Top 10 Spices in your Pantry?

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You all know I moved and in packing up my house, I realized that some of the spices I had in my cabinets were a million years old.  OK – well maybe not a million, but you get the idea.  So before I ran out spending a fortune on new spices, I figured I would do some research on what the MUST HAVE spices are.  I like to cook, but my family eats a lot of basics, so I asked Erin the author/blogger of 5DollarDinners what are the Top 10 MUST HAVE spices for your pantry.

She created a great list and her readers are adding even more in the comments.  So I want to know what yours are as well.  PLEASE share your top 10 spices and your storage ideas as well.  Do you buy bulk?  Do you have a spice cabinet or rotating thing on the counter?  HELP ME!!!  Let me know if you have a spice organization system that you love.

photo from WilliamSonoma


  1. This is SO funny! I was just thinking I needed to finish my “Spice Setup”! LOL I LOVE my spices!! I will buy them when they go on sale, or from the “Mexican” isle where they are cheaper! I have right now 13 Blue Jars AND 13 Green jars! They are lined up on a 2&1/2″ “lip” on my counter tops! Believe it or not I need about 6 or so more! but when we got them we “Cleaned OUT”! We bought them from a woman who has a Kitchen/Spice store at our Flea Market at the Fair Grounds!
    I have them in alphabetical order. I’m just having a problem finding labels to put on them that you can actually see!! I use ALL my spices regularly but the TOP 10 would mostly be: 1.) Cinnamon 2.) Garlic Powder 3.) Garlic Salt 4.) Ginger 5.) Basil 6.) Thyme 7.) Chilli 8.) Parsley 9.) Cayenne 10.) Cloves.
    ALSO, I GROW my own Spices and use them fresh in my cooking! I LOVE my Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Sage plants! Fresh is SO MUCH better tasting BUT you can either dry them or freeze them for later use! (Which I do ALL three!!).

  2. I have a round spice rack on the counter but rarely use it. My favorites are in the cabinet next to the stove. I make some type of Mexican meal at least once a week so my favorite spices reflect that.
    Most used are:
    1 Paprika– not only the base for anything Mexican but also awesome on fish and chicken.
    2 garlic powder
    3 onion powder
    4 chili powder
    5 red/Cayenne pepper
    6 parsley
    7 cumin
    8 cinnamon
    9 basil
    10 rosemary

  3. Still figuring out how to organize mine! There’s this great farmer’s market in Atlanta (where I used to live) and the spices are literally $.42, $.25, etc for the amount you get in a typically grocery store or more. I usually stock up when I visit family or friends, and I don’t feel bad about throwing out ones that are too old because of that price. It’s good to remember that the longer they sit there, the less ‘potent’ they are.
    My top 10 (not including the salt and pepper to put in the grinders):
    1. Cumin (great for sooo much)
    2. Parsely
    3. Basil
    4. Cinnamon
    5. Chili powder
    6. Ginger
    7. Nutmeg
    8. Cayenne pepper
    9. Thyme
    10. Curry powder/dill probably tie for 10th place

  4. Kristen D. says:

    I HAVE to have Garlic salt, Garlic Powder, Parsley, Oregano, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg- and of course, salt and pepper :).

  5. I have a lot of spices. I have a spice drawer, that is the height of my cabinets, next to my range that has 3 shelves in it. I keep the larger containers of spices, food coloring, vanilla, etc in this. Then I have another smaller, shallow drawer that I keep the smaller bottles of McCormick spices in. Then I have an antique spice rack on my counter that came with white glass jars with blue lids. It’s cute, which is why I still use it. My favorite spice area is the shallow drawer, though. I used a Sharpie to label the top of each lid so I can find what I’m looking for quickly, since all of the bottles are identical from the top.

  6. Some of the best and cheapest spices I purchased came from an organic grocery store. The brand is called Twin Tree Garden’s and I believe they were around $1 for a large bottle. My must have spices are: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, celery seeds (I hate fresh celery so I use either flakes or seeds to get the taste), sage, parsley, season salt, and cajun seasoning. I have a ton of spices so it’s not easy to narrow it down to 10 lol.

  7. How about Salt and Pepper those would be number one and two on my list
    Cinnamon might be numbers 3 through 10 for my family – LOL!

  8. I try to buy bulk spices from the health food store and refill my jars. I can control the price and the amount I will be able to use for the next few months. I keep my spices in the cabinet in 2 shallow plastic bins, one for baking and one for cooking. Then I can pull out the one I need.

  9. We love our spices! Mine are in a cabinet next to the stove, out of sight but within easy reach.
    The top 10 are:
    Red pepper flakes
    Sea salt
    chili powder
    garlic powder

  10. tigeranne says:

    I use a “step-up” expandable shelf organizer to organize my spices in my upper cabinet near the stove. They are set up in alphabetical order which helps me find things quickly and avoid having duplicates. My top 10 favorites are: (1) Cinnamon (2) Cloves (3) Ginger (4) Nutmeg (5) Pumpkin Pie Spice (when I am creating my own recipe) (6) Oregano (7) Sage (8) Thyme (9) Poultry Season (I use this to make my own Shake N Bake) (10) Garlic Powder

  11. Christen English says:

    I do buy bulk for the ones I use alot of. I keep them in this awesome stair step rack that I found at a thrift shop and it fits perfectly in my cabinet for my spices. I can see all of them when I open the door and I don’t have to dig around and nothing gets lost in the back either. When I do buy bulk I put some of it in Tupperware spice keepers, the rest I store in my extra fridge.

    1. Salt
    2. Pepper
    3. Garlic Powder
    4.Onion Powder
    5. Cajun Spice
    6. Seasoned Salt
    7. HEB Steak Seasoning
    8. Cayene Pepper
    9. Italian Seasoning
    10. Oregano

  12. Organize spices?? Wow, what an idea!

    I love to cook so I would adore a great way to organize my spices. I do use shelving in the cabinet that gets higher so that I can see the back rows. And although i do tend to clump them together (italian spices, dessert spices, etc) now that my two older children cook also, it never stays organized.

    I buy the spices I use the fastest in bulk (minced onions, granulated garlic) and those that tend not to lose their kick (cayenne, chili powder).

    My top 10 list:

    Chili Fruits (hard to find but oohhh soooo good)
    Chili Powder
    Hidden Valley Ranch Mix (it has to qualify as a spice, I use it just as much)
    Mustard Powder
    White Pepper
    Oh no…only one more left?? Ummmm, it would have to be minced onions.

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