There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of spices in the world, but your home kitchen probably only has about 20 (well, maybe a few more if you’re a chef). We can get so stuck in routine flavors that we forget that our ancestors actually went to war over these little food embellishments. Break out of the ordinary by playing around with these 5 spices in your next culinary creations.


Popular in Aleppo, Syria, and just as hot as the Mediterranean region it comes from, the Aleppo pepper is popular for its medium level of heat and its earthy, fruity taste. It’s a crowd-pleaser for spicing up both meat and vegetable dishes and is perfect for replacing paprika in any of your recipes for a spicier kick!


Why use just one spice when you can use a 7-in-1? A mixture of sesame seed, seaweed, ginger, sansho, Sichuan pepper, and other spices, Shichimi Togarashi can be sprinkled on everything from your favorite sweet desserts to your most savory meat dishes.


With a bold, lemony taste, sumac can be pinched onto any dish to enhance the flavor. Ideal for your dry rubs and spice blends, sumac is also delicious in dips, on top of salads, or (if you’re feeling adventurous) as added flavor in rice.


Also called kalonji, nigella seeds are fairly unimpressive in their color and fragrance, but have a very impressive taste. A bitter, oregano-like flavor with a slight onion aftertaste will make nigella seeds your next go-to for seasoning stir-fry dishes, baking bread, and flavoring curries and savory snacks.



For a tiny spice with a big kick, try using caraway seeds in your next dish. Since caraway seeds boast huge flavor, they’re best used in bland foods, such as bread, salad, soup, fish, and meat. Just make sure you don’t use more than one teaspoon!