Add flavor to your cooking while supporting small businesses.

By Oset Babür
April 08, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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Chances are, you’re doing a lot of cooking at home right now. It’s also highly likely that you’re reaching for frozen produce to avoid frequent trips to the grocery store. Part of the trick to making frozen items more inspired is to preserve them correctly, but the other half is seasoning. While a vibrant, fresh bunch of broccoli rabe might not need much doctoring up beyond a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some cracked black pepper, a bag of the frozen stuff could really benefit from some crushed red pepper flakes and a douse of ramp vinegar.

New York Shunk / Burlap & Barrel / Disapora Co. / Spicewalla / Ramp Up

Read on for some of the best pantry seasonings and spices you can order online (and support small businesses, who could really use the love right now!) to give your quarantine cooking a boost of creativity and flavor.

Burlap and Barrel: Silk Chili 

It’s no secret that we’re fans of Burlap and Barrel. Swap in cinnamon tree leaves where you’d typically use bay leaves, like in a beef stew or soup, or add a pinch of Turkish silk chili pepper to your morning scramble for a slightly smoky, not-too-hot kick. Hosting a socially isolated pizza night? A few turns of this Turkish Oregano grinder right before you put your pie in the oven might just redeem that debatably too old package of pepperoni you decided to use. (burlapandbarrel.com)

Stock+Spice: Boom Spice

Once you’ve defrosted that package of ground beef or chicken breasts, go ahead and add a healthy dose of Boom Spice, chef David Vargas’ mouthwatering blend of chiles, cumin, coriander, and salt. Add a squeeze of lime to bring out the heat, and it’s taco time. (squareup.com)

Rumi Spice: Saffron

Saffron is basically the caviar of rice, and right now, you deserve really good rice. Add eight or ten strands of Afghan saffron to your next batch, or, make these gorgeous, fragrant cookies by crushing a few threads using a mortar and pestle. (rumispice.com)

Rumi Spice

Ramp Up: Black Garlic Vinegar

If you’re the kind of person who defaults to doubling the amount of garlic in any recipe, you’ll want to add a teaspoon of Ramp Up’s flavor-packed black garlic vinegar to finish Mexican tortilla soup, or seal the deal on a long lead-time marinade. (rampupshop.com)

The Spice House: Spiced Vanilla Sugar

We see those of you going to great lengths to make gorgeous, Instagrammable desserts, and we commend you. For everyone else, do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle of The Spice House’s spiced vanilla sugar. Sprinkle as much as you want on a buttered slice of bread (maybe you’re making your own sourdough?), stick it in the toaster, and voilà. (thespicehouse.com)

Spice House

Carr's: Cider Syrup

Frozen Brussels sprouts won’t know what hit them when you drizzle some cider syrup from Carr’s Ciderhouse in Hadley, Massachusetts. It’s also great on pancakes, or for upgrading a classic Old-Fashioned. (carrsciderhouse.com)

Spicewalla: Ginger Powder

Asheville-based Spicewalla has some of our favorite packaging in the spice game—the tins are perfect for stacking in small apartment kitchens—but there’s also substance beyond their good looks. This ginger powder is a fantastic replacement for the fresh stuff and packs quite a punch, and these green peppercorns are ideal for dishes that could use a lighter, more complex touch of heat. (spicewalla.com)

Oaktown Spice Shop: Umami Sea Salt

Sometimes, it’s hard to put your finger on what exactly a spice adds to a dish, especially when you love it. This umami sea salt is like that—you’ll want to sprinkle some in salad vinaigrettes and on veggies, like our charred vegetable ragu. (oaktownspiceshop.com)

Oaktown Spice Shop

New York Shuk: Hawaij

If you haven’t cooked with hawaij in the past, you’re in for a treat. This incredibly versatile Yemeni spice mixture can be used to add depth to soups, curries, and stews, but it also makes a perfect rub for lamb or beef brisket. You can’t really go wrong here, so think of it as a Swiss army knife in ground, bottled form. (nyshuk.com)

Diaspora Co.: Turmeric

Lentils are both soothing shelf-stable, which is why you’ll reach for them all the time if you add a heaping spoonful of Diaspora Co.,’s Pragati turmeric sourced directly and equitably from Indian farmers. (diasporaco.com)