Stock Multi-Purpose Spices

February 19, 2024 | Christine Hradek

kitchen spices

Are you tired of the same old salt-and-pepper flavor combo for your meals? If you want to spice things up a notch, stocking your kitchen with a few basic, versatile spices can save you money and precious pantry space.

Garlic / Onion Powder

Members of the allium family (garlic, onion, shallot, green onion) are known for their pungent, savory flavor. Garlic and onion powders have less harsh bite than their fresh counterparts and are central to many dishes worldwide. While there is certainly a flavor difference between the two, garlic and onion powders are often used together or can be used as an easy substitution for each other in recipes.


This earthy, aromatic spice adds warmth and depth to recipes worldwide. Cumin is used as either whole seeds or powder in recipes such as Winter Black Bean Soup, Salsa Verde Chicken, and Slow Cooker Pork Roast.


This deep red spice can add visual appeal and depth without overpowering flavor. The unsmoked variety can add beautiful color and subtle depth to dishes, whereas smoked paprika can effortlessly add a smokiness to spice rubs, soups, or roasts.


Known for its nausea-relieving properties, this spicy root has been used for thousands of years to flavor everything from grilled meat to vegetable stir-fries to desserts. Try making your own Teriyaki Sauce and enjoy a Teriyaki Rice Bowl.

Italian Seasoning

This readily available spice blend often contains a mixture of thyme, oregano, basil, and garlic. Think beyond pizza and pasta: this delicious combo of herbs is versatile! If a recipe does not call for Italian seasoning, but it sounds good to you, give it a try! This seasoning blend can add flavor to recipes such as Roasted Vegetables, Meatloaf, Minestrone Soup, Beef Stew, Italian Chicken, or Pan Fried Tilapia With Orange Sauce.

Low Sodium Taco Seasoning

This spice blend is versatile but be mindful of spice blends that are high in salt. Even a dash of this warming seasoning mix can add depth to soups, breakfast burritos, wraps, or stuffed peppers. Spare the sodium by making your own Taco Seasoning Mix.

Low Sodium Dried Onion Soup Mix

Our delicious Dried Onion Soup Mix utilizes sodium-free beef bouillon to create a spice blend that can be used for recipes such as Slow Cooker Roast.

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Tom Keinert is a Food and Health Specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach in central Iowa. He loves sharing his love of food with others and encourages everyone to be brave, pick up a knife, and get cooking. Watch his Knife Safety in the Kitchen video and get chopping!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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