Far too many home cooks are more obsessed with hardware than they are about software. What good is a $700 knife if your ingredients are sub-par? Half the battle of making your meals taste good has to do with how you flavor everything from skinless chicken breasts to chopped dinosaur kale. I’m willing to bet that the spices and seasonings in your pantry haven’t been replaced since the tail end of the Obama administration. Plus, there are likely some untapped flavor profiles you haven’t even considered adding to your repertoire. Here are five secret ingredients that will breathe new life into whatever’s for dinner.

Renewal Mill x Occo Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Kit


Key Selling Point: New twist on a classic treat.

One of the easiest ways to improve a classic brownie recipe is to not try and reinvent the wheel.  Instead, tap into subtle but surprising flavors. Chocolate is an art form in Mexico, where artisans still mill cacao beans by hand over centuries-old lava rock. Spice experts Occo have curated five spices to add to a bag of Renewal Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix. Once baked, these brownies will have a warm, satisfying finish, with a crackly churro crust to boot. Let's see a box of Betty Crocker pull that off.

Moonflowers Saffron Threads, 10 Grams


Key Selling Point: An affordable splurge on the world’s most coveted spice. 

What does luxury taste like? Oysters, caviar, and wild truffles have their fans, but pound for pound, saffron is one of the priciest foods on the planet. Luckily, a little goes a long way and gives everything from rice pilaf to ice cream base a summery yellow hue and unique floral fragrance and taste. While lesser brands cut the real stuff with fillers and colors, Moonflowers doesn’t settle for anything less than deep red threads in its hand-picked offerings. If you’ve never tried saffron, dip your toes with Moonflowers, which packages its threads almost like jewelry.

Brightland: The Luminous Capsule


Key Selling Point: Three summery ingredients that work great alone, and amazing together.

Brightland curates the best extra virgin olive oils, fruity vinegar, and floral-forward honey, and its “Luminous Capsule” is crafted to perfect for anyone looking to up their flavor game. It includes Awake, a robust extra virgin olive oil that’s perfect for grilling meat, sauteeing veggies, or just using it as a dip for warm bread. It pairs well with Parasol, a raw champagne vinegar with a refreshing brightness that will make you forget about crummy old balsamic. The package is topped off with a jar of California Orange Blossom Honey, which packs both floral intensity and a citrusy punch. Use these ingredients separately, or combine them and add a smack of summer to dinnertime year-round.

Sriracha Spice Blend Set


Key Selling Point: Powdered version of your favorite hot sauce that’s made to sprinkle on everything. 

Your favorite hot sauce with the rooster on the bottle tastes good on everything from eggs to ramen, but cooking with it can occasionally throw off a recipe. This spice blend by Uncommon Goods comprises six different Sriracha flavor profiles including Black Truffle, Candied Bacon, Honey Garlic, Miso Teriyaki, Thai Lime, and Smoked Maple. Each of these will pack that familiar and satisfying nostril-searing spice that’s great for adding to sauteed veggies, marinades, or just sprinkling over popcorn or air-fried potato wedges. Switching out your pepper mill for one of these six spice blends is an easy way to turn the flavor quotient up to 11.

Bachan's Original Japanese BBQ Sauce, 17 ounces


Key Selling Point: Powdered version of your favorite hot sauce that’s made to sprinkle on everything. 

There’s no cuisine on earth that has umami down pat better than Japanese, and this barbecue sauce is the fifth flavor distilled into a delicious sauce. Bachan’s Original Japanese BBQ sauce will be familiar if you’ve enjoyed an omakase sushi platter or bento box lunch. What’s Bachan’s good on? Pretty much everything. Its versatility makes it play well with hot dogs, burgers, grilled meat, and even homemade California rolls. But considering the savory complexity in this bottle, it’s also great adding straight to your favorite recipes in place of BBQ sauce or ketchup. Plus, check out that kawaii octopus on the bottle—how can you not want to score a bottle?

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

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