by Kae Lani Palmisano

for USA TODAY 10Best

Bring a world of flavor to your kitchen with these 10 spices

Studies show that our senses of taste and scent are strongly linked to the part of the brain where memories are formed.

It’s likely why using certain foods can bring back fond travel memories.

Even if you’ve never traveled to a certain places, these spices can connect you to other cultures’ culinary traditions.


Even though this aromatic spice has roots in Indian cuisine, it has found its way into recipes around the world, primarily drinks (like Arabic coffee) and baked goods where it adds depth.


Native to southwest Asia and the Middle East, cumin is often found in curry blends as well as harissa. It’s a spice that adds a little heat and earthiness to whatever it’s added to.


Saffron usually appears in seafood dishes. In Spain, saffron adds a pungent flavor to paella, while in France, it adds a mild honey-like taste to bouillabaisse.


A close cousin to ginger, turmeric adds a mild bitterness to mustard blends, relishes and curries.

Fenugreek seeds

In Indian cuisine, fenugreek adds richness to saag paneer and naan. In Greek cooking, it makes a great meat rub, and in Ethiopian cuisine, fenugreek is used in traditional berbere.


Take a culinary trip to the Middle East by making kofta (spiced meatballs), spicing up fattoush salad and sprinkling sumac on your hummus.

Sichuan pepper

The pepper is so pungent that it can induce a tingly numbness sensation, but its floral acidity brings depth to a wide variety of Sichuan stir-fried dishes.

Aleppo pepper

This spice is a variety of capsicum also known as the halaby pepper. Its flavor is mildly fruity with a heat that builds with every bite.

Urfa biber

It's a Turkish chile pepper that has a kind of molasses, chocolate flavor with a bit of spicy heat.

Pink peppercorns

Pink peppercorn goes exceptionally well with seafood and pork, but can also be used to enhance chocolate.

Discover new spices to bring into your kitchen on 10Best!

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