37 Spices That Will Make Your Food Taste Better: The Ultimate List

Some people think that cooking is all about the recipe. Others say it’s about the person preparing the meal. For me, it’s all about the spices.

I like to try new dishes and experiment in the kitchen. That’s why I keep an extensive list of spices at my home. These are some of the most common spices you should know about.



Cumin is a spice that has been used in the middle east and Africa for over 4,000 years. Its taste is used in many dishes including Indian cuisine. It’s also an herb that has been shown to have many health benefits including being an anti-inflammatory.

It seems cumin just can’t catch a break these days! Cumin is a spice that has been used for over 4000 years, originating from the Middle East and eventually making its way to India.


Allspice, a type of spice, is the dried berry of the pimenta dioica plant. The berry has a sweet-spicy flavor and gives off an aroma that is like pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove mixed. Allspice is mainly used in Jamaican cuisine but can also be found in other regions such as South America and Asia.

Caraway Seed

Caraway seeds, a type of spice, have been gaining popularity in recent years and can be found in restaurants and grocery stores. Caraway seeds are mainly known for their use in baking goods such as rye bread, pastries, and cookies. Caraway seeds can also be used to flavor soups and chicken dishes. Research has shown that caraway seed is rich in antioxidants, making it a healthy choice for people who strive to eat healthy foods.

Chili Pepper

In the United States, chili peppers are popular in dishes from all regions of the country. The spiciness of chili pepper is measured on the Scoville scale, which ranges from 0 to 16 million units. For a person to feel any heat, they must consume at least 10-15 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of body weight. So if someone weighs 60 kg and consumes 50 mg/kg their mouth should start feeling hot after about 8 seconds and it will continue until they’ve consumed 100 mg/kg or more.
The spiciness can vary depending on how much capsaicin is present in each pepper; however, other factors contribute such as genetics and environmental conditions such as

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are a common ingredient in both pastry and bread. They are also found in some sauces, like garlic sauce, poppy seed dressing, and many Asian dishes. The seeds come from the cotton plant and when the flower blooms, it produces a small capsule with several seeds inside. These edible seeds are rich in fat and protein containing essential amino acids. They also offer high levels of fiber for when you want to keep your digestive tract healthy.

Black Cumin

Black cumin, also known as black seed, is an ancient herb used for centuries in East Asian and Arabic cultures. It was formally introduced to India during the medieval era by traders who had come into contact with other civilizations. This powerful spice is now becoming popular in many other countries across the world due to its health benefits. Black cumin has been shown to have antibacterial properties, which offer protection against illnesses such as stomach ulcers, diarrhea, and vomiting.


Some people use cloves for cooking or baking, but their main usage is in dental care. Cloves are used to flavor toothache preparations, mouthwashes, and tooth powders. Clove oil is highly effective against toothaches and pain. Clove buds and leaves can also be used as a numbing agent for local anesthesia and the treatment of skin infections. Clove is often added to cigarettes for flavor and aroma.

Black Pepper

Black pepper is ground from the dried, unripe berries of the pepper plant. The spiciness of black pepper comes from a natural chemical called piperine. Black pepper has been used as a spice for thousands of years but was first used as a way to preserve meat and fish shortly after its discovery.
This introduction paragraph covers the basics about black pepper- what it is when it was discovered, how it is used in cooking.

Caraway seeds

Caraway seeds are a spice that is made from the Carum carvi which is a plant in the celery family. They’re commonly used in baking and give many dishes a nutty and tangy flavor. Caraway seeds contain an anti-flatulent effect that can help people who suffer from indigestion or heartburn. It is also known to be useful for those who suffer from ulcers and gastritis.


Ginger is the root of a plant that grows in tropical climates. It is often used as a spice in different dishes like Indian food, Thai curry, and gingerbread cookies. It is also commonly used to treat nausea, which is caused by motion sickness or morning sickness. There are many health benefits of ginger because it contains antioxidants that fight against cancer-causing free radicals. Ginger can also be helpful for those who suffer from arthritis because it has anti-inflammatory properties.


Paprika, a spice with a flavor so rich and complex it barely needs the addition of other spices to make a dish come alive, is a star in many South American cuisines. This fiery little seed is native to the Americas and was first cultivated by the Aztecs, who used it as both a food and medicine. It wasn’t until Christopher Columbus returned from his voyage that paprika made its way onto European tables.


Garlic is filled with essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and selenium, for example. Garlic has been proven to promote cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream. Garlic also may be effective in preventing cancer due to its anti-inflammatory properties which can help protect against cell mutations.

Garlic is used throughout many cultures around the world, adding immense flavor to dishes.

Cassia Bark

Cassia bark, also known as Chinese cinnamon, is a species of cinnamon tree that grows in China. The bark is used to flavor and give certain dishes a distinct color. Cassia bark is most commonly used in Chinese cuisine and it is also the main ingredient in curry powder. It has been known to help control blood sugar and cholesterol levels and has antibacterial properties. Although cassia bark is similar to its Western counterpart, Ceylon cinnamon, it tastes different.


Nutmeg is a spice that is derived from the seed of the fruit of an evergreen tree native to southwest India. It has been produced and used as a culinary and medicinal herb for centuries but was also famously used as a hallucinogen in the 20th century. Patients would drink a tea mixture containing ground nutmeg and milk before entering into a dream-like state. These experiences were often considered unpleasant by those who experienced them and led to their quick decline in popularity.

Coriander Seed

Coriander is a flowering plant that may be found growing in warm climates. The leaves are purplish green and have a lemony scent. Coriander seeds are used as a spice for curry, chili, and other dishes. The seeds are also used for brewing beer.

Coriander is a flowering plant that often grows in warm climates. The leaves are purplish-green and it has a lemony scent.

Crushed Red Pepper

Crushed red pepper is a type of spice that is less hot than cayenne pepper. It can be used in dishes with spicy ingredients to provide a piquant but milder flavor. It is made from grinding dried red chili peppers and can range in intensity from very mild to moderately hot. Whole dried red chilies are soaked before being heated, which removes the flesh and inner membranes, leaving only the skin and seeds.


Many people know that Indian cuisine has a lot of spices, but one may not be familiar with asafoetida. Asafoetida, also known as heeng(hing), is an ingredient used in Indian cooking. It tastes like the onion family and gives dishes a slightly bitter yet tangy flavor. This spice is often used in Indian curry powder or lentil-based dishes.

Carom (Ajwain)

Ajwain is a type of spice that can be found in many cuisines around the world. It has a very strong smell and taste, which some people may find to be too overpowering for their palate. The spice itself has been used since ancient times as a medicine, food preservative, and aid for digestion.


Sumac is a spice that you might not know much about. It’s used in Middle Eastern cuisine and is often paired with pita bread. Sumac has a tangy, lemony flavor and can be found in most grocery stores or specialty shops. If you’re looking for an easy way to add a little spice to your next meal give this ancient spice a try!
Sumac, the forgotten spice of the Mediterranean

Star Anise

Star anise is a plant in the magnolia family, native to south-eastern China and northern Vietnam. It has been used for centuries as a spice in curries, soups, and sauces or served with fruits to make jams. It can also be consumed as tea or added to marinades and glazes.

Celery Seed

Celery seed, a type of spice, is not just used for flavoring in foods. It has many medicinal uses, one being to help with blood pressure. It is also used to help with osteoporosis and anxiety after surgery. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent which can be used for arthritis relief. Celery seed can be purchased at grocery stores in the spice section or even online if you are unable to find it locally.

Curry Powder

Curry powder is a spice that is derived from the curry leaf, which is found in the Indian subcontinent. It contains coriander, turmeric, cumin, red pepper, and other spices. It has been used for thousands of years in Indian cuisine to flavor dishes. Curry powder can be added to garlic or ginger paste before use in tofu dishes.


Since the discovery of cayenne, it has been used as a spice and to stimulate the appetite. It is used in cooking all around the world and can be found in dishes such as chili, curry, and gumbo. Recently it has been found that cayenne also has medicinal benefits. For example, it can be used to help with arthritis and indigestion.


Saffron is a type of spice that can be used in cooking and dishes. It’s a bright orange-red color, which comes from the flower Crocus Sativus. Saffron has been around since ancient times and was thought to have healing powers for stomach ailments. Recent studies have shown it may also help with anxiety-related disorders such as PTSD.


Mace is a spice that comes from nutmeg, which is found in Indonesia. The nutmeg itself is a type of fruit, and it was introduced to Europe by Arab traders. Magillicutty is people who are involved in the rasping or grating of mace. Graters that can be attached to a kitchen utensil called “copper” are used for this purpose.

Bay leaf

Bay leaf, a spice found in every cooking kitchen, is not only used for seasoning food but also its medicinal benefits. This red and green plant is native to Ayurvedic and Chinese cultures and provides relief from symptoms of indigestion, diarrhea, flatulence, menstrual cramps, headaches, depression, anxiety, and much more. The leaves are also effective as an insect repellant and can be used as potpourri.

Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are a type of spice that many do not know much about. Mustard seeds are used to make a type of sauce called Dijonnaise, which is a must blend of mustard and mayonnaise. They come from the mustard plant, where they grow as small round seeds. The seeds themselves have a flavor that ranges from sweet to bitter depending on the variety. They can be white to yellow, but usually either dark brown or black.


Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the bark of the Cinnamon tree. It is used in many dishes to add flavor and also as an ingredient for baking. For some people, cinnamon has medicinal properties which can help with blood pressure, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, etc. The smell of this spice alone can have you feeling better!


Anise is a type of spice that has been used in cooking, medicine, and religious rituals for centuries. Its flavor is similar to licorice and it can be found in everything from Turkish Delight to Parisian pastries. Here are some fun facts about this delicious ingredient: Anise seeds were historically used as a natural remedy for toothaches, coughs, bronchitis, and sore throats. The word anise comes from the French word “anis,” which means “to please.” And we think you’ll find it hard not to enjoy all of its many uses! Anise flavors most liqueurs like sambuca or ouzo because they are distilled over the seeds during production.

Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkins are in season in the fall, which is the perfect time to enjoy pumpkin spice. It’s a blend of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, black pepper, and cardamom. The key ingredient in pumpkin spice is cinnamon. Other spices vary depending on the recipe because people have their preferences when it comes to cooking.


Turmeric is a spice, a member of the ginger family that has been used in cooking for centuries. It is commonly used as an alternative to black pepper. Turmeric’s signature flavor comes from its main component, curcumin, which gives it its mustard-yellow color. Turmeric has long been associated with Indian cuisine and has become more popular in Western kitchens over the past decades, due to both globalization and its usefulness as an anti-inflammatory agent.


Cardamom is a spice that is native to India and Sri Lanka. The spice has been cultivated in places outside of Asia, such as in Guatemala, for over 300 years. In the United States, spice is widely available in grocery stores across the country. It can be used in sweet and savory foods, from desserts to meat sauces.

Galangal Root Powder

Most people don’t know the difference between galangal root powder and ginger. There are some similarities, but they have different aromas and tastes. The flavor of galangal is more earthy, while ginger has a sweet taste. But there are differences in health benefits too! Ginger can help with nausea while galangal can be used to treat indigestion, diarrhea, or dysentery. So if you’re feeling nauseous or have stomach issues try using galangal instead of ginger!


Fenugreek is a type of spice that has been used for centuries as an ingredient in curry dishes. It is widely used throughout India, especially in North Indian cuisine. More recently, it has gained popularity in the United States because of its health benefits. Fenugreek is known to help with lactation issues for mothers who are breastfeeding, regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, and help lower cholesterol levels.


Fennel is a type of spice derived from the plant Foeniculum vulgare. It is a perennial herb that grows in the form of an umbrella, with feathery leaves. The odor is sweet and spicy, while the taste is peppery and slightly bitter.

Fennel has been used for centuries in cooking due to its various beneficial properties.

Onion Powder

Onion Powder is a spice that you can add to a variety of different dishes to create a distinctive flavor.  It is most commonly used in Mexican and French cuisines, but can also be found in others such as Italian and Indian. Onion powder consists of dehydrated onion flakes which can add extra spice or even add volume to a dish when added with other ingredients.

Onion powder is the perfect addition when you need to add more flavor to your dishes.


Vanilla is a spice that is not often used in cooking, but it has many benefits for both health and flavor. Vanilla offers an enticing aroma that is great to have around the house. It can also help with healing certain conditions. It contains antioxidants that are good for heart health, digestive wellness, and even skin elasticity. Not only does it make things taste good, but it smells great too!

Wrap Up

There are a lot of spices out there and you might not know which ones to try. Spice up your day by trying something new! Leave a comment below with what spice you tried or if it was one that we mentioned in the post, how it tasted. We’d love to hear from our readers on their thoughts about these different spices so leave us a comment telling us which one is your favorite!

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