8

votes

What are your top 3 favorite spices to cook with?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Analyzing my cooking pattern, I notice that I have 3 "go-to" spices that I essentially add to every dish (no joke)

  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Tumeric
  • Cumin

In an effort to expand my culinary horizons, I ask, What spices do you find yourself always reaching for?

Edit: I guess I should also ask, does anyone know of a reason why I should limit using these on the regular?

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on October 04, 2011
at 05:05 AM

Great Question!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:00 PM

Not from the studies have read. It reduces NF kappa beta to lengthen telomeres

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 05, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Dr.K: Radix AStragalus: does it have estrogenic effects? I have often contemplated using it in the diet.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 04, 2011
at 01:28 AM

Awesome, thanks for the update. I'm gonna have to track some down.

Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on April 22, 2011
at 07:59 PM

I'm pretty sure all spices are either a seed, flower, or leaf of a plant, so you can kind of call some of them vegetables. ;-)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 14, 2011
at 05:04 PM

I thought those were vegetables - my mistake!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 13, 2011
at 02:41 AM

There is now a drug available based upon the astragalus plant.....its called TA 65 Very expensive and it lengthens telomeres by slowing their shortening. How Ironic.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on February 17, 2011
at 04:04 AM

asian markets and its on the net in many places.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 28, 2011
at 04:18 AM

yay red palm oil! It's so pretty.

16846467115e18d283565a19c374ee07

(323)

on January 27, 2011
at 03:24 PM

Those are my 3 go to as well!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 27, 2011
at 03:07 PM

Never heard of the astragalus. Where do you get it?

E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

(1303)

on January 27, 2011
at 01:23 AM

Mmmm.... garam masala and grains of paradise...

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 27, 2011
at 12:55 AM

I like using garlic a lot...only downside, is the I smell like garlic half the time.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 27, 2011
at 12:54 AM

I also scramble my eggs with cinnamon. I love them like that.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:34 PM

http://www.sweetfreedomfarm.com/ check out this place then. best peppers ive found!

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:29 PM

I, too, fetishize chile peppers. Probably my only significant dietary source of vitamin C.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Tarragon...interesting. There's one I never use. Speaking of eggs, Herbs de Provence is quite excellent with salmon and eggs. Apropos of nothing...

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:25 PM

Great. Will try it!

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 26, 2011
at 07:55 PM

I have celiac disease, and I had the classic and very specific reaction, so something I used that day unquestionably had gluten in it, and I have it narrowed down to that package of paprika unless I forgot about something else I used. It's a large package from India, and could have been milled right after wheat on a machine, or even cut with flour to reduce the cost. I've heard others with celiac have had problems with hidden gluten in spices from India.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:07 PM

Onion and garlic powder round out my top 5.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Never had Tarragon. Gonna have to try that one out.

65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:41 PM

Paprika sometimes bothers me too. It's made from peppers, so if you're sensitive to nightshades, that may be why.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:38 PM

@Wjones - I've been trying to find the comment where we were discussing rendered duck fat. I told you I couldn't remember where I found it. Confirmation - Whole Foods - in the fresh deli section. Hope you like it :)

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Gotta love paprika :)

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:37 PM

It's lovely, especialy nice with some cooked apple :)

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 26, 2011
at 06:35 PM

I forgot to mention that I use a lot of paprika, too. I think I'm mentally blocking it out because I'm quite sure I got glutened (badly) by the last batch I bought! And those sweet potato "fries" sound like a nice treat!

65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:33 PM

That is exactly how I make sweet potato fries too! So good!!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:22 PM

Cinnamon pork.. sounds amazing. Im gonna try that on my bacon :)

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:21 PM

Nice job. I recently found fresh tumeric at whole foods. Pair that with fresh ginger.. good stuffs.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:20 PM

Awesome, thanks. Will do.

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37 Answers

6
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:59 PM

i cant choose three. most frequently i cook with cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and cinnamon for spices. i use a lot of spice blends from north africa and the middle east like harissa, garam masala and baharat. grains of paradise are used a lot around here, and tellicherry pepper.

in the non-spice world i use a lot of garlic, various salts, preserved lemon peel, dill, thyme, rosemary, basil... my favorite flavor is from chile peppers though. i ALWAYS have (get this) aleppo pepper, urfa biber, chipotle mecco, de arbol, cascabel, ancho, chimayo, gujillo and new mexico green chiles. its a sickness i have. this is why i couldnt stop laughing when someone suggested i give up nightshades and capsicum for my MS- NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:34 PM

http://www.sweetfreedomfarm.com/ check out this place then. best peppers ive found!

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:29 PM

I, too, fetishize chile peppers. Probably my only significant dietary source of vitamin C.

E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

(1303)

on January 27, 2011
at 01:23 AM

Mmmm.... garam masala and grains of paradise...

4
21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:21 PM

I can't just pick three...but here are my top choices: Garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon, and sea salt are the ones I can't live without.

I make homemade baked sweet potato fries: sweet potato chopped into fry like slices, tossed in olive oil, garlic, onion, cayenne or paprika and cinnamon. After they come out of the oven a light dusting of sea salt. They are AMAZING.

also most of my meats are cooked with garlic, onion, and black pepper.

I'm excited to hear what others say as I want to mix it up more.

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 26, 2011
at 06:35 PM

I forgot to mention that I use a lot of paprika, too. I think I'm mentally blocking it out because I'm quite sure I got glutened (badly) by the last batch I bought! And those sweet potato "fries" sound like a nice treat!

65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:41 PM

Paprika sometimes bothers me too. It's made from peppers, so if you're sensitive to nightshades, that may be why.

65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:33 PM

That is exactly how I make sweet potato fries too! So good!!

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 26, 2011
at 07:55 PM

I have celiac disease, and I had the classic and very specific reaction, so something I used that day unquestionably had gluten in it, and I have it narrowed down to that package of paprika unless I forgot about something else I used. It's a large package from India, and could have been milled right after wheat on a machine, or even cut with flour to reduce the cost. I've heard others with celiac have had problems with hidden gluten in spices from India.

3
5d0283f9cf2480374a0b7df56b7f3d9b

(418)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:03 PM

Freshly ground Black Pepper!!! (I think I would die without this)

A good Cajun spice mix (I make my own - http://www.food.com/recipe/the-best-creole-cajun-seasoning-mix-186029)

3
Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on January 26, 2011
at 05:27 PM

onion and garlic pretty much go in everything.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 14, 2011
at 05:04 PM

I thought those were vegetables - my mistake!

Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on April 22, 2011
at 07:59 PM

I'm pretty sure all spices are either a seed, flower, or leaf of a plant, so you can kind of call some of them vegetables. ;-)

2
Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on January 27, 2011
at 12:28 AM

Garlic, garlic, and garlic.

Oh, and curry.

One more? Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. And if that doesn't count, Dill.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 27, 2011
at 12:55 AM

I like using garlic a lot...only downside, is the I smell like garlic half the time.

2
95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on January 26, 2011
at 08:45 PM

The holy trinity of onions, garlic, and ginger.

2
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:55 PM

I would NEVER willingly limit myself to 3 spices, but if I was stranded on the mythical desert island with only three, they would be ginger, garlic and cayenne. Herbs would be extra right? For those, fresh basil, rosemary and some mint for tea. I'll use the citrus rinds from the trees over next to the coconut palm for the rest of my seasoning needs.

2
35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:27 PM

  • Seat salt
  • nutmeg
  • thyme

2
902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:10 PM

Your top 3 have been mine as well, for most of my cooking life - I think they're the staples in any Indian household. Onion and garlic as well, if we're considering those spices.

Cumin can be mildly estrogenic - this is traditionally countered by the indoles and sulfur compounds in mustard seeds. Their taste contribution is subtle, and an acquired taste for some people, but they're indispensable to me now.

Lately I've been trying for more variety, shifting towards European herbs/spices. Black pepper, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil are my new favorites.

Fennel and poppy seeds are also interesting, if you've never tried them.

2
2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:09 PM

Ahhh, so many :D erm, today I would say ginger, cumin and cayenne pepper, ask me another day and you'll probably get a different answer :D oooh, cinnamon's a good one for pork...... I also love the spice blends like chinese 5 spice or allspice.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:22 PM

Cinnamon pork.. sounds amazing. Im gonna try that on my bacon :)

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:37 PM

It's lovely, especialy nice with some cooked apple :)

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 03, 2011
at 09:30 PM

I may be cheating here because I like blends:

Poultry Seasoning (a blend of sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, nutmeg, and black pepper). I like it in stew, in giblet gravy, on potatoes (sweet or regular), and for rubbing meat, plus it makes the house smell like Thanksgiving.

Curry powder added to pretty much any veggie or meat dish with coconut milk.

Cumin. I think the musky smell makes it kind of like catnip for humans, or at least this human.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 27, 2011
at 05:59 AM

Garlic, ginger and salt.

(Oh nooooo! Salt isn't paleo!!! Oh well.)

1
07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on January 27, 2011
at 05:27 AM

The holy triumvirate of onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika belongs on every kind of beef.

1
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on January 27, 2011
at 04:58 AM

  1. Tumeric because of its effects on NF kappa beta and transcriptions factors on the MTor pathway like stopping telomere shortening. Black pepper does this too but 1000 fold less.

  2. Cayenne Pepper because of its effects on UCP1 and thermogenesis.

  3. sliced astragalus.....Astragalus saponins induce growth inhibition and apoptosis (cell death) in human colon cancer cells and tumor xenografts.....it does this but inhibiting telomere shortening as well. I make tea drinks with it and asian sauces for my sashimi

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 27, 2011
at 03:07 PM

Never heard of the astragalus. Where do you get it?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on February 17, 2011
at 04:04 AM

asian markets and its on the net in many places.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 13, 2011
at 02:41 AM

There is now a drug available based upon the astragalus plant.....its called TA 65 Very expensive and it lengthens telomeres by slowing their shortening. How Ironic.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 04, 2011
at 01:28 AM

Awesome, thanks for the update. I'm gonna have to track some down.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 05, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Dr.K: Radix AStragalus: does it have estrogenic effects? I have often contemplated using it in the diet.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:00 PM

Not from the studies have read. It reduces NF kappa beta to lengthen telomeres

1
A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

on January 27, 2011
at 04:51 AM

Cardamom powder, nutmeg, mace.. add a little to any way you cook meat and the difference is Mmmmm..!

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 27, 2011
at 12:31 AM

nettles, african fair trade salt n herbs mix, gingerbread herb mix

1
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:31 PM

I absolutely love cinnamon. I use it in sweet things, but a subtle hint in a savory dish is my favorite way to use it. I use it almost every day. I also like it with scrambled eggs, which sounds odd, but is delicious.

Bonus: It helps regulate blood sugar!

Pepper and salt deserve a mention too, they go on everything pretty much regardless of what it is.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on January 27, 2011
at 12:54 AM

I also scramble my eggs with cinnamon. I love them like that.

1
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:00 PM

I love smoked paprika and caraway seeds as a combination.

And tarragon is my absolute favourite with chicken, fish etc. Sometimes fresh, sometimes dried - they are subtly different but both good.

1
Medium avatar

on January 26, 2011
at 06:53 PM

I put garlic powder, sea salt, white pepper and dehydrated onion on everything.

1
531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

on January 26, 2011
at 06:32 PM

Lately I make stews with different meats, using the same basics. See below. I sear the meat and then throw it in the crock pot with the spices for 8 hours while I'm at work. Here are the basics:

red palm oil

whole dried chiles

bay leaf

cinnamon stick

curry powder

sea salt

chardonnay

coconut pieces

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:38 PM

@Wjones - I've been trying to find the comment where we were discussing rendered duck fat. I told you I couldn't remember where I found it. Confirmation - Whole Foods - in the fresh deli section. Hope you like it :)

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:25 PM

Great. Will try it!

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 28, 2011
at 04:18 AM

yay red palm oil! It's so pretty.

1
E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

on January 26, 2011
at 06:31 PM

Aside from good sea salt and black pepper- ginger (both dried and fresh), garlic (both dried and fresh) and cinnamon (dried). Ginger and garlic work in almost any savory dish, and I've been using cinnamon in my paleo pancakes (which I've had a lot of lately, otherwise cayenne would be spice #3).

1
65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:31 PM

My staples are turmeric, cinnamon and tarragon. Tarragon is my go-to herb, especially with eggs and chicken. I also use garlic and onion powder too. Nothing beats freshly sauteed onions and garlic, but I rarely have time for that. Oregano and coriander get a lot of use too.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Never had Tarragon. Gonna have to try that one out.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Tarragon...interesting. There's one I never use. Speaking of eggs, Herbs de Provence is quite excellent with salmon and eggs. Apropos of nothing...

1
90fc4f1e94bab32e4fbab7468e3cecb5

on January 26, 2011
at 06:18 PM

I love me some... Cumin... Fire Salt... and Curry Powder.

MySpiceSage.com is a fantastic (and very inexpensive) site I use for spices. You should check them out -- amazing selection and quality.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:20 PM

Awesome, thanks. Will do.

1
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on January 26, 2011
at 06:14 PM

Paprika, chili powder, pepper.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:07 PM

Onion and garlic powder round out my top 5.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Gotta love paprika :)

1
E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 26, 2011
at 06:13 PM

I use fresh ginger quite a bit, and I'm also big on garlic and cumin. I really go through a lot of cumin. I like white pepper for certain things over black pepper (especially mashed potatoes). Lately I've been using tarragon more often, too (it seems to be the missing ingredient from homemade salad dressings for me) but sparingly. When I do an Asian style soup stock, I use hints of cinnamon stick, star anise and nutmeg, the kinds of flavors I used to only think of in terms of sweets. If I had to pick a Top Three, I suppose I'd have to say garlic, cumin and ginger, but my tastes are so varied, I couldn't live with just those alone!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 26, 2011
at 06:21 PM

Nice job. I recently found fresh tumeric at whole foods. Pair that with fresh ginger.. good stuffs.

0
A7644019ec4d3d0b61603305a4907d56

on July 13, 2012
at 05:13 PM

Garlic Black pepper Chipotle chili power

0
68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on July 13, 2012
at 03:50 AM

Garlic Powder (not the best but damn tasty Cayenne Pepper Turmeric Cinnamon Ginger

These are staples that I rotate. Some great combos to be had.

0
F9013a3c7944d40c983e955f3cc83627

on July 13, 2012
at 02:52 AM

Garlic Powder Red Chile Powder

and its not a spice, but Chipotle Hot Sauce.

0
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 13, 2012
at 01:58 AM

Dried: cumin, chipotle, and large-leaf oregano.

Fresh: ALL THE CILANTRO, garlic, ginger, onion. Seriously, cilantro is my addiction.

The list looks a little different in the winter, switch over to my Quebecois meat-pie style spices of cinnamon, clove, and allspice!

0
862360b14f54837123030c85c2b25086

on July 12, 2012
at 10:21 PM

fennel seed primarily for white sauces cumin seed primarily for red sauces though they both work either way.

they have a very strong taste and bring a dish to life.

0
Ffdae5ff9b097872f486329d00b83eb6

on October 04, 2011
at 04:34 AM

Sea salt and black pepper are a given, right? :)

My holy spice trinity:

  1. Cayenne pepper flakes
  2. Garlic powder
  3. Oregano

Cinnamon is one I couldn't go without either...

Mae Ploy thai red curry paste is super awesome as well.

0
0c45fe3eb9575a12eb2a8f3ce244d673

(115)

on October 03, 2011
at 06:14 PM

These are my Top3:

  • nutmeg
  • clove
  • Summer savory

0
922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 29, 2011
at 02:14 PM

Garlic, Cumin, and Basil. Not necessarily all of them together, but usually in combo. Those are my limited 3. My list could go forever!

0
5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on March 29, 2011
at 01:54 PM

Chili, got to have lots of chili. Chili and ground ginger, and some garlic thrown in. Oh, did I mention the chili?

0
Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 28, 2011
at 08:27 PM

Like many it changes over time, currently:

Coriander

Szechuan/Sichuan Peppercorns

Cayenne Pepper

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Favorite spices change depending on what cuisines I'm into, but on a daily basis my favorites tend to be:

Pepper (try flowery long pepper it's amazing) Smoked Paprika, Fresh ginger (although I'm not sure if this is considered and aromatic rather than a spice)

Fav herbs Thyme, Bay, Thai basil

0
Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on January 28, 2011
at 01:50 PM

  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin (in stews and chili)

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