What are some healthy, low-fat ways to flavor your food without using a lot of fat and salt? Instead, experiment with flavorful spices in your cooking! Spicing up one’s food with different spices can provide insight into the culture from which they originate. Even the most basic meals may taste different and exciting when including spices. Look for dishes that incorporate at least one of these spices, or experiment with a new spice in a tried-and-true recipe.
Spices come from diverse plant or tree parts, such as the bark, buds, fruits, roots, seeds, or stems. The leafy sections of plants with no woody stems are herbs. They are available in two forms: fresh and dried. However, the flavor and potency of dried herbs deteriorate faster than those of fresh ones.)
Here are a list of all the common (and uncommon) spices you can use to enhance your cooking!
Table of Contents
Different Types of Spices
Intoxicating aromas of spicy black pepper, woody clove and cinnamon, and fresh ginger mingle with the round, mahogany-brown, velvety Allspice Berries. A slight whiff of sweet, licorice-like licorice occasionally peeps out from the blend. Flavors such as pepper and clove are immediately apparent, as is a little coolness to the mouthfeel.
This rich tiny berry has a small amount of volatile oil, but it packs a powerful punch in flavor and aroma. It also has a slight anesthetic effect. This oil’s principal constituent, eugenol, is both anesthetic and antibacterial, making it ideal for use in medicine.
Allspice is indigenous to southern Mexico and exclusive to the western hemisphere, where it thrives in various climates.
Annatto seeds are utilized in dairy products like butter and cheese as a natural pigment, giving the cheese its distinctive yellow-orange hue. Traditionally, achiote seeds are roasted in oil and filtered to remove their achiote flavor before being discarded in Caribbean cooking. Chicken, fish, and meat dishes are all flavored with achiote oil to prepare rice, tamales, and vegetables.
Annatto seeds are common in Peruvian marinades and sofrito for the marinating of meat. They are a crucial ingredient in the traditional Venezuelan condiment “alino criollo.” Annatto seeds are a significant ingredient in the distinctive Yucatan spice combination “Recado Rojo.” As a result, this spice can be turned into a paste or a wet rub to season chicken, fish, and pig. Fans of Yucatan cuisine recognize this.
3. Anise Seeds
Sweet and fresh, Anise is a tiny, brownish-grayish seed with a lovely stripe pattern on them. Anise Seeds occasionally have an edible stem attached. Anise Seed, a parsley family member, is well-known for its licorice flavor and aroma, but it is a complex spice. Its hot pepper and lemony top note fade into a slightly bitter finish that keeps you coming back for more once you get beyond the anise seed.
An Egyptian medical document from 1550 BCE mentions it as a digestive and oral health management tool. Some of Anise Seed’s digestive benefits appear to be shared by people in at least one other far-flung society. In India, people chewed it after meals to help with digestion and freshen their breath.
The U.S began consuming Indonesian cinnamon for as long as there were toasters. It is sweet and smooth, with a unique woodsy flavor and a lingering smell with undertones of cloves and pepper. We provide Grade A Ground Indonesian Cinnamon, which has the highest volatile oil content of all the cassia cinnamon kinds at 3%.
All cinnamon grown outside of Ceylon comes from Sri Lanka. Both variations are similar since they come from the inner bark of sheets from peeled cinnamon trees. For the most part, Indonesian cinnamon cultivation occurs in 15 to 25-year-old trees that grow wild on Sumatra’s slopes.
5. Bay Leaf
When using fresh bay leaves, be careful not to overuse them since their powerful flavor can easily overpower a dish. A greater surface area of the leaf exposes more of the herb’s potency in ground form. Small amounts of ground bay leaves come in spice blends, pickling mixtures, and Bloody Mary mixtures, among other things.
Ground bay leaves are common in Turkey. There are two kinds of bay leaves: Turkish Bay Leaves and California Bay Leaves. Turkish Bay Leaves come from the same plant as California Bay Leaves, but their leaves have a more robust flavor.
Ground Caraway Seed has a rich, earthy perfume with a buttery back note that is savory and deep. The seeds have a soapy taste that is reminiscent of its relative, cilantro when first tasted. Aromatic notes of anise and pepper follow, mellowing the sharpness of the essential oils.
There is a minimum of 1% volatile oil in ground caraway seed, but it can reach a maximum of 7% volatilized oil. As a result of the fine grind, the volatile oils remain at the surface, where they may create a smooth, nutty finish and a rich mouthfeel to round out the flavor.
According to certain food historians, settlers discovered caraway seeds in archaeological digs of ancient lake houses in Switzerland dating back to 6000 BC.
The flavor of Ground Cardamom is unmistakable. It has a sweet and warming flavor with hints of pine and pepper-ginger-spice and a citrusy finish with hints of lemon and orange. There’s a zesty fruitiness to the lemony perfume, but there’s a woody undertone with a peppery tinge.
Additionally, it contains at least 2% volatile oil by weight and a complex mixture of over twenty different chemicals, which explains its enigmatic flavor.
Cardamom-infused coffee has a long history in Arabic culture. The Arabic coffee heritage stretched back to Yemen in the 15th century.
8. Cayenne Chile Powder
Cayenne has established a household name in the United States because of its reputation as a “spicy hot” spice. This Cayenne Chile Powder has a powerful heat that immediately hits you and lingers in your mouth for a few minutes. While the flavor and aroma are strong, they swiftly go away, allowing the heat to take center stage and the peppery capsaicin content to shine. The fiery cayenne chilies, which are orange-red in color, have a Scoville heat rating of 30,000-45,000. (SHU).
French Guiana, on South America’s northern coast, is where it had its start. Christopher Columbus even brought them back to Spain as part of his loot after writing about them during his voyages in the Americas.
9. Celery Spice
Celery Seeds Ground is dried and ground Celery Seeds ground. The stalks are not where these seeds come from. Therefore you won’t find them in the shop. Celery Seeds are the dried entire fruit of the wild celery plant. There are around 45,000 celery seeds in an ounce, making them the tiniest seasoning seeds around.
Grind the seeds into a fine powder, and you will get a dark greenish-brown powder instead. This powder is excellent for Bloody Marys and other foods like bologna and knockwurst.
Celery is a Mediterranean native found throughout Eastern and Southern Europe. Celery seed carpels found in a southern Greek archeological site date back to 600 B.C.
10. Extra Hot Chilli Powder
Eat with caution as this chile powder is quite hot! No doubt, adding chili powder to your diet will enhance your enjoyment of spicy foods. The kick you get out of it is often referred to as the “food runner’s high” by those who have experienced it. Spicier food becomes increasingly pleasurable, and you may even crave it, but your body will never get dependant on capsaicin. Only the thrill of eating it will keep you interested.
Serve it with spaghetti and meatballs, eggs, goulash, black bean soup, or a breakfast sandwich for a different take on the classic. You won’t be able to stop eating this dip once you mix it with 1/2 cup cream cheese and 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Increase the savory, wonderful flavor by adding a clove of garlic.
Reddish-brown in color with hints of cinnamon, pepper, and a touch of heat, sharp and delicious Grounded Cloves has a distinct flavor. Their scent is warm and powerful, with hints of pine and peppery undertones floating on top of the spice. Many different products come from cloves. The most sought-after one is the dried flower bud from an Indonesian evergreen tree. Cloves are rich in essential oils divided across the stem, leaf, and bud goods.
The world’s oldest clove tree, locally known as “Afo,” is estimated by arborists to be between 350 and 400 years old and is found on Ternate Island.
Cumin seed powder appears by grinding whole cumin seeds into a fine powder. Freshly ground cumin has the finest flavor due to its high volatile oil concentration. For maximum freshness, we ground cumin multiple times per week in our facilities. A coarser grind is also preferred since a finer ground exposes more of the spice’s surface area, causing the flavor to degrade more quickly.
Coriander and dill are relatives of cumin, as are anise and caraway. Cumin, native to the Mediterranean and northern Africa, is the world’s third most popular spice, behind chiles and pepper. In the 1960s, with the emergence of fast-food chains such as Taco Bell and Chipotle, cumin acquired popularity in the United States. Cumin has been grown in the Middle East, India, China, and the Mediterranean for thousands of years.
This herb’s seeds are triangular in shape and dark caramel in color; they are also quite hard to touch. They initially need grinding to get their flavor out. We sell Fenugreek Seeds and the elusive Fenugreek Leaves in addition to Ground Fenugreek. Before grinding the seeds, many home cooks would softly roast them in the oven to soften their flavor while also removing some of the bitterness they contain. Additionally, they can be soaked in water for a long time and ground afterward (if you prefer to use them as a paste).
While many spices (such as cumin, allspice, cardamom, and peppercorns) contain large amounts of volatile oil, Fenugreek seeds contain trace amounts. As a result, ground fenugreek (also known as fenugreek powder) can last for a longer amount of time without losing its flavor.
Ancient Egyptians began cultivating fenugreek, a herb native to the eastern Mediterranean, around 1,000 BC. Fenugreek’s seeds and leaves seeds, both from the bean family, have culinary uses.
It is utilized in Cambodian, Indonesian, Laotian, Malaysian, Thai, and Vietnamese cookery because it is dried and powdered from the subterranean rhizome of a tropical shrub of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Ayurveda and TCM both use it in herbal compositions where it can be beneficial. This spice is frequently confused with ginger, even though the two are vastly different in taste and appearance.
Greater Galangal, Alpinia galangal, is an Indonesian native; Lesser Galangal, Alpinia officinarum, is a Chinese native. There are two types of Galangal. Both species flavor culinary dishes; however, they are different in size, shape, and taste. Thai cuisine makes extensive use of Greater Galangal in a wide variety of recipes throughout Southeast Asia. Southeast Asians use Lesser Galangal in sambals, and spicy curry pastes like ginger.
15. Garam Masala
Garam Masala wraps you in an embrace of comforting aroma before you even take your first mouthful. It has a nuanced perfume of earthy cumin and cinnamon, nutty, spicy cardamom zesty coriander riding the top notes. A saffron-infused boost lifts the cumin-cinnamon-cardamom-coriander base tastes with notes of clove, nutmeg, and a pleasant floral note. It ends with a clear black pepper burn that stays on the tongue and gives you a warm, comforting feeling.
‘Garam masala’ literally translates as ‘warming spice,’ but it can also mean ‘hot spice,’ if you like. This phrase doesn’t mean spicy heat from peppers. Garam Masala was originally developed in the Himalayan foothills of northern India as a kind of comfort food to keep people warm during the long, cold winters.
16. Garlic Powder
Dehydrated California-produced garlic is a flavor enhancer in cooking. Allium, the genus that includes garlic, includes chives, leeks, and shallots as near relatives. It is necessary to dehydrate the vegetable before milling it into garlic powder. Best of all, roasting and/or cutting fresh garlic is time-consuming.
Since drying concentrates the flavor, it’s one of the few spices where many believe it’s more flavorful when dried. Garlic Powder has a more delicate flavor than fresh garlic. It adds umami and complexity to any dish. Furthermore, fresh garlic spoils rapidly, while Garlic Powder lasts for up to a year.
17. Ginger Powder
Powdered ginger is a flowering herbaceous perennial that serves as a flavoring or seasoning ingredient. Ginger has branched rhizomes (the elongated horizontal subterranean plant stems that produce roots below and shoots above) like Galangal, Turmeric, and Cardamom.
When the Ginger rhizome is dried and ground, it yields Ginger Powder. The off-white or brownish powder produces a strong aroma and a bitter flavor. Ginger powder is a common ingredient in many South Asian dishes, including those from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and other countries in the region.
18. Grains of Paradise
The Zingiberaceae family, Grains of Paradise, is a member, includes Cardamom, Galangal, Ginger, and Turmeric. They have a pyramidal shape and are reddish-brown when whole. When ground, they turn a dull gray color.
Grains of Paradise, indigenous to West Africa’s countries of Ghana, Liberia, Togo, and Nigeria, have long been used in Middle Eastern, North African, and West African cuisines, respectively. Until the 19th century, people used this spice in the production of European beer and wine.
Pioneering chefs, craft brewers, and distillers primarily use Grains of Paradise.
19. Horseradish Root Powder
Horseradish powder is a hot, spicy powder made from the horseradish root, a vegetable in the cabbage family. It is also related to mustard and pure wasabi powder and comes from the same root vegetable. Horseradish powder’s hot, spicy flavor comes from the aromatic oil found in the root. The dried root is powdered and used in traditional horseradish sauces as a flavoring.
Originally from Eastern Europe, horseradish is a popular culinary ingredient. Horseradish was known to the Egyptians as far back as 1500 BC. Still, it was primarily used medicinally by the ancient Egyptians. Horseradish use spread from Central Europe to England and north into Scandinavia during the Renaissance (14th to 17th centuries).
20. Jalapeno Powder
Jalapeno powder comes from dried jalapeno peppers, which can be challenging to locate. The most popular chile pepper in the United States is jalapeno, which has a mild flavor but moderate heat. Some jalapenos remain on the plant until the end of the season when they have fully ripened.
Peppers mature to a deep crimson red color at this point. They are typically (but not always) harvested, dried, and smoked after they have reached maturity. Chili, chicken, and seafood can all benefit from the addition of Jalapeno Powder, which can be used as a stand-alone spice or as part of a seasoning blend.
Jalapenos are one of the Western Hemisphere’s earliest and most ancient crops, dating back to the time of the Aztecs (1345-1521).
For thousands of years, people have relied on Marjoram, which is originally from North Africa and Southwest Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). Because Oregano and Marjoram belong to the same genus, Origanum, italicize some botanists believe the two herbs are virtually interchangeable when used in cooking. Most chefs, however, are of the opposite opinion, thinking that even to the untrained eye, the differences in flavor are apparent.
Italian sausage, pizza sauce, and stuffing all use marjoram as an essential flavoring ingredient.
22. Ground Yellow Mustard
The mildest and most common mustard seed in the United States creates the straw-colored Ground Yellow Mustard. The flavor and aroma of this dried Mustard are indistinguishable. When combined with water, however, it takes on its characteristic zing and sharp smell. Isothiocyanates, sulfuric chemical compounds that activate with the addition of water (hydrolysis), are responsible for this.
When the enzymatic reaction is triggered, the dormant isothiocyanates come to life. Isothiocyanates produce a quick and intense heat, but it is easy to wash them off, and they do not linger.
Mustard seeds were first domesticated around 3,000 BC in ancient Egypt, according to food historians.
23. Nigella Sativa
The faint, barely-there scent of Nigella Sativa may lead you to believe that this tiny black seed doesn’t have much to offer. However, many flavors burst forth when the warm, bitter shell is cracked open. There’s a herbaceous, oregano-like taste and aroma that rise to the top of the mouth and hang out there. Next comes a bite that tastes like black pepper and onion and lingers just long enough to be noticeable but not intrusive.
As the oils from this fatty little seed release into the mouth, Nigella fades to a finish that tastes almost exactly like a walnut. This seed contains 36-38 percent inert oil, which gives it a luxurious mouthfeel, and anywhere between 0.5 and 2.5 percent volatile oil, providing flavor and a distinct aroma.
The rich, piney, camphor-like scent of nutmeg comes from the seed of a tropical evergreen tree. Nutty, spicy, bittersweet, and warm flavors abound, with clove undertones. The high concentration of volatile oil in Nutmeg Powder gives it a strong flavor.
Only the nutmeg tree can produce two distinct spices from a single fruit. Despite its name, nutmeg isn’t a nut at all. It is the fruit’s seed, which resembles a cross between a fig and a pear in appearance. There’s a brown nut inside that needs to be cracked open to reveal the hull.
An aril of red fibrous tendrils covers the hull. Drying the aril allows you to powder it, and that’s it! The mace spice is the second one we’ll discuss. Ripe and ready to harvest, the fruits split, making them unsuitable for transportation. While inferior fruits get processed for their oil, the other fruits get used for consumption.
25. Chinese Five Spice
The licorice-type depth of star anise dominates the aroma and flavor of our salt-free Chinese Five Spice Powder. When combined with ground fennel and the sweet earthiness of cloves and cinnamon, it creates a complex flavor profile with notes of spice, fruit, and a tingling heat.
Many people believe that Yi Yin, a chef and political figure from the Shang dynasty, is responsible for the origins of Chinese cuisine (1600-1046 BC).
26. Smoked Paprika
In recent decades, smoked Paprika has become increasingly popular in the United States, especially in Hungarian and Spanish cuisine. This dried, smoked-over wood fires and de-seeded Spanish paprika chile closely relates to its Hungarian Sweet Paprika cousin.
However, because the seeds are absent, this has a milder flavor and is better suited for dishes that call for smokey undertones but don’t require much heat. You may need more smoked Paprika than you think to get the full flavor of your plate.
It’s great when you want a subtle smokiness, but it’s also great for anything!
27. Black Pepper
30/60 grind pepper is another name for fine grind pepper. Whole peppercorns and coarsely ground peppercorns can add a lot of pepper flavor to food, which is great most of the time but can be overpowering occasionally. For those who prefer a more subdued flavor, try using Fine Grind Pepper. Piperine, a chemical compound, gives black pepper its forward heat and piney flavor. Still, the heat and piney flavors are milder.
Pepper’s earthiness comes through more clearly without the jolt of heat from the pepper. Between 1% and 2.5% of black pepper’s weight is composed of volatile oils responsible for taste and smell. As the oils and piperine disperse over a larger surface due to the finer grinding, they become more pliable.
The United States is the world’s largest consumer of black pepper, importing 18% of all global pepper exports.
28. White Pepper
Ground White Pepper has a robust and woodsy flavor with a straightforward burn that peppercorns are known for. Powdered White Pepper has a piney, piperine aroma with a prickly top note and a mildly bitter finish, making it an excellent choice for a spicy dish.
29. Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds that look like they’re nutty, round, and black aren’t. The kidney-shaped, slate blue poppy seeds have a pitted exterior on the outside. The oil content of this culinary-grade poppy seed is about 45% by weight, so it adds a luxurious richness to bagels and pastries.
It is important to note that these Grade A1 Poppy Seeds are not the same as the pharmaceutical-grade opium poppy. For this crop, growers use a seed pod and straw, both of which are naturally low in the drug-inducing compound opiates. To protect the integrity of the hull and oil content of the seeds, they are unwashed and untreated. Still, if seeds come in contact with poppy milk during harvest, the milk will not cause opiate contamination.
Saffron, a majestic carmine red, clarifies why it is the most expensive spice in the world. In many ways, Saffron, which is the stigma of the Crocus sativus flower, embodies the best of everything. There’s a sweet nectar note atop the warm and inviting bouquet. It has a honeyed, earthy, musky flavor and a bittersweet flower note at the end.
Saffron’s flavor and fragrance come from the small amount of essential oil it contains, ranging from 5% to 1%. The bright orange-yellow water-soluble pigment crocin is the primary carotenoid pigment in Saffron. This pigment gives the Saffron its distinctive color.
31. Sesame Seeds
Heavy on the fat and sugar, they grow in the flowering sesame plant’s fruit and are soft, flat, tiny teardrop-shaped seeds. To describe their scent would be an understatement. Toasted sesame seeds add a subtle caramelization to the hull while also removing some of the seeds’ moisture content, giving them a nutty flavor. When you roast sesame seeds in oil, the oily woodiness and umami flavor come through.
These tasty seeds are often used as a topping on bread buns or sprinkled into a cooked dish for added flavor. Additionally, sesame seeds are one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops, prized for their oil.
32. Sichuan Pepper
Anise and camphor flavor dominates the aroma of ground Sichuan Peppercorns, giving them a deep, earthy aroma. However, the bold upfront bitterness of the Ground Sichuan Peppercorn quickly gives way to a playful, backward-moving numbness. Just below the numbness, a mild lemony note emerges for a clean finish.
Indians have used turmeric for thousands of years as a spice and a medicinal herb, giving curry its yellow color. Turmeric is a tropical South Asian spice derived from the root of a ginger family member. Among turmeric’s many health benefits is an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin.
Medicinal uses of turmeric trace back to Sanskrit medical treatises and the ancient Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.
Until you’ve eaten an entire Vanilla planifolia bean, it’s hard to call yourself a true vanilla fan. They have a more robust vanilla flavor and smell than extracts. They are also more attractive to look at than the wood pulp some companies use to make their vanilla flavors. These beans have a uniform dark brown to a nearly black color and are just slightly oily to the touch. They are pliable and bend without snapping.
Because vanilla is such a labor-intensive crop, it costs almost as much as saffron. Despite this, the flavor of vanilla beans has a high demand.
Because of its strong pungency, our Wasabi Powder is well-known for clearing the sinuses as you inhale. In addition to its sharp sting, wasabi has a mild “green” mustard flavor. This root, which is also called Japanese Horseradish, grows in Japan’s cold mountain streams.
Thioglucosides, a glucose compound that also contains organic sulfur compounds, are to blame for the heat. Wasabi’s thioglucosides are released when the cellular walls are destroyed through grating or maceration. This process is what gives wasabi its spicy kick.
Amchur powder has an unassuming appearance due to its tan, sandy color. However, please take a deep breath and then give it a try. This tangy spice has notes of tropical mango and citrus undertones reminiscent of sour orange, and it’s juicy and fresh to taste. There are top floral notes, and a faint hint of pepper lingers in the background, almost out of sight.
An excellent source of calcium and potassium, Amchur is made from unripened mangoes that have been dried and ground into powder. It is also gluten-free.
37. Tikka Masala
The most common American introduction to what they thought was Indian food was probably Chicken Tikka Masala, a dish from Pakistan. But in reality, this was one of the first of today’s trendy “fusion” dishes, a mashup of Indian curry and British gravy culture. A Pakistani chef in the early 1960s is said to have “invented” this dish by adding gravy to the dish to appease a particularly picky British customer. As far back as the British colonization of India, say some food historians.
Either way, this is a rich orange curry dish with roasted chicken chunks. According to numerous surveys conducted in the country, chicken Tikka Masala is widely regarded as England’s national dish.