich with ground cumin before cooking.
Origin Europe | Western Asia
Fun Fact The brightest red peppers aren't the hottest. In fact, the lighter red and lighter brown are hotter than the bright varieties. For mildest flavor, choose the Spanish variety; for a bit more pizzazz, go Hungarian.
Surprising Pairing Paprika & Mushrooms: Add 1 tsp. paprika to any sautéed mushroom recipe for rich color and sweet flavor.
Recipe Tip For added color and warm flavor, paprika adds sweet heat in our Fiery Shrimp Jambalaya.
Fun Fact Known as the seed that sparked the spice-trading race, the Portuguese Spanish and Dutch fought for control of nutmeg for over 300 hundred years.
Surprising Pairing Nutmeg & Quiche: Add 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg to all your quiche batters.
Recipe Tip Carrot Cake Muffins feature a sweet, but warming nuance with the addition of nutmeg.
Fun Fact In Europe, basil was commonly placed in the hands of the dead to ensure a safe journey.
Surprising Pairing Basil & Vegetable Broth: Boil 1 quart vegetable broth with 1 tablespoon dried basil. Remove from heat and strain. Basil heightens the vegetable flavors.
Crushed Hot Ret Pepper
Origin Northern China
Fun Fact Ubiquitous in pizza restaurants in the U.S., crushed red pepper is typically a mixture of ancho, bell, cayenne and other red peppers.
Surprising Pairing Pepper & Pineapple: Top thinly sliced fresh pineapple with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes and a drizzle of honey. Let stand 1 hour before serving.
Origin Italy | Mediterranean
Fun Fact It's been said that parsley is to the Western world what cilantro (sometimes called Chinese parsley or Indian parsley) is to the Eastern world.
Surprising Pairing Parsley & Chili: Add 1/4 cup dried parsley flakes to your favorite chili.
Recipe Tip Traditional chicken alfredo gets a makeover thanks to spicy-sweet parsley in our Chicken Alfredo Pasta recipe.