I recently received a message on Instagram from a chap called Nick asking for some recommendations of the best spices and seasonings he could keep in his kitchen to level-up his meal prep:
Thanks to Nick, we now have this blog post.
So here you go, here’s a rundown of the seven spices and seasonings (not in any order) that I use most often in my kitchen.
1. Old Bay
I know I said this list was written in no particular order, but if I’m honest, this is probably my current favourite and most used.
The main flavours are paprika, celery salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, cloves, coriander seed, thyme, basil, ground nutmeg, rosemary and allspice….quite a mixture.
It’s warming, not overly spicy and can be used on pretty much any meat, poultry or fish.
I tend to sprinkle it on roast chicken before cooking and often make a marinade before cooking something on the BBQ.
It’s fairly basic – just some Old Bay, some olive oil, lemon juice and garlic and sometimes a dash of soy sauce. I use this marinade recipe for chicken or pork and then cook on the BBQ, perfection!
The only issue is that it’s a bit tricky to find. If you’re over in the US of A, you’ll find it everywhere, it’s super-popular. Over here, it’s a tad harder. If you’ve got a Costco membership you can get the big tubs of it like this, but you can also get it Old Bay on Amazon here.
2. Montreal Steak Seasoning
This one, as the name suggests, is a belter for steak.
It’s a robust and savoury seasoning blend with garlic, black pepper and dill seed. It’s quite salty which limits its use but any time I am cooking steak I season it with this before the cooking begins.
Unfortunately, as with Old Bay above, it’s doesn’t seem to exist in UK supermarkets. I am not sure why as it’s delicious but hay ho.
Once again it’s a Costco classic (it’s a great place for getting those American flavours) but thankfully you can also get Montreal Steak Seasoning on Amazon here
3. Smoked Paprika
Firstly, you can get this in pretty much every supermarket 😉
Secondly, you should definitely have some in your cupboards if you don’t already!
Not so much in the way of a description needed here but it’s a wonderful smokey seasoning that I often use and is one of the main flavours in my Hungarian Pork Goulash Recipe and the Chicken & Chorizo Paella Recipe
4. Sriracha Seasoning
I love spicy food so I think sriracha is a wonderful seasoning that pretty much is ‘Thai street food’ in a jar. It’s very spicy and garlicky and is delicious as a marinade, mixed into mayonnaise or sprinkled over vegetables.
It’s most often found as a pre-made sauce but I prefer it in dried form as I think it’s more versatile.
I often mix it into the recipe for Thai Salmon Foil packets
Again, I found it in Costco.
The further I get into writing this article I realise it should probably be called ‘the best seasonings found in Costco’…but even if you don’t have a card, stick with me, ok!? You can get Sriracha seasoning on Amazon here.
5. Mixed Herbs
Hardly a game-changer this one, but it wouldn’t be fair to leave it out.
I use it in dressings, with vegetables, in marinades, lots and lots of recipes. It’s super versatile and if you’re reading this in the UK, then you’ve probably got it already.
For my readers overseas it’s less popular and sometimes called ‘Italian seasoning’ instead but it’s basically a mix of thyme, marjoram, parsley, oregano, sage and basil.
6. Thai 7 Spice
Now this one used to be easy to get in all supermarkets but it’s seemingly becoming a bit more of a rarity. Unless that’s just for us in Aberdeenshire?
The name throws me a bit too. ‘7 spice’ but the ingredients include chilli powder, garlic, ginger, coriander, dried lemon peel, cumin, cinnamon, white pepper, dried onion, star anise, ground green peppercorns, dried jalapeno chillies and cayenne pepper…
Anyway, it’s very tasty and one of the seasonings I use in my Thai Basil Pork Recipe
It’s a bit like Chinese 5 Spice but without the same strength of star anise which I personally prefer.
7. Old El Paso Fajita Seasoning Mix
I remember a conversation with a Mexican friend about this seasoning and he thought it was hilarious.
The added ‘smoke flavour’ was the bit that put him over the edge. It’s my favourite bit about it to be honest…
So even if this isn’t remotely Mexican or even like anything found in Tex-Mex cooking either, I still think it’s a winner. Partly because of the nostalgia aspect as the first meal I ever cooked for my family as a kid was fajitas using one of the Old El Paso kits.
Anyway, that’s this round-up complete.
Nick, if you’re reading this, I hope it’s what you were after.
If you’re not Nick, and you’re still reading this, thanks to you too!
I hope you enjoy the recommendations (and are able to find them) and if you come across any other doozies that I’ve missed out, just drop me an email so I can give them a try!