Have some old spices taking up space in the cupboard? Put them to work with these easy recipes full of bold flavours. Read our article on the best spices to elevate your dishes for further inspiration from our cookery team and our favourite food writers.


Also, learn how to make a spice rub, suitable for all different sorts of meats, but always perfect for a barbecue. And, if you’re not a huge spice fan, check out our helpful guide on making a curry less spicy after you’ve accidentally added too much chilli powder.

Learn how to buy and store your spices properly and how to determine their freshness below, and be sure to check out our spice grinder review to make the most of your spices.

How to store spices

Ensure the freshness of your ground spices by relying on your sense of smell – if they lack aroma, they likely lack flavour. Regularly assess your spice collection every few months, discarding any that have lost their potency, to maintain a vibrant and robust taste in your dishes.

When acquiring spices, prioritise quality over quantity. While bulk purchases may be tempting, realistically assess how much you can use before they lose their freshness. If you find yourself with an excess, transfer a portion into a small container and freeze the remainder for prolonged freshness. Whole spices are excellent for slow-cooking, imparting flavour gradually over time, and can also add texture or serve as a finishing touch to dishes like tarka dhal and shakshuka.

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Exercise caution when toasting ground spices, as they can easily catch. Despite this, they infuse flavour rapidly into dishes. Be aware that commercially produced spice blends often undergo a global supply chain process, mixing spices from various regions and potentially resulting in diminished intensity. Seek out single-origin spices for a more robust and intensely flavoured option, especially for those you use frequently.

To maintain the quality of your spices, store them in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. Clearly label your containers for easy identification when opening drawers or cupboards. This simple practice ensures that your spice collection remains fresh, potent and ready to elevate your culinary creations.

How to use up spices


Cumin is one of the Good Food team’s favourite spices, whether it’s in whole seeds or ground. It’s so versatile, and provides earthiness and warmth to dishes made around the world.

1. Broccoli stem falafel bowl

Bowl of grains, cucumber, carrot ribbons, spinach leaves, falafel and beetroot hummus

Reduce food waste and make the falafel in this dish using an ingredient that’s often discarded: broccoli stalks. They're blitzed into the chickpea base.

2. Roasted red pepper soup with crispy croutons

Bowl of red pepper soup topped with yogurt and croutons

Warm up on colder evenings with this vibrant soup spiked with fiery chilli powder, cumin seeds and harissa. The crispy croutons are optional, but add a satisfying crunch.

3. Spicy aubergine dip with carrot dippers

Carrot battons on a plate next to a bowl of spicy aubergine dip

Make our aubergine dip for a low-calorie, low-fat snack that packs in two of your five-a-day when served with carrot batons.

4. Cajun chicken burgers

Chicken, avocado and spinach on ciabatta roll

Cumin is an essential component of Cajun seasoning. Grill fully loaded Cajun chicken burgers for a dinner that packs a punch.

5. Creamy halloumi & tomato curry

Halloumi and tomato curry on plates with rice and naan breads

Enjoy halloumi in this family-friendly curry – it has a wonderful texture, similar to paneer. It’s a great midweek option, as it's freezable and can be on your table in under 30 minutes.

Read about how cumin can help improve your digestion, immunity and circulation in our helpful guide on the health benefits of cumin.


Coriander (seeds or ground) is aromatic and citrussy, with a hint of sweetness. It pairs well with egg mayonnaise, pickles and brines. Fry the seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant and starting to pop, then scatter over a curry before serving.

6. Quinoa chilli with avocado & coriander

Bowl of quinoa chilli topped with slices of avocado and yogurt

Pack in the nutrients with this meat-free chilli. It delivers five of your five-a-day and is low in fat.

7. Beetroot, cumin & coriander soup with yogurt and hazelnut dukkah

Bowl of beetroot soup topped with yogurt and dukkah

Our easy beetroot soup is spiced with cumin and coriander, and topped with crunchy hazelnut dukkah.

8. Carrot & coriander soup

Bowl of carrot and coriander soup topped with fresh coriander

Make this warming carrot & coriander soup for when you want a low-fuss meal made from storecupboard ingredients you’re sure to have lying around.

9. Orange & coriander drizzle cake

Orange and coriander cake with a slice cut out topped with icing and zest

Coriander gives this zesty cake an extra kick. It uses a whole orange, so there won’t be any waste.

10. Coriander salmon with curried quinoa & pomegranate

Coriander salmon with curried quinoa & pomegranate

You should aim to eat oily fish at least once a week, as the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that support heart health can’t be made by your body.

Check out more of our coriander recipes for ways to use this fragrant spice.


Cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon alike can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. They provide warmth and subtle sweetness – also great for sprinkling over lattes.

11. Cinnamon twists

Cinnamon twists

Bake these fabulous cinnamon twists for an on-the-go breakfast or sweet treat. They take a little effort but are well worth it.

12. Caramel apple cinnamon buns

Apple cinnamon buns on a sheet of baking parchment topped with caramel sauce with one removed onto a plate

Balance the sharp flavour of apple with the sweetness of caramel and a tangy soft cheese icing to make these toffee apple-inspired cinnamon buns.

13. Cinnamon porridge with banana & berries

Cinnamon porridge with bananas and berries

Start your day the healthy way with energy-boosting oats and fresh fruit, topped with low-fat yogurt and a sprinkling of cinnamon for a subtle hint of sweetness.

14. Slow-cooker cinnamon & orange beef

Large plate of beef topped with cranberries and herbs

Feed a crowd on a budget with brisket, a cheap cut of beef that takes on flavours well – here, it's spiced with cinnamon, sweet orange and cranberries.

15. Cinnamon-rubbed salmon with couscous & harissa yogurt

Plate of couscous topped with salmon and green beans

Season salmon with honey, cinnamon and oil, and leave to soak up the flavours before cooking under a hot grill. Serve with couscous and spicy harissa yogurt for a quick and healthy dinner.

Check out more of our cinnamon recipes, and read more about the health benefits of cinnamon.

Bay leaves

Bay leaves lend a subtle background note to slow-cooked dishes, creating depth of flavour. Try them in stews – you’ll soon be able to notice when they’re not present.

16. Roast lamb shoulder with bay leaves & juniper

Platter of roast lamb cut into slices topped with juniper berries and bay leaves

In this easy Tuscan recipe, lamb is seared and roasted with garlic, bay leaves and juniper – perfect for Sunday lunch.

17. Pear & blackberry crumble with bay leaf custard

Two bowls of crumble topped with custard next to a jug of custard

Celebrate autumn with a comforting pear and blackberry crumble. A crunchy oat and nut topping and bay-infused custard make for a stunning dessert.

18. The best spaghetti bolognese recipe

The best spaghetti bolognese recipe

Our best ever spaghetti bolognese is super-easy, with a meaty chilli sauce flavoured with dried oregano and bay leaves for subtle depth of flavour. It's sure to become a family favourite.

19. Bay leaf creams

Four wine glasses of bay leaf cream

Slightly sweet and spicy bay leaves elevate this simple custard into a sophisticated gluten-free dessert. Make the bay leaf creams at least the day before you want to eat them to allow the flavour time to infuse.

20. Cottage pie

Baking dish of cottage pie with a serving taken out

Make our classic meat and potato pie for a comforting dinner. This great-value family favourite freezes beautifully and is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Dried oregano

Dried oregano can be sprinkled over finished dishes or mixed into recipes. It works very well in breads, salad dressings and marinades, as well as soups and with slow-cooked meats.

21. Vegan chilli

Two plates of rice topped with vegan chilli and avocado slices

Our healthy vegan chilli recipe packs in plenty of vegetables and doesn’t fall short on the flavour front, making use of spices such as paprika, cumin, chilli powder and dried oregano.

22. Sausages with oregano, mushrooms & olives

Pot of sausage stew with mushrooms and olives

Make this flavourful one-pot stew with less than 10 ingredients. The perfect accompaniment to a hearty portion of mash, it’s great for serving a crowd as the recipe can be easily doubled.

23. Chicken parmesan

Chicken parmesan

Looking for a healthier chicken parmigiana recipe? We've given the classic a makeover, resulting in a hearty yet healthy dish that's great for weeknight dinners.

24. Lemon & oregano chicken traybake

Tray of chicken with lemon wedges

An all-in-one supper of chicken thighs and crispy new potatoes, with all the sunshine flavours of the Med.

25. Greek salad

Cucumber, tomato, red onion and feta topped with dried oregano

Make a fresh and colourful Greek salad in no time. It's great with grilled meats at a barbecue, or on its own as a veggie main.

Chilli powder

Chilli powder is a great addition to savoury flavour boosters, from Tex-Mex spice rubs to curry pastes. It imparts heat and varies in spice level from mild to hot.

26. Burnt aubergine veggie chilli

Pot of aubergine chilli next to a large bowl of rice and a made up plate. A hand dips a nacho into the chilli pot

This warming aubergine chilli is low-fat and provides four of your five-a-day. Serve up this smoky spiced vegetarian supper with brown rice and all your favourite trimmings.

27. Chicken balti

Metal pot of chicken balti topped with coriander leaves

A lighter version of the Indian takeaway classic, chicken balti, this tomato-based curry is packed with extra spinach and peppers.

28. Chilli paneer

Plate of rice with chilli paneer topped with spring onions

Enjoy this flavour-packed chilli paneer with rice and your favourite vegetarian sides for a lightly spiced dinner for two.

29. Spicy chicken & avocado wraps

Two wraps topped with chicken, avocado and red peppers

Pan-fry lean chicken breast with lime, chilli powder and garlic, then pile onto seeded tortilla wraps. Cool before assembling if packing for lunch.

30. Old Delhi-style butter chicken

Old Dehli style butter chicken

Head to your spice rack to make this butter chicken curry, a dish that symbolises Indian food for millions of people all over the world.

If you're not a fan of spice but you're inspired by these dishes, check out our guide on the best mild Indian curries.

Garlic granules

Garlic granules have a milder flavour than fresh garlic, and can be used in place of it. It’s a good way to add garlic flavour in a gentler way.

31. Chicken & chorizo one-pan

Pan of rice with chicken and chorizo, peppers, peas and coriander

Save on the washing-up with this one-pan chicken, chorizo, rice and pepper dish. It's packed with flavour and is low in calories.

32. Honey & sriracha hot wings

A plate of glazed wings on a plate topped with sesame seeds

Enjoy crisp hot wings straight from the oven – no need for deep-frying – with this clever recipe. Eat unglazed, or try our honey and sriracha glaze.

33. Jackfruit bolognese with vegan parmesan

Plate of spaghetti with jackfruit bolognese topped with vegan parmesan

Cutting back on meat? Try jackfruit as an alternative. This vegan bolognese not only tastes delicious, but it counts as a whopping five of your five-a-day.

34. Bang bang cauliflower

Bowl of bang bang cauliflower topped with chillies, spring onions and sesame seeds

Try a veggie twist on bang bang chicken, and replace the meat with cauliflower florets. It makes a great starter or side, with a crispy coating and spicy sauce.

35. Pulled BBQ aubergine & black bean burgers

Three pulled aubergine and black bean burgers in buns on a plate

Get the kids to help you prep the veg for these family-friendly burgers. These veggie buns have all the comforting textures of meat, but are completely vegan.

Check out our garlic recipes to liven up your cooking with this punchy flavour.

Garam masala

For a spice that will impart maximum flavour in a short amount of time, garam masala is your best bet. Try swirling it into some yogurt with a bit of mango chutney for a dipping sauce for samosas and bhajis.

36. Spiced broccoli, paneer & peas with garam masala cashews

Spiced broccoli, paneer & peas with garam masala cashews

Serve this subtly spiced broccoli and paneer dish with naan or rotis. A meat-free, veg-packed main, perfect for Friday night.

37. Next level tikka masala

Pan of tikka masala next to a bowl of rice and plate of curry next to a naan

Who can resist the combination of smoky tandoor-charred chicken in a delicately spiced tomato-based sauce? Master the tikka masala with our ultimate version.

38. Bombay potatoes

Skillet of bombay potatoes

Enjoy Bombay potatoes as a brilliant side dish to an epic feast. These Indian-style potatoes made with juicy tomato are super-easy to make, spicy and moreish.

39. Spicy pumpkin soup

Three bowls of pumpkin soup topped with cream and lardons

Make the most of seasonal squash in the early autumn and try a spicy pumpkin soup. You can toast the seeds, too, and use as a topping.

40. Cheat's beetroot biriyani

Cheat’s beetroot biriyani

Cook this beetroot biriyani and freeze the leftovers for busy weeknights. With colourful beetroot taking centre stage, it's full of spices and is a flavourful dish.


A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of sweet pepper, then grinding it to a fine, rich red powder.

41. Paprika pork

Pot of paprika pork

This healthy one-pot is a midweek miracle. Pork and mushrooms are cooked in a cream sauce that's flavoured with smoked paprika to make a hearty stew.

42. Smoked paprika paella with cod & peas

Pot of paella with cod, peas and peppers

Cod is a great source of stress-busting B vitamins and magnesium, so why not enjoy this easy paella that's also packed with three of your five-a-day, iron, folate and fibre.

43. Sweetcorn with smoked paprika & lime butter

Three ears of sweetcorn topped with paprika, butter and coriander

Enjoy corn on the cob with a smoked paprika and lime butter for a simple yet delicious summer side. You can make them on the barbecue or hob.

44. Smoked paprika prawn skewers

Skewered prawns

Healthy and packed with summer flavours, these paprika-spiked prawn skewers are based on pintxos – the Basque version of tapas.

45. Sardines with crisp paprika crumbs

Sardines with crisp paprika crumbs

These 10-minute sardines topped with paprika crumbs are made using only seven ingredients and two steps, and won’t break the bank.

Ground ginger

Ground ginger is usually used in baking, as its sweet heat and peppery kick provides a nice contrast to sugar.

46. Ginger biscuits

Ginger biscuits on a cooling rack

Use fresh and ground ginger to make these moreish biscuits. They're perfect served with a cuppa for afternoon tea, or as a treat anytime.

47. Ginger & white chocolate cake

Ginger & white chocolate cake

Bake our sticky ginger cake in a bundt tin to wow guests. Spiced with stem and ground ginger and decorated with white chocolate icing, it's a real crowd-pleaser.

48. Vegan ginger loaf cake

Vegan ginger loaf cake

This vegan ginger loaf cake is perfect for entertaining, as it's freezable. Defrost and ice just before company arrives.

49. Sticky ginger lemon drizzle cake

Sticky ginger lemon drizzle cake

Adapt one of our highest-rated cakes with ginger, soft cheese frosting and citrus curd.

50. Triple ginger & spice cake

Triple ginger and spice cake with a slice cut out

If you're looking for a slice with spice, try this moist and sticky ginger cake. It's perfect for an afternoon treat, as it can be ready in under 40 minutes.

Check out our ginger recipes for more sweet and sticky recipes that showcase this powerful root.

Enjoyed these recipes? Find more inspiration:

Top 10 storecupboard recipes
How to keep your kitchen clean
What foods can I freeze?
Common ingredient substitutions


Which spices do you need to use up? Leave a comment below.

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