Spices & Seasonings

23 Kitchen-Tested Ingredients

Cinnamon
Cinnamon
Labels touting origin imply there’s more to this standby spice than there once was. How much does source influence flavor?
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Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon Cinnamon
We tasted three nationally available Ceylon cinnamon products against our favorite Indonesian cinnamon, swirling them into rice pudding and baking them into cin…
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Smoked Paprika
Smoked Paprika
We tasted seven products, rating them on their flavor, level of smokiness, and overall appeal.
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Sichuan Peppercorns
Sichuan Peppercorns
We tasted five brands of Sichuan peppercorns to find out which had the best flavor and tingle.
Five-Spice Powder
Five-Spice Powder
We tested six brands of five-spice powder to determine which really delivered an authentic Asian flavor.
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Chili Powder
Chili Powder
Chili powder is essential for making perfect game-time chili, but many products fumble with weak, wan flavor. Do any score a touchdown?
Steak Sauce
Steak Sauce
In terms of sales, A.1. rules the steak sauce market. But in a blind taste test, would the king be dethroned?
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Garlic Powder
Garlic Powder
When it comes to garlic powder, which brand comes out on top?
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Ground Ginger
Ground Ginger
Since ginger is often used in combination with other spices, would it matter which brand we used in recipes like gingerbread?
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Yellow Mustard
Yellow Mustard
A small organic brand sneaks up on the big boys.
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Salt
Salt
Food magazines and celebrity chefs are touting the flavor of gourmet salts that cost up to $36 per pound. Do they really taste better?
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Horseradish
Horseradish
Steer clear of shelf-stable brands and head straight to the refrigerator aisle.
Saffron
Saffron
Does brand make a difference when it comes to the world's most expensive spice?
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Sweet Paprika
Sweet Paprika
The best versions of this renowned Hungarian spice pack a punch that goes beyond pigment.
Black Peppercorns
Black Peppercorns
You only use a grind or two on your food, so does it really matter what brand of peppercorn you buy?
Liquid Smoke
Liquid Smoke
Liquid smoke can be just fine—as long as you know what to avoid when selecting a brand.
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Frozen Herbs
Frozen Herbs
Can this product be reasonably substituted for fresh herbs?
Curry Powder
Curry Powder
Blends can vary dramatically, even within the mild or sweet category.
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Garam Masala
Garam Masala
Our winner is not only traditional, but also widely available.
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Tenderizers
Tenderizers
For ultra-thin cutlets, meat tenderizers actually work. In this case, does brand matter?
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Garlic Juice
Could this easy-to-use preparation stand in for real garlic?
Louisiana (Cajun or Creole) Seasoning
Louisiana (Cajun or Creole) Seasoning
We tasted five seasonings labeled Creole or Cajun on white rice and in pork grillades.
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Oyster Sauce
Oyster Sauce
We required our winning brand to be both authentic and complex.
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