I was recently asked about my top ten herbs and spices. Here are the herbs and spices I really couldn’t live without. These are the ones that I never let myself run out of. I will also share with you some tips to make them cheaper. Are you like me you use lots of them and want to save money?

row of jars of spices with some in small white dishes in front.

If you are not a confident cook or recently started cooking more food from scratch herbs and spices can be daunting. Here I will share with you my top ten that I use regularly and some recipes that use them. I also will give you a few tips on where to buy them cheaply as we all like to save money! You could even grow your own herbs?

Paprika

I use paprika in a lot of meals, it adds a smoky taste when making chips or butternut squash wedges. Paprika is great in baked beans to give them a bit of a BBQ taste.

Recipes such as my Sausage Casserole and Vegetable and Chick Pea Paella have paprika in. Due to the fact I use a lot of paprika the little jars from supermarkets do not last long at all.

Instead, I buy my paprika in bulk from Amazon. It is a 1kg bag so lasts for ages but they also sell smaller bags. Either way, it works out much cheaper than the little jars from the supermarket! If you run out then this post can help you know what you can use instead!

Cumin

This is another spice I use a lot of. Again this features in my sausage casserole but also in many curries.

It is a warming spice that isn’t too hot but is a great addition to many meals. The sausage casserole for example isn’t too spicy for children.

Along with Coriander it is often used in curries and teamed with curry powder and other spices that can create a lovely flavour.

I sometimes buy my big jars of Cumin from The Range with jars of 240g approx. for around £3.69, these are only available in-store though not online. I also buy Cumin from Amazon often in large bags to refill jars.

Fajita Seasoning

This one is a popular one in our house as I use it to make one of Stuarts favourites my Chicken Fajita Pasta Bake. The Schwartz Fajita Seasoning is great but if you use it often can be very expensive.

This is another I buy from The Range as it is so much better value. Do check if you are eating healthily that any you buy have not got lots of sugar in. It is a sneaky little extra that sometimes appears in fajita seasonings!

There are stockists of Fajita seasonings online but unless you can see the ingredients it can be a bit uncertain. I might order some next time I run low and let you know!

Mixed Herbs

These are essential in pasta-based dishes, omelettes and a huge variety of dishes. I usually buy the supermarket value range one which can be as little as 25p a tub.

I find this sometimes means I need a little more than a more expensive one as it doesn’t always seem as well flavoured and strong. With the price difference, however, even using more this is still by far the best value.

Cinnamon

This is something I think is so versatile in that it is used in sweet and savoury dishes and just by adding a pinch to some plain yoghurt you can add so much flavour!

I generally don’t use enough of this to warrant buying it in bulk however it is available in big packs online or the “world foods” section of large supermarkets.

spices in dark wooden bowls with scoops

Garlic

I am not sure whether many people would count this in with herbs and spices but I do. It is something used to flavour food and garlic salt, garlic granules or whole cloves of garlic can be used in so many ways.

They can bring a simple meal into their own with a garlic taste. I find that rather than using fresh garlic it is cheaper to buy frozen garlic.

I buy one from Morrisons Supermarket (Taj brand) where you get around 30 cubes for 89p. Each cube is the equivalent of around a clove of garlic. These are so easy to pop into a meal and with so little fuss that since I started buying these I have not used my garlic press again! I use garlic granules or garlic salt in some recipes too.

Ginger

Again this is one I know some people wouldn’t count with herbs and spices but to me it is! I buy frozen blocks of the Taj brand from Morrisons and just like the garlic mentioned above, it is a great value.

The frozen ginger I add to curries, stir-fries and basically anything that requires fresh ginger! I also keep in some ground ginger as I find when making something sweet like a carrot cake it is better.

Turmeric

This is a bright yellow spice. When adding a bit into cooking rice gives it a nice yellow colour whilst not adding too much to the taste.

Great for encouraging children to try something a little different! I use Turmeric in Keema Curry but also in many curry dishes.

I have bought turmeric in the world foods section of supermarkets in large bags but unless you use lots it is usually not too bad value to buy the small jars in the supermarket.

Chilli Powder

I am not a big fan of chilli but Stuart loves a good chilli. It is an ingredient in more than just chillies though and often features in tasty curries like keema too so definitely worth having in.

I find the best value is the Morrisons value-branded tubs rather than the jars. They are little white tubs often hidden at the end of the shelf.

Medium Curry Powder

I use this at least once a week in some sort of curry and if you want to make a quick curry this is for you.

Many spicy dishes involve a huge list of spices which whilst it can be full of flavour isn’t always what you want.

If you are low on time, money or just motivation then chucking meat/Quorn, vegetables, chopped tomatoes and a tablespoon of medium curry powder in the slow cooker is usually a quick fix.

You will soon get to know how much curry powder is perfect for how you like it. Cheap and simple!

Herbs and Spices Shopping – A Few Tips

Check out the world food sections of large supermarkets – often they have better value spices and rice can be cheaper there too!

If you live in an area with Asian food stores these can be brilliant for buying cheap large bags of spices or obscure ingredients for dishes.

Buy herbs reduced and freeze them in an ice cube

Use larger jars from coffee etc to store large amounts of herbs and spices in as they are usually airtight

Be brave, try something new, you might like it! Make your own spice blends for easy cheap flavours.

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Other ingredients tips you may like

If you like to cook with different ingredients and find different ways of using them then here are a few other articles I think you might like.

All you need to know about celeriac and how to use it

Oats an original superfood with lots of uses

Is couscous healthy, how you can use couscous well

How to grow your own vegetables from scraps

Jackfruit – what is it and how to use it

Cranberry juice – what are the benefits of it and how can you enjoy it

Seaweed – an unusual ingredient you should consider

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