Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 7, 2009 02:22 PM

Most underused spices in home cooking?

What do you think are the most underused spices in home kitchens? Paprika comes to mind (does anyone do anything with it other than sprinkle it on deviled eggs?), but I am interested in what others think are some overlooked spices.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've always thought that for something with such a lovely flavour, dill often goes overlooked in the kitchen.

    On the other hand, parsley, IMO, is vastly overused and dreadfully boring tasting.

    6 Replies
    1. re: vorpal

      We added dill to this year's post-Thanksgiving turkey noodle soup, and it as aMAZing.

      1. re: dinnercraft

        I'm gonna say caraway .In the past I used more of it I also don't see it called for much.

        1. re: scunge


          That's my secret ingredient, much like nutmeg, caraway can add complexity to so many dishes and people never actually can identify it.

          Do not mention it again you will have the curse of the caraway god upon you.

          1. re: RetiredChef

            I use caraway in my potato cheddar ale soup, but not much else...any suggestions for uses?

            1. re: foodsnob14

              Caraway is a natural in coleslaw and braised cabbage. It's in the recipe for a sausage/cabbage/apple soup I routinely make although I've long since stopped measuring anything. This is a guesstimate for a 3qt pot:
              Chop 6 oz kielbasa and brown deeply in a tsp of oil in the soup pot, then add a fist-sized diced onion and a minced garlic clove and stir to deglaze. Add 2 quarts of chicken broth and one cup of apple cider. Bring to a simmer (sometimes I used wild rice, in which case I add a half cup at this point and simmer till it is 3/4 cooked). Add a pound of shredded cabbage and a diced carrot or two and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1.5 tsp caraway seed and a peeled, cored, diced apple (a firm variety like Gala) and simmer another 10-15 min. S&P to taste. If I'm not using rice I add 1.5-2 cups of cooked navy beans at the same time as the caraway.

      2. re: vorpal

        I use paprika all the time when cooking chicken (baking, in a frying pan, or on the grill) as well as with rice & beans.

        I agre with the dill and parsley comments.

      3. Cloves, mace, marjoram, and mustard seeds to name a few....

          1. re: emily

            Please tell me how you use cardamom. I've got an unopened jar of cardamom seeds sitting in my pantry. I have no idea why I even bought it.

            1. re: CindyJ

              Use cardamom in a yeasty buttery eggy bread. Add golden raisins and braid it. Put an egg wash on and top with sanding sugar and slivered almonds! Yum.

              1. re: CindyJ

                I use cardamom all the time. In oatmeal with almonds, in cookies, in custards, in pumpkin pie, in muffins....

                1. re: CindyJ

                  I use it in my preserved lemons and I use it along with other flavors when roasted vegetables. It is also nice in rice pudding and fruit compotes.

              2. I think paprika is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, with the new interest in smoked paprika and it's ilk in rubs for BBQ.
                I use caraway once a year, in Irish soda bread on St. Pat's Day.
                Tarragon and chervil aren't very popular right now.
                I very rarely (if ever) use marjoram, although it's a lovely herb.
                Mace, forget it, same as Cherylptw.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  I use paprika a lot. I also love tarragon. And I love nutmeg and allspice in savory dishes.

                  Ground caraway is great!

                  As for parsley, dried it's a non-starter, but I fresh flat-leafed parsley gives a nice subtle flavor and color kick to many things.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    Tarragon was my first thought. I used to use it a lot, but I haven't done so in many years.

                  2. Cloves in savory applications.