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Best Spice Rack/Storage (including jars)

I cook many different kinds of food, and as a result I probably have at least 30-50 spices. I have a small apartment kitchen and I don't have room to put my spices away in a cupboard, so right now I have a small shelf that I use, but now it's a mess and overflowing, and I'm frankly sick of the disorganization.

I need some kind of attractive storage system (a rack, circular spinning tower, etc) that I can display on my counter. It needs to have minimum 20 spice jars, but I'd prefer more like 40 (I'll buy more than one if necessary). I've looked on the websites for Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, Amazon.com, Cooking.com, Surfas, etc., and haven't found just the right one.

I want to make sure the jars are airtight and good quality, and I don't mind investing a fair amount of money. Other than that, I just want it to be attractive and well organized. I prefer that they don't come with spices, since I already have spices and I'd just end up throwing them out.

What does everyone else out there use?

Thanks for any advice!

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  1. I have a battery-operated spice rack that's attached to the underside of a shelf in my pantry. It's made by Kitchenetics and it holds about 24 spice bottles. Because it doesn't take up the entire height of the shelf, right underneath it I have a lazy-susan that holds about 25 more bottles. I've had this Kitchenetics spice rack for a very long time, and I have a feeling that it's no longer available.

    Fante's, with a retail store in the Italian Market in South Philly, and a good website, has a fairly good selection of spice racks:

    http://www.fantes.com/spice.htm#shelf

    1. I use a two-tiered lazy Susan that I believe is a Rubbermaid product; I think it's marketed just as a lazy Susan and not as a spice rack. I'd guess it holds at least 35 jars and cans - possibly more, but I've never bothered to count. Basically the spices that I use the most face out, and the ones I use least migrate to the inner circle, but are also easity accessible.

      I purposely did not choose the kind of spice rack that comes with matching jars and labels. I know what my needs are and I think it's more useful to have spices in the sizes I need most: a very small bottle of cayenne peper; one can of sweet paprika, another of hot paprika; a tall jar of oregano; a medium jar for whole coriander and a large jar for ground coriander, etc..

      This is of course less pretty than a matchy-matchy array of identical bottles, but my needs are better met by my current set-up.

      1. I have the same thing to organize all my bottles and jars of spices, and it works well and was really inexpensive. What I also like about it is that if necessary, you can always add more tiers - currently I only have two and find that to be suitable. I think I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond or Linens 'n Things - always get those two confused.

        1. My wife and I use lots of spices, and our spice rack is an old video tape rack (about 8 wide wire baskets on a metal frame about 5 feet high, screwed to a wall) with jars of all sizes in it. It's great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dave Westerberg

            I use something similar (tiny kitchen, no space for a countertop rack) over my pantry door. I think it was originally for shoes or something -- it's white metal, with three or four foot-long shelves that are perfectly sized for the smallest size glass and plastic Penzey's jars. I bought three from The Container Store and hung them end to end, and it holds a ton of spices.

          2. Dean & Deluca has a fabulous spice 'rack' that is a rack with thin/tall test tube jars. You would have to transfer your spices to these tubes, but it is very attractive and does not take up much space. It is costly. There are two versions, and other interesting racks. I had the large one several moves ago. Now, I just have a mess in a cupboard and a drawer. I have to organize my mess. Thanks for the post!

            http://www.deandeluca.com/cgi-bin/nco...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jesdamala

              Dean and Deluca also has a stainless steel wire spice shelf which fits their metal cans of spices (which is nice because it protects the spices from damage from the light). And the cans can be refilled with Penzey's or something similar for pretty cheap.

            2. I only keep the few that I use constantly out because they deteriorate more rapidly from exposure to light. Also from heat near the stove. I used to keep more out until I compared the colors on some I hadn't used in awhile and I was shocked to see how much the color had faded. The once-in-a-whiles are in a closet in the dining room. The things that I use for baking are with the baking items.
              McCormick has a chart for how long they last http://www.mccormick.com/content.cfm?... but I think Penzey's recommends pitching them even sooner. Storing them improperly can shorten their life further. They're too expensive to treat badly.

              1. I took two Cost Plus wooden spice racks (they come without the jars) and mounted them on the wall together so that they now hold about 40 jars of my most-used spices...the glass jars from Cost Plus are inexpensive and with good quality lids, unlabeled, and their shiny silver aluminum lids are all that show when placed in the rack -- very classy look. I labeled the inside of the spice rack cubbies (not the jars) with the name of each spice (so my husband doesn't mix them up!), and since the jars fit all the way into the rack, each in their own cubby hole, you don't run the usual risk of spices in a rack going bad when exposed to light. The entire setup probably cost around $65 -- much better than comparable systems I've seen that will cost upwards of $200. It fits on the wall beneath a standard cabinet and above the countertop, so it takes up absolutely no valuable space. Since each jar is separate, not hidden (like with lazy susan type racks, where some jars are on the inside and some on the outside), everything is equally accessible.

                1. Cost Plus has a counter space solution for spices, it's a round magnetic tray that you mount to the wall, with metal jars so they'll "stick" to the tray. The jars have a large glass (plastic?) window in the lid so you can see the spice. I think those jars may be large enough to hold a standard size spice jar worth of spice.

                  1. I had the same problem. It drove me nuts. I found a 3-tier plastic adjustable expand-a-shelf that fits into my kitchen cabinet and expands to the width of the cabinet. With the three tiers and space in front, I have 4 "shelves" of spices, now so orderly and neat. I just LOVE this thing. I got it at the Container Store. I now have my 44 spice jars so beautifully arranged (you could fit more depending on the width of your
                    shelf).

                    http://www.containerstore.com/browse/...

                    1. You may not have a drawer to dedicate to spices in a small apt kitchen, but I got a spice drawer insert (expands to fit various sizes) at the container store and much prefer it to my previous countertop rack. The spices will last longer and now I don't feel compelled to have them in matching bottles.

                      1. All my spices are on my fridge. I liked the idea of the magnetic spice "rack" but wasn't willing to pay $20 for 6 containers and a magnetic strip (http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...). So I bought a box of rectangular metal party tins (most party/wedding favor places sell them - http://www.sophiesfavors.com/boxes_ti...), a package of those small rare earth magnets, and a package of blank labels. Glue two magnets on the back of the tin (the lid is on the top, as opposed to the front like the round tins) to keep it stable, fill with whatever, stick a label on it, and put it on the fridge! the way my kitchen is set up, they're actually on the side, not the front of the fridge, so it doesn't look cluttered.

                        I used to have them organized - Italian, baking (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc), specialty (curry, anise, mustard, etc) - and then my boyfriend cooked one night and just randomly put them all back.

                        I did like the look of the test tube rack (which can be bough empty and cheaper from lab supply companies) but I thought they wouldn't hold enough and I'd be constantly refilling them. I also really wanted something that wouldn't take up more counter space.

                        As a side note, if anyone orders samples of tea from Adagio Teas, it comes in this same square tin, which is what I started with for the idea.

                        1. In my house I have two lazy susans built in. Both have two shelves, One whole lazy Susan is dedicated to spices, flour, oils,honeys, other baking supplies, and my hot sauces. The other lazy susan has my pasta's, my dry beans, & canned tomato products, etc. My spices are in their original containers, the ones I use alot (rosemary, salt, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, oregano, etc, I dong worry about freshness as I have quick turn over. Some of the others I dont use as much, If I suspect they are too old, I throw them out, and buy a new bottle. I do try to use fresh herbs as much as I can, but sometimes they just dont always look great at the store on grocery day. Flour, sugars, etc, I keep in sealed jars.

                          I dont have a pantry, but these built in lazy susans do the trick

                          1. I have metal tins from Specialty Bottles (www.specialtybottle.com) and a label maker. The spices are easy to measure because the tins are wide mouth and they don't get exposed to light. You could keep them in a drawer, magnetize and stack them, magnetize and attach to the refrigerator or any metal surface ....

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Amuse Bouches

                              The specialty bottles are really good but they don't have any square tins with a non-see through top. Do you know of anyone who has the square tins with tin covers too? The see-through covers that www.specialtybottle.com has lets light in

                              1. re: peachblossom

                                Check party/wedding favor stores (or search online). The ones I bought are about 1 1/2" square on top and about 3" in height and are all metal. I believe you can also find ones larger in diameter but shorter in height.

                                1. re: peachblossom

                                  I don't know -- I buy the round tins at specialty bottle with the solid tops. I think the 2oz deep.

                              2. I have been thinking about getting this one: http://www.stacksandstacks.com/html/8....

                                Kinda pricey, but I haven't found 48 bottles anywhere else.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: amarullis

                                  Alton Brown has a cool solution which uses the metal tins described above but then employs velcro to stick them to the inside of cabinet doors. The tins aren't thick enough to interfere with what's inside of the cabinets. I haven't tried it but I mean to

                                  1. re: amarullis

                                    Many years ago we had something similar, with the same jars. Know that occasionally the tops do crack, especially if over-tightened, so if and when you do decide to purchase this set, see if you can order some extra screw-on caps and labels.

                                  2. I have a suggestion for the bottles. I am still looking for a rack, though. I found lovely glass bottles with the plastic insert full of holes under the plastic cap, at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and get this: just 99ยข each.
                                    Whitney