At some point in our culinary journeys, we all find ourselves in a kitchen with a desire to whip up a tasty meal. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out, there’s one thing that can make or break a dish: seasoning. Knowing how to use herbs and spices can elevate your cooking to new heights and add depth of flavour to even the simplest of dishes. In this guide, we’ll take you through the essential seasoning ingredients that every beginner should have in their pantry.


Salt is the most basic seasoning ingredient, but it’s also the most important. It’s used to enhance the natural flavours of food and bring out the sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and umami. Kosher salt and sea salt are two popular options for cooking, but table salt works just as well. It’s important to note that a little goes a long way, so be sure to taste your dish before adding more.


Pepper is the second most essential seasoning ingredient, and it pairs perfectly with salt. There are many varieties of pepper, but black pepper is the most commonly used in cooking. It adds a slight spiciness and earthiness to dishes and works well with a wide range of ingredients.


Garlic is a staple in many kitchens, and for good reason. It adds a pungent and slightly sweet flavour to dishes and is used in a wide range of cuisines. Fresh garlic is best, but garlic powder can also be used in a pinch.


Onions are another staple in the kitchen, and they’re used in everything from soups and stews to sauces and stir-fries. They add a sweet and savoury flavour to dishes and come in a variety of types, including yellow, white, and red onions.


Fresh herbs can take a dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Some popular herbs include basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and cilantro. Each herb has a unique flavour profile and pairs well with different types of dishes. For example, basil is often used in Italian dishes, while cilantro is commonly used in Mexican and Asian cuisine.


Spices are another essential seasoning ingredient that can add depth and complexity to dishes. Some popular spices include cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg. They can be used to add heat, sweetness, or bitterness to dishes and can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes.


Vinegar is often used as a finishing touch in dishes to add a tangy and acidic flavour. There are many types of vinegar, including white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar. Each type has a unique flavour profile and can be used in a wide range of recipes.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a staple in Asian cuisine and adds a salty and savoury flavour to dishes. It’s often used in stir-fries, marinades, and dipping sauces. There are many varieties of soy sauce, including light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and tamari.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine and adds a salty and savoury flavour to dishes. It’s often used in marinades, dipping sauces, and curries. It has a strong aroma, so a little goes a long way.

In conclusion, seasoning ingredients are essential for cooking delicious and flavourful dishes. The ingredients listed above are just the basics, but they’ll get you started on your culinary journey. Remember to taste your dishes as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed. With a little practice, you’ll soon be creating dishes that are bursting with flavour.

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