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Spices are pure magic. One whiff of marigold and I'm transported back four years to when, at a winery in the Republic of Georgia, I was eating “pkhali,” a spinach and walnut salad whose seasonings include dried marigold petals. Vanilla, meanwhile, has me dreaming of baking, and mint harkens back to childhood summers. But while spices are essential cooking tools, full of possibilities, organizing them in your kitchen often poses a challenge.
Whether your current spice system is a drawer with some jars thrown in or that contraption you've had since college that no longer holds all the spices you need, there are spice racks that can help keep your kitchen tidy and make it easier to cook up delicious meals.
Here, my list of the best spice racks—no matter the shape of your kitchen or the number of spices you need.
Best Overall: Cole & Mason Blyth Classic 16-Jar Carousel Bamboo
What We Love: Compact size fits most cupboards or countertops with limited space
What We Don't Love: The somewhat simple design may feel out of place in very modern kitchens, labels on lids don’t come off
Carousel-style spice racks are a great addition to any home kitchen because they help keep your workspace tidy, and Chef Lee Wallach agrees. "You can save space and still easily find the jars you need," says Wallach, who founded Philadelphia-based meal delivery service Home Appétit.
Our pick for this style is this two-tiered revolving rack from Cole & Mason rack. Its bamboo base can hold 16 small jars, which come pre-filled with what the company claims are the most-used spices and dried herbs across popular cuisines (which are measured by weight). The jars also have the ingredient name printed on the metal lid of each jar for easy identification.
Plus, thanks to its small size, it won’t take up much room on your counter if you have limited space. It should also fit in most kitchen cupboards should you choose to tuck it away. Some reviewers rave about how fresh and fragrant the provided spices and herbs are and how comprehensive the selection is.
What's Included: 16 jars pre-filled (by weight) with basil, cinnamon, coarse pink salt, crushed chilis, dill, ginger, ground allspice, ground cumin, ground fennel, marjoram, oregano, paprika, rosemary, thyme
Materials: Bamboo, stainless steel, glass (jars) | Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.5 x 6.5 x 10.5 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds | Capacity: 16 spice jars
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Crate & Barrel 18-Jar Acacia Wood Spice Rack
What We Love: Design works well with most kitchen styles
What We Don't Love: Pre-labeled and pre-filled spice jars may be limiting for those who use a wide range or different types of spices
This versatile tiered spice rack is pretty enough to sit out on a countertop, mounted on a wall (it comes with hanging clips to help), or even over your stove, as one reviewer did to free up room on their counter. Of course, you can choose to easily keep it out of sight in a cabinet or drawer. The criss-cross wood design includes space for 18 labeled glass spice jars, which come prefilled with savory spices. Plus, a free spice refill offer (good for five years) is included.
I think it's hard to beat the modern design of this spice rack. With its criss-cross pattern, wood tones, and stainless steel glass jars, it'll go well with most kitchen styles. It’s not all looks, however—a few reviewers also praise this spice organizer for its sturdiness and how well it helps reduce clutter.
This spice rack works especially well as a gift or as an investment for a first apartment.
What's Included: Glass shakers with stainless steel and plastic caps, spices (basil, bay leaves, celery salt, coriander, crushed mint, dill weed, fennel seed, gourmet sea salt, herbes de Provence, Italian seasoning, marjoram, oregano, parsley, pizza seasoning, rosemary, seasoning salt).
Materials: Stainless steel, glass, plastic | Dimensions (LxWxH): 18 x 3.25 x 7.25 inches | Weight: 16 pounds | Capacity: 18 spice shakers
Best DIY: Shazo Airtight 9-Piece Mini Container Set
What We Love: Great for homemade spice blends, containers are stackable, lids are easy to open and close
What We Don't Love: Some users say they’re tricky to clean and may crack if lids are not closed carefully
Ditch the spice rack or drawer by using stackable airtight containers in your pantry and pulling out what you need before you cook. The minimal design will likely match most types of kitchen decor.
This DIY spice system is ideal for those who love using homemade spice blends and/or want to get spices in random-sized containers into a more uniform approach, particularly because the containers are clear and the set comes with labels and a marker, not to mention scoopers. And it’s not only spices you can store—some users say these came in handy for storing ingredients like quinoa, breadcrumbs, looseleaf tea, and chia seeds, instead of in their original containers.
Note, however, that in terms of cleaning, some reviews mentioned they were a little hard to clean because water sometimes gets into the layers of the plastic lids. And speaking of plastic, a few reviewers say the containers may chip if care is not taken to close the lids carefully and without too much force.
What's Included: Nine same-size container sets, nine spoons, 18 labels, one marker
Materials: BPA-free plastic, silicone (in lids) | Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.25 x 3.75 x 3.75 inches each | Weight: 4.1 pounds total | Capacity: 4.2 cups total
Related: The Best Food Storage Container Sets
Best Countertop: Evermill The Counter Top Rack
What We Love: Minimalist design, jars are tinted to help spices last longer
What We Don't Love: Very pricey
The minimalist style of this spice rack, available in several color options, is so beautiful you'll want to display it prominently in your kitchen—either on your kitchen counter or mounted to the wall. Plus, the jars are amber-tinted to protect your spices from sunlight to help keep them fresh for longer.
These simple yet elegant spice racks from Evermill are available in two sizes. The first is the Core set, which is catered toward home cooks of any level and comes with 12 organic spices including cayenne, cinnamon, paprika, red pepper flakes, and the company’s own blend. The Complete set is for those who are more seasoned—it comes with 18 spices, which, in addition to the above, also includes allspice, sumac, mustard seeds, and nutmeg. These spice racks are also incredibly functional. Each spice jar is has a grooved bottom that keeps the spices facing forward.
What's Included: Either 12 or 18 organic spices, tinted amber glass jars, two shaker lids for measuring
Materials: Glass, steel, silicone | Dimensions (LxWxH): Starting at 18 x 3.5 x 6 inches (Core) and 18 x 3.5 x 9.7 inches (Complete) | Weight: 12 pounds (Core) and 18 pounds (Complete) | Capacity: 12 and 18 half-cup spice jars, respectively
Best for Drawers: Rev-A-Shelf Wood Spice Drawer Insert Organizer
What We Love: Helps keep countertops tidy
What We Don’t Love: Size isn’t easily adjustable
Solve the problem of random spices rolling around in drawers once and for all. If you have the room, this tiered wooden insert that fits inside most kitchen drawers keeps your spices stashed away while still making it easy to see them. This organizer is made of either maple- or walnut-colored wood with a semi-gloss or satin finish. It comes in three sizes; this one is designed for drawers with an 18-inch base or smaller, but the largest version can accommodate drawers with bases of 24 inches.
Note, however, that because this insert is a set wood base, there's not much flexibility to adjust its size. Yes, you can trim to size with a table saw, but that seems like a lot of work.
But Wallach favors this type of spice organizer. "The tiered wooden inserts are my go-to. They make it convenient to see what you're working with," says the chef.
What's Included: Wooden spice drawer insert
Materials: Wood with satin finish | Dimensions (LxWxH): 19.75 x 16 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds | Capacity: Depends on the size of your spice containers
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Best Magnetic: Gneiss Spice Á La Carte Spice Kits
What We Love: Versatile, refillable, spices are fresh and high-quality
What We Don’t Love: Requires a bit more upfront organizational work compared with other options, no shaker insert
You might get so distracted creating works of art out of these spice kits, by woman-owned company Gneiss, that you might forget to turn on the oven. A bonus: You’ll get more cupboard and counter space in the process.
You can build your spice collection with these versatile magnetic glass jars, which you can buy in sets of three or more. The lids are embossed with the names of the spices. Plus, the jars have a hexagon shape that create a honeycomb effect on your fridge when put together. You can also choose to store the magnetic jars on metal backsplash or buy the corresponding wall plate.
The included spice jars come pre-filled with organic spices of your choice from more than 200 options or empty. Just note that with all the different add-ons, this system requires a bit more upfront organizational work than other options.
What's Included: Hexagon-shaped spice jars that are either pre-filled with spices of your choosing or empty
Materials: Glass, Metal, Pneodymium magnet | Dimensions (LxWxH): 1.75 x 1.75 x 2 inches (small jars), 2.5 x 2.5 by 2.5 inches (large jars) | Capacity: 0.25 cups (small jars), 0.5 cups (large jars)
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If you’re a fan of the carousel style, go for Cole & Mason’s Blyth rotating spice rack, which can hold 16 spice jars and is simple and compact enough to suit most kitchen styles (view at Amazon). If you’re looking for a countertop piece that’s still unique in design, or want an option to mount it on the wall, get creative with your storage with Crate & Barrel’s uniquely designed 18-jar tiered spice rack (view at the company’s site).
What to Look for In A Spice Rack
Think about the number of spices you currently have, how many you regularly use, and your bottles' size. If you have an extensive collection or simply big jars, you'll need a more spacious spice rack.
The most important thing to keep in mind in spice storage is keeping the spices away from heat. “A lot of people store spices right above the stove for easy access, but that's a culinary no-no because it degrades them and accelerates their loss of potency and freshness,” says Meaghan Thomas, co-owner of Louisville-based PinchSpiceMarket.com.
For the sake of aesthetics, you’ll want the spice rack of your choice to match your kitchen design. A wooden frame, for example, is better suited for traditional or rustic-looking kitchens. In contrast, stainless steel racks work well with a more modern kitchen design.
Ease of Use
The spice rack of your choice should not make your life more complicated. Ideally, you’d want one that keeps your jars accessible and displayed for easier identification, perhaps with labels, when needed.
What is the best way to organize spices?
Take some time to think about how you cook. The spices and blends you tend to lean on most should be easily accessible, but don't put your aspirational spices (the spices you want to use more to expand your flavor profiles) at the back.
“When I am at home I store everything alphabetically in our spice drawer, but when I am in the kitchen at work (and moving around at a much faster pace) I keep the spices we use the most grouped together on an open shelf—closest to the front and most accessible,” says Home Appétit’s Wallach.
Depending on how you use your kitchen, you can opt for either a system of organization or find something in between that works best for your own personal preference, Lee adds.
Whichever organizational route you choose, make sure your spices are labeled and the labels are visible.
“Having eyes on all of the labels is important, otherwise the hidden spices tend to be forgotten and you end up ... just grabbing your go-tos every night,” Thomas adds.
Is plastic or glass better for storing spices?
The most important part of storing spices is making sure they are sealed up tight to keep them fresh. After that, it comes down to how you store them and how quickly you use them. According to Thomas, spices will stay fresh longer if you cover them and protect them from sunlight.
"You want something … like meal tins with labels, or anything that's not translucent or transparent. If you're storing your spices inside a dark cabinet, glass or plastic can work just fine," she says.
All right, so how should I replace spices?
If you're unsure if your spices are still good, first look at them. Do they still look vibrant? If yes, taste them. They should taste lively and fresh. In general, though, whole spices should be replaced about every 8 months, and ground spices every three. That might seem surprising, but consider the journey the spices took to get to your kitchen, starting from the time of harvest.
"A lot of times those big brand-name spices are 1- to 2-plus years old by the time they reach your store shelf. Think how long from harvest it takes to get to the factory and sits on boats, how long for them to process the spices or make the blends," Thomas says.
What other accessories come with spice racks?
Many spice racks come with pre-filled spice jars, so consider what spices you need to have. And don't forget reusable labels, which are always useful for storage.
"If you are buying spices in bulk and refilling your own containers I'd recommend a spice funnel. You can find them in a variety of sizes and styles, and they will help you easily refill your spice jars without spilling anything," says Wallach. (Here’s one you can view at Amazon.) He also suggests investing in a nice set of spice or measuring spoons.
"There are some spice jars that come with spoons that can be stored inside," Wallach adds. (For example, see the Shazo 9-piece spice set above.)
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Bridget Shirvell has been writing about food and wine for more than a decade. Her work has appeared on Foodprint, Martha Stewart Living, Food52, and more. Obsessively organized, Bridget is always looking for items that will make baking with her toddler easier while keeping her kitchen tidy and making the best use of the tricky shelf space in her early 19th-century home.
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