Reddit Is Divided Over What The 'Most Overrated Spice' Is

Spices are the workhorses of the pantry, but according to some cooks, certain spices and seasoning blends haven't earned their rightful place in your kitchen. In response to a question on the Reddit forum r/Cooking, many home cooks sounded off about the spices they think are most overrated. Some Redditors called out trendy spices and blends, like everything bagel seasoning. "Though I think it tastes fine I can't imagine using it on anything but a bagel with cream cheese, nor do I want to," one commenter wrote. "I said the same thing! Bought it thinking I'd use it all the time and rarely do," another agreed.

Truffles were another trendy target of Redditors' ire in response to this question. "F***ing truffles, man. Truffle fries, truffle salt, truffle cheese, truffle burger, truffle sauce, truffle butter. I hate it all!" a commenter posted, earning more than 700 upvotes and many replies in agreement. "Everytime I get something truffle flavored I always expect it to taste better than it actually does," someone else lamented.

Other commenters chimed in with spices they simply dislike — one said allspice is "like eating potpourri, not a fan." Another criticized the proliferation of cheap, tasteless paprika, and a few took the question in a more musical direction. "Posh, never got the hype around her," one wrote, referencing the pop group Spice Girls' iconic nicknames. But one of the most divisive 'overrated' spices is one that's surprisingly ubiquitous.

Some Redditors are calling out black pepper

In response to a question about which spices are overrated, some Redditors called for reevaluating the status of a tabletop staple: Black pepper. "So many people think they just add salt and pepper to whatever and that's the dish perfectly spiced, but I struggle to think of more than one or two dishes where the pepper couldn't be substituted with something else," one commenter explained. This perspective wasn't shared by all. "Love pepper, it goes on everything lol," one person wrote. "Not to say it isn't an incredibly useful spice that goes well on many things, it certainly has its place in any spice rack," another said.

But even big food names like Molly Baz agree pepper might be overrated. She summed up the case against pepper in Bon Appetit: "Salt makes food taste more like itself; black pepper makes food taste like black pepper. So why do so many people automatically follow a pinch of salt with a couple of cranks of the pepper mill?"

The reason might be historical. Black pepper used to be considered a luxury in medieval Europe. The influence of 17th-century French cooking is also significant; Louis XIV was a picky eater and banned all spices except salt, pepper, and parsley (via Gizmodo). Today, there's no denying black pepper's popularity — Americans used 68,000 tonnes in 2018, per Research and Markets — but maybe we could consider reevaluating what we put in our tabletop shakers.