While some chefs turn up their noses at spice blends ― such as everything bagel seasoning or Old Bay, for example ― these flavorful seasonings can be a real asset in the kitchen.

“Spice blends come in handy when you’re looking to enhance the flavor profile of a dish and you don’t want to buy numerous containers of multiple herbs and spices for a single recipe,” cookbook author Brian TheisHuffPost.

He noted that spice blends can also be a great option when you’re trying your hand at new dishes and types of cuisines from different cultures around the world.

“Also, many popular spice blends have a signature flavor profile that you just can’t quite create on your own, at least with the same trademark results,” Theis added. “Certain blends might contain dried lemon or orange peel, for example, which are not common ingredients to come by on their own.”

HuffPost reached out to Theis and other chefs for their advice and favorite spices in order to inspire further gastronomic explorations.

Garam Masala

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“My absolute favorite spice blend has to be garam masala,” said Zakiya MasterOwner of and recipe developer for Blend of Spice. “It has warm notes and just brings a sense of home and nostalgia. It’s a South Asian staple spice in all our curries or rice and just brings the most aromatic fragrances to a dish.”

Although garam masala compositions can differ, it usually contains aromas like cumin, peppercorns or cardam pods as well as cinnamon, mace and mace.

Master said she likes to make long-grain basmati rice with homemade bone broth and a pinch of garam masala “for that comfort, hug in a bowl, aromatic rice pilaf.”

Herbes De Provence

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The name says it all herbes de Provence (sometimes called Provençal herbs) is a blend of dried herbs associated with the Provence region of southeastern France.

“With Provençal, that little bit of lavender that makes the blend regionally accurate isn’t something you might keep around in any large amount like you would oregano or thyme,” said Celine Beitchman, director of nutrition at the Institute of Culinary Education. “So getting a blend of that mix makes it easy to add the flavor profile to your dish without having to purchase (and perhaps waste) an ingredient.”

Chef Marshall O’BrienAlso, he endorsed the French-inspired mix.

“Herbes de Provence not only make a variety of vegetables, fish, chicken and pork taste wonderful, the herbs in this blend are anti-inflammatory, relax muscles, and support digestion,” he said.

Creole seasoning

Tony Chachere

Tony Chachere’s ― with salt or without ― is a popular brand out of Louisiana if you’re whipping up a Creole or Cajun dish, but frankly it enhances all kinds of cuisines,” Theis said.

Beyond the classic “Tony’s” (as many locals call it) Creole seasoning, there are other ways to give your food a Louisiana kick, like Ms. Mickey’s Creole Seasoningsor dehydrated Creole seasoning or Cajun trinity mix.

“It’s made up of the ‘trinity’ of onion, celery and bell pepper, usually with garlic thrown in,” Theis said. “I add it to all kinds of dishes (in which it then re-hydrates) ― from dips, sauces, dressings and spreads to pasta sauce, vegetables and gravies. This stuff really awakens your taste buds. I love the stuff.”

He observed that brand like RexAnd Zydeco Chop ChopThere are many versions, but his favourite is the from. Bayou Belle.

Ras El Hanout

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“Ras el hanout literally translates into ‘head of the shop’ and it is my go-to spice blend at the restaurant and at home,” said James Friedberg, chef de cuisine at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Miami.

Ras El Hanout is a popular North African spice. It comes in many variations, but usually includes spices such as clove, cinnamon, clove, cardamom and turmeric.

“It adds great flavor and doesn’t require grinding or mixing individual spices,” Friedberg said. “It can be used for seasoning lamb, beef, fish or added to rice, stews or lentils.”

Old Bay Seasoning

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“I could not function without a stash of Old Bay seasoning in my pantry,” said food blogger Dana Renée. “I use Old Bay seasoning in just about every seafood dish even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. It’s delicious in chowders, bisques, and seafood pastas.”

This Maryland mixture is often associated with crab or other seafood. Old Bay seasoningThis is a quick way to spice up any other food, like French fries and roasted veggies.

“I use Old Bay on any combination of chopped vegetables on a baking sheet with olive oil,” said cookbook authorAnd “The Forest Feast” founder Erin Gleeson. “Lately I’m doing a lot of root vegetables like a mix of onion, carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes. A recipe is available in my upcoming book called Old Bay Brussels which is just halved Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Old Bay, roasted at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.”

Smoky Honey Habanero Sweet & Spicy Rub

Spiceology

“I’m a big fan of Spiceology brand blends.Many great combinations are available. But the one that I love the most is the Smoky Honey Habanero Sweet & Spicy Rub,” said Diana Manalang, chef and owner of Little Chef Little CaféNew York City

To make quick dips, she uses a mixture of vegetables, such as corn and protein.

“It has everything to elevate flavors ― it’s sweet and spicy, and has umami, too,” Manalang said. “The savory, sweet flavor profile with heat makes this blend very versatile — I even sprinkle it on donuts! I also add it to mashed potatoes and hummus for extra flavor.”

Tradicional Blend

Home Beis

“I swear by Home Beís, which is a small, Latina-owned spice blend company that is salt-free,” said Alex Hill, a home cook and creator of Just Add Hot Sauce. “She started it because her Dominican-born family had health issues …. so she started making spice blends that are salt-free but full of flavor!”

While Hill enjoys the brand’s By The Bayou BlendShe recommends it especially to the Tradicional Blend.

“I love using the Tradicional Blend for my arroz con pollo since it is salt-free and has no preservatives, so I can control the amount of salt that goes in the dish,” she said. “It’s so good!”

Vadouvan Curry

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Curry is a great example of a mixture that reflects the dish it’s used for, and its profile can be widely different depending on the blend you buy,” Beitchman said. “I keep curry and chili powder around and also the individual spices that I can use to level it up to my taste.”

Seth Blumenthal (chef de cuisine, Le Jardinier Miami) said he loves cooking with the people he cooks with. Vadouvan curry.

“Vadouvan curry is a unique French curry with gentle sweet and savory notes,” he explained. “This curry is savory from ingredients such as cumin, bay leaf and turmeric and sweet from cinnamon and clove. Vadouvan curry is one of my favorite spice blends and it pairs so well with roasted vegetables, fish and white meats.”

Lake Shore Drive Seasoning

The Spice House

“I love any of the spice blends from The Spice House, especially Lake Shore Drive ― which is a blend of chives, scallions, shallots,” said Dzung Lewis, a YouTuber and author of “The Honeysuckle Cookbook.”

“It … goes with everything and reminds me of Ranch dressing. I put it on everything from chicken, to fish, and even popcorn,” she added.

Symeon’s Spices

Symeon’s

“I love using spice blends and trying new ones in dishes,” said Carla Bushey of the food blog Adventures of a Nurse.

According to her, the best spice mix is from A. local Greek restaurant called Symeon’sYorkville (New York).

“This delicious Greek blend of spices is perfect for making Greek salads, marinating chicken and just adding spice to any dish. This Greek spice blend gives an otherwise ordinary dish a Greek-inspired flavor.

Garlic Pepper And Lemon Pepper

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“I love having a good spice blend on hand for grilling meat or seasoning steamed veggies,” said recipe developer Marci Buttars of the food blog Tidbits. “My favorite spice blends are Redmond real salt organic garlic pepper and lemon pepper. Each jar contains dehydrated ingredients and their ancient sea salt and is packaged in a grinder bottle so I can crack it fresh over my food.”

Buttars explained that she often uses the garlic pepper flavor in steaks and the lemon juice on vegetables and chicken. Lewis was also kind to lemon pepper seasoning.

“Sprinkle some on your next bagel with cream cheese, then top it with red onions, avocado, and a tomato and it’s the best breakfast sandwich ever,” she said. “The zesty kick really takes it to the next level.”

Advieh

Amazon/Zamouri Spices

“Spice blends are great when I want to spruce up an ordinary protein or veggie or when I’m cooking dishes from various regions,” Hill said. “My favorite Persian braised lamb stew uses a spice mix called adviehIt contains cinnamon, rose petals, coriander, nutmeg and cumin. Spice blends are 100% main character energy!”

Chinese Five-Spice Mix

Morton & Bassett

Chinese five-spice blend is a very versatile ingredient for many more dishes than Chinese cuisine,” Theis said. “Use it in unexpected ways ― in your fried chicken coating, pie recipes, cookies. It adds an exciting twist.”

This mixture usually contains cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise cloves, cloves, and peppercorns. However, there are other variations.

All Bagel Seasoning

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One blend with a rather cult-like following is everything bagel seasoning, particularly the Trader Joe’s Brand. However, Meggan HillExecutive chef at Culinary Hill said that she enjoys cooking. make her own version.

“It’s great on bagels, or other homemade breads like challah or dinner rolls,” Hill said. “I also love it on avocado toast, hard boiled eggs and roasted pumpkin seeds. Fill mini bell peppers and top with cream cheese. Sprinkle with the Everything Bagel Seasoning. They are so delicious!”

Seasonings for Santa Maria

Scott’s

“Another favorite is the Santa Maria seasoning by Scott’s,” Lewis noted. “It’s gives a nice smoky flavor to your meats and reminds me of the best tri-tip I had on the Central Coast of California. You’ll always find that in my cabinet.”

It contains garlic, onion and salt.

Shichimi Togarashi

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“Because basic condiments we use in Japan for seasoning are already packed with umami, we don’t use too many spices in Japanese cuisine,” said Chef Tsuyoshi Hori of Sarashina HoriiNew York City. “That said, Togarashi, also known as shichimi, is a popular combination of red chilies and nori seaweed. It’s also known for its use in combination with sesame seeds, orange peel, and sesame seed.

Hori noted that togarashi is versatile but it’s especially great to add to soy sauce for a fiery kick. Oliver Lange, Chef Zuma MiamiThis seven-ingredient spice blend is used by him as a topping for dishes, not to cook.

“It gives an extra little spicy note and umami from the seaweed and yuzu peel,” he said. “I enjoy it the most in homemade rice dishes.”

Italian Seasoning

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“This powerhouse of dried herbs ― basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary ― is delicious in meatballs,” said cookbook author Julia Nordgren. “I use this with olive oil and red wine vinegar to make a great Italian salad dressing that my teenage boys love.”

To make delicious pita chips, she also suggested using Italian seasoning. It’s as simple as slicing open whole wheat pita bread, brushing liberally with olive oil, topping with Italian seasoning and then baking in the oven at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes.

“My favorite spice blend includes a combination of rosemary, sage, and basil,” added Andrea Mathis, the registered dietitian behind the blog Beautiful Eats and Things. “It adds so much flavor to my dishes and it has several anti-inflammatory properties. You can also turn this spice blend into an infused oil by adding olive oil and allowing the mixture to sit for a few hours until the oil becomes completely infused with flavor.”

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Source: HuffPost.com.

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