Cooking for beginners - spices everyone needs in their kitchen

Salt and pepper are basic ingredients. Picture: Freepiks

Salt and pepper are basic ingredients. Picture: Freepiks

Published Feb 28, 2024


Spices are the key to unlocking delicious flavours, and having a well-stocked spice rack can make all the difference in elevating your dishes.

Imagine how tasteless something like chicken would be without adding at least salt and pepper!

If you’re just starting out in the kitchen, there are a few basic spices that are essential for adding depth and complexity to your meals.

Here’s a list of spices everyone needs in their kitchens.


Salt is perhaps the most important spice in any kitchen.

My mother always told me that food without salt is food without love.

It enhances the natural flavours of ingredients and can balance out sweetness and acidity.


Black pepper adds subtle heat and earthiness to dishes, while white pepper lends a more delicate flavour.

If you looking for maximum flavour, opt for freshly ground pepper.

For maximum flavour, opt for freshly ground pepper. Picture: Pixabay / Pexels

Garlic powder

Garlic powder is a versatile and aromatic spice that can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

It is a convenient option for when you don't have fresh garlic on hand. Sometimes you just want a hint of garlic.

Onion powder

Like garlic powder, onion powder adds depth and flavour to dishes without the need for chopping onions.

It's great for adding a savoury note to soups, stews and sauces.

Unfortunately, if you want to start a dish like a stew or curry, you will still need to chop up a few onions.

Chilli powder

Chilli powder or flakes add a kick of heat and flavour to any dish.

It’s a must-have for when you are making curries, Mexican dishes or simply want to add some fire to your spicy wings.

Chilli powder adds fire to any dish. Picture: Pawan Pandey / Pexels


Oregano is a classic herb in Mediterranean and Italian cooking.

It has a robust flavour that complements tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil in dishes like pasta sauces and roasted meats.

IOL Lifestyle