How to Store and Organize Spices- Kitchen Organization 101

I am starting a kitchen organization 101 series and will try to write as many posts as I can with ideas and tips to keep the kitchen organized and clutter-free. If you have any ideas for the series or want to write for this series mail me or check out our submit-a-guest-post tab above.

One of the unique characteristics of our Indian food are the Spices. There is an amazing variety of spices in India whether in terms of color, texture, smell, taste and the property it lends to our food. If you visit the spice aisle of any supermarket you will be amazed at the sheer number of different spices, I can bet some you might not have even heard of before.

But thanks to the number of herbs and spices required in Indian cooking it is a task in itself to think of how to store and organize your spices in a kitchen. If you live in a standard size apartment with an average kitchen like ours, you have to think of multiple ideas for storing and organizing spices.


Before I tell you how I store and organize spices in my kitchen here are some tips to make this process simple for you:

Kitchen Storage Ideas for Spices
1. Keep opened and unopened packets of spices separately. I keep all my unopened spice packets in our pantry closet (will do a post about it soon) and only the spices that are opened are stored in the cooking area. This means less chaos and clutter in your cooking area.

2. Take those spices out of the cardboard packets. Put them in spice jars, bottles or containers but definitely take them out of the packets because once opened it is essential that they are not exposed to moisture at all. Moreover the fragrance of the spices is also leached if the spices are in contact with air. In general, it is a good idea to keep spices away from light, air, moisture and heat.

3. Do make a note of the expiry dates of the spices. Most spices are good to keep for at least a year or more and usually they finish way before that but in cases of some spices that are rarely used may have gone bad.

How I store spices and herbs in my kitchen
Well for a long time in my previous home I had a spice cabinet in my kitchen which was all I had for organization. But before we moved to our present house, I had chalked out where and how I wanted to store my kitchen stuff especially my spices. Right now, I have three systems for storing spices in my kitchen. These storage systems are apart from the spices I store in my pantry closet.


The traditional masala dabba (spice tin)

I know it is not fashionable to have these anymore but in my experience this is the most practical way to keep spices that you use frequently for your cooking. It is easy to keep the regularly used spices, it is also very handy and I keep this on the kitchen counter to use while cooking.


Spice Rack with Glass Jars

This wooden spice rack with glass jars is kept for those spices and herbs which are used not very frequently like cumin powder, cinnamon powder, black pepper, chilli flakes, oregano, basil leaves etc. The great thing about this Spice rack is that it looks good and I can also take the spice jars to the dining table and if someone wants a dash of pepper or oregano, we can use the jar for just that.


The Spice drawer

This is where the most spicy action takes place. We have two of these vertical pull out shelves which are completely dedicated to storing spices. These drawers utilize the entire depth of the counter and therefore provide more space than the usual drawers. Since these are not visible to everyone, I bought not-so-expensive matching plastic containers to store the spices in this shelf. Although they are not expensive they are not cheap and are food-grade.

Tip: I cut out the name of the spice from the packet and keep it in the spice jar to recognize their names. You can label the jars but I often switch out spices from one jar to the other and this method of labeling them is easier for me.


These three storage systems are enough to keep my spices organized and my kitchen clutter free. In case you don’t want to go for any of these options, I snooped around the internet and found five more spice racks online to help you organize your kitchen.


1. Emsa Green Spice Box from FabFurnish – I love its design and the way the spices are stacked.

2. Trudeau Spice bottles from FabFurnish – Frankly I think it looks very good but it might not be the most practical for our kitchens.

3. Prodyne Spice rack from Zansaar– This stylish spice rack comes with 12 bottles and can be mounted on the wall or kept on the counter.

4. Home and you spice canister set from Snapdeal – This 10 box set from Home and You with stainless steel canisters can start off your spice collection beautifully.

5. SG Home Ribbed pattern masala dabba from Snapdeal- This modern take on the masala dabba comes with a mirror finish box and ribbed pattern design on the box.