What is the one ingredient that changed the way you cook? The one that stopped you in your tracks and made you instantly regret the time you had spent missing out? We peaked into the storecupboards of the Good Food team to find out.


The 30 ingredients listed below have become firm fixtures in the Good Food family's kitchens, whether its an extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over hummus or a top-quality broth to add depth to your cooking. They also showcase planet-friendlier small artisan brands, with products available online or in supermarkets.

Discover which products will level up your mealtimes below. Which ones will you try? Let us know in the comments.

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1. White Mausu peanut rayu

White Mausu peanut rayu product image

Recommended by managing editor Lulu Grimes

"I spotted this on a shelf in a local deli a couple of years ago and haven't been without a jar since. It's a chilli oil packed with sesame seeds, peanuts and chilli flakes. It isn't too hot so if you want more of a chilli punch then buy the 'hot' version."

How to use it: "I use it to fry eggs, vegetables and chickpeas in. When I'm not using it as a base, I spoon it over rice, noodles or veg, or mix it with yogurt to make a dip, or add lime juice and make a marinade. It's got a touch of sweetness and a savoury note so it pretty much goes with everything – roast chicken and roasties are also a good match."

2. Hydro Herb

Hydro Herb product image

Recommended by e-commerce and reviews editor Lucy Roxburgh

"This is the absolute easiest way to grow herbs with no garden, window box or messing around with soil required. Using recycled wine bottles, the kit takes five minutes to set up and then all you need to do is top up the water from the bottom occasionally. There are a range of herbs to choose from – I’ve had my basil for over a year and am now growing mint and thyme too. It makes it really easy to use fresh herbs in cooking all the time – no more soggy forgotten bags of herbs in the fridge."

How to use it: "If ever your herbs look like they're slowing down, add a few more drops of the plant food that comes with the kit and they'll be growing rapidly again in the next few days."

3. Freja bone broth

Freja bone broth product image

Recommended by magazines editor Keith Kendrick

"Nothing beats a great stock to add depth, complexity and character to your cooking. Unfortunately, not many of us have the time, kitchen kit or inclination to source a big bag of beef bones from the butcher, roast them in the oven then boil in an enormous pan for hours on end. That’s why I keep a carton of Freja bone broth in my cupboard. They’re made in small batches with just four ingredients – meaty joints and bones from high-welfare Norwegian beef, veg, herbs and filtered water. No additives, no preservatives and no ultra-processing. The ingredients are simmered low and slow for up to 24 hours to extract as much of the nutrition as possible."

How to use it: "Use it in stews, as gravy or as the base for a comforting soup."

4. Sea Sisters tinned fish

Sea Sisters tinned fish product image

Recommended by food editor Ailsa Burt

"Wrapped in beautiful, colourful, 100%-recyclable packaging lies preserved British fish, canned in the UK. Europe is leaps and bounds ahead in recognising and loving canned fish, and seeing as we're an island it shouldn't be a rarity here either! Packed with flavour, and interesting flavour combinations as well as exciting types of seafood, these cans are a must for the storecupboard."

How to use them: "They're perfect spread on toast, used to top ready salted crisps for quick canapés, or added to a salad. Canned fish for everyone!"

Available from Sea Sisters, £10

5. Ghee Appetit original ghee

Ghee Appetit original ghee product image

Recommended by Good Food contributor Mallika Basu

"I love a dash of ghee (cultured clarified butter), which has a warm, unctuous way about it. It has lots of Ayurvedic benefits, and makes an appearance at religious and cultural festivals in India as the purest form of saturated fat, with no casein or lactose (milk protein and sugar). My favourite brands are Ghee Appetit and Happy Butter, both organic, award-winning and from impressive female founders.

How to use it: "Use it to immediately lift rice, lentils, beans, and even fried eggs."

6. Chili Maven salsa macha

Chili Maven Salsa Macha product image

Recommended by food director Cassie Best

"Mexican chilli paste, made from dried chillies, spices and seeds. Unlike most salsa macha, which is made from peanuts, this version uses sesame seeds, making it a good option for anyone with a peanut allergy."

How to use it: "Use to elevate tacos, brush over barbecued sweetcorn or stir into a queso dip – totally addictive!"

6. Just Spices chicken seasoning

Just Spices chicken seasoning product image

Recommended by e-commerce and reviews editor Lucy Roxburgh

"This isn’t a gimmicky one-use seasoning just for chicken, I come back to it all the time. Yes it’s great for rubbing on chicken or salmon, but it’s also good added to soups, creamy pasta sauces or meatballs for a smoky depth of flavour. It’s got 17 different spices and seasonings, including smoked salt, rosemary, thyme, paprika and garlic."

How to use it: "Sprinkle generously over sweet potato wedges with a good drizzle of olive oil for easy homemade spiced sweet potato fries."

8. Bold Beans queen butter beans

Bold Bean's queen butter beans product image

Recommended by health writer Isabella Keeling

"Forget everything you thought you knew about beans. These beauties are silky smooth, cooked to perfection, plump and delicious. Give them a go and you too will become a Bold Bean mega fan. Unlike the chalky tinned beans we’re used to, these don’t need that much cooking. Simply add to your dish, heat through and tuck in."

How to use them: "My favourite way to enjoy them is in a Mediterranean-style veggie traybake with garlic, basil, plenty of fennel seeds and chilli flakes. They soak up all the juices and taste like holidays."

9. Pip & Nut crunchy peanut butter

Pip and nut crunchy butter product image

Recommended by e-commerce and reviews editor Anya Gilbert

"Peanut butter is a great shortcut for giving both sweet and savoury dishes a boost. The ingredients list on this jar offers the simplicity you want: just peanuts and a pinch of salt, with no palm oil or preservatives in sight. Dangerously, It's also the perfect consistency for spooning straight from the jar."

How to use it: "Drizzle and swirl across the top of your banana bread before it goes in the oven, or spoon it into an Asian-style soy, honey and lime dressing for a delicious satay salad or chicken main. When you're almost at the end of the jar, drop some dark chocolate into the dregs and top up with hot milk and honey for a nutty cocoa treat."

10. Mr Naga pepper pickle

Mr Naga Pepper Pickle product image

Recommended by deputy editor Janine Ratcliffe

"A mix of naga (ghost) chillies and spices, this is one for the serious chilli heads and completely addictive. Most Indian supermarkets will sell it, or you can buy online"

How to use it: "You can use as a condiment or add a drop to curries for a bit of punch."

11. Fabbri candied strawberries in syrup

Fabbri candied strawberries in syrup product image

Recommended by food content creator Helena Busiakiewicz

"These strawberries are absolutely addictive. Sweet and syrupy without losing the actual taste of the fruit, they're perfect piled on top of ice cream or pavlovas, or straight out the jar."

How to use them: "Once you've used all the strawberries, mix the syrup with Prosecco for a strawberry spritz cocktail."

12. The Gay Farmer's organic extra virgin olive oil

Gay Farmer olive oil product image

Recommended by Good Food contributor and food writer Melissa Thompson

"The Gay Farmer's organic extra virgin olive oil is some of the best I've ever had. Mark Dyer uses olives grown organically and biodynamically, on land that is not rotavated and boasts 197 different species of fauna and flora on it. Prunings from necessary clearing of vegetation are composted along with the mill waste and local organic manure, which is then incorporated into the olive grove."

Available from The Gay Farmer, from £18.95

13. Belazu sour cherry molasses

Belazu Sour Cherry Molasses product image

Recommended by food copy editor Samuel Goldsmith

"I've long been a fan of pomegranate molasses and this sour cherry version has me even more hooked. It's incredibly versatile and the flavour packs a real punch: sweet, zingy and bright."

How to use it: "Add a spoonful to bring some excitement to your salad dressings or simply drizzle over vanilla ice cream for a grown-up version of a raspberry ripple."

14. The Honey Project UK

Three jars of creamy soft set honey by The Honey Project UK

Recommended by Good Food contributor Liberty Mendez

"I love this brand as each pot helps plant wildflowers across the UK. My favourite has to be the creamy soft set honey, which you don’t see a lot in shops, making it really unique. It’s single-origin and has a beautiful bright, fresh floral flavour. We always have a jar in the cupboard."

How to use it: "It’s perfect spread on warm toast as the ultimate snack or add it to a white chocolate ganache to top cakes with – perfection."

Available from The Honey Project, £7.99

15. Sarriegui salted olive oil crisps

Sarriegui salted olive oil crisps product image

Recommended by food editor Ailsa Burt

"The ultimate crisp, in my humble opinion. They're ready salted and are just perfect with a spritz on a summer's evening."

How to use them: "If you really want to elevate them, spread on a baking tray and gently warm for a few minutes in a low oven to really bring out the flavours. Or just enjoy with a plate of olives and salty anchovies."

Available from Sous Chef, £4.80

16. The Original Black Garlic peeled cloves


Recommended by senior digital reviews writer Natalie Bass

"Black garlic has a sticky, soft texture that comes from gently heating the cloves over a period of time. The first time I used it was almost definitely for an Ottolenghi recipe, but it’s since become a storecupboard staple for me – it strikes a nice balance between sweetness and umami. It’s a popular ingredient in East Asian cuisine, but The Original Black Garlic was the first brand to start producing it in the UK."

How to use it: "Thinly slice or chop and pop into a bolognese, chilli or risotto for extra richness – or you can even enjoy it as a snack in its own right!"

17. Mada Mada pistachio praline

Mada Mada Pistachio praline product image

Recommended by food director Cassie Best

"Think pistachio butter, taken to the next level. This unctuous spread blends pistachios with dark caramel for a bittersweet edge."

How to use it: "I love it drizzled over pancakes or swirled into brownies."

Available from Mada Mada, £8.99

18. Citizens Of Soil Spanish extra virgin olive oil

Citizens Of Soil Spanish extra virgin olive oil product image

Recommended by Good Food contributor and former deputy food editor Esther Clark

"I love Citizens Of Soil. Really top quality olive oil that’s peppery and fresh – my favourite is the Spanish one. It comes in bottles designed to be reused. You buy the first bottle then restock with pouches and refill. It’s a female-led business too which is pretty cool!"

How to use it: "Liberally drizzled on hummus, on a warm focaccia, on tomatoes with a scrunch of sea salt. I only ever use this as a finishing oil, never heated up."

Available from Citizens Of Soil

19. El Yucateco achiote paste

El Yucateco achiote paste product image

Recommended by senior digital reviews writer Natalie Bass

"This ingredient is my absolute go-to if I’m making a Mexican or Central American recipe, as it brings a vibrant red-orange colour to dishes like cochinita (pork) pibil. Flavour-wise, there’s a peppery earthiness to it that’s quite subtle, and I’ve found a little goes a long way."

How to use it: "Dilute the paste in a bit of oil and stir into a dish as it’s slow-cooking, or you can use it as a marinade or rub for meat."

20. Gymkhana butter masala cooking sauce

Gymkhana butter masala cooking sauce product image

Recommended by magazines editor Keith Kendrick

"Butter chicken is one of the nation’s favourite Indian restaurant dishes. I’ve eaten it in restaurants and even had it at the famous Gymkhana in London – a glorious experience. I’ve tried to replicate it many times at home from scratch but as much as the process is rewarding and therapeutic, it’s very long, very involved and requires a lot of ingredients. So when I first heard that Gymkhana was releasing a range of cooking sauces, made by the Michelin-starred restaurant's own chefs, I was all over it. The butter masala, aka makhani, sauce is made with slow-cooked tomatoes, fenugreek leaves and Kashmiri chillies. It’s silky-smooth, creamy and mildly hot, with a hint of acid and sweetness. As good as anything I’ve eaten in a restaurant."

21. Plantin dried porcini mushrooms

Plantin dried porcini mushrooms in a jar

Recommended by magazines editor Keith Kendrick

"My wife buys me these for my birthday every year – and they last the whole year! Sourced from different countries by Plantin, a French company known for its truffles, they are dried at a very low heat on strings in ovens."

How to use it: "Rehydrate in hot water for 1-2 hours, strain the liquid (and save for stocks – especially good for making risotto) and sauté with fresh mushrooms for a punch of meatiness, or add to stews for earthy umami depth. I like to pile them onto sourdough toast with a good grating of parmesan and finely chopped parsley."

Available from The Good Food Network, £39.99

22. Belazu rose harissa

Belazu Rose Harissa product image

Recommended by product testing lead Lydia Anderson

"Floral and fragrant with a slow-burning heat, this rose harissa is a versatile pantry staple. Whether I’m cooking with meat or keeping things vegetarian, a spoonful of this paste elevates almost every dish.

How to use it: "Stir it into lamb ragu or use as a marinade for roasted veggies (goes really well with aubergine)."

23. Aspall raw organic cider vinegar

Aspall raw organic cider vinegar product image

Recommended by e-commerce and reviews editor Anya Gilbert

Unpasturised, organic cider vinegar is a storecupboard staple in my house. I like to steep freshly foraged elderflower heads in it at this time of year to make elderflower cider vinegar. You get that extra fruity flavour in addition to the health benefits of its gut-loving credentials from fermention.

How to use it: "Add a cap-full to pork stews or gravy to cut through the richness, shake up with your salad dressing ingredients for a fruity kick or simply drink a small splash diluted in water before a carb-heavy dinner to aid digestion."

24. Vadasz fresh dill and garlic pickles

Vasdasz Fresh Dill and Garlic Pickles product image

Recommended by deputy editor Janine Ratcliffe

"Cold brined so they are fresh, crunchy and sweet – as close to homemade pickles as it gets. The red onion and jalapeño pickles in the range are also brilliant."

How to use it: "A brilliant summer staple served on a burger or with grilled meats."

25. Good4U Super Seeds salad topper

Good4U salad topper super seeds product image

Recommended by Good Food contributor Chelsea Collins

"These are so addictive, I can just snack on them directly out of the bag! All of the Good4U salad topper mixes are generally delish, but this one is my favourite."

How to use it: "I love finishing dishes with this mix for added crunch and texture – not just salads but soups, tagines and even fajitas or omelettes. Don't knock it till you've tried it!"

26. La Chinata smoked paprika

La Chinata smoked paprika product image

Recommended by Good Food contributor Chelsea Collins

"This is my favourite smoked paprika to use in cooking because it has such a sweet smokiness compared to the bitter smokiness you can find in supermarket-branded paprika."

How to use it: "I love adding this to any vegetables before roasting with rapeseed oil and any other spices such as cumin and ground coriander. I add the vegetables to tagines, curries and even salads."

27. Two Fields olive oil

Two bottles of Two Fields olive oil

Recommended by Good Food contributor Liberty Mendez

"It's brilliant that they are teaching regenerative farming practices and only produce small batches using olives hand-picked in Zakros, Crete – so you know the time and dedication that goes into each bottle. It’ll take any dish to the next level."

How to use it: "They’re currently selling a light, fruity extra virgin olive oil that would be perfect to dress a seasonal summer salad or with some seasonal tomatoes along with a pinch of salt."

Available from Two Fields

28. Nice Rice chipotle rice

Nice Rice chipotle rice product image

Recommended by food director Cassie Best

"Rice pouches with a difference – the sustainably farmed rice in these packs has 49% lower CO2-eq emissions than the conventional alternative."

How to use it: "Try their chipotle rice in a burrito."

29. Jamaica Valley whole pimento berries

Whole Pimento/All Spice product image

Recommended by Good Food contributor and food writer Melissa Thompson

"Jamaica Valley is a UK-based, Jamaican-owned online store selling ingredients that are the backbone to island cooking, from oxtail seasoning to browning for stews. Their whole pimento berries, known in the UK as allspice, are a must in classic Jamaican cookery, from soups to jerk dishes and curries. Jamaica Valley's pimento is the best you'll get outside of the Caribbean – fragrant and complex, with notes of clove, nutmeg and even vanilla. Proper pimento is a hugely important spice when cooking Jamaican food and I really recommend theirs."

30. Manilife crunchy peanut butter

Manilife crunchy peanut butter product image

Recommended by Good Food contributor Chelsea Collins

"I absolutely love this and don't buy any other peanut butter any more. The nut flavour is so much deeper and more roasted compared to other nut butters on the market in my opinion."


How to use it: "I love spreading it directly on toast, or on a rice cake if i'm looking for a healthier snack. I also love adding to noodles with soy, rice wine vinegar and chilli sauce for a quick Asian super noodle-style dinner!"

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