Add Magic to Your Kitchen with the Best Herbs and Spices for Cooking

best herbs and spices for cooking

Accordin’ to chef Laurent, “The two essential herbs are oregano and basil, and the two spices that you need are garlic and red pepper flakes.” 

As someone with a passion for cookin’, I’m always learnin’ about new seasonings that take dishes to the next level. Some potent peppers add robust taste and may even support our well-bein’. 

Keep readin’ to learn my tips for selectin’, storin’ and usin’ these magical herbs and spices to get the most out of ’em in the kitchen! 

You’ll be sprinklin’ in flavor favourites before you know it.

Key Takeaways

Some of the most versatile and favored herbs for cooking include basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley. Common pantry spices that add great flavor include garlic, black pepper, cumin, sage and paprika.

Top 10 Herbs and Spices for Every Cook to Have

Now listen here friends, I got some knowledge to share about the top herbs and spices that can elevate any meal. 

As someone who just loves cooking up all sorts of tasty dishes, I’ve picked up a thing or two over the years on how to jazz things up with fresh flavors.

Having the right seasonings on hand is so important if you want to be ready for whatever inspiration strikes in the kitchen. 

That’s why I always keep certain ones close by. Things like basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme – they’re real game changers.

Alright friends, now I’m gonna clue you in on the basics that every cook needs to have on hand. These are the top 10 herbs and spices that can truly make all the difference in a dish.

  • Basil: Adds a fresh, peppery taste to pasta dishes, salads, and more. Basil pairs well with tomatoes.
  • Oregano: Complements Italian and Greek dishes. Great in pasta sauces, pizza toppings, and seasoned meat like chicken.
  • Rosemary: Adds an aromatic, pine-like flavor. Excellent with roasted potatoes and meat like Chicken. Try rosemary-roasted chicken or lamb.
  • Thyme: Very flexible herb that pairs well with roast chicken, fish, potatoes and more. Adds an earthy depth of flavor.
  • Parsley: Adds bright flavor and color to many dishes as a fresh herb garnish. Also works well as a roasted herb.
  • Sage: A robust herb that pairs perfectly with turkey, chicken, pork. Sage has a slightly bitter, savory taste.
  • Cumin: An earthy, citrusy spice that adds warm depth to Mexican, Indian and North African dishes like chili, tacos and curries.
  • Paprika: Adds gorgeous color and mild flavor to dishes from deviled eggs to roasted chicken. Great Spanish and Hungarian seasoning.
  • Garlic Powder: An easy way to add garlic punch without raw garlic. Essential seasoning for roasted potatoes and vegetables.
  • Black Pepper: Complements nearly every savory dish with a peppery zing. Freshly cracked peppercorns are even more flavorful than pre-ground.

Versatile Herb and Spice Combinations

Once you got your key players, the next step is learning how to pair ’em up for premium flavor. These combos here are tried and true – they were practically made for each other in my kitchen.

Besides keeping individual herbs and spices stocked, it’s helpful to learn classic complementary combinations. Here are some top combinations to try:

Herb/Spice CombinationPairs Well With
Rosemary and ThymeRoasted potatoes, chicken or pork
Oregano and BasilPizza, pasta sauce, vegetables
Cumin and CorianderMexican chili, curry, tacos
Parsley, Garlic and LemonFish, chicken
Sage and OnionStuffing, turkey, pork roast

For example, rosemary and thyme are a traditional roast dinner combo. Their woody flavors mingle beautifully together and with roasted chicken or pork (1). Oregano and basil are a classic Mediterranean pairing that brings out the best in tomatoes. Learning a few foundational combinations can take your cooking to the next level.

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Credit : Ethan Chlebowski

Tips for Storing Herbs and Spices

Now I know we all get busy, but taking care of your seasonings goes a long way. Let me give you some pointers on properly storing your herbs and spices so they stay as tasty as can be.

best herbs and spices for cooking

It’s important to keep herbs and spices in optimal condition for maximum freshness and flavor. Here are some tips:

  • Store herbs in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture. Parsley, cilantro, dill and basil will last 1-2 weeks (2).
  • Keep dried herbs and spices in a cool, dark place in airtight jars or containers away from heat and light. This prevents them from losing their potency.
  • Purchase whole spices when possible and grind as needed in a spice grinder. Whole spices retain flavor much longer than pre-ground.
  • Mark dates on jars and containers when opening new herbs/spices so you know when to replace. For best flavor, use within 6 months to 1 year.
  • Consider growing your own favorite herbs like basil, rosemary and thyme. Homegrown herbs are ultra fresh!

With some key herbs, spices and flavor combinations in your pantry, you’ll always be ready to create delicious meals from any main ingredients you have on hand. 

Experimenting with new combinations is half the fun of home cooking. Keep flavors fresh by following good storage practices.

Updates on Herbs and Spices

Top Trending Herbs and Spices in the Kitchen

Friends, let me give you a rundown on some of the hottest seasonings that are popping up more and more in homes like mine lately. 

As someone who loves keeping up with the latest flavors, here are a few keys spices that seem to be all the buzz.

  • Turmeric: This golden gal is getting so much attention for its awesome taste and health benefits (3). Turmeric adds a warm, earthy zing to curries, rice dishes, and more.
  • Harissa: This North African chili paste is showing its smoky, spicy face in recipes of all kinds. I puts the perfect kick in stews, pastas, and anywhere an extra zap is needed.
  • Za’atar: A favored Middle Eastern blend of herbs like thyme, sumac, and sesame, za’atar adds incredible depth. It’s wonderful on meats, vegetables, dips, and more.
  • Shichimi Togarashi: This seven-spice Japanese seasoning brings layers of flavor to soups, noodle dishes, and snacks. The combo of flavors like chili and sesame is just magical.

Turmeric for health, harissa for heat, za’atar for depth, and shichimi for layers. Keep an eye out for these spices lighting up recipes near you!

Tips for Growing Herbs

Alright friends, while we’re talking seasoning smarts, I’d be remiss not to mention the joys and benefits of growing your own herbs at home. 

Let me tell ya, nothing compares to having a fresh harvest right outside your door. So take some notes if you want in on this green thumb action…

  • Basil, Mint, Oregano – Very easy to grow in sunny spots or containers on a patio. Snip often for continued bushiness.
  • Parsley, Cilantro – Also thrive with sunshine. Great for garnishes and adding fresh flavor pops to dishes.
  • Thyme, Rosemary – These woody herbs do best in exposed, drying soil. Give them some sun and let them spread.
  • Sage – A hardy herb that can endure some shade. Great for stuffings during holidays.
  • Dill, Fennel – Best sown directly where they’ll grow, these lacy herbs grow quickly for salads and pickles.

No matter your space, try sprinkling some herb seeds to reap the rewards of freshness. Pair harvests with homemade recipes for the best flavor ever!


Well friends, I hope you learned a thing or two about how herbs and spices can take your cooking to the next level! 

As someone who loves experimenting in the kitchen, I’m always excited to share my seasoning secrets. 

Whether you keep essential basics stocked, pair flavors like a pro, or grow your own harvest, I guarantee your meals will be more delicious than ever before.

Don’t be afraid to experiment too – finding new flavor combinations is half the fun of cooking at home. Just remember to store your herbs and spices properly so they stay as fresh and vibrant as possible. 

With the right seasonings and a little kitchen creativity, you’ll have folks raving about your recipes in no time.

Now I’d love to hear – have you tried any of these trending spices or pairings yourself? Let me know in the comments which ones become your new favorites! 

Thanks for learning with me friends, and keep on cookin’ up tasty dishes.



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