Pantry Basics: Necessary Herbs and Spices for Your Pantry

Equipping your pantry with basic herbs and spices

Herbs and Spices
Nadine Greeff/Stocksy United  

If you are just setting up house, you will need to keep some basic herbs and spices on hand to be prepared for any recipe. Although those spice racks and turntables may be attractive and handy on your countertop, it is best to store all herbs and spices in a cool, dark place away from heat and light sources. You can purchase inexpensive turntables to fit inside your cabinet for easier accessibility.

Although herbs and spices will not "go bad," per se, they will definitely lose their potency with age, and seeds such as poppy and sesame will get rancid. Most whole herbs and spices will retain their flavor about 1 year, while dried and ground versions are best used within 6 months.

Dried herbs should be crushed between the palms of your hands to release their flavor before adding to recipes. As a general rule for most herbs, 1 teaspoon of dried herb may be substituted for 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh herb.

This list is a general guide. Take your own tastes into consideration when selecting your own pantry basics. The links will take you to more detailed information on each of the herbs and spices:

Pantry Basics: Herbs and Spices

Allspice, ground and whole
Arrowroot starch
• Bay leaves
• Chili powder
Cinnamon, ground and sticks
• Cloves, ground and whole
Coriander, ground
• Cream of tartar
• Cumin, ground
• Curry powder
Dill weed
• Fennel seeds
Garlic powder
Ginger, ground
• Marjoram, dried
• Mint, dried
Mustard, dried ground
• Onion powder
Oregano, dried
Paprika, Hungarian sweet
• Pepper, cayenne, dried red flakes
Peppercorns, dried black
• Poppy seeds
Rosemary, dried
Sage, dried and rubbed
Salt, table and Kosher
Sesame seeds
Tarragon, dried
Thyme, ground and dried
• Vanilla extract

Other Pantry Basics Lists: