Having a mastery of spices is the key to good food. While some cuisine are more basic, others like Indian food will use a wide variety of spices. You can often time substitute spice for other ingredients, but it often falls shorts. It simply wont taste like the original version of the dish. If you dont have any spice, then getting a simple spice set might be your best option. To help you out, we have compiled a list of some of the Best Spice Set on the market.
Best Spice Set List
There are a few options for spice set. They range from complete racks to whole spice. If you are just starting out, then the whole rack might be better for you. However, for the best flavor, a whole spice option is the best bet. Nevertheless, I have listed a good option from all of them.
Kamenstein Revolving 20-Jar Countertop Spice Rack Tower Organizer (Best for Starting Out)
Kamenstein Revolving is one of the highest rated spice set on Amazon. It has over four thousand rating and is highly regarded. You get different jars and they are label for easy use. The rack spins and lets you grab it with ease. This model is best if you just want to get started, it also makes for a great gift. However, they dont have as much flavor as whole spice.
Sacred Tiger Culinary 20 Herb Starter Kit (Best Overall Spice Set)
If you are serious about using spice, then getting whole spices is the way to go. You do need to get a spice blender to get full use of it though. But I personally think the flavor that you get out of it is worth it. These packets do not come in jars, so I recommend that you get your own jars. The 12 Jar revolving rack is a good option to have.
Thoughtfully Gifts, Smokehouse Ultimate Grilling Spice Set (Best as a Gift)
If you intend on giving a spice set as a gift. This smokehouse rack is beautifully packaged and perfect for those who like grilling. They come in cute individually labeled jars. The rubs are also perfect for different cuts of meat.
What are the Best Spice to Have?
Aside from salt, general spices will be the building block of your cooking. Things like Rosemary, Chili Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Oregano, Garlic Salt, Bay Leaves, Cinnamon and Coriander are the basic spices you must have. If you need specific spice blend like Garam Masala or Curry, you can always mix it together to create your own blend.
If you intend on cooking food from different regions, then it might be more economical to get the premade blends. Just be aware that there is no set spice mix across manufacturer. What is curry powder from one manufacturer might be different from another. They might skimp on the turmeric or add too much chili pepper. If this is unacceptable to you, then it goes back to making your own spice blends.
How to Use Spice
The easiest way to use spice is follow ingredients. However, if you want to start incorporating and making your own dish, then I recommend you taste the spice. See how it affects cooking and taste as you go. You might find that adding a little red pepper flake will add a subtle hint of flavor. Bay Leaves are something that is often looked over. But if you make two batch of stock, one with bay leave and one without, you will notice a big difference in flavor.
Contrary to what most people think, fresh herbs are not always better. Dried Spices pack a bigger punch in flavor. The amount that is needed in fresh herbs might be half what you need for dried spices. Be sure to adjust your ingredients accordingly. In terms of flavor, they all have their own distinct flavor, both dried and fresh. Although fresh herbs tends to have a more complex blend of flavor.
One good thing about dried spices is how fast it incorporates to the dish. since a lot of spices are in powder form, all you need to do is whisk for a few second, and you can taste the flavor come through.
Boosting the Flavor of Spices
If you find that your spice is lacking in flavor, there are tricks you can improve the flavor. Since spices is oil soluble. You can improve the flavor by toasting it with some hot oil. This will bloom it and make a big impact on overall flavor.
Whole Spice vs Powder Spice
Whole spices are generally better in terms of flavor. Since the spice is still whole, it is less prone to oxidization. That means it will hold on to its flavor better. However, you do need to crush it by yourself. You can do this with a pestle and mortar or you can get a blade coffee grinder. Although I recommend that you get one dedicated for only spice. Unless you want some spicy coffee…
You can boost the flavor of whole spice much like powder spice. Just toast it before you blend it. This will have a even bigger flavor profile than the powder version.
Best Spice Set Thoughts
A good spice set can change the way you cook. It adds depth of flavor and gives you more versatility in the kitchen. While you dont need all the spice, you should at least have the basics. These spice sets are perfect for getting you started. You have two options, the whole spice and powder spice. While I do think the whole spice is better overall, its a lot more work. The Powder one is better for those who just want to start cooking.
Think Spice is important? Wait till you see what salt can do. Check out our article on the Best Salt for Cooking.