Top 10 Dried Spices to Own for your Home Kitchen

When starting out the adventure of home-cooking, you may wonder what kitchen basics you need to own in terms of spices. The following list is what I think is a great place to start in what dried spices your kitchen needs!

So when I first started home cooking, there were a lot of recipes that had spices I didn’t own yet. Because some spices can be expensive, I questioned which spices were actually worth buying and owning in my home.

I took many risks and bought spices that I never used and bought some that I use constantly! One thing this home will never produce is a tasteless, spiceless meal. So I use dried spices very often, and pretty much have to buy new ones every other week (I cook at home a lot).

So this list of dried spices is what I use almost on a daily, if not weekly basis when I cook at home. They are what I consider a great starting place for your kitchen spices and then you can get more adventurous from there!

1. Garlic Powder: This is my favorite and literally can be used with any type of cuisine that you are cooking! Whether it is Asian, Mexican, or Italian, garlic powder adds another layer of flavor that makes your home cooking that much better! This is a must have for your kitchen and totally worth spending money on!

2. Onion Powder: This goes along with garlic powder for almost every meal! The only time I would not use this is if I was making a dish that already has tons of onion or dried minced onion in it (you don’t want to over do it with the onion flavor). But this is definitely a necessity for your kitchen.

3. Paprika: There are tons of different paprika out there to buy; sweet, smoked, spicy… there is also just a basic paprika for your kitchen and that is what I usually buy. I use paprika alongside garlic and onion powder for just another layer of flavor and it usually adds such a pretty color to your meals! Definitely a must have.

4. Celery Powder/Celery Salt: Okay so this is one of my favorite spices I have recently found! It gives your food a deep, savory flavor of celery that adds celery to dishes you haven’t put it in or strengthens the celery flavor in dishes where there already is celery. It is a robust flavor that just makes your meals feel rich and delicious. I love this in pot roasts, soups, and pretty much everything!

5. Cumin: Okay so have you ever tasted taco meat and wondered what that major flavor is? That’s cumin! This smoky spice is perfect for Mexican style dishes, chilis, and smoky dishes like bbq. I love to even sprinkle a little of this over some fried eggs and breakfast goes up lik 10 more levels! This is a staple because many recipes call for this spice and it’s delicious! So I definitely recommend buying this one!

6. Chili Powder: This is a robust, and deep flavor necessary for many dishes! I use chili powder alongside cumin many times in my chilis or Mexican inspired dishes! I also use it when I want a hint of smoky spice without going as far as adding red pepper flakes or cayenne. I have a maple smoked bacon recipe where I use chili powder, ground pepper and maple syrup and bake THE most delicious bacon ever! This spice is a staple because it adds a great flavor to many dishes, and you’ll find many recipes call for chili powder! I definitely recommend!

7. Italian Seasoning: I love Italian Seasoning! It’s a mix of some delicious flavors like basil, oregano, and thyme. It’s perfect to add to grilled chicken, soups, spaghettis, and on top of pizzas to take them to the next level! It’s a great place to start in buying seasonings that take your food to the next level!

8. Dill Weed: THIS is my favorite! I was introduced to dill when I was introduced to Russian cuisine (my best friend’s mama is the best cook btw). Dill is what you think, the flavor in pickles, that is just so unique but so tasty! I love to put dill in chicken soups, on top of fish, and in sauces! A little goes a long way that’s for sure! One of my favorite stuffed bell pepper recipes calls for tons of dill and it is so delicious! This is a definitely a kitchen staple for me!

9. Dried Basil: Fresh basil is delicious! However, dried basil also brings a depth of flavor to your meals! I love to use basil in my tomato soups, Italian cooking, and spaghetti! When I am feeling fancy, I sometimes sprinkle some basil over my cold cut sandwiches, just to add some delicious flavor! This is used in many dishes and definitely worth having in your kitchen.

10. Cayenne Pepper/Red Pepper: So if you love a little kick to your meals, this is the spice for you. A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY! Funny story, I bought “red pepper” which is another name for cayenne and I didn’t know it. Put a ton of it in a recipe and had no clue as to why my tongue was burning; the culprit? Cayenne. So definitely use with care but cayenne adds a smoky, rich spice to your dishes and is great for the adventurous palette that loves spice! I use it in my chilis, soups, meats, and pretty much anything I want to add a little heat to! Definitely a must have in your kitchen.

So there’s my list of 10 Dried Spices to have in Your Home Cooking Kitchen! I own so many more of course, but these will get you started and make your meals THAT much better!

I hope this helps any new starting home cookers or even those starting out in a new home wondering what spices to buy! Let me know what you think, and as always, Happy Homemaking!

Crockpot vs Instant Pot: What’s the Deal?

Definitely a question I have been asked before: what’s better? The crockpot or the instant pot? Let’s talk about pros, cons, and truths!

Me posing with my loves….

Okay, so the picture may be having you question some things about me. But to help clear up any confusion, I have posed with my crockpot and instant pot for one reason: THEY ARE MY LIFE.

To compare the two would be akin to comparing your children: you love them both equally, for different reasons! So this post is not so much why you should purchase or own a crock pot versus an instant pot, but really my argument as to why BOTH are necessary for the modern homemaking mama!

Crock pot

Let’s start with O’ Faithful, the crock pot. So surely you have one of these in your home (whether it gets used or not). They are often a staple for the bridal shower or home warming part because so many have seen the benefits of having one. They are pretty affordable, even for the budgeter, which makes it definitely a must have kitchen tool. If you don’t have one, I am holding my Pioneer Woman crock pot which I LOVE because they have so many different prints to choose from. But all crockpots are awesome and totally worth investing in.

But let’s talk about practicality. The crockpot opens soooo many doors for your home-cooking and is perfect for the busy stay-at-home mama or working mama. Whether you stay home or are working, finding the time to get dinner planned and cooked is always tough on these hectic days of doing every day tasks and taking care of your family. With the crock pot you can make so many delicious recipes, from overnight breakfast oats, slow-cooked pot roasts, and even decadent deserts! The crockpot is ideal for the working mama who can put the meal in during the morning rush and come home to a hot, finished meal!

Some of my favorite crock pot meals are classic pot roast, chili, vegetable soup, and French dip sandwiches! I don’t know what it is, but there is just something so satisfying about a crock pot meal; they are so warm and cozy, it just makes you feel at home and comforted!

So, all of this to say. Get a crockpot or start putting the one hiding in your cabinet in the box to use! They make your life so much easier.

Hamilton Beach 8-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker With Digital Timer, Dishwasher-Safe Crock & Lid, Silver (33480)

Instant pot

Here’s the thing. When I first heard of the instant pot, I rolled my eyes thinking, oh great another fad to spend money on that I will use once and then it will collect dust in the cabinet (like the air fryer for me). Everyone at my job was raving about it and honestly I was too timid to try it.

However, Pioneer Woman came out with an instant pot which peaked my curiosity (because I want to own everything she makes; I know I have a problem, pray for my husband). So I asked for one for Christmas and thus, my cooking truly life began.

After being afraid of using the instant pot (due to scary stories posted on social media) I finally took the step to try my first intant pot recipe! I tried an Instant Pot Cubed Steak recipe that was so quick and delicious it blew my mind and changed my life forever!

So the instant pot is pretty much a pressure cooking tool that also has soooo many different uses! There is actually a slow cooking mode on it that allows it to act like a crock pot if you need it to! But what would take the crock pot 8 hours to make, your instant pot can cook in 1 hour (yes you read that correctly).

It makes your meal taste as though it has been cooking all day, and yet some recipes take only around 10 minutes (like my gluten free tomato soup you can find in my recipes). Not only can it cook meals quickly, but you can make hard boiled eggs in 5 minutes, cook baked potatoes in 10 minutes, and even fully cook chicken and pork in 12 minutes!

I mean, it is definitely worth investing in (even though it can seem pricey to some). It made my life so much easier as a wife, mama, and full-time student when I was getting my master’s degree.

Get you an instant pot, I promise it is worth it!

Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer

crock pot vs. instant pot

My final statement is that there is no versus between the two there is only that the crock pot and the instant pot are necessary for the modern day homemaking mama.

I use my crockpot when I have a busy afternoon planned (because you still have kitchen prep with the instant pot) and I use my instant pot when I want a delicious meal cooked in such a little time (or I forgot to plan or start a dinner that takes too long to cook).

Stop letting busy days and no time lead you to fast food meals and spending way too much money on eating out (this was our life before), and start using tools that make your life easier and also makes your home feel a little more like home with delicious home-cooked meals and dinners around the table.

Let me know what you think, some of your favorite crock pot and instant pot meals, and most of all: Happy homemaking!