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My Favorite Spices – Let’s get spicy!

A few weeks ago, I was rereading a random post while looking for a recipe.  The recipe called for dried dill.  A reader commented that they didn’t have dried dill at home.  Tanner, was that you?  I can’t find the post again.

My jaw was on the floor.  A life without dill is not a life I’d like to be living!

That got me thinking about my favorite spices.  In no particular order, spices I can’t live without are:

  • Dill
  • Fresh garlic (I used to buy the stuff in the jar, until I got the best garlic press ever made, and realized how easy it is (and delicious) to use fresh garlic.  I’m so sad I missed out on fresh garlic for so long)
  • McCormicks Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Oh my goodness, we use this on everything!  Ironically, I’m not sure if we’ve ever used it on steak.  It is amazing on grilled chicken and grilled veggies.  Eternal gratitude for my friend Elaina who turned me on to this.
  • Smoked Paprika.  Hot damn, I love the stuff!
  • Good sea salt (I use Real Salt, or as Troy likes to joke like a jackass “not fake salt”), and freshly ground pepper.
  • Kosher salt.  Amazing for roasted chicken, awesome on top of homemade pretzel rolls, and on oven roasted veggies.

Spices I am pretty sure that I have never used:

  • Marjoram.  Never owned it.
  • Curry.  I.HATE.CURRY!!
  • Saffron.  Can’t afford it.  Wouldn’t know what to do with it!

But more than anything, I want to know what kind of spices YOU love.  I adore reading about your adventures in the kitchen!  What are your favorites?

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30 comments on “My Favorite Spices – Let’s get spicy!”

  1. Old Bay Seasoning, is without a doubt, my favorite. On so many things, not just in seafood dishes. It’s great on grilled chicken, too. Garlic is another food group in our house. Our kids say they don’t like spicy? Well, then don’t eat it. Won’t kill ’em to miss a meal, in my opinion. I second the feeling on curry and saffron. Blech!

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  3. My favourites:

    cardamom (there is no better smell on the planet! In the winter I add this to cookies, cakes, hot chocolate, tea, sky’s the limit…)
    ginger (fresh – hate the powder crap)
    lime leaves (are these an herb?)
    Thai 7 spice (although I can’t find this anymore 🙁 )

    I make a dry ‘kashmiri chicken’ using, among other things, saffron. It just smells and tastes so amazing that every time I make it I wonder why I don’t make it every week! Saffron water is also nice used in risottos.

    I’m always surprised when people consider salt to be a ‘spice’. I can’t stand the stuff, which unfortunately limits my groceries to ‘from scratch’ ingredients! 🙂

  4. Hmm. The top contenders would be:

    chili powder
    ground green chile powder – mail-order from NM…omg it’s amazing
    kosher salt
    pickling salt – for popcorn and saltwater-treating apple slices
    garlic powder
    fennel seed – seriously, everything is better if it tastes like Italian sausage, right?
    seasoning salt
    Thai basil – grew a ton this summer and dehydrated what we didn’t use – hopefully it’ll last…
    taco and ranch mixes – popcorn w taco seasoning is just about the best thing ever

  5. Berberre, a fantastic, spicy Ethiopian blend. Can be found at Penzeys, but my friend brought me some straight from Ethiopia when her granddaughter was adopted from there. Fabulous for Fish Tacos and Sweet Potato Fries 🙂

  6. Funny because my mom and I were just talking about this. We just added cumin to the cupboard a few years ago because I learned a recipe for sweet potatoes with it and I hadn’t used it before now!! Our favorite spices are cinnamon (my son love cinnamon and sugar on everything) and Lawry Garlic Salt (the one with parsley in it). I don’t think that I have dill either…sorry!!! I like it but I never cook with it. My mom started buying all of our spices in Amish country in PA and they seem to be so much better priced and so much more tasty. I usually make a list of things that I want for Christmas and I get some yummy spices. I knew I liked you for a reason because I HATE curry too 🙂

  7. I found a yummy spice mix called “Tajine” when we were in Florida last year…and found it a Meijers in Michigan…spicey, a little hot a little sweet..even says on the jar “this is not a candy” LOL…love it on sweet potatoes with some coconut oil, on chicken, on fish, popcorn,etc
    2nd favorite is Zatarains Creole Seasoning……good on everything..and yes, Montreal is a go-to spice for us as well…no wonder spice was worth more than gold……


    Also garlic and salt. But mostly DILL.

  9. Siracha! Especially love it with anything fried like dumplings.

  10. I would love to hear where you purchased your ” best garlic press ever made” and how it works. It could turn my life upside down!

  11. Red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and thyme. I LOVE the smell of thyme I think I’d wear it as perfume if I could

  12. Before I met my husband it was: Ground Cumin, Chili Pepper (not powder), Garlic, Oregano and Thyme. After I met him we’ve added: Turmeric, Garam Masala, whole Cumin and Ginger as major staples in our spice cabinet.

  13. Since I’m pretty much the only cook here (hubs can, but doesn’t) we use onion powder, garlic powder, salt (just plain Morton’s because of the iodine, we have thyroid issues), pepper, can’t live without my home made chili powder (hubs recipe, we are from the south and use chili powder on almost everything), rosemary (love it), turmeric, cumin, celery salt, sage, and lots of other spices that are seasonal or for specific recipes. Cinnamon goes in a lot of things, like chili, and I use cocoa as a spice in Mexican foods. I can’t keep enough onions around so I switch between powdered and fresh, just depends on what I’m using it in. Garlic bothers the hubs (why, I don’t know), so I just keep the powdered around and use it sparingly even though I LOVE it! I know they say to throw away spices after so long a period, but I never noticed any difference. If it isn’t strong enough I just add more. I use paprika quite a bit, too. Don’t care for commercial spice mixes as much because they all tend to have too much salt in them. I don’t bellieve all the hype about salt and blood pressure, it’s been found that it doesn’t affect it like they thought, but I do tend to retain water too much so have to watch it.

  14. Cumin. I used to hate it as a kid, but now I adore it.
    Cilantro, and I found a company that sells it freeze-dried. Otherwise I use fresh or a chutney — regular dried doesn’t taste like anything!
    Garlic, ginger, onion are all staples, as are thyme, turmeric, good chilli pepper, oregano (local!) and basil.
    Rosemary is a treat. So is cardamom, especially in sweet baking and coffee!

  15. We recently discovered Herbamare, which is a mix of salt, celery, leek, and a bunch of other stuff. Yes, it goes on every bite of food I eat (well, not the sweet foods).

    We also love our Real Salt, fresh garlic, cumin, mustard powder (the kiddo likes to add this to meatballs and scrambled eggs), and pepper. If fell like someone is fighting some sort of inflammation, I’ll use tumeric more as it’s anti-inflammatory, and ginger for the same reason.

    Sara Lewis, I’ve been making my coffee lately with vanilla extract and cinnamon!

  16. Pumpkin Pie Spice! I sprinkle it into my pancake batter, yogurt and oatmeal in the morning.

    When I’m feeling fancy pants, I stir it into my coffee with some almond milk and some vanilla extract. Who needs to pay $6/coffee when you can make it better yourself with free refills!

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  18. Montreal Steak Seasoning oddly enough enhances steak quite nicely. But the BEST thing to use it for is rolling your baking potatoes in them after oiling them up, and then bake them. Best potatoes with yum crispy skin! What I use the most of these days though is lemon pepper, on potatoes, roasted vegetables, pork chops, soups, etc. It is usually the answer when “something’s missing” in a dish, it “brightens” the other flavors. I am also old school and still use a lot of Lowry’s seasoning salt. I like Head Country dry rub for various things, like giving western flavor to chicken, potatoes, corn; Lowry’s garlic salt, “pink” salt (Himalayan sea salt) especially on fresh veg/tomatoes, ginger either crystalized or paste from a tube, Chopped garlic is like chopped onion or cilantro or parsley to me in that I think of it as an integral ingredient more than a seasoning. Mrs. Dash and Nature’s Seasoning are on the list, tumeric I discovered is what makes commercial chicken broth look so chickeny and is beneficial so I sneak a little in here and there. Newest find: garam masala. Like lemon pepper, you can sniff it and tell it is exactly what you need to round out a casserole or soup.

  19. Years ago friends of our turned us onto a spice mix called “Budda”. They are big Packer fans and found Budda’s Butcher Shop and the spice was made in house. This stuff is like crack, I kid you not. Meats, veggies, potatoes, you name it this stuff rocks.
    As luck would have it, the butcher shop closed several years ago and we had to ration our Budda Mix. Sad times indeed. UNTIL….oldest son moved back home for a short time, and as he was choosing what he wanted to put in storage he found the air lock bag of Budda we had given him for Christmas 2 years before in a canister. Happy days are here again!!!
    PS. If anyone out there has any knowledge of this butcher shop and the family that owned it, please let me know!

  20. Salt
    red pepper flakes,
    and love, love, love my Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub!!!
    Now that I have done this exercise, I am going to clean out my spice cabinet!!! I will get rid of all of the experimental seasonings I do not use!!! Thanks for this post!

  21. Smoked paprika is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Hash browns are incomplete with it out. And DANG, I almost never use dill (other than for canning) and planted a whole buttload and was so overwhelmed with it. When I think dill the only think I think to use it on is fish or something. And that steak seasoning…OMG…we have to buy it at BJS in a giant ass tub because we love it sooo much.

    • Dill is great on fish, but also amazing on eggs and in on oven roasted potatoes. I also like to add it to homemade “aioli” when we need a dip for artichokes, Brussels sprouts, etc.

  22. Coarse Ground Black Pepper, and another Montreal Steak Spice Fan here, and then for pork I use the pepper, and tons of Emeril original Essence. Most pork goes into the crockpot and I just dump that Emeril in like crazy, along with the pepper and oh my the flavor combo is great….:)

  23. The house seasoning around here is garlic powder and paprika. I don’t add much salt, but we keep some generic kosher variety around in case.

  24. Garlic salt!!! And SALT of any variety! I LOVE salt! Rosemary and mint are givens…..pepper!! We have a TON of spices! And we use them a lot! Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger……so many we love….

    • Linda, we found that a sprinkle of garlic salt (ours comes mixed with a little parsley i think) sprinkled over a homemade pizza before baking, leads to an amazing flavor!!!

  25. Can’t live without (in no particular order):
    Herbs de Provence
    Curry (at least a dozen blends in my pantry!) and its buddy Turmeric