Sumac and Other Red Spices You Should Have In Your Kitchen

Annatto (Achiote)
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No one likes a bare spice rack. They're the building blocks of any good dish. Not to mention, most of these flavor enhancers also boast a bevy of health benefits that may have you seeing a slimmer waist and boosts in energy. Click through for a list of specifically scarlet-hued options that you should add to your next grocery list.

01 of 09

Sumac

Sumac
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Sumac is, like, so in right now. In fact, the versatile spice has found its way into both sweet and savory dishes from some of the world’s top chefs. Tart and sour like a lemon, but more aromatic, the spice is derived from a stone fruit most commonly found in the Middle East. For a safe introduction, consider sprinkling some on plain popcorn.

02 of 09

Paprika

Paprika
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Don’t let this spice’s chili pepper base scare you — it comes in a variety of flavors and heat levels. From smoky and sweet to mild and pungent, there’s a whole range of possibilities that can suit even the pickiest of palates. If you’re also looking for an excellent, all-natural food dye, look no further. This famous deviled egg topper has got you covered.

03 of 09

Cayenne

Cayenne
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Those with weak tongues need not apply this fiery spice to their next meal. If black pepper just isn’t cutting it, you’ll want to kick things up a notch with the ingredient behind your favorite hot sauces. The taste also stems from capsaicin, a compound that may boost metabolism by producing more heat and burning more calories. Delicious and diet-friendly? Bring on the cayenne!

04 of 09

Himalayan Salt

Himalayan Salt
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Sorry, Morton umbrella girl. It’s time to ditch the table salt and never look back. Himalayan pink salt, famously mined from Pakistan, contains an astonishing 84 minerals with each serving. Zinc, fluoride, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium are just some of the reasons why you'll be craving margaritas tonight.

05 of 09

Chili Powder

Chili Powder
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Warning: objects in spice may not be exactly what they appear. Most mass market chili powders are mixed with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic and other ingredients to tame down the pungency of the powder. If you're looking for something more pure and robust, you'll want to check out chipotle (my favorite!), ancho, jalapeño and habanero varieties. These peppers pack a powerful (and flavorful!) punch.

06 of 09

Saffron

Saffron
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So you fancy, huh? Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice for a reason. Its sweet and earthy flavor heightens a dish's complexity without overpowering it.

07 of 09

Pink Peppercorn

Pink Peppercorn
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Pink peppercorns are not actually part of a pepper. In fact, they are dried berries related to cashews. The peppery taste is lighter than its black and white counterparts, so they pair well with more delicate foods like fish and seafood.

08 of 09

Crushed Red Pepper

Crushed Red Pepper
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Like a fashion designer, some chefs are all about texture. If you want to add another depth to your dishes, opt for the flaked variety of cayenne. The heat isn't on the same level as its powdered cousin (which can be a good thing), but there is something to be said about the rusticness of eating dried seeds and pieces of pepper.

09 of 09

Annatto (Achiote)

Annatto (Achiote)
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Arriba! Like sumac, ground annatto (also known as achiote, its plant derivative) is not commonly used in most kitchens. That being said, you’ve probably had it in Mexican food without realizing it. The flavor is extremely subtle, almost peppery with notes of onion and poultry, but lends itself perfectly to grains, beans and meat-based sauces.

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