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Is it OK to put spices over the stove?

chefMolnar May 5, 2013 09:08 AM

Do you think it's OK to keep my spices on that cabinet above my stove? It's about 3 feet above the stovetop and its the most convenient place to keep my spices. The bottom of the cabinet is a couple of inches thick but I'm wondering whether the heat from the stove will make the spices deteriorate faster. What do you do? Thanks!

  1. chefMolnar May 10, 2013 06:13 PM

    Thanks again to everybody for the advice. It's pretty clear that I will have to rearrange some things to get my spices out of that cabinet.

    1. s
      seamunky May 7, 2013 01:40 PM

      How often do you use your oven? Can you use your oven as additional storage? Perhaps trading plate/bowl cabinet storage for spice storage? If you put things in a bin, it would be easy to clear out your oven for the occasional use.

      1. Chemicalkinetics May 7, 2013 01:40 PM

        I suppose 3ft above the stove is probably ok. The heat will definitely deteriorate the spice faster, but 3 feet above is probably good enough.

        1. k
          kcshigekawa May 7, 2013 12:43 PM

          I keep mine in a drawer right next to the oven (I'm fortunate in having lots of storage in my kitchen). I've never noticed that they get warm, probably because the oven is relatively well insulated.

          It took an hour or so to make (and cut to size) labels for the tops of the lids, but it works for me!

          1. hala May 7, 2013 08:11 AM

            Another concern is falling jars. If you knock off a jar by mistake, it might fall into something boiling and cause injury.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hala
              TroyTempest May 7, 2013 08:45 AM

              I've done that, for sure.

            2. k
              kseiverd May 7, 2013 08:03 AM

              "THEY" say not to store spices/herbs there. Apparently, the extra heat will degrade them so quickly that they won't even last the 6 months "they" say they should.

              IMO, this is a bit bogus!?! I'm SURE the heat would eventually have some kinda negative impact on herbs/spices. As long as I still get a niceroma/flavor when rubbed in palm of hand, not about to toss/replace cuz of "them"!?!

              Mine are stored right in the zone... any place else would be totally inconvenient.

              1. KaimukiMan May 6, 2013 07:23 PM

                A lot of people put them there, but the reality is that its not the most stable place temperature wise, and even with the hood and cabinets closed things up there do tend to get a greasy film. You don't mind that so much when you are pulling out the platter you only use for aunt mildred's coffee cake at christmas, but grabbing them all the time when cooking can be kinda yucky.

                1. nokitchen May 5, 2013 11:46 AM

                  None of us can see your cabinets or tell how well the wood insulates heat from the stove. I suspect the answer is no, as others have said, but what the heck? Let's do some science instead of conjecturing. Stick a thermometer on the bottom of the cabinet the next couple of times. you cook something at very high temperature and/or for a very long time. Also, put a couple empty, freshly washed jars that are only *mostly* dry in there to see if condensation forms.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: nokitchen
                    chefMolnar May 5, 2013 12:30 PM

                    Fair enough. It's an enclosed cabinet, so the sauce won't splash on the jars. There's not a lot of space for spice racks in the kitchen so it would be more convenient. I also have a vent which I don't use enough. At any rate, I'll try your experiment and see if makes a difference.

                    1. re: chefMolnar
                      melpy May 6, 2013 11:25 AM

                      I have mine in the cabinet to the right do the stove. Probably closer than I should but I don't think they suffer much. Directly over might concern mean depending on steam etc.

                      1. re: chefMolnar
                        chefj May 6, 2013 04:51 PM

                        The problem is not that your jars will get messy. It is that the heat will cause flavor and color loss of your Herbs and Spices.


                        1. re: chefj
                          meatn3 May 6, 2013 04:58 PM

                          I think chefMolnar was referring to a prior response which commented on dust and food splatters iirc.

                          1. re: meatn3
                            chefj May 6, 2013 06:15 PM


                            1. re: meatn3
                              chefMolnar May 7, 2013 07:46 AM

                              That's right, meatn3. Thanks chefj for that link and thanks to everyone. Now I've got to find some real estate in my kitchen for spice storage. I guess I'll put some pots or something above the stove.
                              One thing I have which I do like is a round metal spice container that I got in India. It seals very well and has individual metal cups for the various spices. They seem to stay fresh there.

                              1. re: chefMolnar
                                chefj May 7, 2013 02:41 PM

                                Oddly the Masala Dabba that you bought is to give quick access to your most used spices (the ones you go through quickest) To avoid having to go to the cupboard and open your tightly sealed storage containers and then put it all away again.

                                1. re: chefj
                                  chefMolnar May 7, 2013 03:12 PM

                                  Thanks for the tip!

                      2. Ruthie789 May 5, 2013 10:07 AM

                        No the heat will alter the taste.

                        1. meatn3 May 5, 2013 10:03 AM

                          I keep some of my herbs and spices in a cabinet above the stove. They are divided by type and stored in covered plastic bins for extra protection and for ease in accessing them.
                          It's not ideal but it is the only workable option for this kitchen. I also keep many of the spices (especially chili based) in the fridge. I've had two weevil outbreaks in that category over the years and I have no desire to go through the cleanup it entails.

                          I have a vent under the cabinet and use it to reduce the heat build up. The next few times you cook something at a high temperature or a long simmer simply put your hand on the interior bottom shelf and feel how warm it is.

                          Edit: I have not experienced any heat build-up and the items stored there have fared well. I do have a very good stove vent though which replaced the builder installed microwave.

                          1. g
                            Georgia Strait May 5, 2013 09:12 AM

                            i wouldn't - i keep mine dark and cool, low humid - theory learned from prev cooks - hence the ubiquitous spice cabinet and so forth from earlier 20th cent times

                            further - why would you want all that grease and tomato sauce splash etc on your lovely jars?

                            i realize my solution is not very handy (ie the way we see those fancy chefs on tv cooking - i have certain fav's that i keep close at hand in a nearby cupboard

                            if nothing else, try using salt grinder that's been steamed, greased, etc. that's why i keep things separate and protected. esp my peugeot (spell?)

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